CHICAGO (AP) — In the wake of the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the death of 17-year old Trayvon Martin, Chicago’s African-American clergy are calling for calm.
The pleas followed a Sanford jury’s decisions to clear the former Florida neighborhood watch volunteer of all charges in the shooting death of the Miami Gardens teen in a Sanford townhome community in February 2012.
Zimmerman claimed he was acting in self-defense when he shot and killed the teen last year at a condominium development.
Martin’s death unleashed debate across the U.S. over racial profiling, self-defense and equal justice.
Some Chicago activists have called for a downtown rally on Sunday, and clergy will hold news conferences to stress nonviolence.
Pastor Ira Acree of Chicago’s Greater St. John Bible Church says the community should become a “united voice for peace.” He says it can’t control the verdict but “can control our streets and communities.”
Demonstrators in Washington took to the streets early Sunday to rally in protest.
Crowds gathered on U Street chanting “No justice, no peace.” At least 100 people joined the march from U Street to Adams Morgan and Columbia Heights.
One protester carried a sign that read “Stop criminalizing black men.” Protester Sean Dallas said Martin was an innocent boy but was assumed to be a criminal because he was black.
The march remained peaceful and ended with a rally at a public plaza in Columbia Heights.
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