ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta/AP) - Neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman was cleared of all charges Saturday in the shooting of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black teenager whose killing unleashed furious debate across the U.S. over racial profiling, self-defense and equal justice.
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White had some harsh words for the jury who reached the verdict.
“All them [sic] jurors should go home tonight and kill themselves for letting a grown man get away with killing a kid,” he said through his official Twitter account Saturday night.
He also said that Zimmerman “got away with murder” and rhetorically wondered “what kind of world do we live in?”
The backlash he received because of his tirade caused him to follow up just over a half hour later – but not with an apology.
“It’s crazy how people on [T]witter want me to get in trouble for a tweet that they are retweeting because they want something to happen,” he said, according to For the Win.
The jurors considered nearly three weeks of often wildly conflicting testimony over who was the aggressor on the rainy night the 17-year-old was shot while walking through the gated townhouse community where he was staying.
To secure a second-degree murder conviction, prosecutors had to convince the jury that Zimmerman acted with a “depraved” state of mind — that is, with ill will, hatred or spite. Prosecutors said he demonstrated that when he muttered, “F—— punks. These a——-. They always get away” during a call to police as he watched Martin walk through his neighborhood.
To win a manslaughter conviction, prosecutors had to convince the jury only that Zimmerman killed without lawful justification.
White later thought better about his online outbursts, and returned to Twitter the next day to offer an apology.
“I understand my last tweet last nite [sic] was extreme,” he said on the micro-blogging site the next morning. “I was shocked and upset about the verdict. I am sorry.”
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