Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said the acquittal of George Zimmerman is “just sad.”
Zimmerman was found not guilty on Saturday in Florida on charges he murdered 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
“I wasn’t in the courtroom,” Patrick said Monday. “I wasn’t on the jury and I know the hazards of trying to second guess a jury, but from what I understand from the facts, it’s a chilling thought that you could be in a neighborhood out buying a soda and a pack of Skittles and have your life taken from you by somebody who just thinks you don’t look like you belong there.”
Civil rights leaders, including the Rev. Talbert Swan II of the Greater Springfield NAACP, want the U.S Justice Department to file federal civil rights charges against Zimmerman.
Patrick, a former head of the DOJ’s civil rights division, said the feds’ options are “very limited in a case like this.”
The governor said he felt “a sense of great disappointment” when he first heard of the verdict.
“I don’t know what you say to a young black boy or mothers of young black boys if the message of this is that you can be pursued down the street by someone with a gun and when you try to defend yourself that person is justified in shooting you dead.”
Sarah Birnbaum contributed.