Protesters gathered outside the courthouse in Sanford, Florida, for the first day of the George Zimmerman trial on June 10, 2013. Zimmerman is charged in the February 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
SANFORD, Florida - Less than 24 hours after George Zimmerman was found not guilty in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, passionate protesters were back in front of the Seminole County Courthouse.
In fact, two protests were held. One was held in the morning on the lawn of the Seminole County Courthouse at 9 a.m., but after authorities closed off the area protesters from March for Sanford and the Justice for Trayvon Coalition were forced to move their second demonstration to a sidewalk entrance of the building.
"It was just unbelievable. I knew he would be held accountable for something. I never dreamed that he would be able to walk free," said Lashauna Banks, who drove from Gainesville to take part in the pro-Martin demonstration.
About 15 people gathered from the 3:00 p.m. protest to call for federal hate crime charges to be filed against Zimmerman.
The protesters were much tamer than what we saw out in Oakland, California, where demonstrators smashed a police cruiser and set fire to a sidewalk.
"Every 28 hours a black person is killed by a police officer or a security guard, and that's why we're here to say that Trayvon Martin deserves justice. Not this travesty that happened in Florida," said one demonstrator in Oakland.
Protests like those in the Bay Area were feared in Sanford, and extra police were brought in to help, but all was quiet in the town that at times seemed divided on racial tension.
"It was very encouraging to hear the people give their opinions and say that, 'You know, this is Sanford, this is how we do things in Sanford,'" said Sanford police chief Cecil Smith.
Smith told 10 News that he did not expect a not guilty verdict to be handed down in the case.
"We anticipated that they would come back with something. We think they had made the case for at least manslaughter."