Inland Empire: Many see verdict as lack of justice for all
Beau Yarbrough, Staff Writer
Posted: 07/14/2013 07:55:48 PM PDT
Updated: 07/14/2013 09:32:42 PM PDT

Although the trial of George Zimmerman took place about 2,500 miles away in Florida, the ripples of the controversial “not guilty” verdict for the man who fatally shot teenager Trayvon Martin were felt in local communities over the weekend.

“I do believe in our criminal justice system. However imperfect it is, it’s still probably the best we have in the world,” Assemblyman Curt Hagman, R-Chino Hills, said Sunday. “I have faith that the jury knows far more than we do as far as the facts of the case and support whatever decision they came up with.”

The Zimmerman trial just reaffirms what one Colton resident said is the everyday existence of black men in America.

“The African-American community is used to being looked at differently in the eyes of the law,” said Miles Whitehead, 71. “You see, we live in different worlds. There’s the black man’s world and then there’s everyone else’s world.”

If the roles were reversed and young Trayvon Martin had killed Zimmerman, there would be no controversy, he said.

“My grandson, who is a college student at Cal Poly Pomona, is pulled over by the police at least once a week,” Whitehead said. “He’s a young black man that drives my old Mercedes Benz. The tags are always up to date and he is very insured, but he drives while being black in Pomona. Need I say more?”

Joe Brown, formerly the president of the Pasadena branch of the NAACP for 12 years, is disappointed in the Zimmerman verdict, but sees an opportunity in it.

“Young people of all ethnic groups need to become more socially engaged in the legislative process,” he said. “I believe the young people now will become more galvanized and pay more attention now.”

In particular, he’d like to see changes to laws like Florida’s “stand your ground” law, which allows people to use deadly force when they believe they’re threatened, even when the option to leave the area exists.

“This is their era, this is their time, and this is what I believe the Martin family would want to see come out of this,” Brown said.

To read entire story, click here.