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Reverend Al Sharpton, civil rights activist and Baptist minister, responded angrily to the not guilty verdict for Florida’s George Zimmerman last night as news of the jury’s decision reached the media.
Sharpton called the verdict an “atrocity,” according to The Huffington Post , stating bluntly that the conclusion to the trial is, “probably one of the worst situations that I have seen."
The Reverend also echoed concerns expressed by others in the media that the outcome of this case sets a negative precedent for race relations and marks a regression in civil rights for those of color in this country.
"What this jury has done is establish a precedent that when you are young and fit a certain profile, you can be committing no crime and be killed and someone can claim self-defense,” Sharpton said. “We had to march to even get a trial and even at trial, when he's exposed over and over again as a liar, he is acquitted."
While Sharpton’s disappointment is shared with many celebrities and political figures, there are those in the public eye who support Zimmerman being made a free man. Fox frequenter and conservative author Ann Coulter took to her Twitter to share her satisfaction, simply tweeting, “Hallelujah!”
Coulter also retweeted a 160-character statement by self-proclaimed Tea Party leader and “100% American” Jesse Lee Peterson, who wrote that Sharpton and the NAACP are “hypocrites” whose only reason for caring about the Zimmerman case is to “exploit it for profit.”
Despite opposition from Coulter and Peterson, Sharpton has vowed, via Twitter to continue fighting for Trayvon and his family.
“Real soldiers don’t leave the battlefield when they lose one battle,” he tweeted. “We must win the war.”
To watch Sharpton’s reaction to the verdict on MSNBC, check out the video below: