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Protests Held Over Zimmerman Verdict, Mostly Peaceful


UPDATED: Sunday July 14, 2013 10:00 AM


After a year and a half of living as a hermit, George Zimmerman emerged from a Florida courthouse a free man, cleared of all charges in the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

A jury found Zimmerman not guilty of second-degree murder late Saturday night and declined to convict him on a lesser charge of manslaughter.

His brother, Robert Zimmerman Jr., says the former neighborhood watch volunteer was still processing the reality that he wouldn't serve prison time for the killing, which Zimmerman has maintained was an act of self-defense.

However, with many critics angry over his acquittal, his freedom will likely be limited.

Defense attorney Mark O'Mara suggested Zimmerman's safety would be an ongoing concern. He says a fringe element of society still wants revenge for Martin's killing.

Demonstrators protested in three California cities against the acquittal of Zimmerman and officials say they broke windows and vandalized cars in Oakland.

The Oakland police dispatch office said about 100 people protested there and police were dealing with acts of vandalism. The office had no word of any arrests.

Local media reports said some marchers vandalized a police squad car and police formed a line to block the protesters' path.

The Oakland demonstration followed a raucous but largely peaceful one in San Francisco, which police say ended by 10 p.m.

City News Service reported that the verdict also sparked protests in Los Angeles, where hundreds of people gathered in a park for what police termed a peaceful vigil.

At one point, a group stopped a passenger train and police worked to persuade them to return to the nearby park.

Beyonce called for a moment of silence for Martin during a concert just hours after Zimmerman was found not guilty.

The pop star took a moment to honor the teen during her concert Saturday night at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn.

After asking the crowd to be silent for a moment, she sang the chorus of "I Will Always Love You," a song written by country music star Dolly Parton and brought to a global audience by the late Whitney Houston, before transitioning into her hit "Halo."

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