Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) issued the following statement in response to a Florida jury finding George Zimmerman not guilty of all charges in the death of teenager Trayvon Martin:
“The fact that an unarmed Trayvon Martin was killed by George Zimmerman was never in dispute. How and why this young man was shot to death, was left for a jury to determine. Many of us may not agree with the verdict, but we should abide by the wishes of Trayvon’s grieving parents and not allow our emotions to cause greater hurt and sadness for any family,” said Senator Cardin.
“Now that the criminal trial has concluded, I urge the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to finalize their investigations into whether young Trayvon Martin’s civil rights were violated as a victim of racial profiling, as well as how local law enforcement handled this case and whether it was treated any differently because Trayvon Martin was African American. I have called for putting an end to racial profiling by law enforcement, a wasteful practice that singles out individuals based on race, ethnic origin, or religion. The African-American community and other minority communities have a right to be outraged by the fact that their young men continue to be singled out for suspicion and viewed as dangerous – even walking home from a convenience store. Profiling based on race, ethnicity, national origin or religion – by law enforcement or anyone – has no place in America. We should stop making excuses and have a frank, conversation in our neighborhoods and at a national level, about how to break down the racial barriers that continue to erode trust within and between communities.”