(NEW YORK) — George Zimmerman remains in seclusion after being acquitted Saturday night of all charges in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
The verdict has split the country into those who say that Zimmerman profiled the unarmed African-American teen while others contend that the former Sanford, Fla., neighborhood watch captain felt his life was threatened when he used lethal force to subdue Martin.
Zimmerman’s defense attorneys Mark O’Mara and Don West made the rounds of TV talk shows, including ABC’s The View, where they faced a battery of questions from the hosts.
The queries ranged from the semi-serious — for instance, if they were paid (they weren’t) — to their feelings about criminal civil rights charges brought against their client by the Justice Department (DOJ).
On that issue, O’Mara says the DOJ has spent a year-and-a-half interviewing dozens of witnesses to learn if Zimmerman “violated Trayvon Martin‘s civil rights by shooting him.” According to O’Mara, “They have not come to any conclusion that there’s any suggestion of a racial component to this.”
O’Mara admitted that Zimmerman’s suspicions were first raised on the night of the shooting when he noticed “a young black man” as described by host Whoopi Goldberg. But when she asked whether that was enough justification for the government to look into pursuing charges, O’Mara responded Zimmerman “was looking at Trayvon as a person who was black, but not looking at him solely because he was black.”
The defense attorney argued that Zimmerman did not behave “at all in a racially-based way.” When pressed by Goldberg that Zimmerman had other choices than to shoot Martin, who was unarmed, O’Mara countered, “In his mind, maybe the options weren’t there besides what he did.”
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