Hundreds of people gathered in front of city hall in Paterson on Sunday afternoon to protest the court outcome of the George Zimmerman trial.
Mr Zimmerman, 28-year-old, neighborhood watch volunteer in Sanford, Florida, shot and killed Trayvon Martin, 17-year-old, on February 26, 2012, after the two engaged in a brief scuffle, during which Mr Zimmerman fired a shot.
After the jury found Mr Zimmerman not guilty many residents of the city expressed malcontent with the verdict; one vexed resident thought it gave white people in Florida a free license to murder blacks: “No & I feel that they just gave every white man with a gun in Florida that don’t like Black men; the right to shoot them down & claim self defense,” a Facebook response to our question of whether justice was served in the trial.
During the rally some brought framed pictures of Mr Martin and other brought signs. Some city officials attended the event.
A man holding a bullhorn chanted the slain boy’s name while the crowd circled the statue of Garret Hobart, located in front of the city hall building, responding back “No justice; no peace.”
There was a brief vigil when the attendees lit up candles to mourn the teenager.
The rally had more of a different message than those elsewhere: it was a general outcry against violence. In the last three weeks Paterson saw a large number of shootings that left some dead and others wounded.
One woman, who did not want us to use her name, said she was against violence in general, and that was why she attended Sunday’s rally in front of the city hall.