Lecturer, Birmingham University Law School, University of Birmingham
Imogen Jones does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
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The not-guilty verdict for George Zimmerman in the killing of Trayvon Martin has sharply divided America, new polling published by the Washington Post and ABC News has found.
Some 86% of African Americans disapproved of the verdict, most of them “strongly”. Slightly more (87%) dispproved of the shooting. Meanwhile only 33 per cent of white respondents said they disapproved of the shooting while just over half - 51% - said they agreed with the verdict.
Also, 86% of African Americans said they thought black people and other minorities did not get equal treatment under the law, while a majority of whites, 54%, said they thought ethnic minorities received equal treatment for minority groups.
One of the aspects of the case objected to by many who felt that black people and other ethnic minorities are discriminated against in America’s legal system was the cross-examination of Martin’s friend Rachel Jeantel - the prosecution’s key witness.
Jeantel was the last person, other than Zimmerman, to have contact with Martin prior to his death. Her evidence that Martin knew he was being followed and the reasons that he acted as she said he did were fundamental to the prosecution submission that an unprovoked Zimmerman had attacked Martin.