A Florida jury found George Zimmerman not guilty of the murder of Trayvon Martin Saturday, hours after the Rev. Al Sharpton said he was certain that an acquittal would not lead to civil unrest in New York.
The verdict means the six-person jury had reasonable doubt that the shooting of the unarmed 17-year-old by Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, amounted to a criminal act.
The shooting, on February 26, 2012, stirred debates cross the country on issues of race and gun ownership.
Earlier Saturday, Sharpton said he found speculation that unrest could follow the verdict insulting, reminding supporters of his National Action Network in Harlem that he mobilized peaceful demonstrations when local police in Sanford refused to arrest Zimmerman after initial investigations.
He said that since then, both he and Martin's family have remained calm.
"We cannot, no matter what happens, smear the name and legacy of Trayvon Martin," Sharpton said. "And let me remind y'all, we didn't have violence after Sean Bell and we didn't like that verdict. We didn't have it after Amadou Diallo and we didn't like that verdict. Quit criminalizing the black community."
Prior to the verdict, protesters supporting both sides of the case staged peaceful demonstrations Saturday outside the courthouse in Sanford, Florida.