Crowd at Minn. Vigil Criticizes Zimmerman Verdict

Updated: 07/15/2013 8:19 AM By: Naomi Pescovitz

Some Minnesotans joined demonstrations across the country Sunday in support of the family of Trayvon Martin.

More than 100 people gathered for a "Vigil for Peace & Memory in Honor of Trayvon Martin" at Shir Tikvah synagogue Sunday night in Minneapolis.

"How do we widen a circle of compassion and build a community in which Trayvon Martin is the last young African American man who is shot and killed in such a horrible way?" asked Rabbi Michael Latz.

During the service, candles burned in memory of victims of gun violence. Latz acknowledged that tempers may be burning as well.

"But we know, we who have gathered here tonight, what happens when when we act out of our anger and our rage and hostility, when we break and we smash things," Latz told the crowd.

While some rallies nationwide have grown loud or destructive, the vigil at Shir Tikvah was marked by prayer and song.

"In moments like these, it's so easy for despair to pervade. And on some level this is a challenge to that despair, to say, 'No, we've got to keep going and to do right by this young man's memory,' is to build a world in which this doesn't happen again," Latz said.

Latz said he was not shocked by George Zimmerman's "not guilty" verdict. Neither was Minnesota criminal defense attorney Joe Friedberg.

"There is no question that George Zimmerman began this incident, and an innocent boy is dead, so people should mourn. But they should not morn how the legal system worked because I believe the legal system worked the way it should have worked," Friedberg said.

Though Zimmerman is now free, Trayvon Martin's family could sue in civil court. The Department of Justice says it will also look into possible civil rights charges.

Friedberg says those charges are not likely.

"I think a civil suit would be ridiculous, would be carrying this too far," Friedberg said. "I also would be extremely surprised if the Attorney General moved forward with a federal civil rights claim."