Reaction to Martin ranges from relief to frustration
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
CHARLOTTE -- A month and a half after police said George Zimmerman shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, the 28-year-old is now officially charged with second-degree murder.
A special prosecutor assigned to the case made the announcement Wednesday.
More than 100 people of different races gathered in Charlotte tonight to talk about the shooting
The forum had been set up before George Zimmerman was officially charged in Martin's death. But the news gave the event an even greater sense of purpose, as people reacted to the charges, and looked ahead to what could be an emotionally-charged trial on racial lines
Opinions were across the board Wednesday evening at a special forum on the shooting death of Martin, which has ignited a national conversation on race and justice.
The discussion was timely. Just before the it began, Special Prosecutor Angela Corey said at a press conference she filed charges against Zimmerman in Florida.
Forty-four days after the shooting, Zimmerman now officially faces criminal charges.
"We do not prosecute by public pressure or petition,” said Corey. “We prosecute based on the facts of any particular case.'
Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, told authorities he acted in self-defense when he shot the teenager on Feb. 26 in a gated community in Sanford, Fla.
Martin was unarmed at the time.
"When we charge a person a crime, we are equally committed to justice on their behalf as we are on our victim's behalf, Trayvon Martin, as well as the person responsible for his death, George Zimmerman,” said Corey.
Before Wednesday, the lack of charges outraged many African-Americans and others. Rallies were held across the country and in North Carolina in recent weeks.
Wednesday night's discussion took a more civil tone, asking people of all races to not let the case and expected future trial to cause ugly divisions.
The Justice Department is taking on its own investigation into what happened that February night in Florida.
Zimmerman's attorney said that his client is expected to plead not guilty.