MIAMI (Reuters) - The mother of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black teenager shot to death in Florida last year by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, said on Thursday she was “stunned” and felt “disgust” when a jury found her son’s killer not guilty.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Sybrina Fulton told “CBS This Morning.” “I just knew that they would see that this was a teenager just trying to get home. This was no burglar.”
On Saturday, a six-woman jury acquitted Zimmerman of second-degree murder and manslaughter in the February 26, 2012, killing of Martin, 17, inside a gated community in the central Florida town of Sanford.
“My first thought was shock, disgust,” Fulton said on another TV show, ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
“I was stunned absolutely,” Fulton told ABC.
Fulton and Martin’s father, Tracy Martin, gave their first interviews on the verdict that has renewed debate about race relations in the United States and cast scrutiny on gun and self-defense laws.
Neither Fulton nor Martin was in the Seminole County courtroom when the verdict was read, although Martin sent a tweet at the time describing himself as “broken hearted.”
Martin told ABC that he believed jurors were given little opportunity to know more about their son.
“They didn’t know him as a human being, a fun-loving kid,” Martin said. “I just wish they had an opportunity to really know who Trayvon was and to put that in context with what their decision was.”
Zimmerman’s acquittal did not alter Martin’s belief the U.S. justice system works, he said in an interview aired later on Thursday on CNN.
“We have faith in the system,” Martin told CNN. “It didn’t work for us, but we remain prayerful that the system - through this injustice - that we can close that gap and hopefully the system can start working for everyone equally.”
A member of the jury that found Zimmerman not guilty has called for changes to Florida’s self-defense law, which she said gave jurors no option but to acquit him.
“My prayers are with all those who have the influence and power to modify the laws that left me with no verdict option other than ‘not guilty’ in order to remain within the instructions,” the juror, identified only as B-37, said in a statement this week.
According to the judge’s instructions to the jury, Zimmerman had “no duty to retreat and had the right to stand his ground and meet force with force” if he reasonably feared for his life or great bodily harm.
Benjamin Crump, a lawyer for the Martin family, said the parents were considering filing a civil lawsuit against Zimmerman.
“We are looking at all legal options right now,” Crump told CBS.
Reporting by Kevin Gray in Miami and Emily Stephenson in Washington; Editing by Scott Malone, Grant McCool and Peter Cooney