Former President Jimmy Carter told an Atlanta television station that the jury in the George Zimmerman trial made the “right decision” to acquit the 29-year-old community watchman, suggesting that the prosecution did not make the case that Zimmerman murdered 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
“I think the jury made the right decision based on the evidence presented because the prosecution, inadvertently, set the standards so high that the jury had to be convinced that it was a deliberate act by Zimmerman, that he was not at all defending himself, and so forth,” the former Georgia governor told WXIA. “It’s not a moral question, it was a legal question, and the American law requires that the jury listen to the evidence presented.”
However, Carter said he shares President Barack Obama’s feelings of regret over the jury’s decision. But he also said the verdict should be respected.
Does Carter think race was involved in the verdict?
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“I can’t allege that the six jurors – all of them are women – are not just as sensitive about the race issue as I am. … I don’t know them,” the ex-president said. “But I would presume that they listened to the evidence, the judge warned them over and over that they had to listen to the evidence only, not to their own feelings about race. I think as far as the jury’s concerned, they could not consider that.”
Carter said he believed the country is making progress on race relations, pointing out that there were more violent protests in the past, referring to the Rodney King verdict in Los Angeles and the assassination of Martin Luther King.
“I’ve seen outbreaks of this before. In California, when a black man was being beaten up by police and when Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. There were terrible race riots,” Carter said, adding that he believes once the anger over the Zimmerman verdict is quelled, there will be a discussion about how to move the country forward.
“I think we’re moving forward,” he said.