July 15, 2013
Updated Jul 16, 2013 at 10:58 AM CST
PEORIA, Ill. -- Across the country, reaction continues after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
While some are marching in protest, others are calling for legal action to move the case forward.
Here in central Illinois, young people tried to gather in Martin Luther King Park Sunday to peacefully protest the Zimmerman trial before they were dispersed by police.
Rev. Marvin Hightower is Vice President of the local NAACP. He said the verdict sends the wrong message to young people.
"You have set a precedent that it's okay to profile, prejudge, shoot and kill a young person, whether they're black, white, green or yellow, but more so our young men who are already starting out behind, by being black," said Rev. Hightower.
George Zimmerman was acquitted of second degree murder in the 2012 death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
In Florida, Zimmerman, a neighborhood watchman, argued he acted in self defense as the two struggled on the ground.
He approached the unarmed teen because he said Martin looked suspicious.
The NAACP wants the Justice Department to investigate whether or not Martin's civil rights were violated.
Local Defense Attorney Dan Cusack calls it a difficult case.
"When you take a young African American man you place him in a neighborhood, he's wearing a hoodie, he's coming back with skittles and a drink. I don't think he was up to anything wrong but I don't know what happened after that. So I can't really quarrel with the verdict," said Cusack.
The NAACP has launched a petition drive in support of the Justice Department conducting an investigation.