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Hours after neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman was acquitted in the shooting murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin — the unarmed black teenager whose killing unleashed debate over racial profiling — protesters took to the streets of D.C.
Crowds gathered at U Street around midnight for an impromptu march to voice their outrage over the outcome of the high-profile trial.
One of the protesters, Sean Dallas, held a sign that said, "Stop criminalizing black men."
"Because as an innocent boy, that means you have no right to walk down a neighborhood with food in the hand, because you're hooded and black in a neighborhood," said Dallas. "You're automatically assumed to be a burglar, a murderer, some kind of thug and that's not right."
At least 100 people took part in the march from U Street to Adams Morgan to Columbia Heights, chanting as onlookers took photos.
"It's about people caring about what's going in their community and standing up and having each other's backs — black people especially," said Chioma Iwuoha who was marching up front.
District resident James Simpson watched as protesters chanted through Adams Morgan.
"I love my city because we stand up for what's right," said Simpson. "Justice needs to be served. There's no reason for this guy to go not guilty."
While Iwuoha is upset by the verdict, she says this isn't just about Martin and Zimmerman.
"This is about every young black man and woman who has been gunned down by a wannabe cop and police officer," said Iwuoha. "This is about white supremacy. This is about the 7-year-old boy who was killed across the street from me."
The gathering in the District was peaceful, and ended with a rally at the Columbia Heights Civic Plaza.