Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) stated that the result of the George Zimmerman trial would “justify the stalking and killing of innocent black boys and deny them any avenue of self-defense.”
Lewis said in a statement:
I am deeply disappointed by the verdict in the Trayvon Martin case. It seems to justify the stalking and killing of innocent black boys and deny them any avenue of self-defense. On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, I think it demonstrates the distance this nation still must go to fulfill the vision of equal justice Martin Luther King Jr. gave his life to defend. I hope this verdict will serve to open some kind of meaningful dialogue on the issues of race and justice in America.
Lewis was one of the leaders of the 1965 march for voting rights that traveled in Alabama from Selma to Montgomery. He allowed his spokeswoman, Brenda Jones, to concur with Rep. Andre Carson 45 years later that Tea Party supporters had chanted the n-word as he and Carson left the Cannon House Office Building (a claim challenged by the late Andrew Breitbart).
On MSNBC in March, Lewis compared Trayvon Martin’s death with the 1955 lynching of Emmett Till, who was kidnapped, beaten, and shot in the head by two white men after he reportedly flirted with a white cashier at a grocery store.