Suncoast reactions to Zimmerman verdict

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SARASOTA - President Barack Obama says the death of Trayvon Martin was a tragedy for America. What does the Suncoast think of the not guilty verdict for George Zimmerman?

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Obama says he knows the not-guilty verdict reached late Saturday has elicited strong passions around the country. In a statement released Sunday, Obama is asking that all Americans respect the call for calm reflection. "We should ask ourselves, as individuals and as a society, how we can prevent future tragedies like this."

Rallies on Sunday were largely peaceful as demonstrators voiced their support for 17-year-old Trayvon Martin's family and decried the verdict. Police in Los Angeles said they arrested six people, mostly for failure to disperse, after about 80 protesters gathered in Hollywood on Sunset Boulevard and an unlawful assembly was declared. New York police said at least a dozen people were arrested on disorderly conduct charges during a rally in Times Square.

The U.S. Justice Department is reviewing whether there's enough evidence for a criminal civil rights case in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. The department opened an investigation into Martin's death last year but stepped aside to allow for the state to prosecute its case.

The decision comes as groups, including the NAACP and the ACLU urge U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to open a federal civil-rights case against Zimmerman.

ABC 7 spoke with Sarasota NAACP president Trevor Harvey from Orlando, where the 104th national NAACP convention is ongoing. Harvey says a petition asking for the Department of Justice to investigate has collected more than 400,000 signatures.