Outrage, protests over the George Zimmerman ruling

Largely peaceful protests were sparked across the country Sunday by the news that a Florida jury had ruled Zimmerman not guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter in the death of Trayvon Martin Saturday night. Protesters in Los Angeles partially shut down southbound 10 Freeway near Crenshaw for a short time before being dispersed by police.

Even President Obama weighed in, calling for calm and reflection following the decision.

Amid all of the tension and emotion surrounding the trial, the prosecution may have doomed itself from the beginning:

Prosecutors could not prove Zimmerman was driven by “ill will or hatred” — the necessary elements of a murder case — when he got out of his vehicle on a rainy night and went after the teenager.

In the confrontation that followed, they also could not prove Zimmerman struck the first blow. If the teenager turned in fear to attack the stranger who was pursuing him, Zimmerman could claim he acted in self-defense. If the jurors were in doubt as to who struck first, they were obliged to hand down an acquittal.

But the ruling may not be the end of Zimmerman’s days in court, as the Justice Department has confirmed it is still looking into the case.

Read more on the latest developments on Nation Now.

Photos: Joshua Trujillo, Ringo H.W. Chiu / Associated Press, Robyn Beck, Mario Tama / AFP/Getty Images

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