Zimmerman Lawyer: If He Were Black, He Wouldn’t Have Been Charged

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Defense attorney Mark O'Mara says media prosecuted his client before he had day in court

Some people know just the right thing to say to defuse a tense situation. But not George Zimmerman defense attorney Mark O'Mara, who said after his client's not-guilty verdict that Zimmerman never would have been charged if he were black.

O'Mara has argued throughout the trial that his client's killing of an unarmed black youth, Trayvon Martin, wasn't racially motivated. But speaking to reporters after the verdict Saturday night, he suggested that the prosecution was.

Also read: George Zimmerman Not Guilty in Trayvon Martin Shooting Death

Arguing that authorities bowed to pressure from a news media that prosecuted Zimmerman before he had his day in court, he said his client "never would've been charged with a crime" if he were black.

That only added to the anger and disgust many felt at the verdict. Many have argued that the verdict only proved that the justice system devalues the lives of African-Americans. Al Sharpton called it "an atrocity."

Also read: Al Sharpton: Zimmerman Not Guilty Verdict 'an Atrocity'

But O'Mara's comment struck an immediate nerve on Twitter because it suggested that in fact his client was treated unfairly — because he wasn't African-American. Zimmerman himself identifies as Hispanic.

Also read: Stephen Colbert: George Zimmerman's Lawyer Has Interesting Knock-Knock Joke Strategy

Zimmerman says he shot the teenager in self-defense after he following him, against the advice of a 911 operator, because he though Martin looked suspicious. He said Martin subsequently attacked him.