George Zimmerman has been charged with second degree murder in the killing of unarmed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin.
The announcement was made by Florida special prosecutor Angela Corey in a press conference today.
The charge carries a maximum possible sentence of life in prison.
Zimmerman has turned himself in to law enforcement and is currently in custody in Florida. Zimmerman also has a new attorney, Mark O’Mara, reports CNN.
Benjamin Jealous, president of the NAACP, issued a statement following the announcement of charges against Zimmerman:
“Forty–five days after Trayvon Martin’s life came to a violent end, the wheels of justice have finally begun to turn. This is an important first step toward bringing justice for Trayvon and his family,” Jealous’ statement began.
Jealous said “Trayvon’s case moved the nation because it underscored the twin tragedies that affect so many of our young people: Trayvon was profiled because of his race—looked upon as a threat rather than the loving son he was.”
“And then, once he became a victim, he was neglected by the very police department tasked with protecting our communities and families,” Jealous said. “As a nation, we’ve got to address the issues of racial profiling and the valuation of black mens’ lives by law enforcement. In the months ahead the months ahead, the NAACP and our allies in the civil rights community will continue to take these issues on as well as the urgent need to repeal stand-your-ground laws.
“Tonight our thoughts and prayers are with Trayvon’s family. We are grateful for the courage and tenacity of Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin that continue to help shape a national movement for justice for their son and for all of America’s children.”