WNY Reacts to Zimmerman Arrest

April 11, 2012 Updated Apr 11, 2012 at 11:33 PM EDT

By WKBW Admin

April 11, 2012 Updated Apr 11, 2012 at 11:33 PM EDT


Frank Messiah, the president of the Buffalo chapter of the NAACP watched the story unfold on television along with millions around the country.
George Zimmerman in custody Wednesday night, charged with second degree murder.

"Zimmerman made decisions on how somebody looked," said Messiah.

Zimmerman was never arrested after the killing in late February. Police simply took his account of the incident as fact, that he was the victim that night.

"What this did was reinforce the attitudes that people have about police officers in the south," Messiah went on to say.

Buffalo Common Council Member and Pastor Darius Pridgen led local rallies expressing outrage there had been no arrest in the case. He believes Buffalo is also suffering from similar racial issues.

"Locally it gives us an opportunity to say the word segregated, to say the word prejudice even if it's built around the Travyon issue to now be able to have the conversation, because with conversation we have information, with information we might have transformation," said Pridgen.

People will have to wait for the facts to play out in court but one thing is clear, many have formed their own opinions already.

"I didn't really think it was a race issue involved with this it was more that you got a young man that's 6"6 and something like that in height in a neighborhood doing something wrong. That could be anywhere," said Murray Holman, Chairman of the Stop the Violence Coalition.

"We need to look at more than just the race issue and so when a human life is taken no matter what that law states we have to start questioning that," said Legislator Timothy Hogues, D-First District, Erie County.

Authorities claim Zimmerman was not charged until now because of Florida's Stand Your Ground law, a law that has now been proposed here in New York by Newfane State Senator George Maziarz.

The proposal is causing controversy between residents and politicians.