YOUNGSTOWN - The Rev. Kenneth Simon and others who were protesting the handling of the shooting death of a black teenager in Florida say they want to see the case go to court.
Simon, pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church, and about 20 other people rallied in front of the Mahoning County Courthouse Friday demanding justice in the case of Trayvon Martin.
Simon said that if others across the country take to the streets peacefully, then maybe the process can be expedited.
Rev. Simon, others protest in front of Mahoning County Courthouse
''The response needs to run from city to city across America and not just in that (Florida) community,'' Simon said.
Many of the people gathered were wearing hooded sweatshirts - which was what Martin was wearing when he was killed.
In a case that has caused a nationwide furor over race and the laws of self-defense, Martin, 17, was shot to death by George Zimmerman in the city of Sanford, Fla., on Feb. 26 as the unarmed black teenager was walking back from a convenience store.
Dominic Augustin, left and Vicki King, right, both of Youngstown, hold signs Friday during a march in front of the Mahoning County Courthouse over the handling of the Trayvon Martin case.
Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer whose father is white and whose mother is Hispanic, has claimed self-defense, saying he opened fire after Martin punched him in the face, knocked him to the ground and began slamming his head on the sidewalk.
Black leaders and others are demanding Zimmerman's arrest on murder or manslaughter charges, but state and federal authorities are still investigating.
Barbara Miller of Youngstown said people she knows think Zimmerman should be charged and the case should play out in a courtroom, although she said she was troubled by the circumstances surrounding Martin's death.
''I think it's fishy,'' Miller said.
Marilyn Moore of Youngstown said the case makes her think of her own grandchildren, who are about the same age as Martin. She said she is puzzled by reports that Zimmerman called 911 then ignored orders from police to leave Martin alone.
''What kind of crisis was it that prompted this man to follow someone?'' Moore asked.
Bob Adkins of Youngstown said it was important that people showed up, even in a drizzle, to show their support for Martin.
''I hope it will do something,'' said Adkins, who also thinks the case should go to trial.
Tonwya Collier of Youngstown took her 5-year-old twins, Kennedy and Keith Smith, to the protest. She said she wanted them to be aware of what was going on. She said she wants to see a full investigation, she said.
''I think the justice system should run its course,'' Collier said.