Eyewitness News viewers react to Zimmerman verdict

Eyewitness News viewers react to Zimmerman verdict »Play Video
In this image from video, George Zimmerman smiles after a not guilty verdict was handed down in his trial at the Seminole County Courthouse, Sunday, July 14, 2013, in Sanford, Fla. Neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman was cleared of all charges Saturday in the shooting of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black teenager whose killing unleashed furious debate across the U.S. over racial profiling, self-defense and equal justice. (AP Photo/TV Pool)

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) - For almost a year and a half, the eyes and ears of civilians across the nation have turned to Florida for the verdict of George Zimmerman in the fatal shooting of unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

The case unleashed debate across the United States over racial profiling, self-defense and equal justice.

There has been a wide range of reactions by residents around Kern County after jurors cleared Zimmerman late Saturday of all charges in Martin's death.

Jim Fitze said he's been following the case, and he supports Zimmerman’s actions the night he shot Martin.

"I’m glad to see the man get off," Fitze said. "I'm glad to see the verdict come out the way it did. I'm a believer in defending yourself, and if more people were armed, we'd have less crime out there."

Frank Ochoa disagreed. He said he feels the Martin family did not get justice.

"I feel sorry, you know, that this all happened, but it is what it is," Ochoa said. "It's all a test of our judicial system, you know? And that's the way it turned out, and that's the way it is. We have to accept it and move on."

Eyewitness News viewers reached out to us through all outlets after the verdict was reached Saturday night. The debate continued on our Facebook page.

Christina Crissman got 29 likes for her post: "Amen …Justice for George Zimmerman for defending himself and (the) safety of others.”

Taytay Tagger responded: "How can so many say 'he was protecting himself?' He... Went against the advice of law enforcement and it ended up with a death as a result. Had he stayed in his car a mother & father would still have their son today."

Her post got 30 likes.

Protests by Martin’s supporters have already begun across the country.