George Zimmerman
© AFP Photo / Joe Burbank-Pool
A jury in Florida has ruled that George Zimmerman is not guilty on all charges relating to the murder of unarmed African-American teenager Trayvon Martin. The high-profile case sparked a massive national debate on race and guns in the United States.

Twenty-nine-year-old Zimmerman was acquitted on Saturday of all charges relating to the fatal shooting of Martin. The former neighborhood watch volunteer could have been sentenced to life in prison for second-degree murder or up to 30 years for manslaughter if he was found guilty.

Martin, 17, was shot over a year ago by Zimmerman, who claimed he acted in self-defense. The prosecution argued that Zimmerman was guilty of second-degree murder, stating that he racially profiled the unarmed teen and assumed he was a criminal when he saw him walking through a gated community in Sanford. They claimed that Zimmerman tracked the boy down and started the fight that led to the shooting.

The verdict was reached by a panel of six women jurors, 15 months after Martin's death and six miles away from where the incident took place.

Zimmerman has received death threats since Martin's death, while Americans hotly debated the issues of self-defense, gun laws, and race. When Zimmerman walked free for 44 days after the shooting, nationwide protests erupted calling for his arrest.

"Today, justice failed Trayvon Martin and his family," Roslyn M. Brock, chairman of the National Association of Colored People, said in a statement.

"We call immediately for the Justice Department to conduct an investigation into the civil rights violations committed against Trayvon Martin. This case has re-energized the movement to end racial profiling in the United States."