NEW YORK (AP) — The Rev. Al Sharpton is urging peace after the verdict in the Florida murder trial against George Zimmerman, saying any violence would mar Trayvon Martin’s name.

The civil rights leader spoke to The Associated Press on Saturday as jurors continued deliberating their verdict. Police in Sanford, Fla., have begged for calm after the decision is read.

Zimmerman claims he shot Martin in self-defense last year. But prosecutors say the former watch captain took the law into his own hands when he saw someone he deemed suspicious in his neighborhood.

Martin was black and Zimmerman identifies himself as Hispanic; some activists argued that the initial delay in charging Zimmerman was influenced by Martin’s race.

Sharpton organized the first rally. He says that he and Martin’s family have remained nonviolent throughout the case.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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