The acquittal of a neighborhood watch volunteer who fatally shot an unarmed African-American teenager reverberated throughout churches and city streets Sunday as protesters demanded justice, while others were left to question just how much progress the nation has made when it comes to race.

In San Jose, about 50 critics of the verdict gathered outside City Hall on Sunday evening, while in Oakland hundreds of demonstrators again marched through the downtown and blocked streets even as property owners continued cleaning up storefronts damaged in a chaotic overnight protest.

Aware of simmering tensions, President Barack Obama on Sunday asked the nation to accept a Florida jury's decision to acquit George Zimmerman, who is of European and Peruvian descent, in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

"I know this case has elicited strong passions," the president said. "And in the wake of the verdict, I know those passions may be running even higher. But we are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken."

The Justice Department said Sunday it would review Zimmerman's case for possible federal civil rights violations.

Martin's slaying in the central Florida town of Sanford early last year set off a national debate about racial profiling and race relations.

Attorneys for Zimmerman, upset about break-ins in his neighborhood, said he shot Martin in self-defense during a struggle. Civil rights leaders, who fought for weeks to get criminal charges filed against Zimmerman, questioned why he deemed the unarmed teenager, dressed in a hooded sweatshirt, to be suspicious.

Oakland civil rights attorney John Burris criticized prosecutors and said their evidence didn't support a murder conviction.

"The travesty in this whole case is that a young man minding his own business was deemed suspicious and wound up dead," he said.

The late Saturday verdict sparked protests in several California cities, including Los Angeles and San Francisco, but Oakland's was the only one marred by violence and vandalism.

Protesters beat one man in a Broadway doorway near Frank H. Ogawa Plaza until other protesters ended the skirmish. The man was helped to his feet and did not appear seriously injured.

Other protesters took out their frustration on buildings. Sears, the Oakland Tribune, several banks and at least two restaurants all had windows broken. A BART police car was vandalized, and several garbage bins were overturned and set ablaze. Police made no arrests during the protest, which drew about 100 people.

In a Sunday statement, Mayor Jean Quan said the episode was "unacceptable" and would not be tolerated.

Protesters in San Jose talked about boycotting the state of Florida and hoped that Zimmerman would face civil rights charges.

"I have a problem when somebody acts as a vigilante and kills a child," Alicia Carbajal, 64, said. "This was not justice at all. Trayvon was murdered."

The Martin case touched a nerve in Oakland, the city where Oscar Grant was shot and killed by a BART officer four years ago and where the police department is under federal supervision in part over a failure to stop racial profiling.

"I think there's a rawness ... on both sides that makes it more profound here," said Olis Simmons, who runs the nonprofit Youth UpRising.

During a Sunday morning sermon, Pastor Zachary Carey of True Vine Ministries in West Oakland criticized the "senseless" vandalism, but gave a grim assessment of the verdict's underlying message.

"In America, it doesn't matter if you're just walking home," he said. "To them, we're all criminals. If you're black, you're a criminal."

For many in the pews at True Vine, the verdict confirmed two unpleasant but deeply held beliefs: that the election of an African-American president doesn't necessarily mean the nation fully values their lives, and that the most vulnerable people in a society rife with fear of young African-American men are those young men, who must deal with people clutching their bags or questioning them as they approach.

"You can see some of the other races, how they look at you with that suspicious eye," said 37-year-old Lamar Brantley, of Oakland. "A person that's fearful is liable to do anything. It does make me fearful at times."

Ronda Johnson said the verdict is a reminder that her sons face many threats, be it from gangs or the police.

"We raised our boys to be hypervigilant," she said. "They know that if a police officer talks to them, they need to watch their tone of voice."

Carey urged parishioners to turn outrage over the verdict into positive action.

"We should be marching on every state capital in America," he thundered. "We should march on Washington and tell them that this is no longer acceptable in America, and we're not going to take it anymore."

Simmons said she is still struggling with what to say Monday to the teenagers in her program.

"I have to tell them the same thing I told them during the Oscar Grant stuff," she said. "That violence isn't justice. And that civic engagement leads to justice."

Staff writers David DeBolt, Eric Kurhi and Sharon Noguchi contributed to this story. Contact Matthew Artz at 510-208-6435.