Will There Be Justice For Trayvon Martin?
“I am Trayvon Martin!” “I am Trayvon Martin!” “I am Trayvon Martin!” Those chants were heard during the “Million Hoodie March” that took place in NYC recently because of the murder that happened on February 26, 2012 of 17-year old Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman along with the fact that Zimmerman was not arrested, and at press time still was a free man. A police report describes Zimmerman as a White male; his family said he’s a Spanish-speaking minority. Zimmerman has moved out of his home after receiving death threats, his father said.
“Trayvon Martin was you, Trayvon Martin did matter,” said his father, Tracy Martin, using a megaphone, to the thousands of people that participated in the “Million Hoodie March” in the late teenager’s memory in New York City’s Union Square. “A Black person in a hoodie isn’t automatically ‘suspicious’,” says the event’s Facebook page, which calls on people to “show the world we are all Trayvon” by uploading a photograph of themselves on social media sites wearing hoodies with the hashtag #millionhoodies.
There will be a 100 Hooded Men March for Trayvon Martin in Columbus on Saturday, March 31, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. The start of march will be at Bradley Theatre, 1241 Broadway and a program will be at the Columbus Consolidated Government Center- 100 10th Street following immediately.
When I first learned of this cold blooded murder, I was watching “Good Morning America” and I wasn’t really shocked about George Zimmerman’s actions, but I was instantly appalled that the police chief, after investigating the facts, didn’t arrest this man, becuase of the “Stand Your Ground Law.” Racism against the Black man is still alive an well. A White Mississippi teenager recently plead guilty to murder and hate-crime charges for running over and killing a black man with his pickup truck but will not face the death penalty. Deryl Dedmon, 19, had been charged with capital murder in the June 2011 death of 49-year-old James Craig Anderson in Jackson. On Wednesday, he pleaded guilty to murder and committing a hate crime. Prosecutors recommended two life sentences.
After reading several different articles, listening to 911 calls, listening to the Michael Baisden Show, watching clips from the march in NYC, the rally in Florida and the Dr. Drew Show, I have so many feelings. I am sad, mad and afraid for my sons, because they are growing up in a country where the police still don’t arrest people who shoot young Black men because they are hated for the color of their skin or the underling fear that this country still paints about Black youth.
Trayvon was visiting his father in Sanford when he was shot to death by this sel proclaimed neighborhood watch volunteer Zimmerman. The unarmed teen was returning from a local 7-Eleven carrying only Skittles, an Arizona iced tea and his cell phone at the time of the shooting.
This young man was some place he had every right to be. He was walking home from the corner store with some candy for his family during half time. He was being followed by a paranoid man that had no right to take his life.
“It’s not a race thing, but we have a race problem,” said Michael Baisden as he urged all people to demonstrate and protest for the injustices being committed against Trayvon Martin and his family.
Civil Rights leaders have called for Sanford, Florida police chief to resign, he has stepped aside, but has not stepped down form his job or fired. Residents have been protesting against the Sanford police department’s failure to arrest Zimmerman of killing Trayvon. Police chief Bill Lee, of Sanford police, has insisted he carried out a “fair and thorough” investigation of the killing and that he cannot arrest George Zimmerman because he has told police he shot the teenager in self-defense and there was no evidence to contradict his account. It seems as if Zimmerman is trying to use the “Stand Your Ground” law as his reason for him shooting Trayvon. This law allows people to use deadly force if they feel endangered, without requiring them to retreat from the threat. But after Zimmerman calling 911, the dispatcher told him not to follow Trayvon, but Zimmerman did not listen. He had a gun and a “fear” of a Black male teen in a hoodie and he was ampted and ready to kill!
Criticism of the police investigation is focused on the failure to arrest Zimmerman, but also on the failure to test him for drugs or alcohol, a common practice in homicide investigations, in particular because they tested the teenager after his death. Police are also facing questions over their failure to reach Martin’s girlfriend in Miami, who was talking to him on his cellphone as he was being followed by Zimmerman in the minutes before his death.
Trayvon’s family say the girlfriend’s testimony of their call undermines Zimmerman’s self-defense claims. There have also been reports that police “corrected” witnesses who say they heard Trayvon screaming for help.
Mr. Ben Jealous, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), told Miami television channel NBC6 that federal authorities should take over Lee’s department because of a “pattern and practice of discrimination” which includes cases that precedes Taino.
At a highly-charged town hall meeting at Allen Chapel AME Church (shown in the top photo) in Sanford, Florida on Tuesday night, Jealous told the crowd of hundreds, “Any chief who would so allow his officers to so mishandle a situation like this has to go. We will ensure that there is a new chief here in Sanford.” There were also hundreds gathered outside, chanting “I am Trayvon Martin.” “I am here tonight because Sanford has a problem,” Jealous told the crowd at Allen Chapel. “One time is too many times.” In his message, President Jealous called for the removal of police Chief Bill Lee, whose department has yet to arrest Zimmerman.
Florida Governor Rick Scott attended a meeting with Black lawyers and Civil Rights activists on Tuesday night. “If there’s something wrong with the law that’s in place, I think it’s important we address it. I’m going to look at it. If what’s happening is it’s being abused, that’s not right. We all want to live in a safe place,” Scott told the Palm Beach Post News.
Over 1.5 million people have signed a petition on the Change.org website calling for Zimmerman to be arrested and prosecuted.
Set up by Martin’s parents, it describes him as “our hero”. They said: “At the age of nine, Trayvon pulled his father from a burning kitchen, saving his life. He loved sports and horseback riding. At 17, he had a bright future ahead of him with dreams of attending college and becoming an aviation mechanic. Now that’s all gone.”
Local pastors and members of the Florida Civil Rights Association planned a rally outside the Florida Division of Licensing in Orlando to demand that Zimmerman’s concealed weapons permit be revoked, according to the Orlando Sentinel. The group leader J Willie David earlier claimed the 28-year-old man is a “clear threat to public safety.” There were people calling into the Michael Baisden show that said they cancelled their trips to Disney World and Florida until something is done about this situation.
The Florida NAACP State Conference will be hosting a march and rally on March 31st to call for justice in the Trayvon Martin case.
The US Department of Justice and the FBI announced that they have opened an investigation into the “facts and circumstances” surrounding the shooting of Trayvon Martin. “The department will conduct a thorough and independent review of all of the evidence and take appropriate action at the conclusion of the investigation,” Xochitl Hinojosa, a Justice Department spokeswoman, said in a statement. “The department also is providing assistance to and cooperating with the state officials in their investigation into the incident.” This decision comes a week after the Florida NAACP State Conference issued a letter to the Department of Justice, requesting that it investigate the Trayvon Martin case at a federal level. A Seminole County grand jury will also investigate the Martin case. The Florida NAACP State Conference has been actively involved in the Trayvon Martin case since February, when Florida State Conference President Adora Obi Nweze requested a meeting for U.S. Attorneys in state of Florida to discuss the Martin case and similar cases in Florida where White assailants attacked Black victims, with no arrest made.
The girl, who was dating Trayvon, “completely blows Zimmerman’s absurd self-defense claim out of the water,” the family’s Atty. Benjamin Crump told reporters. The girl — who he said does not wish to be identified — “connects the dots” about what happened that day when she lays out what she overheard while on the phone with him, he said. 911 calls paint a picture of chaos. Speaking on the phone shortly before he was shot, Martin told the girl that someone was following him and that he was trying to get away, Atty. Crump said. She said that, during the phone call, she heard someone ask Trayvon what he was doing and heard Trayvon ask why the person was following him, Atty. Crump said. The girl then got the impression that there was an altercation in which the earpiece fell out of Martin’s ear and the connection went dead, Crump said.
Based on what she heard, the girl believes that Martin was pushed, said Atty. Crump, who added that the girl did not hear any gunfire.
Phone records show Trayvon was on the phone with her much of the day, including around the time of the killing, Crump said. He argued that if Martin were really “up to no good,” he wouldn’t have been chatting with his friend on the phone.
The girl said Trayvon was “his regular self,” Atty. Crump said, arguing that any suggestions that the boy was “high” are “preposterous.”
“It’s what Zimmerman wants you to believe so he can justify killing this kid in cold blood,” Crump said.
Natalie Jackson, another attorney for the Martin family, said police had not interviewed the girl. Sanford Police Sgt. David Morgenstern said “at the onset, we asked any and all witnesses with information to come forward.” He would not say whether the department has contacted the girl. Morgenstern said Martin’s cell phone was collected from the crime scene and investigators were working to acquire records associated with the phone’s use.
The girl provided her account to Atty. Crump in a recording, which he said he will share with the Department of Justice, which is investigating. The Seminole County Grand Jury will convene April 10, State Attorney Norm Wolfinger said in a statement.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said she was “devastated and deeply troubled” over the killing. “When someone loses his life at the hands of another, there cannot be any questions surrounding the circumstances of the death,” she said in a statement.
She said she had spoken with FDLE Commissioner Gerald M. Bailey, “and I know that a complete and thorough review of the facts will be conducted.”
She added that while it is up to the Seminole County State Attorney’s Office to decide whether to file charges, “I will remain vigilant in ensuring that questions are answered.”
Police say they have not charged Zimmerman, because they have no evidence to contradict his story that he shot in self-defense. In a police report, Officer Timothy Smith says that, when he arrived at the scene of the shooting, a Black male was laying face down on the ground, his hands underneath his body. “I attempted to get a response from the Black male, but was met with negative results,” the report says.
After speaking with Zimmerman, who had called 911, Smith observed that Zimmerman’s “back appeared to be wet and was covered in grass, as if he had been laying on his back on the ground. Zimmerman was also bleeding from the nose and back of his head.”
Smith wrote that Zimmerman stated, “I was yelling for someone to help me, but no one would help me.” Trayvon’s family insists it was Trayvon Martin who was heard yelling for help.
Three witnesses who were nearby have said it was Trayvon who was heard screaming for help in the 911 call placed by Zimmerman, Crump said. When I heard one of the 911 calls I also heard a teen yelling for help and then a gun shot.
Trayvon’s father said the family believes race was a factor in their son’s death, fueling public outcry over the incident in the racially mixed community 16 miles northeast of Orlando. After watching Anderson Cooper’s show late night I heard them enhance the 911 tape and it sounded as if Zimmerman called Trayvon a “Coon”, which is clearly makes it a racial killing!
Some of the facts in this article were taken from CNN.com.