If you don’t know who Trayvon Martin is by now, then you may be shocked to hear about this tragic story. In a gated community by the name of Twin Lakes in Sanford, Florida on February 26th, 17 year old Martin was gunned down by 28 year old George Zimmerman -a self appointed neighborhood watch man.
Zimmerman initially made claims that he only fired out of self defense, but as more pieces to this case are being revealed this seems highly unlikely. Zimmerman is a stout, and outweighed the lanky 140-pound teen by about 80-100 pounds. Self defense claims seem a little sketchy when an unarmed teen is up against a man close to thirty years old armed with a much larger frame –and a 9mm pistol. The gunman made a report to the police department saying there was someone suspicious and was seemingly “on drugs or something.”
This “suspicious” youngster was armed with no more than a cell phone, a bag of Skittles, and an Arizona Ice Tea, and had put on the hood of his sweatshirt to shield himself from the rain. Zimmerman had clearly avoided advice from a dispatcher, who replied “ok, we don’t need you to do that” when he revealed he was following Martin on his way home from the store. He is still walking as free as you and I at this very moment: no arrests made for any charge(s).
In the last call Martin made, he told his girlfriend he was being followed, and when she told him to run, he said he wasn’t going to. After he put on his hood, he told his girlfriend that he had lost him. Somehow, Martin was cornered and his girlfriend then heard him ask Zimmerman why he was following him and he replied “what are you doing here” before an alleged scuffle ensued and the call was dropped.
Tapes of the 911 calls Zimmerman and members of the community made on the night of the murder (February 26th) have been released over the weekend and a racial slur may have been muttered before the dispatcher asked if he was following Martin. An audio expert that a tv station had asked for his professional opinion made a statement that he believed “F-ing punks” was said instead of the word coons that many listeners have said they heard. The perpetrator also said “they always get away” before informing the dispatcher Martin began to run towards a “back entrance.”
One frightened member of the Twin Lakes community had called 911 reporting the altercation, and fearfully expressed “I’m not going outside.” Another member of the community called as well in hysterics and tried their best to get police on the scene quickly, and in the background you can clearly hear Zimmerman’s 9mm pistol firing and the caller exclaiming “there are shots!”
This incident should not be an outrage only to people of color, but for all citizens in this country, especially those who reside in Florida. Although Florida is a state that has self defense laws, they clearly state in 776.012:
776.012 Use of force in defense of person.—A person is justified in using force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force.
Clearly, this isn’t what happened in this case where the teen was followed, cornered, and murdered in cold blood.
Anderson Cooper had two eyewitnesses appear on his show where they dispelled the myth of there being any type of scuffle, saying they heard Martin whimpering, whining, and pleading for help before the fatal shot was fired. It was also expressed how the Sanford Police department sided with Zimmerman and were “lackadaisical” regarding the incident.
This proves true because Tracy Martin, Treyvon’s father, was told by the police they “respected Zimmerman’s background and he had a squeaky clean record”, when in 2005 he was charged with battery and had also resisted arrest. If that is squeaky clean, then what does their department consider filth? Benjamin Crump, the Martins’ family lawyer, had made statements on behalf of the family that they believe that Treyvon was targeted because of the color of his skin.
Racial profiling is the apparent reason Zimmerman decided to follow Martin on that fateful night and take the law into his own hands and fire a deadly shot that put a bullet into young Trayvon’s chest, leaving him dead on the ground. Take a second to imagine the hurt and pain their family is feeling at the moment:
They watched Trayvon walk out of the door to get some candy for his younger brother, only to never see him walk through it again.
In another call made to the police station that night, someone said, “there has been a shot and there’s a young black man laying on the ground, he looks dead.” Although there was a young black teenager walking through the neighborhood at night, does not mean he was “up to no good” as Zimmerman told the police dispatcher. In the Twin Lakes community, there were eight home invasions that occurred within the time span of fifteen months.
Clearly, he didn’t want this so called suspicious young black male to commit a crime in “his” community. His actions were unnecessary and extremely violent. A member of the neighborhood watch had also said his excessive force was uncalled for and that there were other options, such as carrying pepper spray or a taser.
Per request of the family, the FBI has gotten involved in the investigation due to their dissatisfaction with the Sanford Police Department’s (SPD) handling of the case. It has just been announced by the Florida State Attorney’s Office that they have taken over the case from the SPD.
Meanwhile, several efforts have been happening around the country to gain the attention of Americans to become more involved so justice can be served for the family and friends of Trayvon Martin. At Florida A&M University, protests have been held by the students on their campus and in front of Seminole County criminal courts in Sanford.
The Reverend Al Sharpton will be hosting a rally tomorrow night in Sanford. There is also a petition that the parents Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, had started to rally for the prosecution of their son’s killer -you can sign on Change.org, which currently has over 800,000 signatures-their goal is 1 million.
This is a democracy, and “We the People” have more power than we may realize at times. We all should help as much as we can to bring justice for the late Treyvon Martin and his family so he is able to Rest Peacefully, and his family is able to live in peace knowing that his murderer has been apprehended and charged appropriately.