I recall exactly where I was on the evening of February 26. I was dully flipping channels between the usually boring NBA All-Star Game and the always boring Academy Awards. I thought about getting up to make a beer run, but lazily decided even that required too much effort. We always casually say how boredom is killing us. We never imagine something as mundane as a run to the store could have fatal consequences.
It can and it does. Especially when you’re young and Black and someone thinks you’re somewhere you shouldn’t be. Like walking through their neighborhood.
Trayvon Martin, 17, was in Sanford, Florida to visit his father Tracy who lives in a gated community. During halftime of the All-Star Game that was lulling me to sleep, he went to the store to buy some iced tea and Skittles. He never made it home because George Zimmerman, part of a neighborhood watch group had been trailing Travyon in his car. He had already called the cops to report the teen as a suspicious person.
Despite being told the police had been notified and not to approach, Zimmerman did exactly the opposite. What happened next is unclear because only one of the two involved can still tell the tale, but some sort of confrontation followed, Zimmerman pulled his gun and shot Trayvon Martin dead, just 70 feet from his father’s home.
Martin, a junior at Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School in North Miami-Dade, was shot and killed Feb. 26 after an altercation with the head of a neighborhood watch group in Sanford, a suburb of Orlando. Martin had been visiting his father’s fiancée and stepbrother, who live in a gated townhome community, that weekend.
Neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman, who is white, spotted Martin as the teen was heading back from a snack run to a nearby 7-Eleven store. Zimmerman called police to report a “suspicious person in the area” and followed Martin in his SUV. A police dispatcher told Zimmerman to stand down and let police take over, but that is not what happened.
Instead, Zimmerman apparently confronted the Miami teen. They scuffled, and by the time police arrived Zimmerman had a bloody nose, and Martin had been shot fatally in the chest.
Zimmerman, who had a concealed weapons permit and carried a black Kie Tek 9mm semi-automatic pistol, told police he acted in self-defense. Martin was unarmed, with only $22, candy and a can of iced tea in his pockets.
Zimmerman claims self-defense though he was the only one armed.
Being part of a neighborhood watch means you WATCH. It doesn’t give you the right to play Wyatt Earp and start gunning down Black teenagers because you think they’re suspicious.
“My son left Sanford, Florida in a body bag,’ Tracy Martin told a reporter. ‘While George Zimmerman went home to go to sleep in his own bed.”
An armed man stalks, confronts and kill an unarmed teenager and the police shrug it off with a blasé, “Well, he says it was self-defense. That’s good enough for us.”
It’s supposed to matter when you kill someone even if you did so accidentally. Why hasn’t Zimmerman been arrested?
Racial profiling by any name is still wrong and in this case, lethal. I’m always troubled when a young brother man dies when he is gunned down by a White man. But I’m equally trouble when a young brother is gunned by another young brother. Why does it have to take a White man killing a Black man before it becomes newsworthy to the media?
Zimmerman is still free and Sanford police chief Bill Lee says police don’t have enough evidence to dispute the shooter’s claim that he shot Martin in self-defense.
“Until we can establish probable cause to dispute that, we don’t have the grounds to arrest him,” the chief said. One wonders would this be so if Martin had shot Zimmerman instead? Call it cynical, but can anyone believe it would play out this way the other way around?. That somehow police would find just cause to get a Black kid accused of killing a White man behind bars?
Just ask Trayvon Martin’s family. Walking while Black somewhere a White man didn’t think he belonged was Travyon’s crime and George Zimmerman killed him for it
Since they are too stupid amd incompetent to find reasonable cause to arrest Zimmerman, the Sanford Police punted the case to the Seminole County District Attorney. His name is A. Bryant Applegate and his number is 407-665-6000. If the justice system in Florida is too broken to find a way to arrest and indict someone who stalks and shoots a Black teenager maybe the responsibility should be taken away from them and given to someone who can handle it. The U.S. Attorney’s office is 407-648-7500.
America is a nation of laws, but if it’s not a nation of justice, America will never be a nation at peace.
UPDATED: The family of Trayvon Martin is asking for concerned individuals to support their pleas for justice for their slain son by signing a petition asking for the district attorney to prosecute Zimmerman. Please give a damn and help them out.
- Trayvon Martin: Unarmed Florida Teen Shot Dead By Neighborhood Watch Leader George Zimmerman (ibtimes.com)
- George Zimmerman, Neighborhood Watch Captain Who Shot Trayvon Martin, Charged With Violence Before (huffingtonpost.com)
- Possible Witnesses Emerge in the Trayvon Martin Death (lezgetreal.com)
- Family Wants Answers After Miami Teen Shot, Killed In Sanford (miami.cbslocal.com)