three weeks ago, trayvon martin, an unarmed black teenager, was shot & killed by george zimmerman in sanford, florida. zimmerman, a 28 year-old white, self-appointed neighborhood watch captain, has claimed he acted in self-defense. despite his admittance to the shooting, he has not been arrested or charged with any crime.
just minutes before martin was tragically gunned down, zimmerman called police stating martin "looked suspicious." martin had left a convenience store with a bag of skittles & a can of arizona ice tea. he was walking towards his father's home when zimmerman accosted him.
at the crime scene, sanford police botched their questioning of zimmerman, refused to take the full statement of witnesses & pressured neighbors to side with the shooter. sadly, the state attorney's office has rubber-stamped the police's non-investigation; asserting lack of evidence to support even a manslaughter conviction.
zimmerman got out of his parked car, with a gun in tow, to pursue martin. yet despite being instructed by police not to do so, he continued to follow martin, who was wearing a hoodie on a dark, rainy night. zimmerman proceeded to confront & fatally shoot martin in the chest within minutes.
the case has been compromised from the start. when sanford police arrived on the scene, zimmerman was first approached by a narcotics detective - not a homicide investigator - who apparently peppered him with questions rather than allow him to tell his story without prompting. another officer corrected a witness giving a statement she'd heard martin cry for help before he was shot, telling her she had heard zimmerman instead.
far beyond the questions of professional integrity or the police's disregard for the facts in this case, florida's notorious "shoot first" law takes a shooter's self-defense claim at face value. as such, law enforcement is incentivized to not make arrests in shooting deaths that would lead to murder charges in other states.
moreover, sanford has a history of not prosecuting when the victim is black. in 2010, the white son of a sanford police lieutenant was let go by police after assaulting a homeless black man outside a downtown bar. in 2005, a black teenager was killed by two white security guards, one of them the son of a sanford police officer. the pair were arrested & charged, but a judge later cited lack of evidence & dismissed both cases.
the family of trayvon martin, along with hundreds of thousands of people across the country demand justice. they want the u.s. department of justice to take over the case, arrest martin's killer & launch an independent investigation into the sanford police department's unwillingness to affirm martin's civil rights.
you can sign a petition at: http://act.colorofchange.org/sign/trayvon.
- mark j. tuggle
- harlem, usa
- same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. firstname.lastname@example.org.