Task Force appointed to investigate Trayvon Martin killing
George Zimmerman, who is Latino, called the emergency services because he thought Martin, 17, looked “suspicious” and then, against the advice of the dispatcher, followed him. The two men fought. Martin died. Zimmerman emerged, bleeding from the nose and the back of his head, claiming he shot Martin in self-defence because he was in fear of his life.
Zimmerman was neither charged nor arrested. Under Florida’s “stand your ground” statute, deadly force is permitted if the person “reasonably believes” it is necessary to protect their own life, the life of another or to prevent a forcible felony. Zimmerman weighs 113kg and had a 9mm handgun; Martin weighed 63kg and had a packet of Skittles and a can of iced tea. Being a young black male, it seems, is reason enough.
As the 911 tapes were released people became incensed. The case was highlighted through social media and protests were planned. Florida police chief Bill Lee was criticised over the investigation and eventually stood down from his post temporarily.
Florida Governor Rick Scott appointed a task force on Thursday to investigate the death of Trayvon Martin as calls grew for charges to be filed against the neighborhood watch volunteer who killed him.
Rallys were planned in New York and Florida. In New York thousands attened the Million Hoodie March (see video below).
In Sanford, Florida on Thursday, thousands more gathered for a rally addressed by Rev Al Sharpton, president of the National Action Network.
“Twenty-six days ago this young man, Trayvon Martin, did nothing criminal, did nothing unethical,” said Al Sharpton. “He went to the store for his brother. He came back and lost his life. Trayvon could have been any one of our sons, he could have been any one of us. Trayvon represents a reckless disregard for our lives that we’ve seen for too long.”
Sharpton said the watch captain, George Zimmerman, “should have been arrested that night.”