Updated March 17: Trayvon Martin shooting: Screams, shots heard on 911 call
by Brother Jesse
Another lesson in the Post-Racial America 101 class, huh? This could have been your son, nephew, cousin or grandson. Heck, this could have been any Black man in America.
A grieving family is calling for answers, people from the community in Orlando protesting and the Internet is buzzing with outrage. According to news reports, the Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee told the media that they do not have enough evidence to arrest George Zimmerman, a White man who shot and killed 17-year-old Black male Trayvon Martin.
Apparently, Zimmerman, who is the neighborhood crime watch lone ranger, ahem, I mean lead volunteer, was able to dodge being arrested simply by telling the police that he acted in self-defense. That's it? All you have to do is tell the Sanford PD that you acted in self-defense? His word is that good?
"Until we can establish probable cause to dispute that, we don't have the grounds to arrest him," said Chief Lee according to a video of the press conference posted by the Orlando Sentinel. How did this happen?
According to a Change.org petition, started by Trayvon's mother Sybrina Fulton, she writes:
On February 26, my son Trayvon Martin was shot and killed as he walked to a family member's home from a convience store where he had just bought some candy. He was only 17 years old. Trayvon's killer, George Zimmerman, admitted to police that he shot Trayvon in the chest. Zimmerman, the community's self appointed "neighborhood watch leader," called the police to report a suspicious person when he saw Travyon, a young black man, walking from the store. But Zimmerman, who is white, still hasn't been charged for murdering my son.
Trayvon was my hero. At the age 9, Trayvon pulled his father from a burning kitchen, saving his life. He loved sports and horseback riding. At only 17 he had a bright future ahead of him with dreams of attending college and becoming an aviation mechanic. Now that’s all gone. When Zimmerman reported Trayvon to the police, they told him not to confront him. But he did anyway. All I know about what happened next is that my 17 year-old son, who was completely unarmed, was shot and killed.
It's been nearly two weeks and the Sanford Police have refused to arrest George Zimmerman. In their public statements, they even go so far as to stand up for the killer - saying he's "a college grad" who took a class in criminal justice. I don't know if my family will ever receive justice for this terrible tragedy. That's because the police aren't handing the case over to prosecutors, putting a dangerous delay in the work to find out just what happened to Trayvon.
In a statement posted on the NAN site, Rev. Al Sharpton said “National Action Network and I have called for a complete and thorough investigation into the killing of 17-year-old Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. The fact that a young unarmed man could be killed by a neighborhood watch captain while his family was blatantly misled by local police as to the background of the shooter is disturbing. Further, the fact that we are told that racial language was used when the young man reported his suspicions to police, and when he was told not to pursue the shooter, that he allegedly defied them by doing so, is a compelling reason for NAN and I to become involved. Attorney Benjamin Crump, whom we have worked with in Florida in the past, reached out to me and NAN and appeared on my nationally syndicated radio show “Keepin it Real” today to request an intervention from my civil rights organization. I intend to go to Orlando and meet with Attorney Crump and demand the release of 911 tapes."
What actions can you take right now?
1) Share the story with your network
2) Sign the online petition: Prosecute the murderer of 17 year old Trayvon Martin
3) Join the tweet discussion with the hashtag #Trayvon More details coming soon!
(You're welcome to follow Brother Jesse Muhammad on Twitter @BrotherJesse)