17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by a local vigilante. The killing happened in February 2012 but only now is this story making headlines world wide. Why? It appears that this tragic story is not as simple as it was initially made out to be.
In Florida where the killing took place a law of shooting in the case of self defense has meant that
28-year-old George Zimmerman, the perpetrator, has not faced any criminal charges for this shooting.
Mr Zimmerman's supporters in the gated area where the incident happened believe that Trayvon attacked George. In their eyes this means that the young man's death is acceptable.
On the opposing side Trayvon's family and supporters believe that the young man was simply taking a shortcut across a residential area. The shortcut is used regularly it seems.
Inevitably Trayvon's death has raised the racism card once more. Understandably the black community are asking "what would have happened had the killer been black and the young man white?" I think we all know the answer to that one.
The shooting was recorded as Zimmerman chased Martin. His call to local police records the whole terrible affair. However without the benefit of CCTV or images it is hard to know exactly what happened. According to reports Mr Zimmerman began to chase Trayvon as he "looked suspicious" Currently that simply seems to be that he was black and wore a hoodie.
The chase is heard on the phone recording. Mr Zimmerman is clearly told by the receiving officers not to continue with the chase of the young man. He chose to ignore this. Whether Trayvon launched an attack on Zimmerman is disputed. However would it not be normal to do that if you were innocent and chased by an older man?
According to SkyNews, "Professor Patricia Broussard, constitution law profession at FAMU in Orlando, told Sky News that Zimmerman "acted as prosecutor, judge, jury and executioner for Trayvon Martin". She said: "Mr Martin received the death penalty from Zimmerman, the same person who is now being protected by those who say that he is being 'tried' in the media. "Trayvon Martin was not been granted the same compassion that Zimmerman's defenders advocate for him. "This situation defies logic and places local government in an unflattering light which reflects around the world."
Opinion: Currently there are concerns that Mr Zimmerman is facing a trial by the media. Of course if he had faced a criminal trial that would not be the case. Even if he was proved to have acted correctly how such an incident cannot be investigated thoroughly, escapes this blogger. However on the surface it seems to be murder pure and simple. Trayvon was not caught breaking and entering. He was not caught in the act so to speak. His crime was taking a shortcut and looking suspicious. Don't most teenagers look suspicious to the next generation?
Yesterday, March 22, 2012, protest marches against the killing of Trayvon have taken place in the US. It has taken this to at least bring the case to light around the world. It has also resulted in some movement on the case. "Police chief Bill Lee, the head of police in Sanford, Florida, has said that he has become a distraction from the investigation into the killing of Trayvon. He said, "I have come to the decision that I must temporarily remove myself from the position of police chief for the city of Sanford"
Daniel Maree who organised a New York protest yesterday, by way of a Facebook page said, "I spent some time in Florida and as a young black man I experienced being stopped by the police for no other reason than I was black in a predominantly white neighbourhood. "This rally is about supporting Trayvon's parents, for them to know that they have national support over this terrible tragedy, and that we will campaign for justice for their son." Daniel has no affiliation to any person involved in this case but acted as a concerned citizen.Good for him.
People power could at least impact on this case, help the truth be revealed and justice be served.
Read the comments on these youtube videos and you see a sad side to the USA. Hate is evident. Assumption of who is guilty and who is innocent is plain to see. Blaming the left is also easy to such people it seems.
Eileen Kersey manages TEK Staff Blog