Standing Ground For Justice: Trayvon Martin Tragedy Puts Racial Profiling, Vigilantism in Spotlight
As the furor over the “vigilante” murder of 17 year old Trayvon Martin in Florida continues, the Justice Department has finally announced its investigation into a possible hate crime. The DOJ promises, “A thorough and independent review of all of the evidence and take appropriate action at the conclusion of the investigation,” spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa said in a statement. The probe will include the Civil Rights Division of DOJ, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida and the FBI. And, finally, the local grand jury will examine the case in April. The Million Hoodie March–protests seeking justice for Trayvon Martin–are planned all over the country Wednesday.
Listen to Neighborhood Watch vigilante George Zimmerman’s entire 911 call and you’ll hear the inherent racism. His family’s continuous claims to the contrary are debunked through Zimmerman’s own words. At the 2:20 mark you’ll hear him mutter an abhorrent racial slur under his breath.
Why this trigger happy thug–who has his own rap sheet, including charges of assault and domestic battery -is allowed to own and carry a concealed weapon–will likely re-open our national conversation on gun control. But why he didn’t follow the 911 dispatcher’s instructions to NOT follow Martin will likely land him behind bars. There was absolutely no reason for a person who felt so threatened ( and by the way, Zimmerman doesn’t sound particularly frightened or even anxious in the call) by this baby-faced kid armed with nothing but a cellphone and a bag of Skittles to pursue the “suspect.” None.
The National Neighborhood Watch guidelines expressly state:
“It should be emphasized to members that they do not possess police powers, and they shall not carry weapons or pursue vehicles. They should also be cautioned to alert police or deputies when encountering strange activity. Members should never confront suspicious persons who could be armed and dangerous.”
Zimmerman alerted police, but violated the other two crucial rules. He carried a weapon and he followed Martin.
What exactly transpired between the two remains murky. Obviously there were only two witnesses. One is tragically dead, the other hiding behind Florida’s Stand Your Ground statute. But what has become painfully clear: Martin posed no threat to anyone, especially George Zimmerman. He was a young kid minding his own business, walking to his dad’s girlfriend’s house, chatting on the phone with his friends. His only “crime” was wandering through an unknown neighborhood while being black. One friend, who released her call to ABC News, was apparently on the phone with Martin at the time of the altercation. Martin told his friend he was scared; there is no indication that he was looking for trouble. She heard gasps and the phone drop. Other witnesses heard the gunshots; two have come forward to say they saw Zimmerman on top of Martin.
Zimmerman claims he acted in self defense. But Trayvon Martin didn’t have a gun. George Zimmerman did. Trayvon Martin is dead. And Zimmerman is still roaming around. With his gun. And the local police claim they have no probable cause to arrest Zimmerman? The Martin family–and the nation–are waiting on justice.
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