Nearly a month after the deadly shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, the media and blogosphere are buzzing with opinions and questions surrounding the fate of his killer. Martin’s parents believe their son — whom was unarmed aside from a package of Skittles in his pocket during the altercation — was the innocent victim of text-book racial profiling. Meanwhile, Zimmerman’s parents claim their son is Latino, and therefore could not be racist. Does Trayvon’s murder transcend the boundaries of race? Mediaite reports on the story.
A very young person was killed last month, for carrying a bag of Skittles and an iced tea. His killer made a dubious claim of self-defense, despite being explicitly told by law enforcement he had no right to confront the teen and his Skittles for his “suspicious” behavior. The claim worked, and witnesses say that police officers told them they were mistaken when they tried to say it was the teen who cried out for help, and not the killer. Trayvon Martin’s death is a harrowing story, particularly given that his killer, George Zimmerman, seems to have escaped any brush with the legal justice system. It should alarm any American than our legal system protected Zimmerman’s liberty after his crime. So why are only black people talking about it?
Like many outside the Orlando area, I first encountered the story on Twitter, with a link to the New York Times’ Charles Blow’s recounting of the events. The facts of the case are most concisely compiled there:
Trayvon had left the house he and his father were visiting to walk to the local 7-Eleven. On his way back, he caught the attention of George Zimmerman, a 28-year-old neighborhood watch captain, who was in a sport-utility vehicle. Zimmerman called the police because the boy looked “real suspicious,” according to a 911 call released late Friday. The operator told Zimmerman that officers were being dispatched and not to pursue the boy.
Zimmerman apparently pursued him anyway, at some point getting out of his car and confronting the boy. Trayvon had a bag of Skittles and a can of iced tea. Zimmerman had a 9 millimeter handgun.
The two allegedly engaged in a physical altercation. There was yelling, and then a gunshot.
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