The second I see the name Trayvon Martin I think of George Zimmerman. Every time I hear the name George Zimmerman, I think of Trayvon Martin.
Their destinies are interlinked with another and will forever be linked by the searching power of Internet tools such as Google. Their story began on a rainy evening in Sanford, Florida, on February 26, 2012.
Trayvon Martin was a 17 year old, African American teenager who was walking back from a 7-Eleven where he had just bought an ice tea and a bag of Skittles to enjoy as a snack.
On the way back to the house he was staying at, he was spotted by neighbourhood patrolman, George Zimmerman, a 28 year old man of mixed racial background, he self-identifies at Hispanic.
Zimmerman thought that Martin’s presence in the community was a cause for concern. Martin’s only crime was, as Zimmerman described to police dispatch when he called in to notify the police of a suspicion looking person in the area, “This guy looks like he is up to no good. He is on drugs or something.”
Martin was wearing a hoodie at the time of his death, with the hood pulled up to keep out the rain. He was unarmed. Zimmerman confronted the teenager and in the ensuing incident shot him with the semi-automatic that Zimmerman carried on his patrols.
Martin can be heard begging for his life on the police dispatch recording of the incident.
The shooting of the black, unarmed teenager by Zimmerman – whom is mostly referred to as white but who later on in the investigation, self-defines as being Hispanic – caused an international uproar.
Zimmerman’s trial began on June 10, 2013, in Sanford, Florida. He had requested a “Stand Your Ground” hearing, but in March 2013, his defense elected to bypass the hearing so that his case would be tried before a jury.
On Saturday, July 13, 2013, the jury found Zimmerman not guilty of second-degree murder and of manslaughter after more than sixteen hours of deliberations. “Only in America can a dead black boy go on trial for his own murder,” said Syreeta McFadden, in reaction to the verdict.
In audio from that call to police, at the 1:40 mark, you can hear Zimmermann say, “Fucking —- !” Many assert that what Zimmerman is saying is in fact “Fucking Coons!”
After the recording was released, the Sanford Police Department admitted that they might have missed the potential racial slur on the call. Some residents of his gated community declared that Zimmerman was known for being strict and that he went door to door asking them to be on the lookout for “young black men who appear to be outsiders,” while others regarded him as “normal,” “helpful” and “passionate about neighbourhood security,” having supposedly thwarted a previous burglary attempt.
The U.S. Department of Justice said Sunday July 14, 2013 it would review the Trayvon Martin case to determine if it should consider prosecuting Zimmerman.
On Tuesday February 24, 2014, Zimmerman and his legal team found out that he will not face federal charges, the U.S. Justice Department said Tuesday February 24, 2015.
In a statement by Vanita Gupta, the Justice Department’s top civil rights official, announcing the decision. the probe launched in 2013, focused on whether the killing could be charged as a federal hate crime and on whether Zimmerman willfully deprived Martin of his civil rights.
Justice Department officials said they ultimately determined there was insufficient evidence to prove Zimmerman killed the teenager on account of his race. “Our decision not to pursue federal charges does not condone the shooting that resulted in the death of Trayvon Martin and is based solely on the high legal standard applicable to these cases,”
Martin’s family is reportedly crushed by the decision.