Monday, March 26, 2012

What Everyone Should Know About the Trayvon Martin Murder Case

Trayvon Martin

What Everyone Should Know About Trayvon Martin (1995-2012)
By Judd Legum

March 18, 2012
Think Progress

On February 26, 2012, a 17-year-old African-American named Trayvon Martin was shot and killed in Sanford, Florida. The shooter was George Zimmerman, a 28-year-old white man.* Zimmerman admits killing Martin, but claims he was acting in self-defense. Three weeks after Martin’s death, no arrests have been made and Zimmerman remains free.

Here is what everyone should know about the case:

1. Zimmerman called the police to report Martin’s “suspicious” behavior, which he described as “just walking around looking about.” Zimmerman was in his car when he saw Martin walking on the street. He called the police and said: “There’s a real suspicious guy. This guy looks like he’s up to no good, on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around looking about… These a**holes always get away” [Orlando Sentinel]

2. Zimmerman pursued Martin against the explicit instructions of the police dispatcher:
Dispatcher: “Are you following him?”
Zimmerman: “Yeah”
Dispatcher: “OK, we don’t need you to do that.”
[Orlando Sentinel]

3. Prior to the release of the 911 tapes, Zimmerman’s father released a statement claiming “[a]t no time did George follow or confront Mr. Martin.” [Sun Sentinel]
4. Zimmerman was carrying a a 9 millimeter handgun. Martin was carrying a bag of Skittles and a can of iced tea. [ABC News]

5. Martin weighed 140 pounds. Zimmerman weighs 250 pounds. [Orlando Sentinel; WDBO]

6. Martin’s English teacher described him as “as an A and B student who majored in cheerfulness.” [Orlando Sentinel]

7. Martin had no criminal record. [New York Times]

8. Zimmerman “was charged in July 2005 with resisting arrest with violence and battery on an officer. The charges appear to have been dropped.” [Huffington Post]

9. Zimmerman called the police 46 times since Jan. 1, 2011. [Miami Herald]

10. According to neighbors, Zimmerman was “fixated on crime and focused on young, black males.” [Miami Herald]

11. Zimmerman “had been the subject of complaints by neighbors in his gated community for aggressive tactics” [Huffington Post]

12. A police officer “corrected” a key witness. “The officer told the witness, a long-time teacher, it was Zimmerman who cried for help, said the witness. ABC News has spoken to the teacher and she confirmed that the officer corrected her when she said she heard the teenager shout for help.” [ABC News]

13. Three witnesses say they heard a boy cry for help before a shot was fired. “Three witnesses contacted by The Miami Herald say they saw or heard the moments before and after the Miami Gardens teenager’s killing. All three said they heard the last howl for help from a despondent boy.” [Miami Herald]

14. The officer in charge of the crime scene also received criticism in 2010 when he initially failed to arrest a lieutenant’s son who was videotaped attacking a homeless black man. [New York Times]

15. The police did not test Zimmerman for drugs or alcohol. A law enforcement expert told ABC that Zimmerman sounds intoxicated on the 911 tapes. Drug and alcohol testing is “standard procedure in most homicide investigations.” [ABC News]

16. In a cell phone call moments before his death, Martin told a teenage girl that he was “hounded by a strange man on a cellphone who ran after him, cornered him and confronted him.” “‘He said this man was watching him, so he put his hoodie on. He said he lost the man,’ Martin’s friend said. ‘I asked Trayvon to run, and he said he was going to walk fast. I told him to run but he said he was not going to run.’ Eventually he would run, said the girl, thinking that he’d managed to escape. But suddenly the strange man was back, cornering Martin. ‘Trayvon said, ‘What, are you following me for,’ and the man said, ‘What are you doing here.’” [ABC News]

17. Police have Trayvon Martin’s cell phone but never contact his girlfriend.[Miami Herald]

18. Zimmerman told the police “he had stepped out of his truck to check the name of the street he was on when Trayvon attacked him from behind as he walked back to his truck.” “He said he feared for his life and fired the semiautomatic handgun he was licensed to carry because he feared for his life.” [Miami Herald]

19. The incident occurred in a tiny gated community Zimmerman patrolled regularly. [Miami Herald]

20. Zimmerman was not a member of a registered Neighborhood Watch group. Zimmerman also violated basic Neighborhood Watch guidelines by carrying a weapon. [ABC News]

21. The police reports were amended to bolster Zimmerman’s claim of self defense. “Initial police reports never mentioned that Zimmerman had a bloody nose or a wet shirt that showed evidence of a struggle.” [Miami Herald]

22. Police ignored witness whose account was different from Zimmerman’s.“One of the witnesses who heard the crying said she called a detective repeatedly, but said he was not interested because her account differed from Zimmerman’s.” [Miami Herald]

23. Zimmerman still has a permit to carry a concealed weapon in the State of Florida. [ThinkProgress]

The Martin case had been turned over to the Seminole County State Attorney’s Office.

*Zimmerman was described by the police as white. According to his family he is also Hispanic.


FBI tells ABC News they are monitoring the Trayvon Martin investigation and have been in touch with local authorities.


On March 20, the United States Department of Justice, the FBI and the U.S. Attorney announced they were launching “a thorough and independent review” of the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.


The Florida state attorney has sent the Trayvon Martin case to a grand jury. The Seminole County grand jury will be called to session on Tuesday, April 10.


The Sanford city council on 3 to 2 vote, says it has no confidence in police chief Bill Lee.


Sheriff Bill Lee steps down from his position "temporarily"


Over 30,000 people march in Florida protest march and rally demanding that federal and state officials immediately arrest and jail George Zimmerman and to hold him in police custody while awaiting arraignment and trial; thousands more take part in New York in a massive demonstration and rally in protest of the murder and in support of Trayvon Martin and his family. Trayvon's parents speak to largeprotesting crowds in both Florida and New York. many more marches and rallies in support of Trayvon Martin are scheduled to be held throughout the United States and abroad this week starting today (Monday, March 26, 2012)i n Washington D.C. , Oakland and San Francisco, California, Pittsburgh, and in Sanford, Florida where the murder took place

Trayvon Martin: Upcoming Marches and Events 21 March 2012 TV One

Communities across the nation are coming together to remember 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, demand justice for his killing and an end to racial profiling.

Check back here to find updated info on where marches are being held, and how you can protest against racial profiling and a biased justice system. If you know of a march or event being held in your area, please comment and let us know.

Wednesday, March 21

New York City
Million Hoodies March for Trayvon Martin
6:00PM Union Square 14 St. & Broadway - March to the UN

Oakland/San Francisco
Million Hoodies March for Trayvon Martin
5:30PM in Bradley Manning Plaza -- March to the UN

Thursday, March 22

Sanford, Florida
Support Rally with Rev. Al Sharpton
7:00PM at First Shiloh Baptist Church

National Black United Front - Prayer Vigil for Trayvon Martin
8:00PM at King Park

Friday, March 23

Washington, DC
National Black United Front - Prayer Vigil for Trayvon Martin
6:30PM - The Big Chair - 2100 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE

Saturday, March 24

Norfolk, VA
Occupy the Hood
4:00PM - Lafayette Park

Monday, March 26

Sanford, FL
Justice for Trayvon Martin -- National March and Rally
4:00PM - Sanford City Hall
Bring your voice and a bag of Skittles.

Black Graduate Student Organization -- Remembering Our Lost Rally
12:30PM - Carnegie Mellon University - Academic Mall (main lawn)

Oakland/San Francisco
Emergency Scream-out
12:00PM - Hall of Injustice - 850 Bryant Street

Washington D.C.
Black Solidarity Rally for Trayvon Martin
4:00PM - US Department of Justice - 1425 New York Ave NW

If you aren't able to attend an event, here are some ways you can participate:

1. Wear a hoodie and and upload a pic to Twitter, Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #millionhoodies.

2. Sign the petition started by Trayvon's parents.