Trayvon Martin ‘murdered’ for his clothes: Barack Obama is weak on race
IN Fort Mellon Park in Sanford, Florida they are seeking justice for the death of Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old shot dead by a vigilante, captain of the neighborhood watch, named George Zimmerman. Martin looked “suspicious”. He was armed with bag of Skittles. Zimmerman says he was defending himself against an attack – a right afforded to him under Florida’s so-called “Stand Your Ground” law – an abused law. Zimmerman has been in hiding ever since.
Zimmerman, 28, is white. Although his family calls him Hispanic. Trayvon Martin was black.
The law, passed in 2005 by Jeb Bush, allows citizens to use deadly force in public places if they believe they are threatened.
Before the shooting, Mr Zimmerman had called the police. He told them he’d seen a man:
“He looks like he’s black, he’s wearing a dark hoodie.”
Zimmerman says the man is “up to no good”. George Zimmerman says the youth “looks like he’s… on drugs or something”. Zimmerman says: “These assholes always get away.”
Police: “Are you following him?..
Police: “Okay, we don’t need you to do that.”
Zimmerman says he was attacked from behind. Others claim Zimmerman chased down Martin and shot him dead as the tough pleased for mercy.
Another local calls the polilce:
“They’re wrestling right in the back of my porch. The guy’s yelling help and I’m not going out.”
“He said this man was watching him, so he put his hoodie on. He said he lost the man. 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…Trayvon said, ‘What are you following me for,’ and the man said, ‘What are you doing here.’ Next thing I hear is somebody pushing, and somebody pushed Trayvon because the head set just fell. I called him again, and he didn’t answer the phone.”
So. The police make no arrest. Nothing to see here. Move along. There will be no investigation. Zimmerman was not tested for drugs or alcohol. Zimmerman’s word was good enough for the police.
In Sanford the police do not always behave well – they are accused of looking out for their own.
Sanford police chief Bill Lee said:
“Our investigation is color blind and based on the facts and circumstances, not color. I know I can say that until I am blue in the face, but, as a white man in a uniform, I know it doesn’t mean anything to anybody.”
I’m not suggesting that Trayvon Martin had any kind of weapon or anything, but he wore an outfit that allowed someone to respond in this irrational, overzealous way and if he had been dressed more appropriately, I think unless it’s raining out, or you’re at a track meet, leave the hoodie home. Don’t let your children go out there.
In Mellon Park the crowd – 10,000-strong – are chanting:
“Make an arrest, make an arrest, make an arrest.”
Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, Trayvon Martin’s parents, have mingled with leading lights of the civil rights movement. Was Trayvon Martin shot because he was black? Was his death deemed to be a non-crime because he was black? Questions are loaded on the back of centuries of racism.
Ryan Griffin, 25, in attendance at the protest, tells media:
“It’s shocking in a sense that here we are again struggling for the same rights that our parents and our grandparents fought for before us – the right to justice and equality.”
The city’s police department chief Bill Lee has resigned:
“I have come to the decision that I must temporarily remove myself from the position of police chief for the city of Sanford.”
Temporary? The chief of police steps down for a while to let the shitstorm pass?
Rick Scott, the Governor of Florida, has appointed a news investigator to examine the killing and the Stand Your Ground law that cheapens human life.
Then Barack Obama takes a view:
“If I had a son he would look like Trayvon. This is a tragedy… every parent in America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative to investigate every aspect of this. I think all of us have to do some soul searching to figure out how does something like this happen…And that means we examine the laws, the context for what happened, as well as the specifics of the incident.”
This is fence-sitting by Obama. He should take a stand.
Remember when Jerry Kellman said of Obama, his protégée:
“Barack will take on that burden of being that person who changes the situation for African Americans.”
Will he? Does he dare to as an election looms? Right now Obama looks weak, a symbol of chance but no man of substance to bring it about…