In the coming days and weeks, you’re going to be hearing about this story, because it speaks volumes to previous incidents involving race in the United States.
Two weeks ago, during halftime of the NBA All-Star Game, Trayvon “Trey” Martin (pictured) decided to go to the store to get his brother some candy. On his way back home, he was confronted by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain in the gated community Martin lived in.
According to police reports, Zimmerman, called 911 to report there was a “suspicious person in the area,” apparently being Martin. Armed with a 9mm handgun, Zimmerman trailed the boy in his car, confronting him. Not long after the call, an altercation ensued between Zimmerman and Martin. Then neighbors said they heard gunfire.
Sanford (FL) Police arrived on scene and found Martin lying face down on a patch of grass about 70 feet from his family’s home, a pack of Skittles in one pocket and a bottle of iced tea in the other.
Zimmerman, who is white, has not been charged in the death of Martin, who was black and says he acted in self-defense. He had a legal permit to carry the handgun used that night. Police have told Martin’s family that Zimmerman had a “squeaky-clean” record and that’s why they had not arrested him, according to Tracy Martin, the teen’s father.
However the family attorney has found that public records show Zimmerman was arrested in Orange County in 2005 on charges of resisting arrest with violence and battery on a law enforcement officer.
The Orange County (FL) Clerk of Courts website shows a man named George Zimmerman, 28, was charged in July 2005 with resisting arrest with violence and battery on an officer. The charges appear to have been dropped.
“They just lied to the family,” said Benjamin Crump, who is representing the deceased family. “They just couldn’t see why [Zimmerman] would do anything wrong or be violent. But not only do you know the guy killed this kid, because he admitted to it, you knew that he has a propensity for violence because of his past record.”
Crump has asked law enforcement officials to turn over the 911 tapes recorded the night Martin was killed. He has since filed a public records lawsuit to get the recordings.
The chief said the police have met with Zimmerman on two to three separate occasions, and that their investigation should be wrapped up this week. He said all of the evidence in the case will be delivered to the Seminole County State Attorney’s Office soon after.
This tragic scene played out is all too familiar, especially in the South. White man becomes threatened, decides to us a gun instead of what he’s been trained to do, death occurs. It gets pretty old, really. When it involves a 17 year old kid with a bright future, it becomes exceptionally heartbreaking.
I’m not very confident justice will be served in this case. Keep in mind, this happened in the same county Casey Anthony was found not guilty last year. It’s still very early to tell what actions the District Attorney will take, but lets hope we’re not let down again.