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Thread: The shooting of 17 yr old Trayvon Martin

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    Default The shooting of 17 yr old Trayvon Martin

    Trayvon Martin death: parents call on FBI to take over case as anger grows

    The parents of an unarmed African American teenager who was shot dead in Sanford, Florida, last month are formally calling on the FBI to take over the investigation as they have lost confidence in the local police and prosecutors.

    Trayvon Martin, 17, was fatally shot by a Hispanic neighbourhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, who has admitted the killing, claiming self-defence.

    But three weeks later, Zimmerman, 28, has not been charged, sparking accusations of racial stereotyping and poor investigation.

    Martin, from Miami, was visiting his father in Sanford. On February 26, he was watching the NBA all-star game at a house in a gated community called the Retreat at Twin Lakes. At half time, he left the house to the convenience store to get some candy and a drink. On his way back, he was spotted by Zimmerman, who was patrolling the area in his car and who called 911 to report what he described as a "real suspicious guy."

    The release of the 911 tapes over the weekend, which the family say proves Zimmerman was not acting in self-defence, provoked a further storm of outrage, with rallies and petitions demanding Zimmerman's arrest.

    Students rallied on Monday in front of the Seminole County criminal courts building in Sanford, where prosecutors will review the case and decide whether to file charges against Zimmerman, and on the campus of Florida A&M University in Tallahassee.

    Attorney Benjamin Crump, who is representing Martin's family, told reporters that 17-year-old Martin's parents both broke down and cried as they listened to the 911 recordings.

    "They are completely devastated. They are in unbelievable grief," Crump told the Huffington Post.

    The 911 tapes, eight recording of the events of February 26 were made public on Friday after the family sued to have them released.

    They reveal how Zimmerman pursued Martin, against warnings from the operator. Later, 911 calls from neighbours reveal how there were calls for help before a single shot rang out.

    "Hey, we've had some break-ins in my neighbourhood and there's a real suspicious guy," Zimmerman tells police before giving the address. "This guy looks like he's up to no good or he's on drugs or something."

    Zimmerman then tries to explain where he is. "Now he's coming towards me. He's got his hand in his waistband. And he's a black male … Something's wrong with him. Yup, he's coming to check me out. He's got something in his hands. I don't know what his deal is … These assholes, they always get away."

    Zimmerman then said: "Shit, he's running."

    "Are you following him?" the operator asked. Zimmerman replied: "Yep."

    "OK, we don't need you to do that," the operator warned.

    But by the time police arrived, Martin lay dead with a gunshot wound in the chest.

    "Hurry, please … there's someone screaming outside," a neighbour whispers on another 911 recording. "There's a gunshot. Hurry up."

    In another call, a woman begs the dispatchers to send help, saying someone is "screaming and hollering" for help.

    Martin's parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, accused Sanford police of not investigating their son's killing properly, and criticised them for not arresting Zimmerman, according to CBS News. They say the police department hasn't arrested Zimmerman because he is white and their son was black.

    Police initially told Martin's father that they didn't charge him because Zimmerman was a criminal justice student with a " squeaky clean" record, according to the Huffington Post.

    But Crump said public records show that Zimmerman was arrested in July 2005 in Orange County on charges of resisting arrest with violence and battery on a law enforcement officer. The charges appear to have been dropped.

    "They just lied to the family," Crump said. "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."

    Reports of the case suggest that Zimmerman was a vigilante with a false sense of authority. Police records show Zimmerman had called 911 a total of 46 times between 1 January this year and the day he killed Martin, according to Mother Jones.

    Zimmerman told police he fired his 9mm pistol in self-defence, and he has a lawful concealed weapons permit.

    Martin was carrying was his cell phone, a can of iced tea and a bag of Skittles.
    Trayvon Martin death: parents call on FBI to take over case as anger grows | World news | guardian.co.uk

    Petition by the Martin family:
    Criminal Justice Petition: Prosecute the killer of our son, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin | Change.org

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    Elite Member KrisNine's Avatar
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    Jesus. How sad. This Zimmerman guy sounds off his rocker.

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    Elite Member DeadDwarf's Avatar
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    Omg, that poor kid, he ran because he was afraid of this crazy asshole on a power trip with a gun. This is bullshit, cops trying to sweep it under the rug. It was flat out murder!!

    This must be investigated by the FBI. I signed the petition.
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    Elite Member Kat Scorp's Avatar
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    Zimmerman appears paranoid and dangerous as hell. Unfortunate that the charges against him for assaulting a law enforcement officer were dropped, otherwise (its my understanding) he wouldn't have been able to get a license to carry a concealed weapon.
    monk likes this.
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    Elite Member stef's Avatar
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    what's his excuse for his "self-defense"? that a boy with an iced tea and skittles came towards him? sick racist motherfucker. and he hasn't been charged because he studies criminal justice and has a clean record? WTF?!


    from wikipedia:

    Zimmerman told 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 fired the semiautomatic handgun because he feared for his life.[10]
    i'm sure he was afraid of this highly suspicious looking guy. especially since he's about twice his size!





    Racial Slur in 911 Tape Zimmerman is heard on one of the 911 calls saying "these f*cking coons." This can be heard at about the 2:20 mark on the referenced video. [5] The media, police officers, and George Zimmerman's family have failed to acknowledge or address this remark. It has been played repetitively on national television; unlike the word a**hole, it has not been censored.
    also:

    But the Miami Herald reported Zimmerman had called police 46 times between Jan 1 and the night of the shooting, and that his particular focus on his patrol watch was black males.
    "This is not meant to be at all offensive: You suffer from diarrhea of the mouth but constipation of the brain." - McJag

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    Elite Member Brookie's Avatar
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    I hope there's some plan to arrest this guy in the near future. I signed the petition too, but so far the outrage in the rest of the country isn't proving enough. His family is devastated; this was a good kid.
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    What a sickening story. God I hope he doesn't get away with it.

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    Elite Member Lalique's Avatar
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    Sad and disgusting. This poor kid was murdered because of his skin color.
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    Justice Department Now Launching Investigation

    Responding to an international petition, celebrity tweets, and spreading public outrage, the Justice Department opened an investigation on Monday into the shooting of a black teenager by a neighborhood watch captain who escaped arrest.

    More than 435,000 people, many alerted by tweets from celebrities like movie director Spike Lee and musician Wyclef Jean, signed a petition on Change.org, a social action website, calling for the arrest of the shooter, George Zimmerman.

    The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the FBI announced swiftly that they have opened an investigation into the shooting in Florida of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, who was unarmed when he was killed.

    “The department will conduct a thorough and independent review of all of the evidence and take appropriate action at the conclusion of the investigation,” the Justice Department said in a statement.

    The campaign to draw attention to the case is the third largest in Change.org’s history, and surpassed a petition of about 300,000 signatures credited last year with persuading Bank of America to drop plans for a $5 debit card fee, said Megan Lubin, a Change.org spokeswoman.

    The victim’s family lawyer, Ben Crump, said public pressure was behind an earlier promise by the Justice Department to review the case. And some Florida legislators are moving to consider a change in the law to prevent a recurrence.

    “People all over the world, more than 400,000 people, said we demand you make an arrest. That’s what is building pressure to look at it,” Crump said.

    The shooting occurred February 26 when Zimmerman spotted Martin walking home from buying candy and iced tea at a convenience store.

    Zimmerman, patrolling the neighborhood in his car, called the 911 emergency number and reported what he called “a real suspicious guy.”

    “This guy looks like he’s up to no good, or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about,” Zimmerman told dispatchers.

    The dispatcher, hearing heavy breathing on the phone, asked Zimmerman: “Are you following him?”

    “Yeah,” Zimmerman said.

    “Okay, we don’t need you to do that,” the dispatcher responded.

    But several neighbors subsequently called 911 to report a scuffle between Zimmerman and Martin. While some of the callers were still on the phone, cries for help followed by a gunshot can be heard in the background.

    “I recognized that [voice] as my baby screaming for help before his life was taken,” Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, told Reuters.

    “STAND YOUR GROUND”

    Police declined to arrest Zimmerman, and turned the case over to prosecutors where it remains under review. Police cited Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, enacted in 2005 and now in effect in at least 16 other states.

    Dubbed “Shoot first (ask questions later)" by opponents, the Florida law allows a potential crime victim who is “in fear of great bodily injury” to use deadly force in public places.

    The landmark law expanded on legislation, known as the Castle Doctrine, that allowed use of deadly force in defense of “hearth and home.” Passed under former Florida Governor Jeb Bush in 2005, it overturned a centuries-old doctrine that required the potential victim to retreat and avoid confrontation if possible, according to Ladd Everitt, spokesman for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, a Washington-based advocacy group.

    “No one could argue that Zimmerman could not have safely retreated and avoided this conflict, and I think that is the critical element here and why these laws are so dangerous,” Everitt said. “He (Zimmerman) does not have a duty to retreat in Florida.”

    Crump said Zimmerman should not be protected under the Stand Your Ground law. “It’s illogical, you can claim self defense after you chase and pursue somebody,” he said. “That’s a courtroom defense. That’s not something the police accept on the side of the street.”

    Five years after Florida’s Stand Your Ground law was enacted, a 2010 review by the St. Petersburg Times found that reports of justifiable homicides had tripled, and a majority of cases were excused by prosecutors or the courts. Meanwhile, the petition drive, started by a friend of Trayvon’s mother, has been signed by people across the globe from Canada to Thailand, Lubin said.

    Celebrity tweets over the weekend made #Trayvon a trending topic on Twitter, she said. Additional celebrities tweeting and posting on Facebook about the case include singers Clay Aiken and John Legend, film director Michael Moore and actress Mia Farrow.

    “This is a great moment for the entire nation to become educated in these Stand Your Ground laws,” Everitt said. “It’s unbelievably dangerous and really takes us to a situation where the rule of law is beginning to erode on our streets and vigilantism is being actively encouraged by these laws.”
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    Elite Member greysfang's Avatar
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    Good, but isn't anyone going to bring up the poor kid's name, because that's tragic too.
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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    I hope he get life in prison. I think this will go to trial. Those poor parents! Thsi is heartbreaking.
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    OMG that poor little boy! I can't imagine what his family is going through.
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    Elite Member MontanaMama's Avatar
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    I've been following this story for a while and I just cannot wrap my mind around Florida's laws. There's not a lot about Florida that I understand, but this has the law so ass backwards that it's mind boggling.

    Here's the best take (not sure if the video will imbed or not, but it's worth checking out).


    "When I say the name Trayvon Martin, does it mean anything to you?" Melissa Harris-Perry asked her MSNBC audience on Saturday. "If it doesn't, it should."

    Harris-Perry then took some time to explain who Trayvon Martin is: a 17-year-old, unarmed black teenager who was allegedly shot and killed by a man in Florida in late February, after the man saw him walking down a street and thought he looked suspicious. The case has attracted substantial attention, in part because the man, George Zimmerman, has admitted to shooting Martin but has not been arrested or charged with any crime.

    She played portions of the 911 call Zimmerman made to police, where he said that "something was wrong" with Martin, that he seemed to be "on drugs" and was "walking around and looking about."
    "Walking around and looking about," Harris-Perry said. "That's what Zimmerman found so suspicious about Trayvon."
    Zimmerman then followed Martin, and an altercation allegedly ensued. Harris-Perry pointed out that it is unclear what exactly happened between the two men — other 911 calls record screams that neighbors say were made by Martin — but that Zimmerman has remained free because of a law that allows people to use "deadly force" if they think their lives are in danger.

    "Laws like that make modern-day vigilantism that can have these kind of tragic consequences," she said. "Too many young black men are losing their lives to mistaken identity and overzealous assumptions about their criminal intent."
    Harris-Perry closed the segment with a forceful plea to her audience.

    "Despite Zimmerman having injuries consistent with self-defense, he also had a gun," she said. "Trayvon had a bag of Skittles. His name is Trayvon Martin. When innocent children are killed, when their parents are left to wonder if their children's lives matter at all, at least we can remember their names."

    Melissa Harris-Perry On Trayvon Martin Killing: Remember His Name (VIDEO)

    There are also a whole bunch of other stories at the link.
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    Default Florida Shooting Focuses Attention on ‘Stand Your Ground’ Law

    Trevor Dooley stood his ground, brandished his gun and killed a man after an argument over local skateboarding rules in a Florida town.

    He argued in court last month that he had a right to do so under the state’s Stand Your Ground law.

    Outrage over the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, killed by a crime watch volunteer, has focused new attention on the law, which permits those in Florida “to meet force with force, including deadly force” when attacked. As my colleague Lizette Alvarez reports, the Justice Department is pursuing an investigation into Trayvon’s case.

    As that investigation goes forward, the law is currently being invoked as a key defense by Mr. Dooley.

    The man he killed, David James, had been playing basketball with his 8-year-old daughter in September 2010 when he and Mr. Dooley began arguing over whether a boy on a skateboard had a right to ride on the court, according to an account in The St. Petersburg Times. There was a “physical confrontation,” the police said, during which Mr. Dooley fired the weapon he was carrying, killing Mr. James in front of his daughter.

    “You agree you do not want to go to prison for killing David James?” he was asked at the trial, according to televised footage from the courtroom.

    “I don’t think I should,” responded Mr. Dooley, who has been charged with manslaughter but says he feared for his life during the altercation with Mr. James.

    His lawyers are seeking to have the case dismissed by a judge on the grounds that the Stand Your Ground law permitted him to defend himself with deadly force.

    The law extends what has been called the Castle Doctrine — that a person has the right to defend his or her home with force — to apply to people outside of the home, removing the so-called “duty to retreat.” The Florida law explicitly states that no such duty exists in the state. The provision appears as part of the Florida law on the justifiable use of force by citizens.
    A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.
    The National Rifle Association lobbied strongly for the change to state law, which was adopted in 2005 and signed by Gov. Jeb Bush. Mr. Bush said at the time that he supported the measure because, faced with a serious threat one’s life, “to have to retreat and put yourself in a very precarious position defies common sense.”

    In the years since the law was amended in 2005, there has been a surge in the number of cases like Mr. Dooley’s and that of Trayvon Martin, killed by the neighborhood volunteer, George Zimmerman, last month. A 2010 review by The St. Petersburg Times found that rates of justifiable homicide tripled since the law was passed and that “twice a week, on average, someone’s killing was considered warranted.”

    The paper reviewed press accounts of 93 cases involving 65 deaths in confrontations in which the new law could be applied and found that 57 of them resulted in no criminal charge or trial. In seven others that went to trial, the defendants were then acquitted.

    In these cases, the Florida Supreme Court recognizes something called “true immunity.” That means, according to Emily Bazelon in Slate, that the assertion of the Stand Your Ground law can be enough for a judge to dismiss a case before trial even starts.

    A columnist writing in The Orlando Sentinel said the law made Florida feel “more and more like the Wild West.” But it is far from unique; more than a dozen states have similar Stand Your Ground provisions.

    The Orlando Sentinel published a primer on the law last weekend, answering some frequently asked questions including:
    Q: How did law enforcement respond to the law?
    A: Prosecutors across the state opposed the law before it was enacted Oct. 1, 2005. In the following five months, there were at least 13 shootings in Central Florida where self-defense was claimed. Out of six men killed and four more wounded in the cases, only one was armed. Some Orlando-area police agencies simply stopped investigating shootings involving self-defense claims and referred them directly to state prosecutors to decide.


    Q: Can an unarmed person legally pose a deadly threat?
    In case after case during the past six years, Floridians who shot and killed unarmed opponents have not been prosecuted. Former National Rifle Association President Marion Hammer, a major force behind the law’s passage, cited her own size and age in 2006 interview with the Sentinel about what she would do if confronted by a younger and larger aggressor.
    “I’m 4-foot-11. I’m 67 years old,” she said. “If you came at me, and I felt that my life was in danger or that I was going to be injured, I wouldn’t hesitate to shoot you.”
    The law may explain why local police did not charge Mr. Zimmerman for killing Trayvon. But further details may cast doubt on the circumstances of their encounter and whether it would fall under the law’s provisions.

    A female friend of Trayvon talked to him by cellphone moments before he died. “He said this man was watching him, so he put his hoodie on. He said he lost the man,” the girl told ABC News. “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.” A call to 911 by Mr. Zimmerman also appeared to indicate that he followed Trayvon.

    Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote on his blog for The Atlantic magazine that “the more I see of this, the less I think ‘Stand Your Ground’ will save Zimmerman.”



    Florida Shooting Focuses Attention on 'Stand Your Ground' Law - NYTimes.com
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    Super Moderator twitchy2.0's Avatar
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    Five years after Florida’s Stand Your Ground law was enacted, a 2010 review by the St. Petersburg Times found that reports of justifiable homicides had tripled, and a majority of cases were excused by prosecutors or the courts.
    everyone should have the right to defend themselves but something is really wrong with this law if it's affected statistics to this extent. What a fabulous excuse to kill someone and get away with it.
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