BREAKING: Department of Justice to Investigate Death of Trayvon Martin
UPDATE, MARCH 19
OFFICIAL DOJ STATEMENT IN THE TRAYVON MARTIN CASE: “The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida, and the FBI opened an investigation into the facts and circumstances of the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. 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 department also is providing assistance to and cooperating with the state officials in their investigation into the incident. With all federal civil rights crimes, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person acted intentionally and with the specific intent to do something which the law forbids – the highest level of intent in criminal law. Negligence, recklessness, mistakes and accidents are not prosecutable under the federal criminal civil rights laws. The Community Relations Service will be in Sanford, Fla., this week to meet with civil rights leaders, community leaders, and local law enforcement to address tension in the community.”
Six days ago I wrote here about the senseless murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, in Sanford, Florida, on February 26.
Along with his father, Trayvon was visiting his father’s girlfriend in a gated community near Orlando, FL, when he left during halftime of the NBA All-Star Game to get a bag of Skittles for his younger brother. When Martin returned into the community, with the candy and a soda, Neighborhood Watch captain George Zimmerman, 28, began to trail him. When police arrived, they found Martin dead.
At the time, without the 911 tapes, it was impossible to ascertain exactly what had happened.
But late Friday, Sanford police released a series of tapes from the last moments of Trayvon’s life.
Trayvon Martin Terrified As He Tried To Escape His Murderer
Calls made to police show that the black teenager was terrified as he tried to get away from the white neighborhood watch volunteer who shot him, and that the volunteer was not defending himself as he has claimed, the teen’s family told The Associated Press on Saturday.
Far from shedding light on why police have not arrested the shooter, crime-watch volunteer George Zimmerman, the tapes have fueled even more rage, not just in Central Florida, but across the country.
Zimmerman tells a dispatcher in the first call that he is following 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. He says Martin is running, but the dispatcher tells him not to follow the teen.
Zimmerman Pursues The Boy, Even After Dispatchers Tell Him Not To
But in a call to the Police Department’s non-emergency line, Zimmerman can be heard pursuing the boy, even after dispatchers tell him not to.
From The Washington Post:
“This guy looks like he is up to no good. He is on drugs or something,” Zimmerman told the dispatcher from his SUV. He added that the black teen had his hand in his waistband and was walking around looking at homes.
“These a——-. They always get away,” Zimmerman said on a 911 call.
He has said he acted in self-defense, but Martin’s family said they are now more convinced than ever that Zimmerman should be charged in the shooting. Several of the 911 calls made by neighbors describe some sort of scuffle or fight outside, someone yelling for help and a gunshot.
“(Zimmerman) was chasing him, he was following him, and my son was afraid,” Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin’s mother, told the AP. “He didn’t know who this stranger was.”
Tracy Martin said the calls paint a stark picture of what were his son’s final moments.
“He was yelling for help, and no one could help him. He saw his life being taken away from him,” Tracy Martin said.
The case has been turned over to the State Attorney’s Office, which can decide whether to file charges or present evidence to a grand jury.
Why Has Zimmerman Not Been Arrested?
Police said they hoped releasing the 911 calls surrounding the altercation and shooting would help clarify why they didn’t arrest Zimmerman. He has said he acted in self-defense, but Zimmerman had the gun, and Martin has skittles. Self-defense against candy?
If this were reversed, and a black man were suspected of killing a white man, that black man would surely have been arrested long ago.
It’s been more than 17 days, and no arrest has been made.
If you consider this outrageous, please sign our petition demanding the arrest of Trayvon Martin’s killer. And spread the word. We won’t give up until Zimmerman is charged with the 17-year-old’s slaying.
You can hear some of the 911 calls here:
Photo Credit: screenshot from abcnews.com