Killing of Trayvon Martin Becomes A National Story About Race

~Mark Memmott

Now that 911 recordings show how a white Florida man continued to follow a 17-year-old black boy even after police advised him not to — and captured the sound of the man killing the unarmed youth with a shot to the chest — Trayvon Martin’s family wants the FBI to take over the investigation into his killing.


The gunman says it was an act of self defense during a Neighborhood Watch patrol.

But, “I just want answers from the police department about what happened with my son,” Trayvon’s mother, Sabrina Fulton, said during a tearful news conference on Friday. And as NPR’s Joel Rose reported on Morning Edition, the family “has lost faith in the Sanford [Fla.] police department.”

There’s a rally planned today in Sanford, Fla., to bring more attention to what has now become a national debate about what may have been a case of racial profiling that turned deadly.

If you’re just catching up on this story, Joel’s Morning Edition report wraps up the news so far and includes portions of those 911 recordings (note: the content could be disturbing to some).

And our colleagues at WMFE sum up how the story began this way:

“Seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin of Miami, was walking from a convenience store to the home of a family friend in a gated community in Sanford on Feb. 26th. He was confronted by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman. Zimmerman called police to report a suspicious person but before police arrived, the two struggled and Zimmerman shot and killed the teenager. Community members are demanding Zimmerman’s arrest but Sanford Police say they don’t have sufficient evidence to dispute his claims of self defense.”

At the Orlando Sentinel, which has extensive coverage, there’s a story that notes how — beyond the issue of profiling — “if George Zimmerman didn’t break every rule in the book when it comes to Neighborhood Watch programs, he came close. … Zimmerman was armed. He was alone. And while waiting for police, he somehow got into a fight with the person he thought suspicious. All three of those actions are strongly discouraged by the National Sheriffs’ Association, which oversees about 20,000 Neighborhood Watch programs.”

Zimmerman has not been charged with a crime. According to The Associated Press, “in the months leading up to the shooting, [he] had called police numerous times to report incidents.”

Trayvon’s parents have put an online petition on, looking for support in their call for Zimmerman to be charged.

Source: NPR

One Reply to “Killing of Trayvon Martin Becomes A National Story About Race”

  1. Thank you Shaeri for a wonderful post. I would add that after Awareness comes Action. I will use elmsyf as example. After 911 I was afraid of our Middle Eastern Community in Florida. Before they were just a group of people that kept to themselves . Or maybe I would say I kept to elmsyf But after 911 I had suspicion and pre judged every one of them. They were all potential terrorists. The absurdity of my fears were reflected back to me when my own Korean daughter was the target of hate emails and remarks because high school students(after 911) mistook her as Middle Eastern. In their ignorance of her as Asian they lumped her into a group along with her girlfriend who was from India who also was a target. Anyone not like white was subject to be pre judged. My daughter and I attended Ramadan and invited Muslim friens to dinner.Friendships grew and fears dispersed. I too had believed that a few bad men represented all Muslims. (not for long but long enough to not like what was happening to me) These were not fears of my parents. These were my created beliefs. As we identify with Awareness our prejudices we can ask ourselves, is this mine or did I learn it from a real experience or my parents messages. Then after awareness we can make an action plan to build a bridge. After the bridge is built the false ideas that we can’t see at first become the water below our bridge flowing away. Then love can travel with ease from one person to another and we can see that we are all connected. We are all really one.

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