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March 14, 2012

“These a**holes... They always get away.”

On February 26th, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was an invited guest staying with his stepmother in a gated community in Sanford, Florida. During halftime of the NBA all-star game that evening, Martin walked to a local convenience store to get some snacks. Little did he know he was being followed by George Zimmerman, 28, the self-appointed “captain” of the neighborhood watch program. Zimmerman, who is white, had been tailing the young African-American in his car because he felt Martin was “a suspicious person.” At some point, Zimmerman called 911. He told a dispatcher, "This guy looks like he is up to no good. He is on drugs or something," and said that he was going to detain Martin because “These a**holes... They always get away.” The dispatcher told Zimmerman that a unit was being dispatched to the scene and asked Zimmerman to refrain from approaching Martin.

Zimmerman ignored this direction. He got out of his car and pursued Martin between two rows of townhouses. A fistfight broke out. When police arrived on the scene minutes later, they found Martin dying face down in the grass. In his hands were a bag of Skittles and a can of iced tea. He had been shot in the chest by Zimmerman, a concealed handgun permit holder who was armed that night, with a 9mm pistol.

If Zimmerman saw anything “suspicious” that night beyond an African-American walking through a gated community in a hooded sweatshirt, he never said. He was detained by the police, but after he claimed he acted in self-defense in killing the unarmed Martin (who he outweighed by 20 pounds), Zimmerman was released without charge. Martin’s family and their attorney were told by Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee that Zimmerman avoided arrest because he had a “squeaky clean” criminal record.

That statement was fraudulent. It has since been revealed that Zimmerman was arrested in 2005 for resisting arrest with violence and battery on a law enforcement officer. The case was dismissed after Zimmerman attended a pre-trial diversion program and a deal was made with his attorney to get the case dropped. In addition, police have fielded complaints from members of Zimmerman’s gated community about his aggressive conduct in the neighborhood. According to Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump, “[The Sanford Police Department] just lied to the 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.”

Martin, on the other hand, was squeaky clean. An avid sports fan and horseback rider, he dreamed of attending college and becoming an aviation mechanic. His family still recalls the boy’s heroics at age nine, when he dragged his father from a burning kitchen. After the shooting, his father described his son as “a dear friend.”

The reluctance of the Sanford Police Department to arrest Zimmerman probably has something to do with Florida’s outrageous “Stand Your Ground” law. The law removes the duty of individuals to retreat from a confrontation and allows them to use deadly force if they reasonably believe that it is necessary to prevent death or “great bodily harm.” “Stand Your Ground” legislation was enacted in 2005 after being championed in the Florida state legislature by National Rifle Association lobbyist Marion Hammer. In support of the law, Hammer said, “Through time, in this country, what I like to call bleeding heart criminal coddlers want you to give a criminal an even break, so that when you're attacked, you're supposed to turn around and run, rather than standing your ground and protecting yourself and your family and your property.” But critics in Florida’s legal community dubbed it the “Shoot First” law and said that it “encourages people to stand their ground ... when they could just as easily walk away.” It has also been pointed out that the law “give[s] citizens more rights to use deadly force than we give police officers, and with less review.” A report by the South Florida Sun Sentinel vindicated these complaints, concluding, “several...accused murderers have successfully used [Florida’s] 2005 ‘Stand Your Ground’ law to prove they were the real victims.”

Three things are obvious to everyone: 1) Trayvon Martin was not a criminal; 2) George Zimmerman was not protecting either his property or family on the evening of February 26th, and; 3) Not only could Zimmerman have walked away that night; he actively sought out this conflict when told not to do so by law enforcement. No civilian gun-toter has a right to stand above the rule of law and serve as another human being’s judge, jury and executioner.

As of today, George Zimmerman remains a free man, with carte blanche to carry a loaded gun in public. Meanwhile, Trayvon’s family continues to mourn. "That was my baby, my youngest son," his mother Sybrina Fulton told ABC News. "He meant a lot to me, I don't think the police department really understands that ... I need justice for my family, I just want justice for my son."

If you’d like to help the Martin family, please do so by signing this online petition that calls on Florida’s 18th District State's Attorney to prosecute George Zimmerman for this murder.

[Audio clips of 911 calls made on the night of the murder can be heard here.]


  1. Florida scares this sh!t out of me, and the rest of the country is quickly following.

  2. Boy strength is no match for adult man strength & weight, especially when giving up 100 pounds and the fact Zimmerman was armed and aggresive. I'm sure the boy feared for his life. Thus the reason he was heard screaming for help. The photos show Martin for the innocent child that he was.

  3. I hope this brings to light the ridiculous danger of the so-called Stand Your Ground law. This boy was murdered and that's all there is to it.


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