By Zohal Sharif, Courier Opinion Editor
When 17-year-old Travyon Martin decided to make a quick run to 7/11, he asked his little brother what he wanted from the store. His brother told him that he wanted Skittles. Who would have fathomed that this would be the last exchange that the pair would have?
While returning home from the store, Martin was spotted by a resident in his father’s gated community in Sanford, Fl. 911 was called an alerted to a suspicious person by George Zimmerman, leader of the neighborhood watch. By the time the police arrived to the scene, the teenager was dead from a single gunshot wound to the chest.
This incident occurred on February 26th. To date, Zimmerman has not been charged with the murder of the teen. “Lack of evidence,” is the official reasoning that the Sanford Police Department has given as to why Zimmerman, the only other person involved in the situation, hasn’t been charged.
Zimmerman called the police when he saw a suspicious person in the gated community. We’re not going to avoid the 600-pound elephant in the room. Zimmerman thought Trayvon Martin was suspicious because he was a black teenager walking around after dark. Why would Martin not think he could walk to the store and back home without being questioned? His father lived there.
Global Grind, who spoke to the family’s lawyer, Ben Crump feared that Zimmerman would be allowed to walk by claiming self-defense despite likely going against police order.
Crump said the family was concerned that police might decide to consider the shooting as self defense, and that police have ignored the family’s request for a copy of the original 911 call, which they think will shed light on the incidents.
Family spokesman Ryan Julison said, "If the 911 protocol across the country held to form here, they told him not to get involved. He disobeyed that order.”
Its being reported that there was an altercation. When you have an overzealous Neighborhood Watch captain [for all intensive purposes, he can be imagined as the aggressive rent-a-cop at the mall] and a young man who believes he’s in no way wrong for walking to the store.
Any way you look at the situation, Zimmerman was wrong. Wrong for assuming that a black man was out of place in his community. Wrong for calling the police. Wrong for not following the instruction that the police likely gave him. Wrong for confronting the kid. Wrong for getting into a fight with him. And definitely wrong for shooting him in the chest.
This can’t simply swept under the rug. A young man is dead because of this guy’s actions. To do anything but charge the man with murder is perpetuating the thought that a black man’s life is expendable. What kind of message is that to send to young men every where? What kind of message is that to send to young Chad Martin? For him to know that his brother just went to grab an Arizona and some skittles and ended up dead and the man who killed him is potentially getting off scot-free?
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Rest in Peace, Trayvon Martin. We will not let this go.