Friday, March 09, 2012

If This Young Man Was White, Would He Still Be Alive?

Photo Credit: hsivonen
In a central Florida community not far from where I live, a young African American man was killed apparently for WWB (Walking While Black). Trayvon Martin, who was in from south Florida visiting his father's fiancée and her family, was killed by a man who is head of the neighborhood watch group in the community in which Trayvon was visiting.

The Orlando Sentinel shares some of the story:
"At the news conference, the family's lawyers said Trayvon was simply walking back to the apartment he was visiting when Zimmerman, a man with no legal authority to detain him, confronted and killed him. 
[Family lawyer Benjamin] Crump called Zimmerman a "loose cannon" and accused him of shooting Martin in "cold blood." Zimmerman, who is white, had spotted Trayvon, who is black, in his gated community about 7:15 p.m. and called Sanford police on a non-emergency number, saying he'd just seen a suspicious person, both sides agreed. 
That call then ended and police dispatched an officer. Before the officer arrived, the department received several other 911 calls from people complaining about two men fighting and a gunshot. Both sides agree that Trayvon and Zimmerman scuffled before the shooting, and there is evidence to corroborate Zimmerman's self defense claims, the chief said. 
When police arrived, an officer overheard Zimmerman complain, "'I was yelling for someone to help me but no one would help me,'" according to an incident report released Thursday. It also noted that, the back of Zimmerman's shirt was wet and had grass clippings on it, as if he'd been on his back on the ground. On one recorded 911 call, the police chief said, "You can hear the struggle and the gunshot." 
At the news conference, the family's attorneys said there was nothing suspicious about Trayvon and no reason for Zimmerman to follow him. Martin was an invited guest, visiting his father's fiancée and her family for a few days, they said. He had visited before, and it was a community with black and minority residents."
As much progress as we've made in this country in regard to race relations, there are still reminders like the tragic loss of this young man that demonstrate that we have yet to arrive. We don't know yet exactly what happened in this situation but if initial indications prove true, then this may turn out to be yet another example of an innocent young man losing his life for no apparent reason.

To read more of the Sentinel's report on this developing story please click here.


Unknown said...

This makes me want to sad!

Ugena Moses said...

This is a real tragedy. The current situation of race relations in America really needs continued prayer and action. My heart goes out to the family and friends of Trayvon.