The story of how Trayvon Martin died, and how his killer is walking away without being charged with a crime, has the potential to explode into a swell of racial tension and acrimony. According to ABC News, on February 26, Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old high school junior, was walking home while holding a can of iced tea and a bag of Skittles.
George Zimmerman, a neighbourhood watchman, followed Martin from his SUV and called 911 to report Martin as suspicious, according to WKMG.
A few minutes later, Zimmerman chased Martin and shot him twice, killing him. Zimmerman does not dispute any of these facts, according to reports, but he says he acted in self-defence.
Local Sanford, Florida police questioned Zimmerman, but released him without charge, reports ABC.
The outrage is starting to be shared across the country.
Martin’s family has told the media that they do not believe their son would have been followed, shot, or killed if he were white, and many are inclined to believe that is true.
After fury over the incident and the handling of it began to boil this weekend, police released the audio from seven 911 tapes related to the shooting. You can hear all the 911 calls related to the incident here, courtesy of WKMG.
“This guy looks like he’s up to no good, on drugs or something,” said Zimmerman to the 911 operator. Zimmerman described Martin and his behaviour. At one point you can hear Zimmerman exiting the car to pursue Martin, and the 911 dispatcher tells him, “We don’t need you to do that.” According to the Daily Mail, Martin’s parents said after hearing an audio they are more convinced then ever that a crime took place.
“You hear a shot, a clear shot, then you hear a 17-year-old boy begging for his life,” said Natalie Jackson, the family attorney. “Then you hear a second shot.”
According to ABC News, George Zimmerman, 28 had appointed himself neighbourhood Watch captain and had called 911 50 times recently, mostly with false alarms.
Further, Sanford police did not test him for drugs or alcohol, even though that is standard procedure in homicide cases.
And now the FBI is getting involved, according to the Chicago Tribune.
A hearing on the matter is scheduled for later today, according to CBS News.
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