On February 26th, 2012 Trayvon Martin (left) was murdered by George Zimmerman (right) in Sanford, Florida. Trayvon Martin was a 17 year old African American male and George Zimmerman is a Hispanic American (White father / Hispanic mother). This case has ignited incredible racial tension throughout the United States. When this story first surfaced, George Zimmerman was quoted saying, "I admit, personally, I thought it would blow over."
At the time of the shooting, George Zimmerman was a neighborhood watchman hired by the homeowners association. Zimmerman was not an actual police officer. Zimmerman, however, owned a gun and had a license to carry it. Neighborhood watchmen were encourage to not carry guns, but Zimmerman was permitted to do so by state law.
Zimmerman observed Trayvon Martin walking in a gated community with his hood up and and one hand in his pocket. Martin had his hood up, because on this particular day in Sanford, Florida, it was very cold and rainy. Zimmerman notified the Sanford Police Department of Martin. During the 911 Call, the police department advised Zimmerman to stop following him and that they would take care of it. Zimmerman replied, "OK." He did not stop following him, however. Martin began to run and Zimmerman still followed.
Trayvon Martin was also on the phone with his girlfriend. He was telling her that he was being followed by a strange man. The girlfriend overheard Martin saying to the strange man, "What are you following me for?" According to the girlfriend, Martin was then pushed by this man and the phone call was ended. She tried to reach him, but could not.
After finally catching up to Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin only 70 yards from the home he was staying (his father's fiancee's home). Zimmerman claims that he killed Trayvon Martin out of self-defense. Zimmerman noticed that Trayvon ran and had "his hands tucked near his belt." This must mean probable cause to shoot and kill someone. Turns out, Trayvon Martin had a bag of Skittles and a can of Arizona Iced Tea.
When police arrived on the scene, George Zimmerman was arrested and brought to the police department. He was later released because he said he shot and killed Trayvon Martin because of self-defense purposes. Because there was not evidence against this claim, the police department released Zimmerman.
Zimmerman's lawyer claims that Zimmerman "suffered a broken nose and a gash to the back of his head."
A witness (I found in this Article) said that George Zimmerman did not try to help Trayvon Martin after he shot him. The witness said that Zimmerman stood over his body with a leg on either side of him and jammed both of his hands into his back, pushing him into the pavement. The witness said that Zimmerman did not turn Martin over to perform CPR or anything to help him out.
My problem with this case is that George Zimmerman was not even a police officer. He was a neighborhood watchmen; an inexperienced, uneducated person that should not have a gun on him during surveillance, let alone using it on a 17 year old boy that is running from him. If Trayvon Martin is RUNNING, he is not fighting back (his self-defense claim).
This case is similar to Tennessee v. Garner that reached the Supreme Court in 1985. In that case, a 15 year old kid burglarized a house, tried to flee, and was shot in the head by the police. The boy was found with $10 and a purse that he stole from the house he was found in. This boy was killed by a police officer after committing a felony. Trayvon Martin was killed by a neighborhood watchmen after BUYING an iced tea and Skittles.
In my opinion, George Zimmerman deserves to go to prison. He used unnecessary force in the wrong situation. He was ordered to stop pursuing Trayvon Martin by the Sanford Police Department and he continued to pursue him. George Zimmerman will not go in front a grand jury, however. Angela Corey will handle the prosecution in Zimmerman's case so I guess we will have to wait and see what happens to George Zimmerman.