They came, thousands upon thousands in lockstep – black, white, Latino, Asian, rich and poor – most of them draped in hoodies and all in the common purpose of identifying with Trayvon Martin.
The countless of heartbroken but vociferous protesters who convened in New York City’s Union Square Park on Wednesday for the “Million Hoodie March” in honor of the slain Florida teen joined the nearly million others in voice and spirit that have pledged their commitment to justice for Martin via signature at Change.org.
Martin, 17, was shot to death by self-appointed neighborhood crime watch captain George Zimmerman three weeks ago as he walked to the gated community residence of his father’s home simply because the trigger-happy, volunteer patrolman thought his dark hoodie and pensive stroll struck him as “suspicious.”
Even though police instructed the impulsive 28-year-old to cease with following the unsuspecting high school teen, Zimmerman continued to do so, and within minutes of uttering to a police dispatcher that “these a–holes always get away,” young Martin lay dead of a single gunshot blast to the chest.
“Our son is your son,” Sabrina Fulton, Martin’s grief-stricken and teary-eyed mother, told the overflowing NYC crowd. “We have to stand up for justice. This is not a black and white thing. This is a right and wrong thing. That was my baby’s voice on those tapes begging for his life … Every mother knows the sound of their child’s voice.”
Event and InterOccupy.org affiliated-organizer David Maree certainly could relate.
“I lived in Florida for two years in Gainesville,” said Maree, reflecting on the parallels he painfully came to internalize via his own experiences there and those of which Martin ultimately came to lose his life as a result. “I would be driving alone at night and would get stopped by the police for no other reason than being an African-American man in a predominantly white, gated community.”
“I think all of us at some point – black, white, Hispanic, Asian – have been suspected of being something we’re not,” Maree added. “In times like these, as a nation, we can all come together and take action.”
Midway thru the NYC rally, the crowd grew even more energized when word spread that the Sanford City Commission, bolstered by a negative vote from town Mayor Jeff Triplett, had officially recorded a vote of no-confidence in embattled town Police Chief Bill Lee.
Lee and the Sanford police department have been roundly criticized for their handling of the case, particularly in the instance where one witness now says countless attempts were made by officers to persuade her to change her story about hearing the teen plead and scream for help and instead agree to their assertion that the voice she heard was that of Zimmerman.
In addition, even though Martin’s 16-year-old girlfriend was on the phone talking to him throughout much of his encounter with Zimmerman, police have yet to interview or even speak with her.
The U.S. Department of Justice has since announced it will be taking the reins in the investigation and the local State’s Attorney Office has convened a grand jury panel, slated for Tuesday, April 10, to weigh the evidence.
All this comes on the heels of reports Anthony Raimondo, the detective initially assigned to oversee the case, has long been mired in his own brand of controversy. Raimondo has three validated misconduct complaints during his career and another one pending. Two years ago in 2010, he initially declined to arrest the son of a former police lieutenant and the grandson of a one-time Florida judge captured on videotape sucker-punching and breaking the nose of a homeless man.
Only after the video began …..
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