Police Car Shot Up in Trayvon Martin’s Neighborhood [ABC News, via Southern Poverty Law Center]
A backlash has been growing, though, with distinct racist undertones.
In Detroit, far from the Florida town where Martin was shot and killed, drivers were shocked on Sunday to see an electronic highway sign with the word “Trayvon” followed by a racial slur. The offensive message was quickly erased.
At Ohio State University last week the words “Long Live Zimmerman” were scrawled across the side of the Frank W. Hale Jr. Black Cultural Center, a part of the university’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
“It’s a hate crime,” Larry Williamson Jr., director of the Hale center, told ABC News. “Some people see it as just graffiti but if you see something done in such a negative way, you’re going to have a community that feels hate.”
In Sanford, where the shooting took place, the specter of racism is ubiquitous.
A group of armed neo-Nazis from the National Socialist Movement have descended upon the town, touting their intention to patrol the town to protect whites against a race riot.
“We are not the type of white people who are going to be walked all over,” Commander Jeff Schoep of the National Socialist Movement told The Miami NewTimes.
Trayvon Martin: The 9 Most Striking Cartoons about the Tragedy [Washington Post]
-A refreshingly honest response-Julia
Some readers of Rob Rogers, the editorial cartoonist for the city’s Post-Gazette, are upset that in commenting on the fatal shooting of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, the artist has invoked the visceral imagery of a lynching, and has delivered his opinion by drawing the boy’s shooter, George Zimmerman, in the clothes of a Klansman.
Rogers stands staunchly behind his illustrated editorial.
“The killing of African American teenager Trayvon Martin by neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman in Florida last month was not an act of self-defense,” Rogers tells Comic Riffs, noting that Martin was unarmed, toting only iced tea and Skittles. “Zimmerman had a history of reporting black males to the police. I believe he is a racist who was acting out his racism in the name of neighborhood watch.
“Now he is using Florida’s ‘stand your ground’ law as an excuse for his racist violence,” Rogers continues, adding that “many feel the actions by the local police [in Sanford] were also racist.”
Prosecutor in Martin Case Will Alone Determine Its Merits [New York Times]
Unless investigators find witnesses or direct evidence of the confrontation preceding Mr. Martin’s death, such as signs of a struggle, prosecutors would have to build a circumstantial case, often the hardest to make. In high-profile cases, the constitutional principle of the presumption of innocence can be especially strong — another reason to proceed with care, according to legal experts.
Florida criminal law, like most states, does not require a rush to file charges in such a case, Mr. Friedman said; the statute of limitations in manslaughter cases is measured in years, not weeks. Mr. Friedman, a former prosecutor, said that it served no one to take a defendant to trial before the evidence for a conviction could be collected; a prosecutor, he said, has “an ethical obligation” to build and believe in a case that can be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.
Once the evidence is in hand, Ms. Corey will have to determine not just whether to file charges but if so, which ones. By stating that she will not be using the grand jury, she has signaled that charges of first-degree murder are not on the table. In Florida, those charges can be issued only by a grand jury, and require a finding that the act was premeditated. A more likely charge under Florida law is manslaughter, but lesser charges like aggravated battery with a firearm are also a possibility, Mr. Friedman said.
Trayvon Martin Resolution Introduced by Congressional Black Caucus [Huffington Post]
The Congressional Black Caucus unveiled a resolution on Wednesday that honors the life of Trayvon Martin and calls for the repeal of “Stand Your Ground” gun laws in every state that has one, including Florida, where Martin was killed.
“Florida’s misguided ‘Stand Your Ground’ law does not make our streets safer, rather it turns our streets into a showdown at the OK Corral,” Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.), a sponsor of the resolution, said in a statement. “But this is not the Wild West. We are supposed to be a civilized society. Let Trayvon’s death not be for naught. Let us honor his life by righting this wrong, and seeing that justice is served for Trayvon and his family. George Zimmerman must be prosecuted for his admitted shooting of Trayvon Martin and the ‘Stand Your Ground’ law must be repealed.”
Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.), who represents Martin’s district, said Congress should pass the resolution because his death “speaks to the reality that racial profiling still exists in America.”
The resolution, symbolic but not legally binding, indirectly criticizes the National Rifle Association for pushing Stand Your Ground state laws around the country. It also calls on state legislatures to reject similar legislation and “urges the repeal of the Stand Your Ground law in every applicable state, including Florida.”