Many are outraged as the heart-rending death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin has touched viewers nationally. Friday evening, Sanford, Florida police released 911 recordings of calls made by Martin’s shooter, George Zimmerman, and by frantic neighbors who heard a fight the night of Martin’s fatal shooting. The tapes expose some truth to the Martin case, after an ongoing dispute over whether Martin was killed in self-defense.
The recordings are shocking. Trayvon’s family and friends believe the tapes reveal the teen’s desperate cry for help in his last few moments of life; they speculate that it was Martin’s cry for help in a terrified attempt to escape Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer on duty that night. However, the entire story of what occurred that night is unknown. Zimmerman claimed, prior to the releases, that he shot the teen in self-defense, but Martin was unarmed. Zimmerman later told local officers that Martin approached him at his SUV, according to the Orlando Sentinel. He alleges that Martin asked if he had a problem, Zimmerman replied “no” and reached for his cell phone. He then claimed that Martin said “well you do now” and punched him in the nose.
In the tapes, Zimmerman, 28, can be heard complaining of a suspicious guy roaming the area along with the 911 dispatcher instructing him not to pursue the teenaged boy. Zimmerman followed Martin anyway. There were complaints also heard from neighborhood bystanders who informed police of a fight between men and gunshots fired.
A 17-year-old Martin was returning from the store to his father’s fiancée’s house in Sanford, Florida only to be gunned down, allegedly, by Zimmerman because of his thoughts that Martin was looking for trouble. The neighbors and the public accuse Zimmerman, who is white, of profiling a black teenager.
CNN reported on March 14, before the tapes were released, that police officials had not charged Zimmerman with any crime because of their inability to provide valid proof of what happened. Also, police aren’t sure what took place during “a one minute gap” between the shooting and Zimmerman’s 911 call, but the slow-paced investigation by the Stanford Police Department raises suspicion. Martin’s family members and many others are infuriated that Zimmerman remains free. In an effort to see justice served, nearly half a million people, including celebrities, have signed an online petition calling for Zimmerman’s arrest. (change.org.) While the issue remains unresolved, Martin supporters sport “hoodies” at “Hoodie Rallies” and speak out, nationally, in Martin’s defense.
Trayvon’s parents described him in the Orlando Sentinel as a normal teenager with a big appetite.
“He loved playing football. He loved watching football. He loved basketball,” said his mother, Sybrina Fulton. “He loved to eat everything in your house.”
His father said: “It’s sad as a father to have to bury your child. As a parent, you never want to imagine about burying your kids. And for me to have to bury my son is just sad.”
Many reporters and bloggers say the story of Martin’s death brings back memories of Caylee Anthony’s death—and all too soon. Just as the public begins to recover from Caylee’s death, another painful loss affects the nation.
(CNN, Orlando Sentinel)
Note: I will update occasionally on the Trayvon Martin story as it relates to parenting, but view the sites below for news updates and further detail:
Trayvon Martin’s family alleges racial profiling before Congress: U.S News–msnbc.com
The Tragic Case of Trayvon Martin: carolynedgar.com