We must dismantle the fraternity of racism and build an altar of love and justice, writes the pastor of Obama’s former church.
Obama, Holder, and the treacherous politics of race.
Eric Holder Jr. left the comfortable confines of the Justice Department for the Old Executive Office Building, where 150 black ministers awaited him. Outside, across the country, outraged African-Americans were massing to protest the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, demanding justice for the unarmed teen killed by a neighborhood-watch captain. Holder was coming to the long-scheduled session with the clergy to discuss voting rights and housing discrimination, among other civil-rights initiatives. But “I knew [Trayvon] would be on the ministers’ minds,” Holder told Newsweek.
Controversy: Obama’s public comment about Trayvon Martin drew fire from the right, while Holder’s Justice Department investigation has pleased black leaders. (Roberto Gonzalez / Getty Images)
As he strode into the ornate Indian Treaty room, it was on his mind, too. The nation’s first African-American attorney general had ignited a political firestorm only days after taking office in 2009, when he called America a “nation of cowards” for its unwillingness to speak frankly about race. He’d been chastised by the White House for his candor, and has been careful on the subject ever since. The political crosswinds surrounding the Martin case were tricky. Tread too cautiously, and the ministers—the moral force of a black community up in arms—could pounce. Lay it on too thick about ethnic identity, and critics could accuse the attorney general of race hustling.
Holder pledged swift action. The ministers were pleased. “They seemed assured by the promise of a thorough and independent review, and the fact that this was something that the A.G. had personally focused on,” Holder said. The Rev. Calvin Butts III, pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York City, was in the room. “We listened very closely,” he said. Holder’s statement “gave us a sense of relief that finally something was being done that was independent of the Sanford police and the state of Florida, which made us say, ‘Great!’?”
But the delicate nature of the administration’s handling of the case became apparent when Obama offered his own public comment on the subject, saying “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.” His remark, which drew wide praise for humanizing the tragedy, was also pilloried by Newt Gingrich. “Is the president suggesting that if it had been a white who had been shot, that would be OK, because it didn’t look like him? That’s just nonsense, dividing this country up.”
Getting the balance right has been a constant, and historic, challenge for both Holder and his boss. “Given who I am, I am acutely aware of our nation’s historical, and current, struggle with issues of racial injustice,” Holder says. But “I understand that my personal focus must also be a broad one. I am the attorney general of the United States and the concerns of the entirety of our nation must be, and are, my primary responsibility.”
Obama and Holder have been wrestling with that balance since their earliest days in office. They are both black men raised outside the African-American mainstream (Obama as the son of a white mother and an African father; Holder’s family comes from the West Indies). Both worked their way into the top tier of America’s professional and political elite. They have led lives committed to racial progress and yet are wary of being defined by the color of their skin. And they are both married to smart, principled women who are themselves the descendants of American slaves and who in some ways act as their husbands’ consciences on race. (The wives are also good friends; the first lady sometimes stops by for “pizza night” at the Holders’ home.)
Both men have also felt the searing pain of racism. In Dreams From My Father, Obama writes about the time a tennis pro told him not to touch the schedule of games pinned up on a bulletin board because his “color might rub off.” When Holder was a young Justice Department lawyer, he had his own brush with racial profiling; he was stopped by police while dashing to catch a movie in Georgetown. They shined a floodlight on him and asked him why he was running.
At Miami demonstration that draws hundreds.
Hundreds of protesters took to a Miami park on Sunday afternoon calling for the arrest of George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watchman who shot and killed Trayvon Martin on Feb. 26. Rev. Al Sharpton, Rev. Jesse Jackson, and the singer Chaka Khan were among the high-profile individuals who turned out for the march, which included Trayvon’s parents. Rep. Frederica Wilson, who represents Travyon’s home district, organized the march. Bayfront Park, a popular Miami destination, hosted the march, which was a "welcome home" of sorts for Trayvon’s parents after they spent time lobbying in D.C.
Say Zimmerman not the one crying for help.
According to an investigation by The Orlando Sentinel, two experts in the field of forensic voice identification say it was not George Zimmerman who was heard calling for help on a 911 call in the moments before Florida teen Trayvon Martin was shot. Forensic consultant Tom Owen used voice identification software to rule out Zimmerman, and another expert, Ed Primeau, utilized audio enhancement and human analysis to come to the same conclusion. “I believe that’s Trayvon Martin in the background, without a doubt,” Primeau said. “That’s a young man screaming.”
The Trayvon Martin case is still unraveling, but across the country another shooting of a young, unarmed black teenager is already shaking California. Christine Pelisek reports.
As the fatal shooting of Florida teen Trayvon Martin roils the nation, residents of Pasadena, Calif., are trying to come to grips with their own needless death. It involves another youth who, in this instance, was shot by the Pasadena Police Department after they received a 911 call about an armed robbery on March 24. Kendrec McDade’s death took an even more tragic turn when, in the aftermath of the shooting, the police learned that the 911 caller had lied about 19-year-old McDade having a gun.
Family members mourn Kendrec McDade—a 19-year-old Citrus College student shot by police—at a memorial in Pasadena on March 29. (Damian Dovarganes / AP)
The case has drawn parallels to the Martin case because both of the dead teenagers were black and unarmed. “They were young black men who are, when the situation comes up, targets of violence,” says Earl Ofari Hutchinson, the president of the Los Angeles Urban Police Roundtable. But that is where the similarity ends, argues Lt. Phlunte Riddle of the Pasadena P.D. Self-appointed neighborhood-watch volunteer George Zimmerman shot Martin as he was walking home, whereas McDade and his juvenile accomplice allegedly attempted to break into a cash register at a restaurant prior to stealing a backpack and computer from a parked car, said Riddle. McDade acted as a “lookout” during the alleged burglary, according to Riddle.
“This wasn’t any type of profile, looking for someone of color,” she said. “This was a response to an armed robbery that had just occurred with a full description. That is significantly different than the Florida case. The officers are extremely upset. They believed their lives were in danger.”
The shooting of McDade has opened long-festering wounds in northwest Pasadena, where a majority of African-Americans say they have a bad relationship with police. Although Pasadena is known as a place with pockets of extreme wealth and the home of the Rose Bowl, northwest Pasadena is a neighborhood plagued by violence and poverty. There have been four shootings in the small community in the last year alone.
In a 2006 survey conducted by the Police Assessment Resource Center (PARC), African-Americans living in northwest Pasadena said members of the Pasadena Police Department unjustly targeted them.
Officer-involved-shooting fatalities in northwest Pasadena are relatively rare, however. The last fatality occurred in 2009, when 37-year-old reputed Blood gang member Leroy Barnes was shot by officers 11 times—with seven of those rounds hitting him in the back—after a routine traffic stop. Barnes’s shooting was looked into by the County of Los Angeles Office of Independent Review, which questioned the tactical decisions made by the two officers involved in the shooting. The committee recommended better training of officers and better communication with the community. In 2010, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office concluded that the shooting by the officers was “lawful self-defense.”
As conflicting details of McDade’s death continue to trickle out, tensions are beginning to mount. Community members have criticized the police department for not keeping the neighborhood abreast of the police investigation, and questioned whether the shooting was justified. “The community is ready to go up in smoke,” said neighborhood activist William Greer. “The police department’s job is to serve and protect. They just can’t go around shooting people. It is the wild wild west here in northwest Pasadena.”
Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ law, which allows citizens broad power to use deadly force, is under attack in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting. From laws that keep certain voters away from the polls to others that forbid sex acts between married couples, read about the craziest statues on the state’s books.
Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law has received national attention in the wake of the tragic death of Trayvon Martin. The law removes the traditional common law duty to retreat when threatened in public and allows someone threatened to respond immediately with lethal force if it is believed “necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm.”
Mario Tama / Getty Images
It is still unclear precisely what happened immediately prior to the moment when Martin was fatally shot by George Zimmermann, a member of the local neighborhood watch. What is clear that the Stand Your Ground law has served as a successful obstacle to prosecutors bringing any charges against Zimmermann. But looking at Florida’s statute books, Stand Your Ground, which the state passed in 2005, isn’t the only law that it might be worthwhile for the state legislature to re-examine.
Drug Testing Welfare Recipients
In an attempt to save money, the Florida legislature passed a bill last year that required all welfare recipients to be drug tested. The law required welfare recipients to pay in advance for their drug test with a refund promised if they proved to be drug free. Those who fail are ineligible to receive government aid for a year. However, the law has since been blocked as unconstitutional in federal court. But not only that, because of the expense and inconvenience, it ended up costing more money that it saved as only a few of those on government assistance have tested positive for drug use.
Living in Sin In The Sunshine State
Many young couples live together without being married. In most places, that’s normal. In Florida, that’s illegal. Section 2 of Chapter 798 of Title XLVI of the Florida Code prohibits “any man and woman, not being married to each other, lewdly and lasciviously associat[ing] and cohabit[ing] together.” However, even getting married may not get Floridians off the hook if they have more exotic tastes in the bedroom. The statute also prohibits all state residents, regardless of martial status, from “engag[ing] in open and gross lewdness and lascivious behavior.” It seems clear that once you get south of Georgia, it’s safer to be a prude than lewd.
Racism isn't the sole reason some people are painting Trayvon Martin as a thug. Jesse Singal on the psychological quirks that perpetuate rumors and twist facts in difficult cases.
How can we explain the startling ferocity of the efforts to portray Trayvon Martin as a thug? As investigators continue to sort out why self-appointed neighborhood-watch captain George Zimmerman shot and killed the Florida teen last month, it’s hard not to become distraught at the extent to which a dead young man’s reputation has been gleefully dragged through the mud by so many people.
Trayvon Martin supporters at a rally last week in Sanford, Fla. (Mario Tama / Getty Images)
Any comment on the Martin case must be prefaced, of course, by the acknowledgment that we’re still operating with a real deficit of information here. Other than the video and audio recordings we’ve seen and heard, everything else is rampant speculation. But the rumors themselves are still worth examining because of what they can tell us about how the human mind works during a major news event.
It’s easy to focus on the nasty racial components, which are hard to deny. There has been a concerted online campaign to portray Martin as a “thug” despite a complete lack of evidence that he ever engaged in any sort of violence. Pundits and commentators are focusing on his appearance, his style of dress, and the stupid, very teenage things he said on his Twitter account. If they didn’t think these irrelevant details implied that Martin’s own actions contributed to his death, they wouldn’t be so intently focused on propagating them.
But while race is undeniably a factor in the power of the rumors, it’s not the only one, and the connection between race-related feelings and rumor-mongering is more complicated than it appears at first glance. If we’re actually going to understand why the Martin rumors exploded, we’re going to need some more-nuanced explanations.
Psychology is our friend here. Since rumors are such an important part of human life, from the boardroom to counterinsurgency efforts, psychologists have been studying for decades how they spread and what can be done to slow them down when they are false. They’ve also devoted a great deal of research to the proximal question of which pieces of information are most likely to stick out in our minds—the things we’re most likely to pass on to a friend.
One key factor here is the overwhelming lack of concrete information about what happened in the moments immediately before Zimmerman killed Martin. This makes the story inherently vulnerable to rumors, according to Rochester Institute of Technology psychologist Nick DiFonzo, an expert on rumor research and the author of The Watercooler Effect: A Psychologist Explores the Extraordinary Power of Rumors. “Whenever there’s a little bit of uncertainty and it doesn’t seem to make sense, people get very surprised when they hear this story, and they’re wondering, ‘Well, what? What happened? Why did it happen? That’s crazy,’ ” he said. “They’ll try to fill it in with rumors, speculation.”
We are inherently bothered by an incomplete story. When we see holes in a narrative, we do whatever we can to plug them with the tools we have at hand. Rumors are an excellent solution, because they can be shaped to fit any gap that we come across. "It’s hard to stay in an ambiguous mode and accept uncertainty," DiFonzo says. The more clear-cut a given story, the less likely it is to spawn rumors. “If people will supply some harder facts, it’s harder to wiggle,” he adds. “You have to wiggle around the new facts.” In the Martin case, there is an enormity of wiggle room.
For killing of Trayvon Martin.
Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson joined thousands of protesters in a march through Sanford, Fla., on Saturday to demand the arrest of George Zimmerman. “We want arrests, shot in the chest,” the protesters shouted. Ben Jealous, the president of the NAACP, which organized the march, said, “We’re here to say, ‘Save our sons.’ Bring Mr. Zimmerman to justice.”
Piers Morgan's rant on Friday against African-American writer and commentator Touré made the CNN host look tone deaf. Allison Samuels on how the network lost the war of public opinion.
On Friday night, in lieu of an invitation to see The Hunger Games, I chose to stay home and watch a much more entertaining event: the CNN news cycle. In a rather unfortunate spectacle, the network’s oft-combative host Piers Morgan attempted to take to task African-American journalist Touré for some critical remarks the writer, author, and social commentator expressed about Morgan via his Twitter account earlier in the week. It seems that Touré was none too pleased that Morgan chose to interview Robert Zimmerman Jr., the brother of George Zimmerman, the man accused of killing the unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, because, according to Touré, he allowed the sibling to “spout unchallenged lies further poisoning a tense moment in history. Be Professional,” Touré chastised.
Fighting words indeed, resulting in an intense, no-holds-barred Twitter war began between the two. Morgan offered a rather curious and personal response to Touré, tweeting: “Oh Touré, you’re such a tedious little twerp,” while also mocking the writer’s 57,000 followers. Mark my words: Twitter is destined to doom us all one day—just ask Spike Lee.
As childish as those one-liners were from Morgan, someone who you would assume would have developed a much thicker skin after years as a journalist here and abroad, the onetime Rupert Murdoch employee decided to really lay down the gauntlet by challenging Touré, a regular MSNBC contributor, to a verbal duel on air. After much back and forth on the where and the when, the exchange was set for Friday night, and it was without a doubt one of the most painful moments I’ve watched on primetime TV in a good while. In true Touré style, the take-no-prisoners commentator went straight for the jugular and attacked Morgan face to face for not questioning Zimmerman about his comments regarding important moments of the night Trayvon Martin died. Of course, Morgan was having none of it and quickly became defensive, chiding Touré for MSNBC’s attempt to get Zimmerman Jr. on their network as well, and for the network’s running the interview in question all day without criticism. What either one of those points had to do with Touré’s opinion expressed on his personal Twitter account is beyond my basic understanding.
But what was really disturbing about the more-than-20-minute showdown was the relative ease Morgan took in dismissing the African-American writer’s long and well-documented journalism background. Yes, Touré suggested that Morgan be professional in his initial tweet, but Morgan crossed the line by insinuating that Touré wasn’t a real journalist at all and by offering him tips on how real journalists do their jobs. That displayed a level of arrogance by Morgan that was completely uncalled for.
Those quips seemed to be all Morgan had in response to Touré’s suggestion that he didn’t fully appreciate the historical situation at hand. The writer even painfully added that after only being in the United States for seven years, Morgan could have no clue as to how deep the black-white divide actually is in this country. A fair point on many levels. The trials of blacks in Europe are based on a different set of circumstances, though the attitudes toward race and history’s consequences may be the same. African-Americans are the only group of once-enslaved people who continued to live in the area where their ancestors were held in shackles.
That creates a unique and tense dynamic for this country that is too often dismissed and misunderstood. But even more to the point, if Touré were not a serious journalist, why have him on the show in the first place? Why be so offended by a nonjournalist’s criticism when Twitter is full of such negative critiques aimed daily at the work of everyone from Don Cheadle to Lady Gaga. Jamal1 and Ray Ray23# had the same thoughts as Touré, so why not have them on for a heartfelt chat? Or better yet, debate my 78-year-old Aunt Josephine in Macon, Ga., who was also in complete agreement with Touré but just didn’t have a Twitter account to express it. (I’m setting her up with one next week.) How Aunt Josephine would relish the chance to put on her signature red lipstick and red “Sunday go-to-meeting hat” to go a round or two with Morgan on air. That would surely cement her star status as the toast of the Macon County church missionary club for years to come.
Touré (Johnny Nunez / WireImage-Getty Images)
While NAACP joins Sanford march.
Trayvon Martin’s brother, Jahvaris Fulton, said on Saturday that George Zimmerman’s claim that he shot the unarmed teenager in self-defense is “baffling.” “It’s baffling how people, they just take his word for it, as if that’s exactly what happened,” Fulton said on CBS This Morning. Zimmerman’s father, Robert Zimmerman Jr., said on Thursday that his son had acted in self-defense, but the funeral director who prepared Martin’s body said there were no bruises on his body. Meanwhile, the NAACP joined protesters in Sanford, Fla., in a march to police headquarters on Saturday, demanding Zimmerman be arrested.
Former co-workers: Zimmerman fired for being 'aggressive.'
The funeral director who prepared Trayvon Martin’s body said Friday there was “no physical signs like there had been a scuffle” on the teenager—a key part of George Zimmerman’s claim that he shot and killed Trayvon in self-defense. “The hands—I didn’t see any knuckles, bruises or what have you,” said Richard Kurtz. Recently released surveillance footage shows that Zimmerman was unharmed 40 minutes after Trayvon’s death. Meanwhile, the New York Daily News reported that Zimmerman was fired from a job as a security guard because he was "too aggressive."
Residents and authorities fear angry and frustrated citizens may explode into the streets as more conflicting information about Trayvon Martin’s slaying surfaces and the investigation drags on without an arrest.
Lucy Mims doesn’t want to see any more trouble in her hometown of Sanford, Florida. The white, 75-year-old former nursing assistant and midwife has lived many peaceful years in her quaint three-bedroom home in the small city some 50 miles outside Orlando. That all changed four weeks ago, when 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by a neighborhood watch leader just 20 minutes from Mims’ s home. As conflicting details of the teenager’s murder continues to trickle out, Mims is worried that the lid is may soon blow off the simmering pot that Sanford now is.
A woman shouts as she joins the nationwide protest in memory of slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin on March 26, 2012 in downtown of Los Angeles, California. Protesters were marking the one-month anniversary since the killing of an unarmed black Florida teenager which has sparked a national uproar and re-opened wounds over US racial tensions. (Joe Klamar / AFP / Getty Images)
“Every day something comes out worse than the day before,’’ says Mims. “At first you didn’t know what to believe because it never sounded right. But now it seems like that Zimmerman did shoot that boy in cold blood for no reason and just lied about it.’’
News footage of a seemingly unharmed George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch leader who shot the unarmed teenager as he walked home with Skittles and ice tea flooded the Internet and major news shows on Wednesday. In the aftermath of the shooting, Zimmerman claimed self-defense and told police that a beating by Martin left him with a broken nose and serious bruises to the back of his head. Images of Zimmerman just 30 minutes after the shooting showed few if any injuries as he was walked without assistance into the Sanford police station.
Though Pamela Bondi, the special Florida prosecutor appointed to oversee the Martin case has asked the city for patience, growing evidence contradicting Zimmerman’s claim of self-defense now has some worried that the measured calm across Sanford won’t last much longer.
The city has seen its share controversial racial incidents. In 2010 the son of a Sanford lieutenant was caught on tape beating a homeless black man but wasn’t arrested until the tape began airing on local televisions stations a month later.
“I get a little angrier every time I read or hear something about that kid,’’ says 24-year-old Travis James, an African-American auto repairman. “ To me this city doesn’t care about black people and then I heard Zimmerman’s dad talking about how the president and all the black people are filled with hate. What was his son filled with that night? We always have to be the bigger people and keep our calm and do the right thing. I get tired of that.’’
George Zimmerman’s father, Robert, a former judge, told a local Florida news station that President Obama, organizations like the NAACP, and many others have expressed intense hate towards his son for weeks. President Obama told reporters, “If I had a son he would look like Trayvon,’’ when asked about the incident last week.
“We understand from a father’s stand point that he’s trying to protect and support his son,’’ said Martin family lawyer Benjamin Crump. “Just like Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin would have liked to have done for their son Trayvon on the night he died. But people aren’t blind. They heard the 911 calls and they saw the video that disputes everything his son has said. His son needs to be arrested.’’
Sources inside the Sanford Police Department say they are well aware of the potential for social unrest and of growing anger due not arresting Zimmerman. As a result, the source says, extra patrols have been on standby for weeks, and neighboring cities have been alerted in the event assistance is needed.
‘This city has been heading down this path for a while,’’ said a well-placed source in the police department. “They didn’t understand how this case would blow up, but they should have. Tempers have been up in the air since the black homeless man incident a few years ago. That kind of thing can only happen a few times before people lose it.’’
After ‘scuffling’ with Trayvon Martin on ground.
The first eyewitness account of the events leading up to 17-year-old Trayvon Martin’s death has emerged: An anonymous man, his voice disguised, said on CNN that he looked out his window and saw Trayvon and George Zimmerman, the shooter, “scuffling” on the ground when two shots rang out. The witness says that Zimmerman then walked away with his hand on his forehead, looking “worried,” but not injured. Before peeping out, the man heard angry voices outside. The man says that he reported the details of the incident to the police when it happened. Police video of Zimmerman doesn’t appear to show any blood—contradicting Zimmerman’s story.
Prosecutor won’t allow media access to records.
Despite the intense interest in the Trayvon Martin case, authorities are invoking the “active criminal investigative information records exemption” to keep from having to reveal any details into their investigation of George Zimmerman. No documents, videos or factual information regarding the case will be released, said special prosecutor Angela Corey’s office in a statement Thursday. The national media has descended on Sanford, the city where Martin was shot and killed. Zimmerman remains uncharged because of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, but authorities are investigating to see if they can bring charges.
How a garment rooted in weekend athleticism became the complicated symbol for our country’s moral outrage and racial unease.
Even as more details emerge about the Trayvon Martin shooting last month in Sanford, Fla., nothing will change the terrible fact that an unarmed African-American teenager was killed by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood-watch volunteer who is Hispanic. But as each day brings more questions than answers, as frustrating as that may be, it’s also a good thing. It underscores how complicated this case—this social convulsion—ultimately is.
Members of the New York City Council wear hoodies at a rally for Trayvon Martin on Wednesday (Mike Segar, Reuters / Landov)
This story, with its stench of racial bias, is not a matter of black versus white. It isn’t symbolized by nooses, clubs, or snarling dogs. It isn’t a modern-day Emmitt Till. Today the pain of racism flares up and then subsides; it throbs like a dull ache and often its source can be hard to locate. On good days, it even feels like it has gone away.
So it’s not really surprising that something as banal as a hoodie, which Martin was wearing when he was killed, has become symboli of Zimmerman’s presumed prejudice, ignorance, and animus. When Zimmerman described Martin as “suspicious” to a 911 operator, it begged the question: What, precisely, made him suspect? Since there was no indication from the call that Martin’s actions were untoward, logic turned to his mere presence. He was a black man in jeans and … a hoodie.
Such a stupid, innocuous garment.
It has never had the fear factor of black leather or steel-toe boots. Swaggering rappers and tough guys were never able to take full ownership of hoodies; they weren’t able to exploit them for their own purposes like baggy jeans or oversized white t-shirts. There was too much that was functional, cuddly, and universal about hoodies for them to be fully co-opted. Too broad a population embraced them. They remained rooted in weekend athleticism and collegiate sports, the Gap and Old Navy. Suburban dads wear them when they mow their lawn. Soccer moms wear them to soccer games. Channel surfers pull them on for pizza and beers.
Still, it makes a striking visual statement to see throngs of protesters dressed in hoodies. It is a stirring message when a minister--having exchanged his regal robes for a hoodie—preaches to congregants about humanity, love, and fellowship. And it was a bold statement for Rep. Bobby Rush to ignore a stern House dress code and wear a hoodie as he spoke against racial profiling in Congress. (The Illinois Democrat’s decision to accessorize with dark sunglasses, however, detracted from his point. At that point, he frankly did look rather cagey.)
Geraldo Rivera was lambasted for suggesting that a hoodie was as culpable in Martin’s death as the shooter. He later apologized for his remarks. But the fact is, we do like to play with our public image—pretending that it doesn’t matter and yet knowing full well that it does. Baggy jeans became popular among young men—whether honor-roll students or delinquents—thanks to all of their negative, subversive connotations. Walking up to the edge of propriety and stepping over the line are all a rite of passage to self-definition.
Contradicting claims of self-defense.
George Zimmerman’s face may not have taken a hit, but his credibility sure has. Zimmerman’s attorney had claimed in recent days that Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old his client shot and killed last month, attacked him before the fatal incident, breaking the neighborhood watch captain’s nose and bloodying his head and face. But a police video released Wednesday showed police frisking a handcuffed Zimmerman with no discernible facial injuries. The attorney for the Martin family said that the video “dramatically contradicts his version of the events.”
Neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman said he was acting in self-defense when he shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, who was unarmed.
The man who shot and killed Trayvon Martin has a whole new set of problems after the court found out he lied at his bond hearing, writes Mansfield Frazier.
George Zimmerman took the stand during his bond hearing Friday, issuing a statement to the Martin family. ‘I’m sorry for the loss of your son,’ he told the court before answering a series of questions about the case.
Chaz Guest captures the Trayvon Martin tragedy. He talks about honoring Martin's legacy.
Conservatives are using the teenager’s tweets, hoodie, and school suspension to blame him for his own death—and to show that racism was not a factor, says Michelle Goldberg.
George Zimmerman, the man who shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida, aspired to enter law enforcement.