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TRAGIC

Justice Dept. Meets Trayvon’s Family

Justice Dept. Meets Trayvon’s Family Mary Altaffer / AP Photo

While police chief steps down.

U.S. Justice Department officials on Thursday met with the family of Trayvon Martin, the black teenager shot and killed by a neighborhood-watch captain. The meeting comes just hours before the Rev. Al Sharpton will lead a rally in Florida, which thousands are expected to attend. Martin’s family joined supporters and activists in New York for a “Million Hoodie March.” Meanwhile, Sanford, Fla., Police Chief Billy Lee, who is leading the investigation into Trayvon Martin’s death, said on Thursday that he will “temporarily remove” himself from his position.

Read it at The Washington Post

Justice For Trayvon

‘Someone Must Be Punished’

Outrage on blogs and social media has kept up the pressure for justice in the slaying of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. His mother, Sybrina Fulton, tells Allison Samuels she’s overwhelmed—but will find no peace until his killer is arrested.

Sybrina Fulton says she could barely catch her breath at the moment thousands of thunderous chants exclaiming “I’m Trayvon” began to fill the chilly night air in New York’s Union Square late Wednesday night.

Allison Samuels on why Trayvon Martin has captured the nation.

“I was simply overwhelmed by the moment,’’ Fulton told The Daily Beast shortly after attending the “Million Hoodie’’ rally in her son’s honor. “To hear so many people that don’t know me and never met Trayvon come out to support his family and our fight for justice for him is something I never could have imagined.’’

In a case that continues to surprise, stun, and anger the country, Fulton’s 17-year-old son, Trayvon Martin, was killed last month in Sanford, Florida, when an unregistered neighborhood watch leader shot the teenager to death after deeming him ‘suspicious looking.’’ The man, George Zimmerman, 28, reportedly told police he killed Martin in self-defense following an altercation. He has not been arrested or charged with any crime.

The now controversial killing of Trayvon garnered virtually no mainstream media attention in the days immediately after he was fatally shot, but that all changed when the teenager’s parents decided to hire civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump and his law firm to get more answers on exactly how and why their son died.

“They called me the same day they were notified that their son was dead,’’ Crump told The Daily Beast. “When I heard their unarmed teenage son was shot to death, I just knew there’d be an arrest shortly. There wasn’t an arrest 48 hours later, and then I knew we’d have to take this outside of Sanford if we wanted justice.’’

Trayvon’s parents were told by the Sanford police that Zimmerman wasn’t arrested in their son’s death because the facts of the case did not dispute his claim of self-defense.  

For Crump, taking the Trayvon Martin story outside of Sanford simply entailed dialing up a few well-placed friends such as the Rev. Al Sharpton. Crump worked closely with the civil rights leader in 2006 on another racially charged case—the controversial death of a 14-year-old, African-American inmate of a Florida boot camp.

PROTEST

Trayvon’s Family Joins NYC March

Trayvon’s Family Joins NYC March Mario Tama / Getty Images

Florida officials pass 'no confidence' vote on police chief.

The “Million Hoodie March”—planned by activists outraged by the killing of unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin last month—featured two special guests: Trayvon’s parents. Martin was killed Feb. 26 by neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman who said he was acting in self-defense against the 17 year old, who was wearing a hooded sweatshirt that evening. Meanwhile Wednesday night, the Sanford City Commission passed a "no confidence" vote of police chief Bill Lee. The city will now decide whether to ask for him to resign or fire him. Zimmerman has not been charged for the shooting.

Read it at CBS News

In Hiding

The Man Who Shot Trayvon Martin

George Zimmerman, the man who shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida, aspired to enter law enforcement and kept a zealous eye on his neighborhood.

George Zimmerman wasn’t a cop, but he wanted to be. The 28-year-old man who shot Trayvon Martin inside a gated Florida community Feb. 26 is in hiding now, as the media and the nation direct their attention to the town of Sanford, near Orlando. The neighborhood watch captain has not yet been charged in the shooting, and claims he acted in self-defense when he shot the African-American teenager with the Kel-Tec 9mm handgun he was licensed to carry. But now, with national attention mounting, Martin’s parents are calling for Zimmerman’s arrest and prosecution.

The Zimmermans, George and his parents, Robert and Gladys, moved to Florida from the Manassas, Va., area about 10 years ago. The third of the couple’s four children and a former altar boy according to his father, Zimmerman graduated from Osbourn High School in Manassas in 2001.

The family’s neighbors from Virginia said they didn’t have many memories of Zimmerman as a boy. “He seemed to be a good enough kid,” Ron Whitis, a former next door neighbor, said.

It didn’t take long for Zimmerman to adjust to his new Florida home. In 2003, he gave chase when he saw a man steal a television from a supermarket, following the shoplifter until police could catch up. Zimmerman followed another man a year later, saying the man had spit on him.

Zimmerman’s record becomes spottier over the following years as he had a handful of run-ins with the law. In July 2005, Zimmerman was arrested after a tussle with law enforcement outside of a bar near the University of Central Florida. It was a first offense, and Zimmerman got off with a pretrial diversion program.

Neighborhood Watch Death

Orange County Jail / Miami Herald / AP Photos

In August of the same year, a petition for injunction was filed against Zimmerman by a woman who cited domestic violence, and Zimmerman responded with his own petition. Both injunctions were issued.

In 2007, records show Zimmerman married Shellie Nicole Dean, a cosmetologist. The next year, he struggled with credit-card payments to Capital One, ultimately reaching a settlement for $2,135.82. Capital One later reported that Zimmerman was failing in his payments.

ANGUISH

Trayvon’s Mother: ‘I Can’t Eat’

Trayvon’s Mother: ‘I Can’t Eat’ Red Huber, Orlando Sentinel /MCT via Getty Images

Until shooter is arrested.

Sabrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, says she will not rest until the man who shot and killed her unarmed son is arrested. “I can not eat, I can not sleep and I can not relax,” she told the Huffington Post. “Not until he’s arrested.” Trayvon, 17, was shot by George Zimmerman, a 28-year-old neighborhood-watch volunteer who has claimed self-defense. Fulton says the involvement of the U.S. Justice Dept. is heartening. “I truly believe they are going to arrest him,” she said. The Washington Post reports, however, that there is internal debate at the Justice Department and FBI over the appropriateness of federal charges.

Read it at The Huffington Post

INVESTIGATION

Trayvon Martin Probe Faces Hurdles

Trayvon Martin Probe Faces Hurdles Red Huber, Orlando Sentinel / MCT / Landov

Could be difficult to prove shooting was racist.

The Justice Department and the FBI's decision to launch an investigation into the shooting of Trayvon Martin, a black teenager who was shot while walking on a neighborhood street unarmed, has launched a debate inside the agency about how difficult it might be to bring federal charges. Martin was shot by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, who told police Martin "looked up to no good" and that he acted in self-defense. Civil-rights law protects against hate crimes and police abuses, but officials said the shooting may not fall into either category.

Read it at The Washington Post

Delayed Coverage

Trayvon Coverage on Fox Knocked

As the Florida shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin makes national headlines, Fox News’s handling of the story is drawing scrutiny. Nick Summers on the network’s delayed coverage—and attempts to link it to gun control.

It’s an explosive story with ingredients that Fox News should be well familiar with: race, guns, and crime.

But as the shooting death of unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin makes national headlines, Fox’s coverage is becoming a story in its own right—from its slow start behind other networks to its attempt to shift the story onto the more comfortable turf of gun control.

Details of the case are tragic, and now widely known. On the night of Feb. 26, Martin was walking to the Sanford, Fla., home of his father’s girlfriend after a trip to a nearby convenience store. The boy was carrying a cellphone, an iced tea, and some candy. George Zimmerman, 28, had a gun. A member of the gated community’s “neighborhood watch”-like project, in the past Zimmerman had reportedly called police nearly 50 times to report what he thought was suspicious activity. On this rainy night, he followed Martin—against the advice of a police dispatcher—and, after a confrontation, shot and killed the boy. In the weeks since, with Martin’s family calling the incident a murder and Zimmerman claiming it was self-defense, he has not been arrested or charged with a crime.

Newsweek / Daily Beast reporter Michelle Goldberg discusses the Trayvon Martin case.

Outrage over the shooting built steadily, fueled by social media, and then erupted over the weekend with extensive coverage on cable news channels and in national newspapers. Audio of several 911 calls were played and replayed, including one by Zimmerman describing his pursuit of Martin, and one with harrowing screams of “Help! Help! Help!” in the background—followed by the sound of a fatal gunshot. ABC News reported the incident on March 10; CNN did so on March 12.

By March 19, the story was officially national news—and so was Fox News’s relative absence. Think Progress ran a story under the headline “All Major News Outlets Cover Trayvon Martin Tragedy, Except Fox News,” which was tweeted more than 1,500 times and picked up by a wide array of blogs and news sites. A chart accompanying the item said that between Feb. 26 and March 19, CNN had devoted 41 segments to Trayvon Martin, with MSNBC airing 13 and Fox News one.

A Fox News spokesperson disputed those numbers on Tuesday afternoon, saying the network by then had aired roughly 15 segments on at least seven programs, including Happening Now, America’s Newsroom, Studio B, Fox Report, Fox & Friends, Fox & Friends First, and America Live. A correspondent, Steve Harrigan, is in Florida reporting on the story. The spokesperson declined to comment further on the network’s coverage.

fox-news-trayvon-summers

FOX Studios on August 16, 2011 in New York City (Andy Kropa / Getty Images)

Audio

Trayvon Martin’s Final Moments

Before George Zimmerman shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, the Neighborhood Watch volunteer called 911 to report a suspicious person walking around. Martin was on the phone with his girlfriend, who told him to run. Listen to the 911 call here.

Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black teenager who was shot and killed by a neighborhood vigilante in Florida, was on the phone with his girlfriend moments before the incident, new phone records confirm. The 16-year-old girl, whose name has not been released, told the Martin family’s attorney that Trayvon knew he was being watched, “so he put his hoodie on.” She continued: “I told him to run but he said he was not going to run.” The girl then heard the man—George Zimmerman—approach Trayvon before the line went dead. No charges have been filed, but the case is being referred to a Florida grand jury. On the 911 call with police, Zimmerman told the dispatcher that he was following Martin, and the dispatcher told him “you don’t need to do that.” Zimmerman has said he acted in self-defense.

CHILLING

Trayvon’s Girlfriend: ‘I Told Him to Run’

Trayvon’s Girlfriend: ‘I Told Him to Run’ RED HUBER

According to new phone records.

Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black teenager who was shot and killed by a neighborhood vigilante in Florida, was on the phone with his girlfriend moments before the incident, new phone records confirm. The 16-year-old girl, whose name has not been released, told the Martin family’s attorney that Trayvon knew he was being watched, “so he put his hoodie on.” She continued: “I told him to run but he said he was not going to run.” The girl then heard the man—George Zimmerman—approach Trayvon before the line went dead. No charges have been filed, but the case is being referred to a Florida grand jury.

Read it at ABC News

OUTCRY

Trayvon Martin Case Goes to Grand Jury

Trayvon Martin Case Goes to Grand Jury Martin Family / AP Photo

No charges yet in teen’s shooting death.

As national outrage builds over the shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida, the state’s attorney general announced today that a grand jury will hear the case. Norm Wolfinger said that the state will use the grand jury “investigative resources” to figure out if criminal charges should be filed in the death of the 17-year-old. The Justice Department has also opened an investigation. Martin was allegedly shot by George Zimmerman, 28, a neighborhood-watch volunteer who claims that Martin looked “drugged” and attacked him. Meanwhile, Trayvon’s girlfriend, who was on the phone with him during the incident, told him to run away.

Read it at WESH News

RIGHT STEP

Feds to Investigate Trayvon Killing

Feds to Investigate Trayvon Killing Red Huber, MCT / Landov

After outcry over death of unarmed black teen.

The Department of Justice and the FBI will investigate the killing of Trayvon Martin of Sanford, Fla. Critics have blasted the case as a “botched investigation.” Trayvon, 17, was on his way home from a 7-Eleven with Skittles and iced tea when a neighborhood-watch volunteer spotted him and thought he looked “drugged” and acted suspiciously. The man, 28-year-old George Zimmerman, said that Trayvon attacked him from behind and that he was forced to shoot Martin, who was unarmed. Witnesses, however, say they heard a boy pleading, then silence after two gunshots. Trayvon’s family thinks Sanford police are tampering with the investigation, and Zimmerman has not been charged.

Read it at The Miami Herald

INJUSTICE AT HOME

Where’s the Outrage Over Trayvon?

Activists like George Clooney are protesting war crimes in Sudan or the abuses captured in the video “Kony 2012,” but few apart from Al Sharpton seem concerned about the apparently unjust slaying of teenager Trayvon Martin right here in Florida.

With much fanfare, Oscar-winning actor George Clooney and his father were arrested in the nation’s capital Thursday for taking a stand on human rights. The Clooney men were put in handcuffs in front of the Sudanese embassy and taken to jail for protesting that country’s torture and bombing of its own innocent civilians.

Two weeks ago the 30-minute video “Kony 2012” shocked and mesmerized the world via YouTube. Jason Russell’s film revealed images and jarring details of thousands of African children kidnapped and murdered by Ugandan war criminal Joseph Kony.

“Kony 2012” spread virally like wildfire and at last count received more than 82 million views on the video-sharing website. Both African atrocities are horrifying as well as heartbreaking, and both are absolutely worthy of all the attention they’ve received.

Both tragedies occurred thousands upon thousands of miles away from the U.S.

Last month and much closer to home in Sanford, Fla., a 17-year-old African-American named Trayvon Martin took a walk to the corner 7-Eleven for a bag of Skittles. On his return walk home, a neighbor, George Zimmerman, a 28-year-old white man, apparently decided a young black man walking alone at night must equal trouble, so he made a call to the police. Somehow, not long afterward, Martin lay dead on the grass of a gunshot wound to the chest.

Details surrounding the high-school junior’s death have been few and far between, but a few facts have surfaced.

According to the police report, Martin was on foot while Zimmerman was in his car when the police were called. Martin was unarmed, while Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch leader, had a gun, the report says. Police say they told Zimmerman to leave any confrontation of the teenager to officials. It seems he may not have. According to police reports, he followed Martin, and an “altercation” ensued. By the time police arrived, the boy lay lifeless on the ground, and Zimmerman was standing nearby, his clothes bloody, according to media reports.

Trayvon Martin

Tracy Martin (left) and Sybrina Fulton, the parents of Trayvon Martin, at a news conference Friday in Orlando (Red Huber, Orlando Sentinel /MCT via Getty Images)

TRAGIC

Sharpton to Meet Slain Teen’s Family

Trayvon Marton allegedly killed by Neighborhood Watch.

The Rev. Al Sharpton will travel to Sanford, Fla., this week to meet with the family of Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old shot by a Neighborhood Watch volunteer last week. “You hear a shot, a clear shot. Then you hear a 17-year-old boy begging for his life,” said a lawyer for Martin’s family Friday. Martin was shot and killed by George Zimmerman, a 28-year-old volunteer with the neighborhood crime watch, two weeks ago. Zimmerman has claimed he shot Martin in self-defense and has not been charged with any crime. In one 911 call before the shooting, Zimmerman said there was a suspicious person in his gated community who looked “like he’s up to no good, like he’s on drugs or something.” A call placed by another man moments later reported that a black youth seemed to have been shot and killed after a struggle.

Read it at The Orlando Sentinel

Controversy

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 Daily Beast Reports

Zimmerman Blows It

Zimmerman Blows It

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.

Stand Your Ground

Shoot First, Learn The Law Later

Law Enforcement

Time to End Racial Profiling?

Zimmerman Apologizes to Trayvon’s Family

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.

we-are-all-trayvon-moss

We Are All Trayvon Martin

We must dismantle the fraternity of racism and build an altar of love and justice, writes the pastor of Obama’s former church.

guest-trayvon-wilkinson-teaser

Trayvon Martin Remembered in Paint

Chaz Guest captures the Trayvon Martin tragedy. He talks about honoring Martin's legacy.

Why the Right Is Smearing Trayvon

Why the Right Is Smearing Trayvon

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.

The Man Who Shot Trayvon Martin

The Man Who Shot Trayvon Martin

George Zimmerman, the man who shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida, aspired to enter law enforcement.