Trayvon Martin Case: Civil Rights Leaders Call For George Zimmerman Arrest

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The controversial and tragic case of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black teenager shot to death by a neighborhood watch captain in Sanford, Fla., last month, continues to make headlines, with leaders calling for the arrest of the shooter, George Zimmerman.

At a town hall meeting Tuesday in Sanford, Fla., where the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Martin took place on February 26, officials from the NAACP, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Nation of Islam urged residents to remain calm.

At the same time, they demanded that George Zimmerman, be arrested.

Trayvon Martin Photo
George Zimmerman Mug Shot

Zimmerman (above, right) has not been charged with a crime in the shooting of Martin. He admitted that he shot Martin (above, left), who was returning to a gated community in the city after buying candy at a convenience store.

He says it was all in self-defense after Martin attacked him, however.

Police have said Zimmerman is white; his family says he is Hispanic.

The case has ignited a furor against the police department of this Orlando suburb of 53,500 people, prompting rallies and a protest in Gov. Rick Scott's office.

Social media has played a huge role in catapulting the incident to national prominence and prompting debate over gun laws, race relations and so much more.

"I stand here as a son, a father, and an uncle who is tired of being scared for our boys," said Benjamin Jealous, president of the NAACP. "I'm tired of telling our young men how they can't dress, where they can't go and how they can't behave."

The Justice Department's Civil Rights Division said it is sending its community relations service this week to Sanford to "address tension in the community."

Earlier in the week, the federal agency opened a civil rights probe into the shooting, and in Florida, Seminole County State Attorney Norm Wolfinger said a grand jury will meet April 10 to consider evidence in the case.

When The Associated Press tried to reach the police department Tuesday evening for comment, a dispatcher told a reporter to call back in the morning.

Earlier Tuesday, an attorney for Martin's family revealed the teenager told his girlfriend just moments before he was killed that he was being followed.

"'Oh he's right behind me, he's right behind me again,'" 17-year-old Trayvon Martin told his girlfriend on his cellphone, attorney Benjamin Crump said.

The girl later heard Martin say, "Why are you following me?" Another man asked, "What are you doing around here?'" Crump recalled to reporters.

Crump said Martin cried out when a man bearing a 9mm handgun came at him.

Police said Zimmerman, who was found bleeding from his nose and the back of his head, told authorities he yelled out for help before shooting Martin.

"She absolutely blows Zimmerman's absurd self-defense claim out of the water," Crump said of Trayvon Martin's girlfriend, whose name was withheld.

Martin, in town from Miami to visit his father in Sanford, called his 16-year-old girlfriend in Miami several times, including just before the shooting.

The discovery of the lengthy conversations, including one moments before the shooting, was made by Martin's father, who checked hisĀ  cell phone log.

The teenager told the girl on his way back from the store he'd taken shelter from the rain briefly at an apartment building in his father's gated community.

Martin then told her he was being followed. "She says: 'Run.' He says, 'I'm not going to run, I'm just going to walk fast,'" Crump said, quoting the girl.

After Martin encountered Zimmerman, the girl thought she heard a scuffle "because his voice changes like something interrupted his speech," Crump said.

The phone call ended before the girl heard gunshots.

The last call was at 7:12 p.m. Police arrived at 7:17 p.m. to find Martin lying face down on the ground. Zimmerman was handcuffed by police.

He was then taken into custody for questioning, but was released by police without being charged. Police have interviewed Zimmerman twice since.

Crump called the treatment patently unfair and asked if Trayvon Martin would have received the same treatment if he had been the shooter.

"We will not rest until he is arrested. The more time that passes, the more likely this is going to be swept under the rug," Crump said.

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this tragedy should have never happened. self defense my ass ok so now how do expect other black people to act what were suppose to take it in the ass like martin did. fuk that he fuked up and it just shows how much this government really gives a fuk about it. i say screw it yall want a war cause now thats what is. there is not a single black man in america thats not going to forget that in the eyes of this nation we will always be expendable a damn shame

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I think the below comments from James are on the money. There was this sudden big surge from racial groups to quickly turn this into a racially motivated killing. It looks like now there's a real possibility that this was indeed self-defense. The White House and the Black leaders of this country need to stop fanning the flames till we know what really happened. To not do this only makes these people lose what credibility they have to be effective with regard to guiding their community and constituents.

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to James how dear u! yea their are two side but what if that was ur child how would u feel? i am a child of god and for u to say that. that's just disrespectful

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Don't get me wrong, I think this should have never happened but it takes two to tango. If you can not see both sides or wait for the full story to come out, you are showing a prejudicial side of yourself. Plus Trayvon was no angel either. If you where just givn the two facts of 'a volunteer neightborhood watchman' or 'a suspended youth for drug use' which side would you be leaning. And this is just what we know so far.

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Some of you are so quick to jump on the band wagon and not even learn or understand the facts. With that asside. If this was an innocent exchange by Martin, why did the recording or the conversation that was overheard on the phone go like this. Zimmerman "what are you doing around here...Martin "My dad lives in this neighborhood on such and such street". Remember, as a neighborhood patrol, he was doing what he felt was neccessary after a few breakins in the area. If you where in the situation, would you have not question him or call the police about a suspicious character.

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i cant belive how the police is not doing nothing that is some bull know if that was that man son he would wont to kill zimmerman so the trayvon family need justice. loud is all ways there for pepole

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What this man did to that kid, was just plain wrong. How could some of you say that it couldn't been racism involve? You all knew damn we'll that race played a apart in it, cause on the 911 tape, Zimmerman used a racist word against Martin.

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I think everyone is overlooking the fact that this shooting was supposidly done in self defense. Why was Zimmerman following Trayvon? If it was truly self defense it would be the other way around, no? Lock his racist ass up in jail. He's guily of a hate-crime. Let's see how fearful he is there.

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man ive been thrown in the clink just for yelling this boy was shot
and he was just a boy in angree management they say you dont and keep your hands to your self zimmer blasted and killed acoding to the press if he did then he should answer for it you dont shoot kids

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Please stop all the negative comments everyone!!! Let just take race out of this for a moment. We have a concerned supposed to be neighborhood watchman and a young man here. Both parties have something to lose. One person is dead and the other is probably living in fear right now. Lets just let the authorities do their jobs. Know that no one will get away with doing anything that is not right. It may look like it, but if Zimmerman killed this young man out of hate; he has to live with that the rest of his life seeing this young mans face everyday. We need to be more focused on the parents and the losing of their child instead of a Black & White or Hispanic issue. A child is a child regardless of what color. Lets just pray that no other child will lose their life too soon.