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 his  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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am glad to see whites and non blacks fighting for equality and against racism

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Leo trust me when I say the police know exactly where Zimmerman can be located. I have several family members in law enforcement. They are tracking his whereabouts without him knowing. When the police arrived they believed the self defense story. Why?

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Al Sharpton? What Racial Boiling Point would be complete without Al Sharpton Riot provoking Ass! It's a real pleasure to see he got past the Duke Frame Job back in 2007!

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Using the immortal words of Miami Herald Pulitzer Prize winning Black Columnist Leonard Pitts after CHANNON CHRISTIAN & CHRISTOPHER NEWSOM were TORTURED and MURDERED in 2007 ! CRY ME A RIVER!!!!!!!!!

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Dare I ask??
As the Neighborhood Watch Captain, did Zimmerman actually live in that particular Neighborhood that he risked it all to protect. Since Zimmerman has Not been visible in recent weeks, is he still in the area? When it is time to pick him up for questions, will the authorities be able to find him? I would think that if a person turned on their television and so many people were outraged at the turn of events that resorted in the death of a young teen, that the perpetrator would Now be living under an unlisted address. I doubt very seriously if Zimmerman is going to be easy to find when the "real men blue" come with the warrant for his arrest!!

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This story makes me sick. Zimmerman should be arrested. I don't care what color you are - THIS IS JUST PLAIN WRONG!

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I have a couple of issues with what is happening. First the shooter appears to have been looking for trouble not sure if he is a want to be cop or a vigilante. But my advice is leave the crime fighting to those of us trained to do it. Even we make mistakes but at least we are trained to apply for e when necessary. Secondly, the phone conversation with the girlfriend is not evidence...it is hearsay and not admissible due to leading to speculation. But Sharpton should ne quiet about this fact. Finally, all of the activist and media should stay out of it. Let the various investigative agencies handle it. If a crime was committed the shooter could get off. I would be arguing that any charge would not give a fair trial sue to bias created by all the media. They have things moving now back off and let the investigation run. Sometimes an obvious case to the news media...untrained spectators...can take time. Make sure he gets convicted not found innocent by lack.of evidence.

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@ Cindy- He has to be WHITE! This is the only way the SCRIPT would fit! We are a country that's on a " Feeding Frenzy" when it comes to the injustice done by whites! It over takes even the Crime itself! It's News! Carjacking- Flash Mobs- Rape in an a Parking Garage-Hell- That's not something Racial- that's the Economic Poverty Stricken Unfortunate who's Criminal outburst just happen to " Flare Up" when a White is in their Path! Blind eye- That's the approach! If we can pretend its only a " One Race Street" then we can live in shame and guilt!

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I agree Zimmerman should be arrested but people who keep saying Zimmerman is white need to get their info right because he is not white.

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KLAN Klan KLAN Klan klan KKK KLAN- that all the shit I hear when someone disagrees with the weak minded. Ever hear of a trial? How bout a conviction? I've never seen so many people that thought they knew what happened! There must have been 200 people on that street watching!