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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He followed trayvon around. How in the world is that self defense? if he was in his house minding his own business then he wouldnt have been threatened...by the way i so dont understand how a bag of skittles and a tea bottle is threatening his life. Anyways after the police told him not to follow the boy he still did he even got out the car if anything Trayvon was the one who was threatened not him..thats why i dont understand why people are saying self defense when he is the one that followed trayvon...this is just blowing

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[ GET THAT FAT ASS BASTARD]

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I'm not a fighter. Someone starts a fight with me, I end it how I can. If it's his life or my health, it's just a total no-brainer. I'm not the one who decided to get violent, why should I be the one to suffer?
It does sound like Zimmerman was being a total prick, and perhaps even harassing Martin. This makes it a little stickier, and really looks bad for Zimmerman -- he might be socially ruined. Given further evidence to confirm my hunches, I might agree to prosecute, but until then, all they are is hunches.
And I won't jail a man on a hunch until the day I'm willing to be jailed on a hunch.

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To Martin's age, what do you need to do in order to defend yourself? "Excuse me, I know you're really busy beating the shight out of me, but would you mind showing me your I.D. so I know whether I can defend myself against you or just have to roll over and die?" To him being unarmed, so what? Is this a game or a contest or a tournament where you have to win fair and square? Somebody just started beating on you. They could kill you. If they don't they're still likely to injure you and cause you and your dependents much unnecessary hardship. What obligation do you have to put yourself through that? None.

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Since when do two wrongs make a right? Nobody should be arrested, accused, or anything else in this situation, regardless of color or race or any other such nonsense. Saying this man should be prosecuted because a black man in the same situation might be prosecuted is like saying that everyone's home should be broken into and their pet/child shot because SWAT teams often do that to the less fortunate, and at least that way would even it out.
What about presumption of innocence? We really have no conclusive evidence that this wasn't self-defense, nor that it was. In light of the doubt, we can't convict, or suddenly every accused must be required to prove innocence rather than to simply not be proven guilty. If you prefer presumption of guilt because it might be safer, it abounds throughout the legal systems of the world, so please be my guest.

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And I've never used Gus before. Definition. A person who will not call his own people out when it's obvious they are wrong. A person who will not live within the rules of a work environment yet will file discrimination when they are left out or let go. A person who will sit and put on a front that all is well and when they come up short - they will play that " Throwdown" Race Card"! This of course shows their true intentions all along. A person who can't wait to place his seed in a white female and then " Vanish" when the child is born. This Trait of Zero accountability is nothing more than - Premeditated Racism! Someone who labels his own kind for speaking about the faults of his people! You get the brunt of it?

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Mr. X, I have no idea how in the hell he can claim self defense. They need to get their ducks in a row before they make any arrest. Otherwise it may get kicked out for lack of evidence.

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@Gus. I've given Blacks definition of what we say racism is, and it should be us to define such a term as we bore the brunt of it.
What's your definition of racism. I really want to know. And I didn't call you racist. I stated that I couldn't call you racist. And I'm more that sure that we've never crossed paths as I've never used the handle (Mr. X) before.

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@ Mel/ Apologize for yourself. Don't dare apologize for me. You are the one to PREJUDGE !

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Racist? I can't tell you how little I could care if someone labels me this! Usually it's the most racist one in the room who screams racism. Reverse Racism? No! Racism is Racism and only a fool beleives that Blacks cant be Racist.I am a Realist. Elders along with " Rev. Manning " also on YOUTUBE- speaks the truth. Anytime a Black goes against the grain he is a Uncle Tom! A traitor. I see you have your mind made up- I wouldn't expect anything else. Society will not force people to think a certain way. I know you " X" - we have crossed paths before. If you think hard - you will remember me. @ MEL- If you want Racism- Look up " Knoxville 2007" Murders. You appear nothing but weak. Until the Black community can Police its own/ see " Wisconsin State Fair Riots" then people will judge. @ X- if your waiting for whites to put down all judgement of your kind. Pull up a chair.