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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@bfo. I'll check it out but it won't sway the facts of the case. The Police department is attempting to cover it's own ass. How can one claim self defense when he's the aggressor, the chaser. Trayvon wasn't the suspicious one, Zimmerman was. If on a dark night a car was creeping following me, I might run also. As the writer of the law "Stand Your Ground" put it. Zimmerman through that law out the window when he went into pursuit mode.

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you should never be sorry for being white......this country is a shit hole

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@Concerned. You aren't concerned but well misinformed. First of all, I've ran "neighborhood watches" before. This was not an official neighborhood watch. Zimmerman was a self imposed so-called captain of said organization. A real neighborhood watch has by-laws, of which state, you are to "OBSERVE & REPORT", not observe, follow & question. And even if it were a proper neighborhood watch, Zimmerman never ID'd himself, no badge, no uniform, NOTHING that said he was no more than a civilian, which in reality is all he is. It's called "neighborhood WATCH", WATCH, WATCH WATCH. Not neighborhood follow, chase, question. The duty is just like that of a security guard, OBSERVE & REPORT. Either they arrest him or Karma will get his ass.

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Google this.....evidence backs Zimmermans story. The washington post said there was evidence of self defense when the officers arrived. Go look, it has way more information than this.

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"He shouldn't have been in the white community after dark". This poor child's life was taken more than likely due to the color of his skin! I am white and can't stand to read these kinds of statements. This is what is wrong with the world! God bless him and his family. My apologies for the people who are making these ignorant comments. Please know that not all whites share these sentiments.

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@Gus. While I don't believe that you're racist, I really can't tell, but take a look at the comments of "white right" and you may understand better why I say what I say. If this type of sick mind ceases to exist, we (Blacks) wouldn't have a thing left to complain about. And "white right's" mind reaches as far as the policy maker in this country, thus the non arrest of George Zimmerman..

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@Gus. I'll just say this. Karma is a Mutha. And for most of you, guilt wasn't transferred during the grafting process. Void of an self accusing spirit. It's not in you. For some that haven't broken that idiot way of thinking that you're better because you're white, Jesus in the Bible puts it this way, "you are of your father the devil"... "the truth is not in you"... "he was a murderer in the beginning and abode not in the truth". Babylon the Great is Fallen and has become the habitation of devils.

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I am a black male with a cpl who lives in a predominately white neighborhood. I was the fourth person to build here but if I shot a white youth for doing the same thing this young man did, I bet I would be in jail. Zimmerman should be in jail, no questions asked. He stalked this kid, used a racial slur, then murdered him. That is a hate crime. Plain and simple.

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@Gus. Larry Elder hasn't been Black since the day he was born. I know some white guys way Blacker than him. He is but a tool just like that Herman Cain. NEXT!

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@Lydia. It's apples & basketballs to compare Asians or any other people that willingly came to this country. If you remember, 22 million Black people didn't come to this country of our free will, but are "indeed" stolen property, brought here at gun point in shackles. No comparison. Since such time we (Blacks) have become our own worse enemies by killing one another, hating one another through a system (matrix)when created never had Black in mind. Yes, ultimately it's the system fault by it's generations of mistreatment towards the darker people of the earth, here & abroad. Through their news media & propaganda machines they don't paint pictures of the good in the Black communities but will spread the worse of Black news all around the globe and paint us as savages. So yes Lydia, the so-called justice system does have it's hand and role & cross to bear in the Killing of Trayvon Martin. More like the injustice system.

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