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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SAVE OUR LAND LAND JOY THE KLAN AN THE WHITE MAN MARCHES ON get in line an know your place he shouldnt have been in the white community after dark

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Why does it have to be about race? The fact is, one human took the life of another human. This is completely dispicable! No one should suffer racism or hate of any kind no matter your color. We are in the year 2012!!! Why does this still go on??

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@ X- My Source is Larry Elder. He is a Black Radio talk show host. He was on BET and was interviewed by Tavis Smiley. Elder said that that 90% were Black on White - he also said that Most violent crimes were Black on Black BUT the black on White crime was about to pass up the White on White Numbers in this country! Of course immediatly Tavis had to go to a commercial ! YOUTUBE this. I have no idea as to what makes you believe that whites are as safe in black neighborhoods as reversed! That is an illusion that no one will buy! As long as blacks continue to look away from the real problem and as long as Blacks see the white community as they do the " Judicial Machine" you will suffer. We are out of patience with all this blame. Blacks need to be accountable for your own actions. We will not baby you or feel guilty.

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i think he got what he deserved for attack zimmerman in his own community if it had been the other way around it would just be another dead white guy but this is what our country is coming to be white an be proud blacks need to know there place in this country history always repeats its self they need to remember that

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@TexasPrincess. The definition of racism to Blacks is having the influence, power & the means to guide and direct the lives of another people in a non productive negative way. So what is your definition of racism and or reverse racism? I understand that "some" Blacks don't like Whites simply because of the color of their skin which is a learned behavior for the former slave master. We aren't the authors of hate because of skin color in this country, Whites are. That's irrefutable. To exercise racism or reverse racism mean that we (Blacks) now how the power to do just that. YES, PLEASE EXPLAIN THAT REVERSE RACISM THING SO I CAN HAVE A BETTER UNDERSTANDING. (my caps aren't yelling but instead, PASSION}.

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Thank you Jessica. Wow! Thankfully I can be color blind. Let's review the facts in this article and your comments. Trayvon was waiting in the good neighborhood and Zimmerman was a neighborhood watchmen with a gun. Trayvon was on the phone with his girlfriend saying he was being followed. Zimmerman called the cops as did Trayvon. He was dead when they arrived and the biased girlfriend is the only witness. I think the fact he was unarmed speaks volumes.

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@ Mr X- you almost sound like it is the Justice system that's to blame for the dead Black & the Black in jail. From where I'm sitting it's the BLACKS who don't put a Value on LIFE! Unless of course the Matrix is beaming down some of Obamas Solar " Star light Energy" and killing off these innocent Blacks! Ask yourself this- Why is it Asians come into this country and Prosper! They teach themselves the language and open up a business! For the most part the live within the law! Maybe it's only in my neck of the woods but most Asians own a Belt! No country in the History of time has been able to live with different Races and not have chaos break out. This young kid was probably as innocent as he seemed but we are not talking about him! We are talking percentages aren't we! People are tired of society wanting us to lower our standards- and why should we- to accommodate others. This guilt ridden train is at the ends of its tracks.

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@Gus. The Matrix is considered a system. If you're going to mince words, just change the Matrix for yourself & add system. Easy enough?

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@Gus. You stated "Out of all violent Race Crimes in this country- 90% are black on white- of course we dont want to talk about this! Yet it is a fact! this TRUE Data does not justify what happened to this boy". You couldn't be more WRONG! White people have been the safest in the Black community, it's the Black on Black crime that's pervasive. Post your source & I bet my bottom dollar that it's tainted. Black on White crime, Really? White on Black crime under the color of authority (police, judges, governors etc...)has been and is the order of the day. This case is the very proof of which I speak, because it's a crime in & of itself that the Police Dept. let this Murderer loose. My Son's a lawyer, I'm not, but it doesn't take one to know the the "Stand Your Ground Law" doesn't cover George Zimmerman actions, and the writer of that particular law agrees.

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You had me right up until the Matrix!

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