Marley Lion Murder Case Draws Trayvon Martin Comparisons, Questions Over Police Action

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The murder of Marley Lion, also from 2012, is drawing comparisons to the Trayvon Martin case and putting the spotlight on police action and media attention.

Marley Lion Photo

Lion was killed in Charleston, S.C., on June 16, 2012.

Police found him lying on the ground outside his Nissan Pathfinder, bleeding to death. Before dying he told police that two African-American males approached him.

One of them, Lion said, shot him several times.

The Charleston Police Department said they came across the suspects when one of them tried to sell the gun that had been used in Marley’s murder.

Four arrests were eventually made in the case.

Trayvon Martin was killed because George Zimmerman assumed he was up to no good in the Sanford, Fla., community where he was staying.

Although Zimmerman and his family members have said race was not a component of the case, critics believe that Martin was profiled based on his appearance.

There were no such racial overtones in Marley Lion’s murder.

Ryan Deleston, a 30-year-old black man charged Lion’s murder, was reportedly planning to rob a nearby bar when he came across Lion instead.

Lion’s murder also brought a swift investigation and charges, while police released Zimmerman the night of the shooting, deeming it was self-defense.

While he was eventually charged, he pleaded not guilty, and the not guilty George Zimmerman verdict sparked debate and outcry across the U.S.

Last week, a leader of the Charleston branch of the NAACP weighed in.

“In the case of Marley Lion, there was an immediate search for the killer, fairly rapid apprehension, rapid action," said Rev. Joseph Darby.

"With Trayvon Martin, police were aware of the killing, but there was no charge before the national pressure. I think the reason the Martin case made national news was the inaction in Florida.”

“On the one hand, they were two young men who minding their own business when it occurred. On the other hand, I think the problem in the Trayvon case is that the aftermath was different.”

Dot Scott, Charleston’s NAACP president, said the difference in police action highlights exactly why the Trayvon Martin case was so noteworthy.

She said investigators “did what they should have done” after the murder of Marley Lion, but that “doesn’t happen the same way with the life of a black child.”

Do you agree? Or is this entirely circumstantial? Comment below.

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