Thousands Rally in Florida for Trayvon Martin; Sanford Police Chief Steps Down

Friday, March 23, 2012

New Yorkers attend a rally in memory of a Trayvon Martin, a black teen who was shot to death by a neighbor in Florida. (Janet Babin/WNYC)

In Sanford, Florida, thousands of people rallied on Thursday night in support of the family of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, who was killed in late February by a self-appointed neighborhood watch captain who thought the black teen looked "suspicious." The shooter, George Zimmerman, has not been charged, but a major development in Trayvon's case came yesterday when Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee Jr. announced he was stepping down.

Valerie Houston is Pastor at Allen Chapel AME Church in Sanford, Florida.

Guests:

Valerie Houston

Produced by:

Mythili Rao

Comments [6]

Bob H from Atlanta

The Trayvon Martin killing is a tragedy which seems to have been inevitable. I am a 60 year old black man who has now become more afraid of being killed or injured by an armed citizen who feels "threatened" than by being the victim of a crime.

There has been a perception in America that crime has a black face. As a result, any black male teenager or other is very often seen in a suspicious light. This perception along with the growing movement in this country often encouraged by our political officials for citizens to be more assertive about protecting themselves makes this killing pretty much inevitable.

George Zimmerman is a simple minded individual caught up in this wave of assertive opposition to crime. His senses having been tainted by the perception that crime has a black face, it was easy for him to make the leap to the assumption that a hooded black male was "up to no good". Against the advise of the 911 operator Zimmerman zealously pursued Trayvon under the belief that he was performing a service for his
neighbors. The result was tragic and predictable.

One should not forget the role of the police in this incident. It seems that that the police formed an opinion of the shooting very quickly. They seem themselves to have fallen into the assumption also that the young black male laying dead on the ground was guilty and the shooting was justified.

Finally, I think there is a real need for our elected officials to evaluate the question about whether we are truly safer with the George Zimmerman's of the world carrying weapons. Me, myself, I do not think that is the case.

Mar. 24 2012 12:39 PM
earlean henderson from north carolina, rural warren county

we all are waiting for the arrest of the man who did the killing, how long will it take that to happen. We want to no. if that had been a black man who kill a white person in the street cold blooded like that , he would already have charges againts him and lockup. so what is the problem, and why when it one of our children or men things just can't happen according to the law.

Mar. 24 2012 09:34 AM
Charles

Yet another young black male gunned down on the street. I don't know whether he was wearing a hoodie. But I am guessing that Al Sharpton might not be attending any protest rallies in Philadelphia:

http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/story?section=news%2Flocal&id=8591805&cmp=fb-wpvi-article-8591805

Public radio's attention to certain homicides is, well, sort of selective.

Mar. 23 2012 10:24 AM
Nathalia Chalmers from Greenwich CT

Interesting that the "hoodie" is rearing its "head" again as a supposed red flag for a criminal. In the UK some years ago this became a big issue discussed in the media and by Cameron - and Cameron, trying to turn things around said "hug a hoodie".
Here is the original speech:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/5166498.stm

Mar. 23 2012 09:33 AM
Charles

Wow. Compare John Hockenberry's tone in this interview with his tone in yesterdy's interview with Florida state representative Dennis Baxley yesterday.

http://www.thetakeaway.org/2012/mar/22/co-sponsor-florida-stand-your-ground-law-discusses-trayvon-martin-shooting/

Helpful, versus hostile. Cross-examination, versus friendly 'leading.' Angry, versus sympathetic. Journalist Hockenberry, leaving the audience with little doubt about what they are supposed to think.

Mar. 23 2012 08:36 AM
Ed from Larchmont

The outrage and strong reaction against the killing of this innocent young man shows that people know that the killing of the innocent is seriously wrong. Yet somewhere near us ten or hundreds of innocent human beings are killed in abortion every week. I wish we could turn the power of our correct outrage to protect the unborn as well.

Mar. 23 2012 06:05 AM

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