If you can imagine a scene in Sanford, Fla., on the rainy night of Feb. 26, 2012, when the Sanford police were called to a scene where a young Black man was standing with his hands up with a holstered gun and a young White man lay dead on the ground, do you think the immediate outcome would have been the same?
Could the young Black man have told police that he shot the young White man in self-defense? Could he have invoked the “Stand your ground” law to be released without any charges? Certainly not! He would have been arrested and charged with murder on the spot.
George Zimmerman first saw Trayvon Martin walking home from a local 7-Eleven store after purchasing a bag of Skittles candy and an ice tea for his little brother. Zimmerman evidently had a racial mind-set that only Blacks that he was familiar with belonged in this gated community. He didn’t know Trayvon, so he assumed that he was an intruder. He reported his findings to the local police and was instructed not to follow Martin. Contrary to his instructions, Zimmerman did follow him and as a result of following him, got involved in a scuffle, pulled a gun and shot Martin dead. That was premeditated, cold-blooded murder.
There were no immediate legal consequences to this shooting because Zimmerman who, according to America’s ethnic designations, is White, had just shot and killed a Black intruder in his gated community.
The police and investigators readily accepted Zimmerman’s account of the incident and, therefore, didn’t bother to do a full house-to-house inquiry about the dead child on the ground, because Zimmerman had already described him as an intruder. Instead they took Martin to the morgue and labeled him a “John Doe.” The police discovered the next day that Trayvon was a guest in the apartment complex when his father, Tracy Martin, filed a missing persons report.
A detective visited Trayvon’s father at his girlfriend’s house. “He asked me to sit down,” Martin recalls. “I sat down. He pulled out a picture of a young gentleman on the ground, dead, and asked me if that was my son. And I confirmed that it was Trayvon. And since that confirmation, it’s been a nightmare.”
Martin called his ex-wife with the news of their son’s death. “I didn’t actually believe what his dad told me,” Sybrina Fulton says. “I just didn’t believe it. That’s absolutely the worst call that a mother can receive. That her baby has been shot and killed.”
A young lady from Miami, who said she had known Trayvon since kindergarten, talked on the phone with him on the night of Feb. 26. The 16-year-old said Trayvon described a man who was “crazy and creepy” and on the phone, watching him from a vehicle before starting to follow him on foot. She implored Trayvon, who said he put his sweatshirt hood up because of the rain, to run to the townhouse where he was staying with his father, his father’s girlfriend and her 14-year-old son.