(FinalCall.com) – “Trayvon Martin. Trayvon Martin.” Before February 26, 2012, despite repetitious thought, his name might not have rung a bell for many. But since that rainy night when George Zimmerman fatally shot the Black 17-year-old while he walked home from a convenience store, Trayvon Martin has become a household name.
Trayvon has come to symbolize an era of and a movement to end extreme violence against young Black males.
His death was very significant, as indicated by the national conversation it caused and that it ranked the number three story in the year, only behind President Barack Obama’s re-election and Hurricane Sandy, according to Attorney Benjamin Crump, attorney for Trayvon Martin’s family.
“They say it made more headlines in America, except for the presidential election. It was incredibly significant because we know Black children are killed on a daily basis and nobody says a word,” Atty. Crump told The Final Call.
The circumstances drew Americans into a unified force to demand justice be allowed to run its course, Mr. Crump noted, especially in aftermath of the shooting and law enforcement’s refusal to arrest Mr. Zimmerman.
The national and international media attention and response following the shooting indicated justice for Trayvon Martin was worthy of struggle, particularly in terms of the acts which led to his death, Atty. Crump said.
Mr. Zimmerman claimed he was a neighborhood watch volunteer captain. He claimed he felt threatened by Mr. Martin. Locked away in his car he observed the youth, was told by an emergency operator not to engage him, but Mr. Zimmerman apparently pursued him and fatally killed Trayvon.
Mr. Zimmerman is poised to stand trial June 10, 2013, only if a judge decides against granting immunity through Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground Law.” The law allows Floridians to use deadly force if they feel threatened. His hearing is planned for April or May.
Atty. Crump concluded if Mr. Zimmerman is not held accountable, Stand Your Ground killings will flourish. “It’s something we’re already starting to see with Jordan Davis, Ernest Hoskins, all around America,” Atty. Crump said.
Michael Dunn, who is White, was initially charged with second degree murder for shooting 17-year-old Jordan Davis, who is Black, on Nov. 23 at a gas station in Jacksonville, Florida, allegedly over loud music. The charges have since changed to a first degree murder charge and three counts of attempted first degree murder.
Mr. Dunn, jailed without bail, fired at least eight bullets into the parked SUV where Mr. Jordan sat with three other young men.
On Nov. 9, Christopher Reynolds, also White, allegedly shot and killed his Black employee, Mr. Hoskins, in Ward, Ark.
According to a witness affidavit, the shooting occurred during a routine business meeting for Reynell Industries. The affidavit asserted Mr. Reynolds complained Mr. Hoskins hadn’t been producing for the business. Then Mr. Reynolds shot the victim in the head, the witness wrote.
In Jonesboro, Ark., although forensics tests concluded Chavis Carter’s fingerprints were not on the gun police claimed was used to commit suicide while handcuffed, the case is still in limbo. during a July 29 traffic stop,
Police conducted no gun residue tests after the July 29 shooting, which occurred in the back of a police cruiser after a traffic stop. No arrests have been made but the young man’s family is still crying out for justice.
Activists say an onslaught of vigilante and unjust police murders was just a matter of time, particularly given the fact that Sanford Police let Mr. Zimmerman go free and with the gun he used the night of the shooting.
Activists say lessons are being learned about how to address and respond to such tragedies.
“It looks like folks are definitely learning and are trying to take the struggle to the next level. But at the same time the police and the state are repressing people in a heightened way, partly because of the economy and partly because they’re afraid of our rise,” said Sanyika Bryant, an organizer with the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, a human rights advocacy organization.
The organization’s latest update of its 2012 “Every 36 Hours” report on the extrajudicial killings of Black men, women, and children indicates between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2012 “police and a much smaller number of security guards and self-appointed vigilantes have murdered at least 120 Black women and men.”
The killings are not accidental or random acts of violence or the work of rogue cops, the report concludes.
“Our people are going to become more organized just out of self-defense and survival. Those two things go hand in hand. We’re not just going to take it,” Mr. Bryant said.
Above the Law? Extrajudicial killings of Blacks are increasing (FCN, 07-17-2012)