[two_thirds]Trayvon Martin, 17, was walking through a gated community in Sanford, Florida while talking on his cell phone with a girlfriend, when self-appointed neighborhood watch George Zimmerman shot him to death. Martin was in the neighborhood because his father lived there; he visited his father on the weekends. Zimmerman claimed to be scared of the teenager. Zimmerman justified his actions by Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, which gives Floridians the right to shoot and kill anyone who threatens their safety as long as they have the right to be in the given place the incident occurs. Trayvon was walking around unarmed. In fact all he had in his hand was an Arizona iced tea and a pack of Skittles . Many wonder if this was a matter of racial profiling instead of self-defense. News reports say Zimmerman has made a number of 911 calls in regards to suspicious persons in the neighborhood, all of which were African American males. Zimmerman’s 911 call before shooting Trayvon Martin is below.[/two_thirds]
A similar incident with less coverage was the case of Ramarley Graham. Graham and Martin’s murders occurred with in the same time period. Graham, 18, was illegally killed by New York City policy officer Richard Haste. NYPD entered his grandmother’s Bronx apartment and shot Ramarley in the chest while he was attempting to flush a bag of marijuana. The police did not have a warrant to enter the apartment and Graham was unarmed. Many link the shooting to NYPD’s street policy program “stop and frisk” which targets low-income neighborhoods with predominately African and Caribbean populations.
Both cases have sparked rallies calling for the arrest of Zimmerman and Officer Haste.