BY DEANDRE MCDAY, Staff Reporter
The death of an unarmed Florida teen has sparked national controversy after he was shot and killed by a neighborhood watchman late last month.
Reports say that 17-year-old Travyon Martin was walking from a local store when George Zimmerman, 28, shot and killed him in what he says was an act of self-defense. Despite admitting to the killing, Zimmerman wasn’t arrested.
Prior to the shooting, Zimmerman followed Martin after calling police to say he was following someone in his gated community who was “acting suspiciously.” Despite local authorities telling him to stop the pursuit, Zimmerman continued to follow the teenager, an action that ultimately lead to the teen’s untimely death.
Martin’s death has gained national attention, even catching the eye of President Barack Obama who, in a recent press conference said, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”
Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm posted a picture of herself on Facebook Wednesday donning a black hoodie in a show of public support for the investigation into Martin’s death.
The caption read: “Suiting up in solidarity with the ‘Million Hoodie’ March for Trayvon Martin.”
With the blood of a black teen spilled in a predominantly white gated community, the topic of race has once again been catapulted into the national spotlight.
“It’s completely unacceptable,” says UM-D Senior Brittany Moore. “Even if we ignore the problems of race in the matter, police left the body at the scene! How can we trust those we put in authority when they aren’t even following protocol?”
Many students share Moore’s sentiment about the resulting confusion that plagues states like Florida and Texas after cases like these because of ambiguous “standing your ground” laws. Are citizens living with such legislation ever really safe?
Zimmerman’s attorneys claim that he is very “remorseful” about the incident and that many are leaping to conclusions about the racial implications of the occurrence and that there is yet to be released evidence that will further prove that Zimmerman was acting out of self defense.
Aside from national debate, many agree to the idea this incident was a tragedy. Citizens of cities such as New York, Los Angeles, and many others nationwide have even held marches in his honor.
On a local note, a rally for Martin took place in downtown Detroit on Monday, March 26 in Hart Plaza. Participants continued to wear hoodies in Martin’s honor.