The demonstrators burst into a chant of “Justice for Trayvon!” as slain Florida teen's parents joined protest
The parents of the unarmed black Florida teenager slain three weeks ago by an overzealous neighborhood watchman joined a “million hoodie” march in Union Square Wednesday demanding the shooter’s arrest.
“Our son is your son,” Trayvon Martin’s mom Sybrina Fulton told a big crowd.
“This is not a black and white thing. This is a right and wrong thing.”
The demonstrators burst into a chant of “Justice for Trayvon!”
"My heart is in pain. But seeing the support from all of you, really makes a difference,” she said.
Demonstrators wearing hoodies took turns calling out “Am I suspicious?"
Jumaane Williams, the city councilman arrested during last year’s West Indian Parade, said, "I know I’m black. I reek of Brooklyn. But I'm not a criminal. I'm a city councilman. Some of us are doctors. Some of us are
President of the United States of America. Our blood is not cheap.”
As national anger over the shooting grows, MSNBC host and civil-rights activist the Rev. Al Sharpton planned a rally Thursday in Sanford, Fla., the Orlando suburb where the 17-year-old was killed Feb. 26 by 28-year-old George Zimmerman.
Martin’s parents were in New York for a blizzard of TV appearances campaigning for Zimmerman’s arrest and the resignation of the Sanford police chief.
“He’s a fun-loving guy. He likes to be with his family and his friends,” Fulton said on MSNBC, unable to use the past tense about her boy.
Tracy Martin recounted how his son, when he was nine, saved him from a house fire. “He almost gave his life for me. I won’t stop until I get justice for him,” Martin said.
Facing a rising tide of criticism, Sanford city commissioners voted 3-2 on Wednesday that they had no confidence in police Chief Bill Lee.
Lee took over only ten months ago when the previous chief resigned amid an outcry over his refusal to arrest a cop’s son who beat up a black homeless man.
Also Wednesday, the Sanford city manager put out a letter saying the cops could not arrest Zimmerman because of Florida’s controversial 2005 Stand Your Ground law, which allows people to shoot anyone they believe is threatening them.
“Law enforcement was PROHIBITED from making an arrest based on the facts and circumstances they had at the time,” City Manager Norton Bonaparte wrote.
“The Sanford Police Department has conducted a complete and fair investigation of this incident,” he added.
Fulton had a different take.
“They decided on the scene to be the judge and jury,” she said. “I just want this guy arrested so he could be brought to justice.”
Even the Republican lawmakers who wrote the Stand Your Ground law disputed the cops, saying Zimmerman went looking for a confrontation and should therefore be arrested.
“He has no protection under my law,” former Sen. state Durell Peaden told the Miami Herald.
Trayvon, who was staying at his dad’s house in the gated community, went to 7-Eleven to buy Skittles and iced tea wearing a hoodie in the drizzly night.
Zimmerman, whose family says is Hispanic, spotted Trayvon and called 911 - one of dozens of calls over the years about suspicious black males.
“This guy looks like he’s up to no good...These a**holes always get away,” Zimmerman told the police dispatcher before getting out of his car to follow the teenager - even though he was told to stay put.
When cops arrived, Trayvon was dead, shot in the chest by Zimmerman, who had a bloody nose and claimed the teenager jumped him.
Police Chief Lee insisted there was no probable cause to arrest Zimmerman, either at the scene or after it emerged that calls to 911 from worried neighbors captured the teen’s desperate cries for help and a single gunshot.
Calls for Zimmerman’s arrest are growing deafening. One petition has already been signed 800,000 times and marches and rallies are being held all over the country.
On Tuesday, the Justice Department opened a federal investigation into the incident.
Zimmerman has fled his home and is in hiding after receiving death threats.