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Sun, 02.26.2012

Trayvon Martin is Murdered

*On this date in 2012, Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida.

Martin was a 17-year-old Black high school student. Zimmerman, a 28-year-old white Hispanic man.  Zimmerman was the neighborhood watch coordinator for the gated community where Martin was temporarily living and where the shooting occurred. Zimmerman killed Martin, who was unarmed, during an altercation between the two. Responding to an earlier call from Zimmerman, police arrived on the scene within two minutes of the shooting.

Zimmerman was taken into custody, treated for head injuries, and questioned for five hours. The police chief said that Zimmerman was released because there was no evidence to refute Zimmerman's claim of having acted in self-defense and that under Florida's Stand Your Ground statute, the law from making an arrest prohibited the police.  The police chief also said that Zimmerman had a right to defend himself with lethal force.

As news of the case spread, thousands of protesters across the country called for Zimmerman's arrest and a full investigation. Six weeks after the shooting, amid widespread, intense, and in some cases, misleading media coverage, Zimmerman was charged with murder by a special prosecutor appointed by Governor Rick Scott.

Zimmerman's trial began on June 10, 2013, in Sanford. On July 13, 2013, a jury acquitted him. On 24 February 2015, the Justice Department announced, "there was not enough evidence for a federal hate crime prosecution.”


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