Teen’s Death Sparks Controversy
On February 26, Trayvon Martin, 17, was shot by a neighborhood watch volunteer as he walked to his father’s house. The shooter, George Zimmerman, 28, had been following Martin from his car before exiting the vehicle to confront him.
In his statement, Zimmerman claimed that he confronted Mr. Martin for “suspicious behavior,” and after an argument erupted between them Martin attacked him.
Punching him and then repeatedly slamming his head into the ground, Zimmerman was forced to shoot Martin in self-defense.
Upon arrival, police took Zimmerman in for questioning but later released him because there was no evidence to disprove his claim of self-defense under Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law. Over the past month this case has turned from a local incident to a nationwide ordeal due to the controversy that surrounds the case.
From the ethnic backgrounds of the two individuals involved to the lack of clarity as to how the events unfolded, this story seems to invoke more debate with every new detail released. Chief among these is Fox News correspondent Geraldo Riviera, who recently came under fire from supporters of Trayvon Martin when he commented that the hoodie Martin was wearing at the time was as much to blame for his death as Zimmerman.
Response to this comment has been vicious, ranging from civil rights “One Million Hoodie March” to teenagers wearing hoodies with the words “I am Trayvon,” providing further insight how public opinion views this case.
There is little evidence in this case, and yet it all has somehow managed to both support and contradict Zimmerman’s claims of acting in self-defense.
Zimmerman stated in his account that he, at one point, was crying for help as Martin assaulted him; however, all witnesses’ accounts believe the voice to have been too young to have been Zimmerman, and that they instead came from Martin.
While the police reports state that Zimmerman had been badly beaten and treated at the scene of the shooting, videotapes released to the media revealed images that, while somewhat grainy, present Zimmerman without any noticeable injuries. Supporting one side and drawing fire from the other, the videotapes have become one of the many controversies in the case. Beyond that, it’s become virtually impossible to set aside the “hard” evidence from the “controversial” evidence that is plaguing the case.
Since the shooting, the FBI have taken over the case and are attempting to piece together everything that happened the day Martin was killed.