Sybrina Fulton knows what she will be doing tomorrow. It is
the same thing she did yesterday. And the same thing she will do today.
“I cry every day,” she said Sunday on TV One’s Washington Watch with Roland Martin. “I
just don’t understand. My son’s gone and this guy has never been arrested.”
Her son, Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year old high school
junior with no record of trouble, was killed in Sanford, Fla. on Feb. 26 by
George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain. Zimmerman was questioned by
police and released after authorities took his word that he was acting in self-defense, a version of events
contradicted by witnesses and calls to 911.
Martin, an honor student who lived in Miami with his parents,
was visiting in the gated community of Twin Lakes in Sanford, 20 miles
northeast of Orlando, with his father when the incident took place. He had gone
to a nearby 7-Eleven store to pick up a bag of Skittles and a can of iced tea
during halftime of a televised NBA game.
Walking back, he was spotted by Zimmerman, who was driving a
SUV. Zimmerman, a wannabe cop, dialed 911 to report seeing a “very suspicious”
Black male in the neighborhood.
Under pressure, Sanford police released 911 tapes that
clearly show that Zimmerman disobeyed police instructions that he avoid making contact
Zimmerman told the 911 dispatcher, “This guy looks like he
is up to no good. He is on drugs or something.” He also claimed Martin had his
hand in his waistband and was looking at homes as he walked.
“These ---holes. They always get away,” Zimmerman told the
dispatcher. When the 911 dispatcher asked Zimmerman if he were following
Martin, he replied yes.
“OK, we don't need
you to do that,” the dispatcher told Zimmerman. Not only did he disobey,
Zimmerman got out of this SUV, confronted Martin, and fired the deadly bullet
into his chest.
Benjamin Crump, the family’s lawyer, also appeared on Roland
Martin’s show with the parents.
“He [Zimmerman] gets out of that car with a 9 millimeter
gun, weighing 200 pounds and confronts this kid, weighing soaking wet 140-150
pounds, who has only a bag of Skittles. George Zimmerman has a red sweat shirt
and jeans on. We believe Trayvon Martin went to his grave not knowing who was
this strange White man confronting him.”
Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee has defended his department’s
decision not to charge Zimmerman.
“We are taking a beating over this," he said. "This
is all very unsettling. I’m sure if George Zimmerman had the opportunity to
relive Sunday, Feb. 26, he’d probably do things differently. I’m sure Trayvon
Several witnesses have disputed the idea that Zimmerman was
acting in self-defense.
“I heard someone crying – not boo-hoo crying, but scared or
terrified or hurt maybe,” Mary Cutcher told the Miami Herald. “To me, it was a child.” She explained, “This was not self-defense. We
heard no fighting, no wrestling, no punching. We heard a boy crying. As soon as
the shot went off, it stopped, which tells me it was the child crying. If it
had been Zimmerman crying, it wouldn’t have stopped. If you’re hurting, you’re
Sanford, Fla. has a checkered race relations record.
In 2005, two parking lot security guards, one the son of a
Sanford police officer, fatally shot a Black teenager, Travares McGill, in the
back. They, too, claimed self-defense and had their case dismissed in court.
Last year, Police Chief Brian Tooley was forced from office
after the son of a lieutenant was caught on camera beating a defenseless
homeless Black man. The department refused to prosecute the officer, Justin
Collison, until after the footage was posted on YouTube.
Tracy Martin told Roland Martin that his son saved his life
“At the time, he was 9 years old,” the father recounted. “We
had just came from the Little League football park. We fell asleep while the
stove was on. A grease fire started. I went into the kitchen to try to put the
grease fire out. The grease splattered all over my leg. My body went into shock
and by me and him being in the house, I started calling out his name.
“He finally woke up and, at 9 years old, he pulled me from
out of the kitchen, where the kitchen cabinets were on fire. He pulled me out
of the kitchen onto the balcony. He actually went back into the house and got
the cell phone and called 911.”
An emotional Tracy Martin said, “He was my hero – he was
actually my best friend. He saved my life. And for me not to be there to be
able to save his life is very upsetting.”
George E. Curry,
former editor-in-chief of Emerge magazine and the NNPA News Service, is
editorial director of Heart & Soul magazine. He is a keynote speaker,
moderator, and media coach. Curry can be reached through his Web site,
www.georgecurry.com You can also follow him at www.twitter.com/currygeorge.
12 Things to Remember about the Trayvon Martin Case
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