The death of 17-year-old, Trayvon Martin, prompted protestors to demand justice at a Seminole county courthouse in Florida, north of Orlando.
“Gone but not forgotten,” read one that had a picture of the young man wearing a football uniform. “No justice for Trayvon. No peace for Sanford!” read another.
The incident happened a month ago while he walked back to his father’s fiance’s house in Sanford, Florida. His parents believe that race was a factor in their son’s death.
George Zimmerman, 28, the man who shot the teen, claimed it was self-defense. Police said they found no evidence to support his story. Tracy Martin, Trayvon’s father, told CNN that his son was a victim of profiling.
“I think that’s an issue that Mr. Zimmerman himself considers as someone suspicious — a black kid with a hoodie on, jeans, tennis shoes,” Martin said. “Thousands of people wear that outfit every day, so what was so suspicious about Trayvon that Zimmerman felt as though he had to confront him?”
Zimmerman’s family made a statement saying, he grew up in a multiracial family and that he was not racist. He has since moved out of the family home after receiving death threats.
Zimmerman called police around dusk on February 26 due to a suspicious man in his neighborhood.
“Something’s wrong with him. Yep. He’s coming to check me out,” Zimmerman told a police dispatcher in a 911 call released Monday. “He’s got something in his hands. I don’t know what his deal is. Send officers over here.”
Zimmerman reported that the teen started to run and that he was going after him. The 911 dispatcher told him, “We don’t need you to do that.”
After a few minutes, neighbors called 911 reporting a fight, then a gunshot. Trayvon was dead by the time police arrived. He was carrying a bag of Skittles and an iced tea while walking back to his father’s fiancee’s home.
A voice crying for help was heard in the neighbors’ 911 calls. Mr. Martin is convinced that it was his son’s voice.
“It’s heart wrenching, because those actually were my son’s last words,” he said. “And to hear his last words being cries of help, is devastating. It tears me apart as a father.”
The Justice Department said it would be dispatching officials to Sanford to investigate the incident.