Trayvon shooting underscores 'Blue for Peace' Project
Published: Saturday, April 14, 2012
Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 16:08
After 45 days, George Zimmerman, 28, has been arrested and charged with second-degree murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman shot and killed the unarmed teen in the Twin Lakes gated community in Florida.
The charges came a day after Zimmerman’s former attorneys announced they were no longer representing him as a client.
Angela Corey, special prosecutor for the Trayvon Martin case, announced that the decision was not made lightly. After obtaining all evidence and information from witnesses, the prosecution team was able to come to a final decision. The trial will take place in the Seminole County Courthouse.
“This is a quintessential case of racial profiling,” said Joey Mogul, a professor and director of civil rights in DePaul’s College of Law. “Zimmerman pursued Trayvon as a so-called suspicious person because he is was a young, black male. That is just wrong. Unfortunately, this is a practice we see too often committed by law enforcement officers nationwide, and it is not only wrong. It is also unconstitutional.”
According to the Seminole Police Department, Zimmerman was not arrested on the evening that Martin was killed because he claimed the shooting was an act of self-defense.
The “Stand your Ground Law” protected Zimmerman on the grounds that he was being attacked and had the right to retreat with deadly force if necessary. Carrying a concealed firearm in Florida is illegal without a permit; however, Zimmerman was a member of the neighborhood watch program that permitted him to do so.
“The police department acted within the scope of the law within that state,” said Linda Brown, former FBI agent and police officer. “However, I don’t think he (Zimmerman) felt threatened, but stereotyping played a part in this case.”
Like many, Brown believes race played a role in the shooting. “I believe race was a catalyst in pursuing Trayvon Martin,” she said.
Trayvon’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, recently spoke out to the public and said Zimmerman stalked her son and killed him in cold blood. Fulton, along with Trayvon’s father, Tracy Martin, started a petition immediately after the killing of her son to prosecute Zimmerman.
Thousands marched the streets across the country in the “Million Hoodie March” to protest the tragedy and seek justice. Martin was one of many teens who have died due to violence.
The DePaul project “Blue for Peace,” which addresses youth violence in Chicago, will host a city-wide symposium called “We Are Chicago” April 24.
In addition, there will be a Chicago Youth Peace Rally May 5, with the Chicago Public Schools and other organizations gathering at Union Park. “Blue for Peace” originated with the loss of Frankie Valencia, a DePaul student who was shot and killed in 2009.
“[The] Trayvon Martin case is a reality taking place across the country. It is a symptom of larger issues, such as gun violence and youth criminalization within our communities,” said Ruben Alvarez, the ministry coordinator for the DePaul Community Service Association (DSCA) and Service Days at DePaul.