Written by: Shauna Lee
It is probably too early to tell. Maybe the world will never know what exactly happened on the evening of February 26, 2012 between Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman. However the handling of this teenage boy’s death by the Sanford Police and their refusal to arrest George Zimmerman has reignited the racial divide in that small town. Was it that Trayvon was wearing a hooded sweatshirt? Was it that there was an African-American male walking around in a gated community? There seems to be an unspoken rule that a young black male must rebut the presumption that he is up to no good. The outrage comes not only from the fact that a young man lost his life, but from the inaction taken to arrest George Zimmerman and charge him with the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. The “Stand Your Ground” statute passed by the Florida Legislature in 2005 allows individuals to meet force with force and act in self-defense. The discrepancy comes as to whether Zimmerman lost that privilege when he decided to follow Trayvon after the 911 dispatcher advised him not to. With the possibility of an indictment by the grand jury next week, the overarching social question regarding the assumption that young black males are up to no good still needs to be addressed.
For more information regarding the Trayvon Martin case, see:
The opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Widener Journal of Law, Economics & Race.