Trayvon Martin, at East Baltimore and Caroline streets.
Two demonstrations, one in Springfield, Mass., and one in Sanford, Fla., brought protesters together Saturday around one theme, justice in the case of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed 17-year-old shot to death by George Zimmerman, a self-appointed neighborhood watch volunteer who ignored a police dispatcher’s warnings and violated key rules in the official Neighborhood Watch Manual, including a prohibition against carrying a firearm while on patrol.
He was questioned for hours by police on the night of the Feb. 26 shooting, his 9mm pistol and clothes impounded. But the state prosecutor for the county refused to charge him despite the fact that the lead Sanford Police Department investigator in the case did not believe Zimmerman’s claim that he had been defending himself after being injured from an attack by Martin and was in fear for his life.
In Sanford, the central Florida city where the shooting took place, an NAACP-organized march and rally, variously estimated at one thousand to several thousand protesters, included fiery speeches by the Rev. Al Sharpton and the Rev. Jesse Jackson NAACP President Benjamin Jealous. They helped carry a large yellow banner inscribed with the words: “Justice for Trayvon.”
Marchers chanted: “We want an arrest. Shot in the chest.”
Rev. Jesse Jackson, march in Sanford, Fla. (Reuters)
“Because of the age of the young man and because of the circumstances of his death, every community can identify with that,” said Bernard Simelton, president of the Alabama state conference of the NAACP. “We’ve had things like that happen in Alabama where somebody gets killed and the police just sweep it under the rug. It just touches everyone.”
In Springfield, an estimated 1000 protesters, many dressed in hoodies, gathered at city hall for the 1,000 Hoodies Walk:
State representatives Benjamin Swan and Cheryl Coakley-Rivera, D-Springfield, were among those who joined in the practice at the Massachusetts House of Representatives and were joined by state Sen. James Welch, D-West Springfield, who wore a bright green hoodie on Saturday.
“The ultimate message is people need to be judged on who they are and how they treat people, not what they wear or how they look. You don’t need to be of any particular race to receive that message,” Welch said.
There were also marches, among other places, in Massachusetts and Milwaukee.
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