herald

Thursday 16 August 2018

Pressure growing to seize Trayvon's killer

PREACHERS wearing hooded sweatshirts similar to the one that tragic Florida teenager Trayvon Martin was wearing on the night he was shot dead have been been stepping up their calls for justice.

Today is the one-month anniversary of 17-year-old Trayvon's killing. He was shot while wearing a hoodie as he walked home on a rainy night in a gated community.

The neighbourhood watch volunteer who shot him, 28-year-old George Zimmerman, is the son of a white father and Hispanic mother, and the demands to charge him have grown ever louder.







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He had called police to report the hooded figure as suspicious -- Trayvon was carrying a bag of Skittles sweets and a can of iced tea, talking to his girlfriend on his cellphone.

In African-American and other religious centres from Florida to Atlanta, New York and Chicago, messages from pulpits couldn't help but touch on a seemingly avoidable tragedy that continues to be rife with more questions than answers.

But while the call continued to be for the arrest of Zimmerman, there were also pleas to use the incident to spark a larger movement.

"How do we turn pain into power?" civil rights leader the Rev Jesse Jackson asked a standing-room-only congregation of hundreds while preaching at Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in Eatonville, Florida, about 20 miles from the site of the shooting.

Mr Jackson preached a sermon entitled The Substance of Things Hoped For. He called for Trayvon's "martyr" death to be used as an opportunity to revive the Civil Rights Commission and draw attention to long-standing issues.

Zimmerman's attorney has said he believes the case falls under Florida's stand-your-ground law, which dictates that a person has the right to stand his or her ground and "meet force with force" if attacked.

hnews@herald.ie

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