"Trayvon Martin could have been me"
President Obama said on Friday that the death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager shot dead in Florida last year, has raised questions about why young African-Americans experience racial profiling.
"You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot, I said that this could have been my son. Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me, 35 years ago," Obama told reporters at the White House.
Photo: U.S. President Barack Obama pauses as he talks about the Trayvon Martin shooting in the press briefing room at the White House in Washington, on July 19, 2013. REUTERS/Larry Downing
Friends say Zimmerman’s next step might be law school: After his acquittal on murder charges for fatally shooting Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman may go to law school to help people wrongly accused of crimes like himself, close friends told Reuters.
The 29-year old was found not guilty for shooting the unarmed teenager in a case that sparked a national debate on race and gun laws.
One of Zimmerman’s first calls was to defense witness John Donnelly and his wife Leanne Benjamin. They got to know Zimmerman in 2004 when he and a black friend opened up an insurance office in a Florida building where Benjamin worked, and they grew close and the couple spent time with him during the trial.
Over dinner with Zimmerman recently, Benjamin said he told them he would like to go to law school. “I’d like to help other people like me,” she quoted him as telling them.
Zimmerman, an insurance investigator, attended community college and was a credit shy of an associate’s degree in criminal justice but was kicked out of school because he posed a danger to the campus, according to family sources.
Photo: George Zimmerman stands when the jury arrives to deliver the verdict as his attorneys Mark O’Mara (L) and co-counsel, Don West (2nd L) and Lorna Truett (2nd R) at the Seminole County Criminal Justice Center in Sanford, Florida. REUTERS/Joe Burbank/Pool
A year after the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager in this central Florida town, there’s a small memorial, a new police chief and the stirrings of understanding.
Trayvon Martin, 17, was gunned down on February 26, 2012 as he walked to his father’s fiancee’s home in one of Sanford’s gated communities. The man accused of his killing, George Zimmerman, 28, a white Hispanic on neighborhood watch, is set to be tried on June 10.
Martin’s death drew top-tier civil rights leaders, such as the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, who brought a national spotlight to this town just north of Orlando and not far from Disney World.
That spotlight forced the town of 53,000 to confront police work that seemed to be a throwback to the days of separate and resolutely unequal racial sensibilities.
A Florida judge on Tuesday denied a request from accused murderer George Zimmerman to let him remove his GPS monitoring device and travel freely in the state pending his trial next June in the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin.
Zimmerman, 29, has been confined to Seminole County under a $1 million bond since July, when a judge concluded that he had presented false information about his assets and was a flight risk.
Zimmerman and his wife, Shellie, who is charged with perjury for allegedly lying to the judge about the couple’s finances, live in hiding and “in fear of violence,” according to a 74-page motion filed by his lawyer, Mark O’Mara.
New discovery evidence has been released by the Florida State Attorney’s Office in the George Zimmerman criminal trial.
The new evidence released on Tuesday included a dossier that, among other things, contains a “computer voice stress test” in which a computer monitored Zimmerman’s voice during a special question-and-answer session on the late February shooting of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin.
Also released on Tuesday was an hour-long police interrogation video in which Zimmerman is questioned about the shooting.
DEVELOPING: Shellie Zimmerman, the wife of Trayvon Martin shooter George Zimmerman, has been arrested on one count of perjury, a press release issued by the Seminole County Sheriff’s Department read Tuesday afternoon. [Photo: Seminole County Sheriff’s Department]
Watch Reuters.com for more on this story
[Update 4:45pm ET: The Seminole County Sheriff’s Department says Zimmerman has bonded out of the facility]
"It seemed to me that a lot of the people in the neighborhood that I talked to were glad that George Zimmerman was on neighborhood watch. Not very many of them knew that he had carried a gun though."
Reuters reporter Chris Francescani talks about his profile of Trayvon Martin shooter George Zimmerman, which you can read here.