LOS ANGELES, April 12, 2012 — There’s a sense of victory across the country today. George Zimmerman turned himself in Wednesday to face a charge of second-degree murder in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Prosecutor Angela Corey announced that she had concluded that his claims of self defense in the shooting of the unarmed youth were not supported by the evidence.
In urban communities from Florida to California, people protested the failure of the Sanford police to arrest Zimmerman. They wore hoodies emblazoned with the words “I am Trayvon Martin” and chanting, “What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!”
Corey announced the charges, yet would not discuss with the media how she arrived at them. Nor would she disclose details of the case or her investigation, saying: “That’s why we try cases in court.” Second-degree murder charges require that there be evidence of hatred or ill-will, but not premeditation. Legal experts have questioned her decision to go with the murder charge rather than manslaughter, the charge more often brought in the case of negligent or reckless killings.
“They Arrested #Zimmerman praise Jesus,” one woman tweeted. The Martin Family and others across America wanted to see justice for Trayvon’s shooting. Protests and rallies had built in the 45 days after the shooting, and social networking sites were ablaze with activity. But justice is finally on track.
The Martin case has drawn the interest of Republican Presidential candidates, the KKK, The New Black Panthers, the president, and the U.S. Justice Department. It’s provoked racial tensions, with beatings and shootings attributed to a revenge motive. Someone fired on an unoccupied police car on Tuesday as it sat outside of the neighborhood where Martin was killed. A demonstration by local college students forced the town’s police station to close down on Monday.
Corey refused to disclose Zimmerman’s whereabouts for his safety, but she said that he will be in court within 24 hours. Threats against his safety continue. But the Martin family stresses that it isn’t Zimmerman’s death or conviction that they want. His mother said that she thinks the shooting was an accident. What they want is a trial, and for the facts - the true facts, not the fog of rumor and innuendo that has surrounded the case - to come out. They hope that with a trial will come answers.
With a trial we will learn more about how Florida’s Stand Your Ground law truly works, and it affects the communities it is supposed to make safer. With a trial we hope that, whether Zimmerman is punished or not, the world will be reminded that a young man on his way home from the store was killed, a young man who was doing nothing that night that warranted his death. Then perhaps we can figure out how to make it less likely that it happens again.
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