The case of Trayvon Martin, a black teenager killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer in Sanford, Florida, has sparked a fierce debate across the United States on race and justice. Since the release of the 911 call, attention to the case has skyrocketed. Trayvon's death, which President Obama called a "national tragedy," has brought thousands into the streets to rally for George Zimmerman's arrest. It has generated mass interest across social networking sites and garnered reactions from top media and political personalities. It is also transforming the hoodie into a modern civil rights icon.
Created by GlobalPost on Mar 28, 2012
Last updated: 04/03/12 at 08:56 AM
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In an enhanced video, ABC News discovered a mark on the back of George Zimmerman's head. Zimmerman had claimed that Trayvon Martin slammed his head on the ground before he shot the unarmed teenager.
The media website Gawker reports that e-mail and social network accounts belonging to the slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin appear to have been hacked by a white supremacist.
At least one of Trayvon’s e-mail accounts has been hacked in an attempt to smear the boy as a drug user who brought his killing on himself.
Forced into hiding, David and Elaine McClain have now hired a local law firm 'to protect their interests' and safety.
Police video of George Zimmerman after his arrest does not show alleged injuries. In the CCTV footage Zimmerman does not appear to have a broken nose or head injury.
Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) made a statement by wearing a hoodie onto the House floor and saying, "Just because someone wears a hoodie does not make them a hoodlum." Rep. Gregg Harper tried to interrupt his statement on the technicality that lawmakers aren't allowed to wear hats on the floor, and Rush was eventually escorted off the floor.
A request for Trayvon Martin's record at the Department of Juvenile Justice revealed that he had no record, but reports emerged of two suspensions from school, one for possessing small amounts of marijuana. The Martin family's lawyer said it was irrelevant to the case.
Trayvon's parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, spoke at a briefing on Capital Hill which was organized by House Democrats to address hate crimes and racial profiling.
Geraldo Rivera issued a written apology for his controversial "hoodie" remark, saying that "by putting responsibility on what kids wear instead of how people react to them I have obscured the main point that someone shot and killed an unarmed teenager."
House Democrats blasted the Sanford police for mishandling the case, with Congresswoman Frederica Wilson saying Martin was the victim of a "botched police investigation."
Sanford police revealed Zimmerman's account of the events, saying he lost track of Trayvon as he walked back to his car and was approached from behind and struck by the teenager.
Joe Oliver came out in defense of his friend, Zimmerman, saying, "He's a caring human being. I mean, he took a man's life and he has no idea what to do about it. He's extremely remorseful about it." Craig Sonner, Zimmerman's legal adviser, said that Zimmerman feared for his life.
A CNN/ORC International poll released on this day showed that nearly three quarters of Americans believed that Zimmerman should be arrested (67 percent of whites and 86 percent of non-whites).
The New Black Panther party (with no affiliation to the Black Panthers of the '60s and '70s) offered a reward of $10,000 for Zimmerman "alive, not dead or harmed." Their leader Mikhail Muhammad said, "An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. … If the government won’t do the job, we’ll do it."
John Carnduff Stewart of Melbourne Beach was arrested for sending threatening emails to Sanford Police Chief Lee. An excerpt read, "You [expletive] son of a bitch. You and your family deserve to be hunted down and shot like a dog, just like Trayvon Martin."
Fox News host Geraldo Rivera landed himself in controversy for this statement: "I am urging the parents of black and Latino youngsters particularly to not let their children go out wearing hoodies."
President Barack Obama addressed the incident in very personal terms at a press conference, saying, "If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon." While not commenting on the legal matters of the case, Obama called on the nation to do some soul-searching and commended the authorities for looking further into the case.
Rallies and marches were held in Los Angeles and Sanford, Fl., with Rev. Al Sharpton making an impassioned plea for justice at the Sanford rally. People traveled from afar to attend the rallies, by the carload and busload.
Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee did step down "temporarily" on the same day, saying, "My role as the leader of this agency has become a distraction from the investigation." The case also ignited debate over Florida's controversial Stand Your Ground law, which some said made prosecuting Zimmerman harder.
A "million hoodie march" in New York City drew at least a thousand people in a rally in support of Trayvon. Florida congresswoman Frederica Wilson, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, called on the Sanford police chief to step down over the handling of the case. "No drug tests. No alcohol tests. No lie detector tests. It's just his word that he felt threatened, so therefore he shot to kill. That is unacceptable," she said.
A state attorney announced that a Seminole County grand jury would investigate the Trayvon Martin case, handing down a decision on April 10.
Trayvon's parents renewed calls for Zimmerman to be arrested after the release of the 911 tapes, and college students gathered outside the Seminole County criminal courts to protest the incident which they felt was a case of racial profiling. The FBI and Justice Department also opened investigations into the handling of the case.
March 17, 2012: The 911 tapes from Zimmerman's calls to the police were released on this date, raising questions about Zimmerman's claim of self-defense. They showed that the police dispatcher told Zimmerman not to follow Trayvon, but Zimmerman disregarded the advice.
TIME noted that this was the day Trayvon’s parents Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton created a petition on Change.org calling for the prosecution of Zimmerman. To date, the petition has garnered 1.5 million signatures.
Trayvon was shot while walking home from a trip to the convenience story. The case did not get coverage at the national level and details at this point where sketchy, however TIME credited social media and activism sites with boosting the signal about the case.