originally by: The Guardian
published: 20th March 2012
The US justice department has launched an investigation into the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager in Florida by a neighbourhood watch captain, in a case which has sparked a national outcry. Following a wave of public protests, which saw almost 500,000 people sign a petition on the change.org website, the justice department stepped in to announce that its civil rights division and the FBI would investigate the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, who was shot dead as he returned home from a convenience store with a packet of Skittles and some iced tea in a gated community in Sanford, Florida.
Trayon’s case will also to go to a grand jury on April 10, Florida state attorney Norm Wolfinger announced on Tuesday.
“The public is entitled to no less than a thorough, deliberate and just review of the facts,” Wolfinger said. “We intend to honor that commitment.”
Trayvon was shot dead by Hispanic volunteer watch captain George Zimmerman, 28, who spotted the teenager as he was patrolling the neighbourhood on a rainy evening in February. Zimmerman claims he shot the teenager in self-defence during a confrontation.
The failure of local police to arrest Zimmerman in the three weeks since the shooting – and the release of 911 tapes that reveal he followed Trayvon, despite a warning by a police dispatcher not to – has fuelled a fierce debate on race, vigilante justice and a “stand your ground” law in Florida that allows people to defend themselves using deadly force.
Trayvon Martin: Parents call for shooter’s arrest
21st March 2012