The late teen's mother expressed her thoughts on the arrest of George Zimmerman, who was charged with murder in the shooting of her son.Above is the iconic picture we’ve been become accustomed to seeing everywhere in the media, used to represent the recent Trayvon Martin shooting in Sanford, Florida. From everything the public has been told, Trayvon Martin was a fresh-faced, innocent looking teenager and the visage of the man who shot him, George Zimmerman, is right out of a booking photo.
The media narrative being sold is quite clear, Trayvon Martin is the innocent victim here and George Zimmerman is a horrible bigot who attacked the young man for doing nothing more than buying skittles while being black. Even Barack Obama seems to accept the fresh-faced innocence of Trayvon, stating, “If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon.” More on that later.
It’s becoming more and more clear however that the innocent appearance the mainstream media is so desperate to apply to Trayvon isn’t at all accurate. The picture we’re used to seeing to represent Trayvon Martin appears to be a far cry from how he actually looked once he was a few years older.
For instance, a few days before he was killed, Trayvon was suspended from school for ten days.
Still, Trayvon had nonviolent behavioral issues in school, and on the day he was killed, he had been suspended for 10 days from Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School in North Miami-Dade. “He was not suspended for something dealing with violence or anything like that. It wasn’t a crime he committed, but he was in an unauthorized area [on school property],” Martin said, declining to offer more details. Before that, Trayvon attended Miami Carol City High School near his mother’s home in Miami Gardens.
There has been very little follow-up in investigating exactly why Trayvon was suspended for such a long period of time for what seems to be the relatively minor offense of “being in an unauthorized area.” In most schools, something like that would be a detention, or one-day, in school suspension at most. Not ten days.
Of course, this is why Trayvon was staying as his Father’s house, so far away from school. And it also explains why George Zimmerman, who by all accounts seemed to stay on top of everything that happened in his neighborhood, didn’t recognize him that evening, Trayvon didn’t really live there, and was only in town because of the suspension.
It seems we may not find out more anytime soon, as a lawyer representing Trayvon’s family has sealed his school records.
To learn more about Trayvon’s character, we have to look to his friends and family to offer clues. Unfortunately, it seems as if most people who knew him are intent on cleaning up his image, rather than discussing what Trayvon was really like.
Even though Trayvon was only 17, he already was sporting gold teeth, and several large tattoos. This one was on his wrist, apparently of his girlfriend’s mother’s name.
Attorney Benjamin Crump spoke after ABC News reported exclusively the existence of a phone call between Martin and his girlfriend, which detailed the last terrifying moments of Martin's life as he was pursued, accosted and shot dead by George Zimmerman.
Police accepted Zimmerman's claim of self-defense and have charged him with no crime.
"This young lady connects the dots," said Crump. "Arrest George Zimmerman for the killing of Trayvon Martin in cold blood, today.
"We don't understand how he's not arrested. The family worries that the more time passes it will be swept under the rug," the lawyer said.
Martin's death Feb. 26 has stirred national outrage and protests, partly prompting the U.S. Justice Department's Civil Rights Division and the FBI to open an investigation into the case.
Florida State Attorney Norm Wolfinger announced today that he had ordered an "expeditious review" of the investigation conducted by the Sanford Police Department, and that he would be "utilizing the investigative resources of the Seminole County Grand Jury, which will be called to session" next month.
ABC News was there exclusively as the 16-year-old girl told Crump about the last moments of the teenager's life. Martin had been talking to his girlfriend all the way to the store where he bought Skittles and a tea. The phone was in his pocket and the earphone in his ear, Crump said.He said this man was watching him, so he put his hoodie on. He said he lost the man," Martin's friend said. "I asked Trayvon to run, and he said he was going to walk fast. I told him to run, but he said he was not going to run."
Eventually, he would run, said the girl, thinking that he'd managed to escape. But suddenly the strange man was back, cornering Martin.
"Trayvon said, 'What are you following me for,' and the man said, 'What are you doing here.' Next thing I hear is somebody pushing, and somebody pushed Trayvon because the head set just fell. I called him again, and he didn't answer the phone."
The line went dead. Besides screams heard on 911 calls that night as Martin and Zimmerman scuffled, those were the last words he said.
Trayvon's phone logs, also obtained exclusively by ABC News, show the conversation occurred five minutes before police first arrived on the scene. Crump said the girl's identity was being withheld because "her parents are gravely concerned about her health and her safety." Her parents asked that only an attorney be allowed to ask her questions.
Martin's father, Tracey Martin, and mother, Sybrina Fulton, listened to the call, along with ABC News, ashen-faced.
"He knew he was being followed and tried to get away from the guy, and the guy still caught up with him," Tracey Martin said. "And that's the most disturbing part. He thought he had got away from the guy, and the guy backtracked for him."
The girl was so distraught after the killing that she spent a night in the hospital, the lawyer said.
"She was really traumatized over this. They were dating. ... It's a situation where to know you were the last person to talk to the young man who was one of the most special persons in the world to you," Crump said.
The lawyer said he would give the details of the phone call to the federal investigation.
"We're going to turn this over to the Justice Department because the family does not trust the Sanford Police Department to have anything to do with the investigation," said Crump.
Zimmerman killed Martin as Martin walked back to his father's fiance's home after stepping out to buy snacks during the NBA All-Star Game. After weeks of relentless pressure, the Sanford Police Department at last released emergency and nonemergency calls placed during the attack.
"These a**holes always get away," Zimmerman said in a call to a nonemergency number.
Dispatcher: "Are you following him?"
Dispatcher: "We don't need you to do that."
An altercation soon ensued. A few moments later a torrent of 911 calls flooded in and Martin was killed by a single bullet. Zimmerman claimed self-defense and has yet to be arrested, stoking outrage and claims of prejudice against the police department.
"When George Zimmerman is arrested, tried and convicted I will get a little rest," Tracey Martin said.
Four weeks on, the story continues to grip America as new details dribble out daily and questions remain unanswered. Click here for background on the case.According to CBS News on Wednesday, the police investigation into Trayvon's death is "essentially starting from scratch". Police are re-interviewing witnesses and examining evidence. None of the witnesses have said they saw the beginning of the altercation. None said they saw the shot that ended it.
• Martin's parents have been in Washington the past two days, meeting with Democratic lawmakers and calling for the arrest of George Zimmerman. The family also met with justice department and the FBI, who have opened an investigation into potential civil rights violations.
• On March 27 ABC News reported that the lead homicide investigator of Trayvon Martin's killing recommended that Zimmerman be arrested and charged with manslaughter. The investigator, Chris Serino, filed an affidavit on the night of the killing that he did not believe Zimmerman's story. Serino was overruled by the state attorney's office.
• On March 26, a leaked copy of the account Zimmerman gave police was obtained by police, and paints for the first time a more detailed account of the events of February 26. According to documents obtained by the Orlando Sentinel, Zimmerman said Martin, who was wearing a hooded sweatshirt, approached him from behind and asked him if he had a problem.Zimmerman told police he said no. He said he began reaching for his cellphone when Martin replied: "Well, you do now", and then punched him in the face. Zimmerman claimed the teenager got on top and started slamming his head into the ground, prompting Zimmerman to shout for help. It was in the ensuing scuffle, Zimmerman said, that he shot Martin in the chest at close range. Police would not confirm or deny this account.
• 911 tapes of calls from neighbors caught cries for help that Zimmerman claims came from him. Martin's family are adamant they were Trayvon's. Police said Zimmerman's account was consistent with their evidence, according to the Sentinel.
• Also on March 26, Mother Jones reported that the Sanford police department confirmed that they have Zimmerman's gun in their evidence locker, but that nothing prevents Zimmerman from carrying other firearms unless he is charged with a violent crime.
• Lead prosecutor and veteran state attorney Angela Corey told ABC News that convicting Zimmerman, who has not been charged with any crime, won't be easy because of the stand your ground law.
• On March 22 Sanford police chief Bill Lee announced he was temporarily stepping down after a vote of no confidence in the Sanford police department by the city commission. In a publicly released Q&A with the city manager, Lee maintained that Zimmerman had not been arrested because of Florida's stand your ground law. "By Florida statute, law enforcement was prohibited from making an arrest based on the facts and circumstances they had at the time," Lee had written.
• Also on March 22, Florida governor Rick Scott announced that state attorney Norman Wolfinger, another key investigator tied to the case, agreed to withdraw, and lieutenant-governor Jennifer Carroll would lead a special new task force to prevent future tragedies.
• Martin's family met officials from the department of justice. A prominent defense attorney told the Guardian that "it would be a very difficult case for the prosecution without more evidence" than the 911 tapes.