Your SlideShare is downloading. ×
FPTP - The death of Trayvon Martin
FPTP - The death of Trayvon Martin
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5
×

Thanks for flagging this SlideShare!

Oops! An error has occurred.

×
Saving this for later? Get the SlideShare app to save on your phone or tablet. Read anywhere, anytime – even offline.
Text the download link to your phone
Standard text messaging rates apply

FPTP - The death of Trayvon Martin

497

Published on

Trayvon Martin’s killing and the subsequent acquittal of his accused murderer, George Zimmerman, reopened an old wound in American society and showed how decades, perhaps even centuries old conflicts …

Trayvon Martin’s killing and the subsequent acquittal of his accused murderer, George Zimmerman, reopened an old wound in American society and showed how decades, perhaps even centuries old conflicts in the country have never gone away. One Twitter post immediately after the verdict urging people to ‘remember to set your clock back 50 years’ sums up the way many in the African-American community felt about the verdict. Martin, a then 16 year old African-American youth was fatally shot by a neighbourhood watchman after a fight broke out and the latter’s gun was allegedly used in self-defence.

Published in: News & Politics
0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total Views
497
On Slideshare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
2
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
0
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

Report content
Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
No notes for slide

Transcript

  • 1. Nick Graham, Haliford School The death of Trayvon Martin – where both his killer and America were put on trial Trayvon Martin’s killing and the subsequent acquittal of his accused murderer, George Zimmerman, reopened an old wound in American society and showed how decades, perhaps even centuries old conflicts in the country have never gone away. One Twitter post immediately after the verdict urging people to ‘remember to set your clock back 50 years’ sums up the way many in the African-American community felt about the verdict. Martin, a then 16 year old African-American youth was fatally shot by a neighbourhood watchman after a fight broke out and the latter’s gun was allegedly used in self-defence. Numerous issues lie just below the surface of this episode. First, the fact that Martin was African-American has prompted many, including the victim’s parents, to speculate that had he been white, the all- white jury would have reached a different verdict. The fact that the Sanford police department, where the incident took place, initially allowed Zimmerman to walk free after he had reported it to the police has fuelled suspicions of institutionalised racism within the police force there and elsewhere in the country. In a manner similar to the way in which the acquittal in 1992 of 5 LAPD police officers on trial for the beating of Rodney King sparked riots in Los Angeles, or the controversy provoked by the arrest in 2009 of Harvard professor Robert Gates by a Boston policeman and the President’s comment that the latter had acted ‘stupidly’, the case has once again put the relationship between the African-American community, law enforcement and the justice system under the spotlight. It is also suspected, though difficult to prove, that Martin had been racially profiled by Zimmerman. Many from the black community came out to denounce what they saw as a legalised case of murder of an unarmed black teenager, one spokesperson at an NAACP meeting calling it a ‘modern day lynching’. The reverend Al Sharpton warned against the dangerous precedent the case sets as a defendant can now walk free from justice provided they can prove that they acted in self-defence. However, despite Zimmerman’s acquittal, it should be noted that the case against him was brought about after a wave of protests across the country against the actions of Zimmerman and the police and the intervention of the President himself which forced
  • 2. Nick Graham, Haliford School The death of Trayvon Martin – where both his killer and America were put on trial? (continued) the state to reopen the case. It is also crucial to note that compared to 20 years ago, young black teenagers are actually half as likely to be attacked by anyone, a pattern consistent with crime rates of all kinds in America which have been gradually falling for a sustained period now. Second, the rights of gun owners are once again being openly debated. Despite being advised not to pursue Martin, Zimmerman continued to do so and what would usually have resulted in a fight between two people ended in one of them losing their life. There is speculation now that the notorious ‘Stand Your Ground’ Florida state law, that allows a person to use deadly force in circumstances where they believe their life to be in danger, may produce the kind of conflict between local and federal government last seen in 2010 when the Justice Department struck down parts of a controversial Arizona law that, its critics alleged, legalised racial profiling in the state. Both the President and the Attorney General Eric Holder voiced their concerns over such laws immediately afterwards. Over 20 states have such laws on their statute books, although whilst the law was cited by the judge during the course of the trial, it was not actually central to the defence team’s case. Potentially, the episode could spark the sort of seismic intervention by the Federal Government last seen in 1954 when the Supreme Court ruling in the case of Brown vs. the Board of Education struck down the segregationist or Jim Crow laws of the old Confederate states. The Obama administration and the hugely powerful gun lobby will once again be at loggerheads should the administration, still licking the wounds inflicted by the NRA after gun control legislation was defeated on the floor of the Senate last April, decide to take action and act to overturn the laws. Whilst many have urged for calm and have stressed the need to look at the case from a purely legalist point of view, – it was seen that the prosecution had overplayed their hand by pushing for second degree murder, others cited the lack of conclusive evidence that proved guilt – others have pointed to the trial’s deeper and more troubling significance. The election of a mixed race President and the claim that it represented a gigantic step forward in creating the sort of post-racial society that the Civil Rights leaders of the 1960s talked about may now seem to some a distant and somewhat aberrant memory. Questions Research information about the pressure group the NAACP? What is federalism and what are its strengths? How close is the United States of America to becoming a colour blind society?

×