Category Archives: Trayvon Martin
Reported by Reuters
“A Florida state court judge ruled on Monday that recent changes to the state’s “stand your ground” law are unconstitutional, finding that legislators overstepped when making it easier for defendants to argue self-defense to obtain immunity for violent acts.
Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Milton Hirsch said courts, not lawmakers, should set the process by which defendants can claim they were protecting themselves with an act of violence, according to the ruling posted online by the Miami Herald.
The revision shifted the burden of proof during pretrial hearings to prosecutors, rather than defendants, to show whether force was used lawfully. Supporters saw the changes backed by the National Rifle Association, the powerful U.S. gun lobby, as bolstering civilians’ rights to protect themselves.
Monday’s ruling in Miami circuit court is not binding on other state trial courts, the Miami Herald reported.
Advocates predicted the ruling would be reversed on appeal.
“It is the role of the legislature to write the laws that govern how Floridians may exercise their statutory and constitutional rights,” Richard Corcoran, the Republican speaker of the House of Representatives, said in a statement. “The Florida House will continue to stand with ordinary citizens who exercise their right to self-defense.”
Florida’s “stand your ground” law, passed in 2005, received wide scrutiny and inspired similar laws in other states. It removed the legal responsibility to retreat from a dangerous situation and allowed the use of deadly force when a person felt greatly threatened.
This spring’s changes were adopted over outcry that gun owners could be emboldened to shoot first.
Critics cited the 2012 death of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin in the Orlando area, which spurred national protests and the Black Lives Matter movement. The neighborhood watchman who killed him, George Zimmerman, was acquitted of murder after the law was included in jury instructions. ”
There were debates on whether George Zimmerman claimed stand your ground during his trial. As Reuters correctly reports, Judge Nelson included stand your ground jury instructions in those given to the jury to decide Zimmerman’s fate.
Published using Press This
At its commencement ceremony on May 13, Florida Memorial University will present a posthumous honorary degree to Trayvon Martin, the Florida teenager killed by George Zimmerman five years ago.
The private university announced Wednesday that Martin’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, will accept a Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical science with a concentration in flight education on behalf of their son.
The degree is in “honor of the steps he took during his young life toward becoming a pilot,” the school said in a Facebook post. Florida Memorial’s Department of Aviation and Safety has a designated Cessna pilot training center, and the school also houses the Trayvon Martin Foundation. It is based in Miami Gardens where Trayvon Martin lived.
Trayvon Martin was 17-years old when he was shot and killed on February 26, 2012.
On February 26, 2012, a 17-year old-young boy was visiting his father in Sanford, Florida. It was a rainy evening. He went to a convenience store for candy and juice. On his way back, a neighborhood watchman alleged that he was on his way to Target to get groceries when he saw a suspicious teen. He followed the teen in his truck, then on foot. Trayvon Martin was shot in the heart with a hollow point bullet by George Zimmerman.
What happened in this nation as a consequence of George Zimmerman’s actions exposed the good, the bad, and the ugly. Trayvon’s life, death, and legacy, has motivated many people of all races and from all walks of life to come together for the good, including advocating for changes to stand your ground law and gun control.
We shall not forget.
In support for justice for Trayvon, LLMPapa produced videos during Zimmerman’s pending trial. In the following, he addresses where a journalist wanted to interview him and he gives his response.
After the fire, the fire still burns. The heart goes on.
Today, let’s celebrate Trayvon’s legacy.
Racerrodig asked that I open a thread so people can share remembrance and their thoughts on how we heard about the death of Trayvon Martin. He also suggested that we discuss how it affects us and what we do to make relations better. Thank you, Racerodig, for your willingness to share with others.
It’s not often that I write opinion or editorial pieces, but today I’m compelled to do so in remembering Trayvon. The announcement by the Department of Justice was not limited to not charging George Zimmerman with violating Trayvon’s civil rights. The announcement included more, and I would like to address that.
In its written announcement, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder wrote:
“The death of Trayvon Martin was a devastating tragedy. It shook an entire community, drew the attention of millions across the nation, and sparked a painful but necessary dialogue throughout the country,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “Though a comprehensive investigation found that the high standard for a federal hate crime prosecution cannot be met under the circumstances here, this young man’s premature death necessitates that we continue the dialogue and be unafraid of confronting the issues and tensions his passing brought to the surface. We, as a nation, must take concrete steps to ensure that such incidents do not occur in the future.”
Many of us have experienced that anyone who participates in the necessary dialogue is targeted for destruction by a small group of individuals who believe there is a conspiracy which they call the “BGI.” No one has been destroyed however, and all of their efforts have not stopped the necessary dialogue. The best dialogue I’ve witnessed has taken place on this blog respectfully, and between diverse people. Some of us even have diverse spiritual beliefs, but all of them are based on doing no harm, respecting life, and promoting equality for all regardless of race, gender, sexual preference, age. Read the rest of this entry
Hat tip to Butterflydreamer2.
Zimmerman’s attorney, Don West, said that he hopes the decision will mark the start of a new chapter in George Zimmerman’s life.
Trayvon’s parents said they are disappointed but thanked the Justice Department for their investigation.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder stated that the investigation concluded that circumstances of the case did not meet the high standard required to prove a federal hate crime.
The timing raises suspicion of the investigation and result. The federal grand jury met last year and their session ended in December. Had the federal grand jury not returned an indictment, the DOJ should have announced that much sooner than now. Zimmerman did have an attorney; Don West, who is a federal criminal defense attorney. Apparently, Zimmerman was anticipating an indictment. The question is, did the federal grand jury return an indictment, but the DOJ decide that in spite of that, they will not prosecute? Read the rest of this entry
Jahvaris Fulton and Tracy Martin (Source: Twitter)
According to blackenterprise.com, Jahvaris Fulton, the older brother of slain Sanford, Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, recently graduated from Florida International University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Technology.
Fulton, 22, has made the best of his opportunities since losing his little brother to violence. Prior to graduating, Jahvaris served as a congressional intern for Florida Representative Frederica Wilson.
Wilson, a founder of 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project, also counts Fulton as a member who helped to encourage at-risk in Miami-Dade schools to stay in school.
Recently, Jahvaris and Trayvon’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, spoke on CNN’s Anderson Cooper show to highlight the wide breadth of miscommunication that exists between persons of color and white America. “It’s not happening to them, so they don’t quite get it,” she told Cooper in an interview that aired Friday. “They don’t quite…
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The other day, a photo of a subpoena made its way around Twitter from Frank Taaffe to Nancy Grace. I decided to wait for confirmation before reporting it. Today, Orlando Sentinel reports that the federal grand jury is scheduled to hear witnesses, and that Frank Taaffe has indeed, been subpoenaed to testify.
For those not familiar;
On February 26, 2012, George Zimmerman killed 17-year old Trayvon Martin, shooting him in the heart. It started with Zimmerman making a “suspicious person” call to the non-emergency number (NEN) of the police department. While Zimmerman was on the phone, Trayvon ran. Zimmerman got out of his truck and followed Trayvon. Minutes later, Trayvon was dead with Zimmerman claiming self-defense.
Frank Taaffe became the main advocate for Zimmerman, alleging that Zimmerman had rights to racially profile Trayvon because there was a group of Black teens in the community committing crimes.
A jury of 5 White women and 1 Latina acquitted Zimmerman. The initial aggressor part of self-defense law was omitted from the jury instructions. During deliberations, Taaffe told Nancy Grace where the jury stood on voting, and it turned out to be true. Taaffe did not say how he obtained the information. Read the rest of this entry
To The Brown Family,
I wish I had a word of automatic comfort but I don’t. I wish I could say that it will be alright on a certain or specific day but I can’t. I wish that all of the pain that I have endured could possibly ease some of yours but it won’t. What I can do for you is what has been done for me: pray for you then share my continuing journey as you begin yours.
I hate that you and your family must join this exclusive yet growing group of parents and relatives who have lost loved ones to senseless gun violence. Of particular concern is that so many of these gun violence cases involve children far too young. But Michael is much more than a police/gun violence case; Michael is your son. A son that barely had a chance to live. Our children are…
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Outside of his family and friends, Trayvon Martin was unknown until a few days after February 26, 2012. On that evening, Trayvon Martin was the average 17-year old child of divorced parents where the father is involved in his son’s life and there is an extended family. Living in Miami Gardens, Trayvon was visiting his dad in Sanford, Florida, who was staying with his girlfriend. He went to the 7-Eleven and on his way back, was followed by a man in a truck. Trayvon was on the phone with a childhood friend named Rachel, and told her about a creepy looking guy following him. Trayvon ran. The man got out of his truck, followed Trayvon, and shot him dead.
The killing of Trayvon Martin impacted America more than the killing of some U.S. Presidents. Because of technology and the internet, people from across the globe took interest in the case. Because of Florida’s “sunshine law,” discovery documents and pleadings filed in the case were made public. George Zimmerman’s trial for 2nd degree murder was shown on television, and live-streamed. Read the rest of this entry
“Justice in America: Trayvon Martin, Race, and the Law” is the title of the talk that attorney Benjamin Crump will give at 6 p.m. tonight at the Cooley Law School in Lansing, MI.
According to WKAR, Attorney Crump says he is going to talk to the next generation of lawyers about the future and encourage them to understand their obligation to equal justice.
Tonight, Tracy Martin appeared on Politicsnation with Reverend Al Sharpton on MSNBC, addressing how he misses Trayvon and changes that he seeks in Stand Your Ground law that allowed Trayvon’s killer to go free.
On February 26, 2014, it will be two years since Trayvon Martin was killed. At times, it seems like it was yesterday. Blackbutterfly7 pays honor to Trayvon Martin and his parents. We shall not forget. People across America came together and protested because the killer was known and not arrest. America became aware of stand your ground law. Kevin Cunningham started a petition for an investigation and arrest of the man who killed Trayvon Martin. It was signed by over 2 million people. Read the rest of this entry
Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, parents of Trayvon Martin, intend to write a book about their son, his death, his killer’s trial and more. Sybrina and Tracy met with publishers, accompanied by Jan Miller, their Dallas-based literary agent. Two publishing executives participated in the meeting and described it as somber and moving.
One publishing executive said Mr. Martin and Ms. Fulton spoke eloquently on social issues of race and religion, suggesting that faith could be a central element of the book. Both have openly stated about their faith. After a jury found George Zimmerman not guilty of murdering Trayvon Martin, Sybrina tweeted:
“Lord during my darkest hour I lean on you. You are all that I have. At the end of the day, GOD is still in control. Thank you all for your prayers and support. I will love you forever Trayvon!!! In the name of Jesus!!!” Read the rest of this entry
For all those seeking answers,
seeking to understand,
about children gone too soon.
For all those who are butterflies,
or going through transformation to be free,
The following is posted with the permission of the writer.
Thank you, Vashati.
Miami artist, Huong, has painted a 100-foot mural titled “We are all Trayvon Martin.” It was unveiled in Tallahassee, the Capitol of Florida.
The mural depicts George Zimmerman shooting a figure in a hoodie. Zimmerman is painted as he appeared to Trayvon Martin the evening of February 26, 2012, with shaven head, a mustache, and goatee. The face portion of the figure in the hoodie is a mirror. Anyone who looks into the mirror therefore, is Zimmerman’s target, and makes the point “we are all Trayvon Martin.”
Huong also painted a 50 foot version of the mural that can be written on.
Thanks to 3Chicspolitico for putting the video on Youtube.
The NAACP has released a Bill Summary for Trayvon’s Law.
“Repeal Stand Your Ground Type Laws & Restore Sane, Sensible use of Force Standards in Self Defense.
Click here for the entire Bill Summary: Trayvon’s Law
On the HLN’s Jane Velez-Mitchell’s program, Frank Taaffe inferred that witness Rachel Jeantel, was “precious.” Rachel Jeantel is the daughter of Haitian and Dominican Republic parents. Born in Miami, Florida, she first met Trayvon Martin when she was in kindergarten. On her birthday of February 1, 2012, she and Trayvon renewed their friendship. Jeantel was on the phone with Trayvon on the evening of February 26, 2012, when he told her he was being watched, and then followed, by “a creepy ass cracker.” Jeantel testified in court that the phrase; “creepy ass cracker” means “pervert.” Logically, a man watching a teen from his truck, then following in his truck, appears to be a pervert.
Based on Jeantel’s and Trayvon Martin’s phone records, they were indeed talking during the time that George Zimmerman was on the phone with police dispatch, and also when Trayvon and George Zimmerman came into physical contact. That in fact, Jeantel’s phone call with Trayvon disconnected just seconds before witness, Jeanne Lauer, called 911 to report hearing screams.
Precious is a movie, released in 2009, about a New York City overweight, sexually and physically abused, illiterate teen, who enrolls in an alternative school in hope of taking her life in a new direction. Based on the novel “Push” by Sapphire, the movie is the celebration of life against the odds.
The movie won the AFI Award for movie of the year. It also won the Academy Awards’ Oscar for Best Performance by an actress in a supporting role (Mo’Nique) and Best Adapted Screenplay, (Geoffrey Fletcher).
The movie was nominated for Best Achievement in Directing, Best Achievement in Film Editing, and Best Motion Picture of the Year. Overall, the movie won 79 awards worldwide, and 49 nominations.
Gabourey Sidibe, who played the movie’s leading character, “Precious,” was nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role. Claireece “Precious” Jones, a taciturn, pregnant sixteen year-old, was Gabourey Sidibe’s first acting role on-screen.
For these accomplishments, Frank Taaffe, supporter of admitted killer and accused murderer George Zimmerman, apparently believes that Precious is a person who is supposed to be ashamed and denigrated. Frank Taaffe, in addition to other George Zimmerman supporters who have compared Jeantel to Precious, do not see that the movie’s main character represents metamorphosis through struggle – transformation within — from caterpillar to butterfly.
As a caterpillar, the verbal and physical abuse, and mocking lowered Precious’ self-esteem. She day dreamed of being loved and admired. Through the struggle, Precious raised her self-esteem, and acquired courage, hope, and determination. She also learned not to argue with ignorant people. She was no longer afraid to be herself or ashamed that she did not match the stereotype of what others believe is smart and beautiful. Effectively, in their comparison of Jeantel to Precious, Taaffe and other Zimmerman supporters call good, evil.
The movie’s Precious had much more to live for than just herself – two children, one which is a special needs child. In like manner, when Jeantel took the witness stand, she didn’t think of herself. Throughout this ordeal, she made it plain that she was concerned for Sybrina Fulton’s pain. On the witness stand, Jeantel wasn’t interested in competing to win a public speaking contest. She took the stand to testify of her last conversation with Trayvon. She laid the pain of her loss aside. Through cross-examination by defense attorney Don West, Jeantel flew above his condescending inferences, his interrogation as though he was a detective trying to get her to confess to committing a crime, and his hours of repeating the same questions.
Jeantel’s answers revealed just how far Don West is from reality. For instance, he drilled her on why she did not call the police. Jeantel’s answer was consistent; i.e., she did not know that the man who killed her friend had not been arrested. Logically, admitted killers are arrested.
Don West also demonstrated his ignorance of jurisdictions. How was Jeantel suppose to call 911 in Sanford, Florida, when she resides in Miami?
Frank Taaffe’s taking of good and using it for evil is — well — evil in itself. He fails to recognize that the movie character Precious does not represent shame. Rather, Precious is a character who in spite of not meeting Taaffe’s standards, overcomes against the odds.
Rachel Jeantel is hereby awarded the butterfly award.
” To all the sisters who cried for a brother …”
Lyrics from Heavy D & The Boyz “Sister, Sister”
Let us continue to encourage and lift up as the day for justice for Trayvon draws near.
UPDATE: For additional well wishes and comments of encouragement, see: