Trayvon Martin should have spent this weekend plopped down in front of the television with his dad, Tracy, and enjoy tons of basketball games during March Madness.
Instead, Tracy and Trayvon’s mom, Sybrina, were left bewildered, trying to understand how their fun-loving and squeaky-clean 17-year-old son was shot dead last month by a man who was supposed to be about protecting their Sanford, Fla., gated community from outsiders.
Incredibly, the man who admitted to killing Trayvon, 28-year-old George Zimmerman, has remained free since the shooting took place because he told Sanford police that the shooting was in self-defense. After questioning him, police bought his explanation and allowed him to return home.
But the details we know thus far make that absolutely stunning and are making the Sanford Police Department look as if it is filled with ineptitude.
According to published reports, on Feb. 26, Zimmerman, serving as a neighborhood watch captain, called 911 to report “a suspicious person” in the neighborhood. He was instructed not to get out of his SUV and to approach the person he reported. But he ignored that suggestion and followed Trayvon Martin. Moments later, neighbors responded that they heard gunfire.
When police arrived a couple of minutes later, Zimmerman was standing over Martin with a 9 mm handgun, and he told police that he fired the fatal shots.
Surely, common sense should have come into play for the police officers on the scene. How in the world could an unarmed kid holding nothing but a bag of Skittles and an iced tea be a danger to the neighborhood, especially one in which his father lived with his fiancee?
And had Zimmerman never gotten out of his SUV, an altercation between him and Martin never would have taken place.
And why was Zimmerman even carrying a high-powered weapon in the first place? Was he an off-duty peace officer? No.
The Sanford Police Department has come under intense pressure from the local community, and when the case of Martin hit the national radar, that only increased. So far, more than 200,000 people have signed a petition at Change.org demanding that justice be served in the case.
In response to those calls, Sanford police called on the state attorney to determine whether charges should be filed in the case. That has led critics to say the police department is choosing not to do its job and passing the buck.
Community activists and pastors from across the country have called for people nationwide to descend on Sanford on March 26 for a march for justice, which will take place at 4 p.m., before the next City Council meeting.
The anger in this case is deserved because Zimmerman shouldn’t be walking the streets.
“It upsets us. It makes us feel like we’re not getting any justice. We feel like we are the victims. It was our son that was shot; this guy murdered him,” Trayvon’s mother told me on my TV One show, “Washington Watch.” “I cry every day because I just don’t understand; my son is gone, and this guy has not been arrested.”
For every day that Zimmerman remains a free man, the cries for justice will ring louder and louder. And it’s clear that Sanford police have given more thought to the rights of this admitted killer than they have to an innocent young man who only went to the store for snacks, never returning home to enjoy a basketball game on TV with his dad.