A memorial event for Trayvon Martin is set to take place Sunday night in Alexandria. The event, organized by the Justice for Trayvon Committee, will begin at 7 p.m. in front of City Hall. Mayor Bill Euille is expected to speak.
On February 26, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer in the gated community of Sanford, Florida.
Martin was walking to his father’s girlfriend’s house after visiting a convenience store. Neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman, 28, spotted the teen and called police. Zimmerman told police there had been a series of break-ins in the neighborhood and that Martin looked “suspicious.”
“This guy looks like he’s up to no good or he’s on drugs or something,” said Zimmerman to the officer.
Zimmerman also said he had been following Martin which police told him not to do. The two then got into an altercation which resulted in Martin dying from a gunshot wound to the chest. The circumstances leading up to that confrontation are still unclear and have been heavily debated.
Zimmerman was armed with a 9 millimeter handgun while Martin was unarmed. The teen was found with only a bag of Skittles and a can of iced tea.
Zimmerman told police that he acted in self-defense after Martin attacked him. He has not been arrested. The Florida State attorney and the FBI are now investigating the case while a Grand Jury will launch a new investigation.
Martin’s death and the fact that Zimmerman has not been arrested sparked a national outrage. Many believe Martin, who is black, was the victim of racial profiling from Zimmerman, who is described as a white Hispanic.
The Sanford Police Department has also received massive criticism for not arresting and charging Zimmerman. Florida Police Chief Bill Lee defended the department’s decision by referring to Florida’s “Stand your ground” law which states that Florida residents have the right to use force if they feel they are being threatened. Zimmerman’s attorney also claims his client suffered a broken nose and a gash to the back of his head. He also denied accusations that Zimmerman was a racist.
Critics claim however that Zimmerman was the clear aggressor in the situation. The attorney for Martin’s family says that testimony from the teen’s girlfriend refutes Zimmerman’s claim that Martin attacked him. The attorney says Martin’s girlfriend spoke to him on the phone moments before his death. According to the attorney, the girlfriend claimed Martin told her he was being followed by Zimmerman and was trying to run away. The investigation continues.
All Alexandria residents are invited to Sunday’s event. The committee also says that attendees may wear a hoodie, which Martin was wearing on the night of his death, though it’s not a requirement. The committee plans to hold a moment of silence at 7:15 p.m. before the ceremony ends at 7:30.
The committee also released a statement regarding the rally:
Trayvon’s family and many others throughout the nation want justice, including Zimmerman's arrest, an investigation into the police actions at the scene of the crime, and an examination of the role the 'Stand Your Ground' law played in this incident. We stand with Trayvon's family.