Trayvon Martin was a 17-year-old kid walking home from a convenience store with an Arizona Iced Tea and a pack of Skittles last month in Orlando. He’d gotten the snacks for his little brother during a break in the NBA All-Star Game. Martin’s grandparents lived in the gated community he was walking through, but that didn’t stop George Zimmerman, the 28-year-old neighborhood watch captain, from tailing Martin in his car and calling the police to tell them a “suspicious person” was in the area. That also didn’t stop Zimmerman from confronting Martin before the police arrived and then shooting the teenager with his 9-mm handgun. By the time police got there, Martin was dead, and Zimmerman was telling everyone he’d acted in self-defense.
It’s now been weeks since a black kid got killed for doing nothing more than trying to get home to see his family, and police have yet to charge or arrest Zimmerman with a single crime.
Yesterday, hundreds of miles from Orlando, New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said the best way he knows of to clean up gun violence in New York is by stopping and frisking random men of color on the street, essentially treating them all like they’re suspicious, dangerous, the kind of people who can be menacing with only a pack of Skittles in their pocket.
It sounds that there is more to this story like the background cries for help heard in the 911 recording. Will this be shown to be racial prejudice or become a political tipping point?