One year after the confrontation between black teenager Trayvon Martin (shown right) and a Hispanic neighborhood watch volunteer, George Zimmerman (left), resulted in the shooting death of Martin and subsequent international attention, the town of Sanford, Florida, remembered the incident with a small memorial service. Many, however, are holding their collective breaths waiting for the second shoe to drop. That will happen in April when a hearing will take place on whether Zimmerman’s plea under Florida’s Stand Your Ground law will be upheld. If it isn't, then his jury trial on charges of second-degree murder is scheduled to begin in June.
On Sunday evening, February 26, 2012, Zimmerman observed Martin behaving suspiciously in his gated community and called the police. After the call Zimmerman left his vehicle to check his exact location to assist the officers in finding him. Zimmerman said that Martin “came out of nowhere,” issuing epithets and obscenities, and proceeded to beat him up, breaking his nose, knocking him to the ground and threatening to kill him. Zimmerman called for help, and when none arrived, he took his 9mm Kel-Tec PF9 pistol and fired one shot at Martin at close range. The round entered Martin’s chest and killed him almost instantly.
After five hours of questioning, Zimmerman was released, the police saying they had no evidence that contradicted Zimmerman’s claim of self-defense.
On March 12, one of the two officers who had interrogated Zimmerman sent a “capias request” — essentially a request to issue an arrest warrant — to the Florida state attorney recommending that Zimmerman be charged with manslaughter:
The encounter between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin was ultimately avoidable by Zimmerman, if Zimmerman had remained in his vehicle and waited [for] the arrival of law enforcement or conversely if he had identified himself to Martin as a concerned citizen and initiated dialogue in an effort to dispel each party’s concern.
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