911 dispatcher: Are you following him?
911 dispatcher: OK, we don’t need you to do that.
Moments later, Zimmerman told police, he got out his car and he and Martin fought before he shot the teen once in the chest. When he was killed, Martin had $22, Skittles and a can of iced tea in his pockets. Zimmerman, 28, carried a concealed weapon permit and a 9mm handgun. Who was in the most imminent danger here?
Imagine this story from Martin’s point of view. What if he were afraid of this man who had been following him? What if he were trying to defend himself from this person who had confronted him? Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee Jr., who investigated the case, told the Orlando Sentinel this wasn’t about race, but what if the situation were reversed — if Martin had shot and killed Zimmerman? Would Martin have been able to claim self-defense? Would he be walking around free?
In that Orlando Sentinel interview, Lee expressed his frustration that the case has gained so much attention.
“The hysteria, the media circus, it’s just crazy,” he said. “It’s the craziest damn thing I’ve ever seen, and it’s sad. It’s sad for the city of Sanford, the police department, because I know in my heart we did a good job.”
Sad for the city of Sanford? The police department? What about the Martin family? The fact that Lee doesn’t even consider their pain, their sadness, tells you all you need to know about how he feels.
New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow details how Martin’s parents found out about their son. His unidentified body was brought to the medical examiner’s office and tagged as a John Doe. In the eyes of the system, Martin was just another dead black teenager.
The Stand Your Ground law says that potential crime victims have the right to stick up for themselves. Who is going to stick up for Trayvon Martin?
Genetta M. Adams is a regular contributor to The Root.