Murder Of A Teenage Life: Hip Hop's Take On The Slaying of Trayvon Martin

From Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five to Mos Def, Hip Hop lyrics offer a sadly prescient warning of how various institutions allowed for the murder of Trayvon Martin.

“The murder of a teenage life / Fire from the cold steel / The heat from the brights / The temperature of flesh and the shortness of breath / The murder of a teenage threat.”Mos Def, “Murder of a Teenage Life.”
 
The death of Trayvon Martin is a story that has polarized many of us paying attention to current world events. On February 26, 2012, 28-year-old George Zimmerman gunned down 17-year-old Martin. Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain, disregarded a 9-1-1 operator’s instructions to stay away from Martin, whom he deemed to be suspicious. Police arrived on the scene, at which point Zimmerman tells authorities he killed Martin (who was unarmed and returning from a trip to the store to get Skittles and an iced tea) in self-defense. Zimmerman has yet to be arrested [for a more in-depth list of the events pertaining to this case, please visit ABCNews.com’s continually-updated timeline].

But how does something about a 17-year-old in Florida getting shot find its way to a Hip Hop site? And why should it matter to you?

“Now the wives is widows soakin’ up pillows, weepin’ like willows / Still mo’ blacks is dyin’ kids ain’t livin’ they tryin’ / How to Make a Slave by Willie Lynch is still applyin’.”
Talib Kweli, “Redefinition” by Black Star.

Emcee and activist Jasiri X, who has drawn much attention to Trayvon Martin’s death, weighs in on why Trayvon Martin’s death should matter to the Hip Hop community:

“I think Hip Hop fans, more than any other, understand being unfairly stereotyped. Many times we're put inside a particular box as part of the culture, because people tend to think all Hip Hop is violent and misogynistic. Trayvon was dressed like a member of the Hip Hop community, in a hoody and jeans. So automatically, he was labeled suspicious and a criminal. George Zimmerman's refusal to see beyond his limited perception lead him to peruse and kill Trayvon. Trayvon could have been any of us.”

The institutions that have allowed Trayvon Martin’s killer to go uncharged as of the writing of this article have been the subject of emceeing since at least Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five’s “The Message.” Whether it’s Black Star or Gangstarr, Wu-Tang Clan or Public Enemy, Hip Hop has always been rooted in this kind of discourse. It is with this in mind that I will attempt to navigate through some of the aforementioned institutions with the help of sadly prescient rhymes from some of Hip Hop’s greatest lyricists.

“Cops give a damn about a negro / Pull a trigga, kill a nigga he’s a hero.”2Pac, “Changes”

The police did not gun down Trayvon Martin. But given the way local authorities have protected George Zimmerman, they may as well have. Sanford, Florida Police Chief Bill Lee (who has temporarily stepped down because his presence is a “distraction” to his department’s handling of this matter) remains inexplicably obstinate in his defense of Zimmerman. In addressing the media, Lee went out of his way to express support for Zimmerman as a supposed protector of the community.

“There is a right for someone who has a concealed weapons permit to carry that weapon,” said Lee in a press conference to the media. “We do support Neighborhood Watch. We think it is a very good program. We support neighbors watching out for neighbors.” Watching out for your neighbors is one thing, but taking up arms is quite another. Shouldn’t Lee, as the head of an agency performing a “fair” investigation, be reminding the public that the police don’t support any form of vigilantism? But wait – the plot thickens. “In this case, Mr. Zimmerman has made the statement of self-defense,” said Lee. “Until we can establish probable cause. Until we can dispute that, we can’t arrest him.”

Huh?

It’s frightening that a person in Lee’s position could so grossly misinterpret and misrepresent the law. A quick reading of Florida’s criminal law statute reveals that use of deadly force is only justifiable if “he or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony...” This is a far cry from Lee’s implication that Zimmerman can avoid arrest simply by claiming self-defense, without any evidence to support this claim.

Darren Hutchinson, Professor of Law at the American University, Washington College of Law agrees that local police have gone too far in defending Zimmerman. “The government need not prove that an offense has actually occurred in order to arrest Zimmerman,” writes Hutchinson on his blog, Dissenting Justice. “Instead, the government must establish that after weighing the totality of the circumstances, a reasonable person could believe that Zimmerman has committed a crime. That minimum threshold is absolutely satisfied in this case.”

“Fuck red and white, I got on Black Sox / But let him shoot a person from the White Sox / What's the call / Foul ball!”Main Source, “Just a Friendly Game of Baseball.”

So what made a gun-toting George Zimmerman “reasonably believe” that Trayvon Martin, a juvenile that Zimmerman outweighed by roughly 100 lbs., armed with Skittles and iced tea, was going to cause Zimmerman’s “imminent death” or cause him “great bodily harm?”

Could it have been the color of Trayvon’s skin?

At first, some members of the public tried to dismiss the role of race in Trayvon's death. But the recording of Zimmerman’s 9-1-1 call that night destroys any doubts about the reasons for his actions. “These assholes always get away,” stated Zimmerman before beginning to pursue Trayvon. Then we hear a beep, as if Zimmerman had opened his car door with the keys still in the ignition. The wind picks up, and it sounds like Zimmerman has stepped out of his car. Zimmerman admits point blank to the 9-1-1 operator that he’s following Trayvon, and whispers under his breath, “fucking coons.”

At first, it was unclear from the recording that Zimmerman used those words, but an analysis from an audio specialist courtesy of CNN removed all doubt. Zimmerman’s pursuit and subsequent killing of Trayvon Martin was racially-motivated. The reluctance of local authorities (whose race-relations record is less-than-stellar) to charge Zimmerman begs the question: if Trayvon Martin had been white, would George Zimmerman still be free today?

“Good evening, my name's Mr. Bullet / I respond to the index when you pull it / ...And when I kill kids, they say shame on me / Who the fuck told you to put they names on me / ... Especially when I'm in the hood I never discriminate / Just get in 'em, then I renovate / Flesh, bone, ain't nothing for me to penetrate.”
– Pharoahe Monch – When the Gun Draws

Whether George Zimmerman is brought to justice or not, the image of Trayvon Martin, 17, laying dead in a pool of his own blood will remain burned in the minds of Trayvon’s family and friends. It’s an image that will stay with many of us for the rest of our lives, and it should.

This is the type of powerful imagery that fuels Hip Hop’s most revolutionary artists – artists who urge us to examine tragedies such as the death of Trayvon Martin with a critical, well-informed mind. As it turns out, Chuck D, Killer Mike, and scores of other emcees have been preparing us to process moments like these.

“We got to pump the stuff to make us tough / From the heart it's a start, a work of art / To revolutionize make a change nothin's strange / People people we are the same / No we're not the same / Cause we don't know the game / What we need is awareness we can't get careless / You say what is this / My beloved let’s get down to business / Mental self defensive fitness.” – Chuck D, “Fight The Power” by Public Enemy

Like Chuck D says, it’s on us to think critically and do the knowledge, because knowledge is self-defense. Jasiri X speaks to this point: “Hip Hop not only politicized me, through groups like Public Enemy, BDP and X-Clan, but it also let me know that the discrimination and police brutality I was facing growing up in Chicago and Pittsburgh was happening all over the country. When NWA dropped ‘Fuck the Police,’ we related to it, because we experienced the same treatment in our neighborhoods, so we felt the same way.

“Hip Hop is the dominant language, music and culture of young people worldwide, so it's important for us to address relevant issues, especially those that relate directly to us.”

“New absence from a mothers arm / Even the warmth from the mother's arms / Couldn't keep her son from harm / From standing where the gun was drawn / Overcome, done and done. He's gone...”Mos Def, “Murder of a Teenage Life.”

Slava Kuperstein is an Ellicott City, Maryland native by way of Odessa, Ukraine who has been writing for HipHopDX since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @SlavaHHDX.

117 Comments

  • Anonymous

    wheres the retraction from this fake ass Slava about all the blatant lies he claims to be facts in his story and have since been proven to be false. fake ass reporter is nothing more than a race baiter

  • MIG06

    I agree with Nope, the media is using this as propaganda to push for racial turmoil and eventually a "racial war." Racism has been subliminally pushed by the mainstream media for ages, anyone who tells you racism doesn't exist is wrong. It's sad to see society so dumbed down by various things such as TV, music, materials, etc. and not realize what is going on. The last thing that the gov't wants is unified people, so what's the best way to prevent this...think about it.

  • Nope

    Who really fucking cares? All of this has been blown up by the media. Shit like this has been happening for decades so what makes this such a special case?

  • Doubl Negative

    I wouldn't shed any tears for this faggot if some dude wasted him, but we gotta settle this vendetta amicably, and not retaliate eye for an eye, otherwise that would make us just as them. Hopefully this ass hole's apprehended and incarcerated; there's no way a Brother could be in his position and not face the appropriate punishment. RIP to the young Brother Tray.

  • Ron Grant

    This story has had holes in it from the beginnig on Zimmerman and the Sanford Police's side. But what really irks me about this is that, in essence, a HUMAN BEING was killed and the Police did not do the job that they've been tasked and mandated with. Strip away all the rhetoric and the people trying to make themselves known off this case, and that's what you have: a Police force that basically f***ed up and is doing a poor job of following through and making things right. That's it.

  • emz

    Zimmerman went after Martin and challanged him. Isn't that considdered an attack?

    • Anonymous

      only he didn't. youre such a fuck phony Slava. you're just another instigator that ignores the facts. Where's the counter article to this now that the facts of the encounter have come out? of course youre not going to do something like that because youre a pussy that hides behind his keyboard but wont man up and wont atleast correct when he was wrong.

    • Slava Kuperstein

      That would make Zimmerman the aggressor.

  • zzf

    im white and i dont want him to get arrested. i want him to die and fuckin burn in hell stupid bastard

  • Anonymous

    If your mad at anything... be mad at the COPS that didnt arrest this killer...but ALL you people preachin are uneducated

    • Anonymous

      Exactly about LE. Zimmerman said "these a-holes always get away". Narcs were there before Homicide. There may be more to this situation and the gated community and those who are sworn to protect it, and I hope the teenager wasn't collateral damage. I can't submit credence down there to a comment saying there is a policing issue in that area. But it will be revealed soon.

  • jr_rider

    There are too many holes in this story to be rushing to the conclusion that it was a hate crime. There was a phone call to police, an eye witness that said zimmerman was using self defense after being pumbled, and history that zimmerman and his wife mentor young black kids. I think jumping to the conclusion before all the facts are out that this is a race crime will only have negative feedback. The thing that should be focused here that can't be argued is a man that used unnecessary deadly force that cost the life of a youth. Anyways, if you all what a real current hate crime check out the women who got beat to death for being from Iraq.

    • Assassin221

      Does it matter if it's a hate crime? If it's legit self-defense he should get off, if not he should get locked up, simple as that.

    • Anonymous

      So there's actually a defence for a 250lb 28-year old armed with a gun claiming self-defence against a 140lb 17-year old armed with skittles and iced tea? Then there's a defence to it being a hate crime after extensive review of the 911 call Zimmerman made where he says "They always get away, (whisper) fucking coons". Trayvon lived in that same gated community, he wasn't suspicious for any other reason than a bigoted self appointed neighbourhood watchman thought he was. The fact that there's even a defence is astounding, even more-so is that despite there being so much evidence against Zimmerman, he's being allowed to walk free on the grounds that the prosecution doesn't have 'irrefutable proof'. Shit like this makes me sick, I hope they throw the book at Zimmerman and the officers involved in this cover-up get nothing less than 20 years. When police are this corrupt, they should be seen as worse than criminals.

  • Anonymous

    Hahaha. I still will not pass judgment, but it is looking bad. A self appointed neighborhood watchman thought he was the neighborhood POLICE this day and decided to confront a "suspect" with improper SELF DEFENSE training, like KARATE, JU JITSI, and also broke HIS code by carrying a firearm, AND ends up discharging it. Forgive the teenager for walking slow in the rain with a hooded sweatshirt. It's parallel to the movie "Cornbread, Earl, & Me". Narcotics showed up before homicide, is there a drug problem around or in this community? Is there a badge that comes with Zimmerman's position that would have had him identify himself? Way too many questions to be answered to come to conclusions.

  • Anonymous

    I haven't read the whole story, but going off of people's comments on here it seems like the boy attempted or punched Zimmerman. Zimmerman then shot and killed the boy. According to Florida law, a person may use a gun against another person for self-defense if he is trying to protect himself from from death or serious harm. A physical altercation, meaning a punch, is not a cause for the use of a handgun. This is a according to Florida law, so it seems that Zimmerman can be convicted of breaking this law...so he can be convicted of improper usage of a handgun or manslaughter

  • Anonymous

    correction: ...he should of been able to defend himself w/o the use of bear arms, seeing he was unarmed...

  • Anonymous

    theres another issue that should be raised: 2nd amendment. though i believe we all should have the right to bear arms, theres clearly a gun control problem in the states. idk all the facts, maybe lil trayvon did rush him, but seems that if he was being attacked, he should of been able to defend himself w/o the use of bear arms. seems reckless, like the colombine, vtech and arizona supermarket, why is it so easy for ppl to get guns and shoot others like its going out of style? agn idk all the facts but it seems fucked and to only happened in the states. maybe chris rock right. maybe we need some bullet control.

  • Rex

    honestly America sucks , yall should come over here to Canada

  • Shaolin style

    Ok so what happened then? Trayvon picked a fight with Zimmerman and got shot, or was he just walking by? Somebody enlighten me cuz judging from this article it sounds like some racist guy followed the kid as he walked by and shot him down without warning

    • Anonymous

      how do you do a breath test on someone whos dead?

    • Anonymous

      There aren't any conflicting reports. The 911 call has Zimmerman admitting he was following Trayvon, witnesses saw him following Trayvon, Trayvon had no interest in Zimmerman, he was watching the All-star games then went to the shop and tried to get back home. The most that happened to Zimmerman is he followed Trayvon, was spotted, they argued, and that was enough for Zimmerman to claim self defence. There were no injuries to Zimmerman, not even traces of a struggle. Any lack of evidence that comes out of this stems from the stupidity of the police trying to cover for Zimmerman. They decided they'd do a alcohol breath test on Trayvon at the scene of the murder but not Zimmerman. They let Zimmerman tell them his accounts and then let him go home on that basis. Tell me when you ever see and unarmed man shot, the gunman at the scene, and he's allowed to go home without proper checking of evidence? This shit is pure racism from Zimmerman, from the police force.

    • Word Life....

      I thought I was the only one that didn't understand the conflicting reports.

  • SHUTTAMAN

    THIS IS EVEN WORSE THAN RODNEY KING IF THIS FAGGOT ZIMMER DOES NOT GET ARRESTED JUSTICE FO MY LIL NIGGA TRAYVON FUK ALL RACIST MOTHERFUCKERS HELL FINNA BREAK LOSE IN FLORIDA IF THEY AINT NO JUSTICE FOR TRAYVON NIGGA! RIOTS NIGGA RIOTS NIGGA RADICALS NIGGA!

  • Anonymous

    The problem with defending Zimmerman is that, regardless of the exact situation, he shot a person who was unarmed. Zimmerman weighs a hundred pounds more than Trayvon did, so it is completely unreasonable for him to fire upon an unarmed Trayvon and then claim "self-defense." It is impossible to defend Zimmerman because even if the stories have been twisted by the media, the facts alone present an irrefutable case against Zimmerman.

  • DI-NAzty

    Demand Justice for Trayvon Martin Come to my youtube page Di-Nazty to check out my tribute to Trayvon

  • DI-NAzty

    Demand Justice for Trayvon Martin http://colorofchange.org/campaign/trayvon/ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVZ-5PQQYJQ

  • DI-NAzty

    Demand Justice for Trayvon Martin http://colorofchange.org/campaign/trayvon/ Come check out my tribute to Trayvon http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVZ-5PQQYJQ

  • Anonymous

    I am not a Zimmerman defender. However, none of you were there, your just listening to what the media is telling you. Of course he should haven't had a gun in the first place. Your fucking neighborhood Watch and he is most likely guilty of a race crime. However, again none of you were there. You act like you were a prime witness watching the whole thing ten feet away.

    • Anonymous

      Do you know what evidence for a trial is meant to do? It's meant to let people draw up a mental image of the crime and the people involved. There's enough evidence to picture what happened.

  • Miles

    Zimmerman's story doesn't add up to me regardless. this dude is almost weighs 100 more pounds than the kid. a normal person that finds someone dangerous would call the police and mind their own business. But he wanted to be the tough guy/hero and chase the kid down. but while doing this he decides "naw, i'mma leave this person alone. i don't want to start no trouble". But then this kid turns around and confronts you. This scrawny kid that weighs almost 100 lbs less than you is then able to punch a big tough guy like that soooo hard that he falls to the ground. BS

  • Hassan Haze

    I AM TRAYVON MARTIN youtube.com/watch?v=cca0eT3OJks RT

  • hahdh

    if the media wants to send white folks a message through this case that its okay to shoot and kill a nigga and get away with it we got to get it on.

  • Anonymous

    Wow this is sad. Our whole system of government is corrupt all the way down to our "justice" system. We need to bring social issues back into Hip Hop we have to hold these people accountable and stop them from corrupting our nation, our youth, and our culture. save Hip Hop save America and most of all save the world. Thats what real is

    • Word Life......

      I always say theres vested interest in having the masses listen to dumbed down hip hop like Waka Flocka and Young Money. Educating/enlightening people through hip hop will one day be a criminal offence If some of these major label corps have their way.

  • Anthony smith

    "Fucking coons". This guy is obviously a racist and probably deserved the ass kicking he got right before he shot that kid. Zimmerman sounds like a coward that shot him because he was loosing a fight he may well have started. Put down the gun pussy and take a couple of boxing classes.

  • Sigh

    You Zimmerman supporters are fucking retarded. You do realize Trayvon WILL NEVER be able to give his side of the story right? But somehow Zimmerman's words are good enough for you. OJ said he didn't kill anybody but he had to go to court to prove it. Zimmerman should be thoroughly investigated as well. If he wins his case then we move on. And why the fuck is the Police chief taking leave now? What's he got to do with this? It's all fucked up.

    • URANTIA2

      i'm a black man in law school that's been wearing hoodies for my entire life, and i've had two racist/prejudicial ass encounters this week, one from a 50 year old white woman on her way to work in times square (of all places) and the other from a 50 year old black security guard on a new york city college...you mentioned the L.A. Riots; so my question is are things getting more tense where you are?!?

    • Assassin221

      You know damn well if he wins the case people won't move on. L.A. riots, anyone? Not saying they should move on, either. But you're right, there obviously needs to be an investigation.

  • x

    Was the shooter racist? Yes Was the incident the shooters fault? Yes But still the kid could have talked his way out of it if he was smart but he chose to throw a punch. Hopefully somebody learns from his mistake.

    • Anonymous

      So black people, or anybody, should have to keep walking away and talking their way out of it if a guy is following them, oh and if that guy shoots him because he decided not to, it's okay?

  • Murderhead II

    While this murder was horrific, America must question why they are shocked that Zimmerman has not been apprehended. If possessing a gun was prohibited in the first place (like in the UK), Zimmerman would not even be able to claim it was self-defense. I am not on Zimmerman's side. I do not intend to come across as ignorant or insensitive, but in my view, if you allow guns on the streets things like this are going to happen, and people are going to be able to get away with it. I know that the gun laws aren't the main issue here, but I can't help but feel that this whole situation could've been avoided.

    • d

      Well, you come off as ignorant AND insensitive. Here's the simple, bottom-line: This scum bag loser Zimmerman, racist or not, shot and killed a teenager who posed no threat to his well-being. This is not about gun laws; bad things happen everywhere - even in the UK, there was actually a gang-related shooting there this last Sunday that left a five year old girl paralyzed. I hate to sound cliche, but guns don't kill people, people kill people.

  • M

    This article is so one sided and leaves out several facts of the investigation. The writer should be ashamed of themselves for not researching this more and writing an article based off what they see from the 10 o'clock news.

    • Anonymous

      How are people trying to defend Zimmerman? Even if you attack the media and say that people are only listening to what they have to say... THERE'S NOTHING ELSE TO SAY. There's no evidence to support Zimmerman's case, at all. He called 911, the 911 officer told him to not pursue him. He mumbled "fucking coons" in the same call. He admitted to following Trayvon in the same call. Witnesses saw him following Trayvon. Witnesses heard Trayvon cry for help (Zimmerman claims it was him). Trayvon was unarmed, found with skittles and iced tea. He had simply walked out of his door, gone to the store and was coming back home. This is backed up by the store he visited, his last call to his girlfriend, that he was watching the all star games that night, he lives there for gods sake. Do you know what kind of force Trayvon would have had to exact on Zimmerman to cause him enough damage that his life would be in danger? There was no traces of a struggle so what else? Death by thrown skittles? Or words? Fuck it let me jump on the Zimmerman defence. Trayvon, who weighed 140lbs was so dangerous that his hands should have been registered as a lethal weapon. Lethal enough to be compared with a gun. Zimmerman, 250lbs, was in mortal danger having met with Trayvon, at any moment Trayvon could have ended his life in several different ways. There was only one chance for Zimmerman and that was to shoot him in the chest. It was totally self defence, he was protecting the community. Anyone else having met Trayvon that night may have been killed, Zimmerman is a hero. How in gods name are people listening to that defence?

    • Anonymous

      Agree with you M, they are just listening to what MSNBC tells them.

    • Anonymous

      In other words you hope Zimmerman gets off.

    • Anonymous

      It's an editorial....

  • Anonymous

    Police have been reluctant to provide details about their evidence. ^ and THIS, is where the outrage begins. It is a botched crime scene, evidence is missing (cell phone). The law has been interpreted to protect people in a situation like the teenager, NOT Zimmerman, who is on record as being instructed by emergency dispatch to NOT pursue and yet he decided to pursue the teenager with a firearm. The last time I saw, acts of vigilantism are illegal. So while many of you choose to reveal your inner bigotry and try to say the victim was somehow in fault, I will be like others and wait until the full details arise while wondering why Zimmerman was not charged with manslaughter and taken through the court process to PROVE it was SELF DEFENSE, and why law enforcement was so quick to close the case and not reveal full details in this incident.

    • Anonymous

      IT'S INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. CORRECT. BUT YOU NEED A TRIAL TO PROVE EITHER OF THOSE.

    • Anonymous

      you contradict yourself in your own statement. you claim to wait until full details arise but you come to a clear conclusion without doing that. do you not see the hipocricy in your own comment? Its still america and its still INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY

  • D3

    RIP trayvon its a shame to this bullshit is still going on in 2012. Im a white 20 year old male and i cant even describe to u the anger i have after watching this all unfold. FUCK the police department FUCK racism and FUCK you to everyone who's not down with it. I pray trayvon's family stays strong through this terrible time, hopefully the words and actions of everyone supporting this movement helps ease the pain! Please sign the petition to prosecute Trayvon's killer, it will literally take 2 seconds of your time, already 2.1 million signatures http://www.change.org/petitions/prosecute-the-killer-of-our-son-17-year-old-trayvon-martin

  • Anonymous

    Where is all the anger and disgust when a black kid kills another black kid? does it only matter when theres two different races involved?

    • 412News

      u dumb ass. black kill a black person either way still will get locked up. stay in school before u speak

    • Anonymous

      there are also statements that say it was in self defense and the kid punched and attacked him first.

    • Charles

      The anger is not only about a Black kid killed by a non-Black man. It's also about the police not arresting that man at the scene after his action (not like he fled the scene or anything, he confessed right there and then). An armed civilian shoots an unarmed civilian ON THE STREET and no arrests are made! There were statements from witnesses! And I hate to says this, but tell me this would have happened if it was two Black kids...

    • Anonymous

      No.. it seems is doesn't matter when there'e alot of black on black crime, now there's police officers shootin little black kids... and it shouldn't matter?

  • Anonymous

    With a single punch, Trayvon Martin decked the Neighborhood Watch volunteer who eventually shot and killed the unarmed 17-year-old, then Trayvon climbed on top of George Zimmerman and slammed his head into the sidewalk, leaving him bloody and battered, law-enforcement authorities told the Orlando Sentinel. That is the account Zimmerman gave police, and much of it has been corroborated by witnesses, authorities say. There have been no reports that a witness saw the initial punch Zimmerman told police about. Zimmerman has not spoken publicly about what happened Feb. 26. But that night, and in later meetings, he described and re-enacted for police what he says took place. In his version of events, Zimmerman had turned around and was walking back to his SUV when Trayvon approached him from behind, the two exchanged words and then Trayvon punched him in the nose, sending him to the ground, and began beating him. Zimmerman's account This is what the Sentinel has learned about Zimmerman's account to investigators: He said he was on his way to the grocery store when he spotted Trayvon walking through his gated community. Trayvon was visiting his father's fiance, who lived there. He had been suspended from school in Miami after being found with an empty marijuana baggie. Miami schools have a zero-tolerance policy for drug possession. Police have been reluctant to provide details about their evidence. But after the Sentinel story appeared online Monday morning, City Manager Norton Bonaparte Jr. issued a news release, saying there would be an internal-affairs investigation into the source of the leak and, if identified, the person or people involved would be disciplined. He did not challenge the accuracy of the information. At a Monday news conference, Trayvon's mother, father and their lawyers called the report that their son was suspended from school because of a marijuana baggie irrelevant and needlessly hurtful. Trayvon's father, Tracy Martin, said "even in death, they are still disrespecting my son, and I feel that that's a sin." His mother, Sybrina Fulton, said, "They killed my son, and now they're trying to kill his reputation." Supporters have held rallies in Sanford, Miami, New York and Tallahassee, calling the case a tragic miscarriage of justice. Civil-rights activist the Rev. Al Sharpton headlined a rally in Sanford on Thursday that drew an estimated 8,000 people. The Rev. Jesse Jackson on Sunday spoke at an Eatonville church, where he called Trayvon a martyr. Zimmerman has gone into hiding. A fringe group, the New Black Panther Party, has offered a $10,000 reward for his "capture." One-minute gap On Feb. 26, when Zimmerman first spotted Trayvon, he called police and reported a suspicious person, describing Trayvon as black, acting strangely and perhaps on drugs. Zimmerman got out of his SUV to follow Trayvon on foot. When a dispatch employee asked Zimmerman if he was following the 17-year-old, Zimmerman said yes. The dispatcher told Zimmerman he did not need to do that. There is about a one-minute gap during which police say they're not sure what happened. Zimmerman told them he lost sight of Trayvon and was walking back to his SUV when Trayvon approached him from the left rear, and they exchanged words. Trayvon asked Zimmerman if he had a problem. Zimmerman said no and reached for his cell phone, he told police. Trayvon then said, "Well, you do now" or something similar and punched Zimmerman in the nose, according to the account he gave police. Zimmerman fell to the ground and Trayvon got on top of him and began slamming his head into the sidewalk, he told police. Zimmerman began yelling for help. Several witnesses heard those cries, and there has been a dispute about whether they came from Zimmerman or Trayvon. Lawyers for Trayvon's family say it was Trayvon, but police say their evidence indicates it was Zimmerman. One witness, who has since talked to local television news reporters, told police he saw Zimmerman on the ground with Trayvon on top, pounding him and was unequivocal that it was Zimmerman who was crying for help. Zimmerman then shot Trayvon once in the chest at very close range, according to authorities. When police arrived less than two minutes later, Zimmerman was bleeding from the nose, had a swollen lip and had bloody lacerations to the back of his head. Paramedics gave him first aid but he said he did not need to go to the hospital. He got medical care the next day.

    • Anonymous

      Punched or not. You cannot tell me Zimmerman should not have AT LEAST been arrested for questioning. You can not justify to me why police would let the suspect go after he admitted to killing the victim while he was STILL at the crime scene.

  • Anonymous

    Zimmerman has not spoken publicly about what happened, but that night, Feb. 26, and in later meetings he described and re-enacted for police what he says happened. In his version of events, he had turned around and was walking back to his SUV when Trayvon approached him from behind, the two exchanged words then Trayvon punched him in the nose, sending him to the ground, and began beating him. Zimmerman told police he shot the teenager in self-defense. Zimmerman has been silent and out of the public eye in the wake of all the publicity and attention his case has garnered, although his lawyer has previously told CNN that his clients nose had been broken by Martin the night of the 26th. An anonymous witness had also told an Orlando station that he had seen Martin beating Zimmerman.

  • Anonymous

    So you cant defend yourself when someone taller and stronger than you starts to attack you because of their paranois, knocks you to the ground, pins you down and starts smashing your head against the curb. Can you defend yourself then or do you have to be on the verge of a coma before you can defend yourself? Zimmerman should've left the kid alone and everything wouldve been just fine, but there are always two sides to a story. Typical DX to only take one side, present everything from that one side and then expects you to agree with their one sided point of view.

  • Anonymous

    What they going to do hold a visual and sing We Shall Overcome...FOH. Impress me by dragging the killer out into the streets and put two in the back of his cabbage.

  • Anonymous

    typical DX nonsense. they cricize for people drawing conclusions without having all the facts and then do the samething themselves. very MSNBC of you

  • murdock

    at first i was mad and thought he just got shot for no reason ..then i found out the picture they show of the kid is old and now he looks like a criminal.he attacked the neighborhood watch dude tried to grab his gun and got shot.sounds like he was doing more then getting candy to me

    • murdock

      oh and i didnt say he was a criminal i said looking like one.the picture on tv isnt what he looks like now so why show it?look into it more and see what they are saying happened dont say oh he got murdered by a white racist.this man is half hispanic and is town watch he got punched so he says and shot him.thats a long way from the white racist guy that shot him for no reason

    • murdock

      im white but this isnt about race here.did you look more into the facts yet?the shooter isnt just white hes hispanic also but everyone is saying oh the white guy killed him.when a persons half black do you call him white?fuck no so why is this different?the cat shouldnt have followed him but hes neighborhood watch fam and the young dude rushed him.he got shot im not sayin its right but theres more facts and the dude4 aint a white guy racist that need black panther party and every fucken weirdo out there saying that shit.dudes every night in philly here are murdered by hispanics blacks and whites but aint shit ever said about that.its everynight here same type of shit.

    • Murderhead II

      I'm not taking sides.. but there's speculation.. and then there's facts. We do not yet know all the facts. All we know is that a 17 year old boy has been killed, and the man that killed him (and admitted it) has not be arrested. Whether or not he was a 'criminal' or not (which we are not certain of), there is still an issue with the way this has been dealt with. Regardless of race or age, by any standards, the police have so far dealt with this case poorly. Even if we found out that Trayvon was this 'criminal' you speak of, does that mean we should forget that Zimmerman FOLLOWED him and then mysteriously SHOT him as an act of 'self-defense'?

    • Anonymous

      Ur white right? The kid was being stalked... 17yrs of age only had skittles and ice tea on him! He was murdered!!!!

  • Anonymous

    It actually happened on February 26th

  • murdock

    at first i was mad and thought he just got shot for no reason ..then i found out the picture they show of the kid is old and now he looks thugged out.he attacked the neighborhood watch dude tried to grab his gun and go shot.sounds like he was doing more then getting candy to me

  • yep

    It was 2/26, not the 28th!!!!

  • what

    Yo you'll cant be serious, how anyone, justice system going to take the hip hop's take on this murder serious, list to most of these rapper these day all the talk about is killing people, now you wanta speak out when other kill us, give me a break, we need to fix our problem first in order for anyone to take hip hop points serious.

    • Anonymous

      Nigga what you been listening to What is so right on this one, check the hiphod game alll they talk is about kill, kill and hoes

    • Murderhead II

      You obviously hear the wrong kind of Hip Hop. That sucks for you. Somebody who is anti-government still has the right to vote.

  • ZIMMERMAN

    I'M A MEXICAN AND WHITE SO THIS AINT' JUS A BLACK AND WHITE ISSUE, I APPROACHED HIM YEAH SLIGHTLY PROFILING CAUSE I WAS ON FUCKIN DUTY THAT NIGHT WHEN I APPROACHED HIM HE TURNED AND ASKED WHY I WAS FOLLOWING HIM WE ARGUED THEN I WAS ATTACKED SO I SHOT EM DIDN'T WANT HIM TO DIE SHOULD'VE JUS BEAT THE SHIT OUTA HIM BUT HE ATTACKED ME THIS WAS SELF DEFENSE BUT OF COURSE YOU CLOWNS WANT TO MAKE THIS A RACIAL ISSUE WISH IT WENT DIFFERENTLY BUT IT DIDN'T

  • Slava Kuperstein

    I was saying that your statement that a claim of self-defense negates PC is false, not that his claiming self-defense didn't happen. My birth country has no bearing on this matter. You're ignorant for making that an argument.

    • Anonymous

      if he felt as if his life were being threatened, you know due to his fucking head being bashed into the pavement, then yeah it would support self-defense in any way possible. genius.

    • Slava Kuperstein

      "so what about the witness statments that say it was Trayvon who punched him first and was on top of Zimmerman smashing his head into the pavement?" That doesn't legally justify the use of deadly force.

    • Anonymous

      so what about the witness statments that say it was Trayvon who punched him first and was on top of Zimmerman smashing his head into the pavement? when that really is the only statments to anything. I havent seen the statments that say he walked up to the kid and shot him in the back. Every thing that has come out has said there was an altercation, thats not in dispute. So if there is no statment to contradict Zimmerman and witness statments that it was Trayvon who was the attacker. Where is the over whelming evidence? so take the 911 call where they told him to stop following him. according to zimmerman he was on his way back to his vehicle when it was Trayvon who confronted him and started a fight. there hasnt been anything proven to contradict that other than pure hear say that needs to be investigated.

    • Slava Kuperstein

      It is relative to the very low threshold of probable cause. All you need to do is get to PC for arrest. Remember, PC doesn't automatically mean guilt.

    • Anonymous

      that's not very overwhelming there homie.

    • Slava Kuperstein

      Probable cause is all that's needed for an arrest, and it's a very, very low threshold. The fact that Zimmerman had a gun, admitted to shooting Trayvon, and was the initial aggressor - all FACTS - is enough for an arrest. Is it enough for a conviction? That is an entirely different matter, and remains to be seen.

    • Anonymous

      what overwhelming evidence is there? there is hardly any solid evidence.

    • Slava Kuperstein

      "so if you have contrary stories is it not the polices duty to investigate before arresting anyone of bringing any charges?" A contrary story is a consideration, of course. However, the overwhelming evidence available is more than enough for AN ARREST. An arrest, mind you, does not mean guilt.

    • Anonymous

      florida also has one of the highest standards in the country when it does come to a self defense claim. so if you have contrary stories is it not the polices duty to investigate before arresting anyone of bringing any charges?

    • Slava Kuperstein

      I didn't say it wasn't self-defense. I'm saying that simply claiming self-defense doesn't negate the probable cause that I believe is clearly there - a belief that's supported by decades of case law, and the language of the statute. Zimmerman should be arrested, and he should be given a fair trial.

    • Anonymous

      How do you know it wasnt self defense? were you there?

  • Anonymous

    Witnesses saw Martin knock down Zimmerman, punch him on the ground, and try to take his gun. That seems to me like imminent death or great bodily harm was near.

    • Anonymous

      there is where a grey area lies. Trayvon was more than likely acting in self-defense but the witness only saw the end result. that helps Zimmermans case but screws the truth.

  • aman

    TM got his justice already, thug justice.

  • Anonymous

    why was'nt UNCLE MURDER 50 CENT MOBB DEEP FRENCH MONTANA THERE OR HAVE ANY VIEWS ON THIS? ONLY old school rappers and NON VIOLIENT SHOT U IN THE HEAD BANG BANG UR DEAD RAPPERS TALKING UP?

  • Anonymous

    1st off Slava, educate yourself on the justice system. if he claims self-defense then he cant be arrested, at first. Yes we all know he is lying but that isnt justification for arrest. if someone meets the requirements for a self-defense plea, which he obviously has, the officers must abide by it until further investigation proves other wise. And the Professor is right that it shouldnt have taken so long to prove other wise and Zimmerman should be in custody. you really believe CNN and their bullshit propaganda that he said coon? we all know he said goon. they are like all other news that blows things out of proportion for ratings. dont try to act like you sympathize. the image will not stay with you the rest of your life. you didnt see it, you dont know him, you'll forget as soon as the next hot topic pops off, its your job.you're form the Ukraine so what do you know? for one Zimmerman is Mexican, half white dont mean shit. yes this was an act of racial profiling, but worse shit has happened due to race but we hear nothing about it. the only reason this is big is b/c no arrest was made. thousands of bad crimes happen without an arrest for a while or never and the police basically know who did it. no evidence then shit cant be done. all these celebs are just hopping on a bandwagon like always. a new one will roll through in a month to hop on. i cant take them seriously.

    • Anonymous

      sadly it looks like that is how it will turn out. but you never know. I had fun and thanks for the good argument we had.

    • Slava Kuperstein

      Let's hope that that's not the case.

    • Anonymous

      your origin has some affect on your opinion is what i was saying. not sure why you're still stuck on that statement anyway it's of least importance. i do agree that they have PC as well. the whole case is flawed and was screwed from the beginning anyway. it will more than likely never be fully solved and Zimmerman will walk. even if he was arrested he wouldn't have been held.

    • Slava Kuperstein

      Yes, if the police don't have PC, they can't arrest him. I, however, contend that they do. And I didn't call you ignorant because you have a differing opinion. I called you ignorant because you acted like my country of origin (from which I immigrated in '89) had something to do with this.

    • Anonymous

      the uk is even worse than America!

    • Anonymous

      and I'm saying that him claiming self-defense and the police not having PC (which again there is no way they shouldn't) he cant be arrested. I didnt say it negates it. you are right now, but the way you stated it in the article is wrong. and no your country shouldnt have a play in this. im not ignorant sorry I pissed you off by stating that but the way you worded things makes it seem like you know what's going on. America is different. Im just saying you dont know how things work here that well. it shows in your writing. I do respect you however on attempting to write about something you believe in and also responding and having a conversation with me. but dont call me ignorant for my opinions.

    • Slava Kuperstein

      [whoops, didn't mean to respond this above] I was saying that your statement that a claim of self-defense negates PC is false, not that his claiming self-defense didn't happen. My birth country has no bearing on this matter. You're ignorant for making that an argument.

    • Again

      for one I went to school for this and have experience in this field and you're only taking courses. you haven't learned buddy. no it isn't false. he claimed self-defense b/c according to him he was justified in doing so (even though he more than likely lied). if the police do not have probable cause (which they should yes) then acting on the claim (ur correct i did say plea and that is wrong) alone nothing can be done, which i state if you would read instead of skim like you did the Florida statute. and again you are from the Ukraine so what do you know about black peoples lives in America? the facts are that Zimmerman is a retarded asshole and the Florida PD and judicial system have always sucked and are not handling this well at all. *picks up mic* *throws it at the back of your slow head*

    • Slava Kuperstein

      "1st off Slava, educate yourself on the justice system." I'm doing just that at the American University Washington College of Law, and interning at a State's Attorney's Office. "if he claims self-defense then he cant be arrested. at first." That's false. If you had actually done some research before playing keyboard warrior, you'd know that all that's needed for arrest is probable cause, which I [and Darren Hutchinson, Professor of Law] contend is a threshold that has been met. A self-defense CLAIM [not plea, as you incorrectly stated] does not simply negate probable cause. "you're form the Ukraine so what do you know?" A hell of a lot more than you, it seems. *drops mic* *moonwalks out of ignorant post thread*

    • Anonymous

      WELL SAID!!! hopefully america starts to im prove racial issue's like the uk soon

  • Anonymous

    u need to come to uk and see how THE WHITE MAN AND BLACK MAN get on. White american trate's and views are'nt the same as english whites till u all get off THE WHITE MAN AND BLACK MAN THING you'll allway's gonna get mad when THE COLOUR OF SOMEONE'S SKIN is the only reason u care about a child dyeing

    • Murderhead II

      In proportion, there are just as many racial 'issues' in the UK as there are in the US. Back to the topic though. While this murder was horrific, America must question why they are shocked that Zimmerman has not been apprehended. If possessing a gun was prohibited in the first place (like in the UK), Zimmerman would not even be able to claim it was self-defense. I am not on Zimmerman's side. I do not intend to come across as ignorant or insensitive, but in my view, if you allow guns on the streets things like this are going to happen, and people are going to be able to get away with it. I know that the gun laws aren't the main issue here, but I can't help but feel that this whole situation could've been avoided.

    • Anonymous

      OLD WHITE WOMEN did'nt grow up wiv the rest of the world. in there youth they did'nt grow up like us among a multi-cultrual society ur childhood is INBEDDED IN U what u grow up knowing or believe won't change when u forget daily thing's. england 20 yrs ag0 to now is completely different if u remember how hard it was for black people in the 80's n 90's to what we've built now there's no question of improvement?

    • Cube the Impala

      Racism is everywhere. In the UK, racism is just as bad. Some dudes just got convicted recently for a racially motivated crime they committed in like 93 I think. The majority of white brown and blacks get on together, but there are some who go overboard, just like everywhere. You can see the look these old white women give on the trains. For western society that claims to have evolved so far, we can see just how far with these racially motivated attacks, its just disgusting

  • L-Boogie

    Racism will never die, Zimmerman's limited views of black people made him kill an innocent kid. White people just don't get it, ALL black are not the same!!!!

  • Anonymous

    this shit is all going down bout 5 miles from where i live, everybody out here worked up, if that dude dont get locked him and his family would be wise to move

    • Anonymous

      truth he is getting death threats left and right. even spike lee made one. but fuck spike he is the biggest racist of them all.