10 Things You Need To Know About The Trayvon Martin Case

For those who haven’t been closely following this tragic story, here’s a primer on the awful facts surrounding the death of Trayvon Martin. There is plenty in here to warrant outrage.

1. This Is Trayvon Martin

HO, Martin Family Photos / AP

Trayvon Martin was a 17-year-old from Miami Gardens, Florida. His parents were separated and he lived with his mother, Sybrina Fulton. His father, Tracy Martin, lives in Sanford, Florida. Trayvon is described by his parents as a hero. “At the age of nine, Trayvon pulled his father from a burning kitchen, saving his life,” said Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin in a joint statement. “He loved sports and horseback riding. At only 17 he had a bright future ahead of him with dreams of attending college and becoming an aviation mechanic.”

2. This Is George Zimmerman

Orange County Jail via Miami Herald / AP

George Zimmerman is a 28-year-old resident of Sanford, Florida, where Trayvon Martin’s father, Tracy Martin, is also a resident. Zimmerman was a self-appointed neighborhood watchman who had called the Sanford 911 nearly 50 times since January 2011 to report suspicious behavior. He himself has had run-ins with the law, including an arrest in 2005 for assaulting a law enforcement officer (where the mugshot above was taken) and allegations of domestic violence.

3. The Night Of February 26th

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Trayvon Martin was visiting his father in Sanford, Florida on the evening of February, 26th, 2012. They were watching the NBA All Star game at his father’s girlfriend’s home when Trayvon decided to go to the local 7-11 and buy some snacks for everyone. Trayvon purchased Skittles and Arizona Iced Tea.

4. The Walk Home

David Manning / Reuters

It was a rainy night on February, 26th. Trayvon was wearing a hoodie as he headed back from the 7-11. His path took him by the gated community of Twin Lakes, where George Zimmerman lived.

5. The 911 Call

Zimmerman spots Trayvon and begins following him in his car. Zimmerman calls 911 and is told not to pursue. Zimmerman ignores the dispatcher and gets out of his car to confront Trayvon. In the same phone call, Zimmerman utters something under his breath that some have interpreted as the racial slur “coon.” Others claim he is saying “punk.” Zimmerman is armed with a 9mm semiautomatic handgun.

6. The Call To His Girlfriend

Trayvon realized he was being followed by Zimmerman while he was on the phone with his girlfriend. “He said this man was watching him, so he put his hoodie on. He said he lost the man,” said his 16-year-old girlfriend (who, as a minor, has not been identified). “I asked Trayvon to run, and he said he was going to walk fast. I told him to run but he said he was not going to run. Trayvon said, ‘What are you following me for,’ and the man said, ‘What are you doing here.’ Next thing I hear is somebody pushing, and somebody pushed Trayvon because the headset just fell. I called him again and he didn’t answer the phone.”

7. A Shot Is Fired

Gerardo Mora / Getty Images

911 is inundated with phone calls from the Twin Lakes neighborhood describing an altercation. In one call, you can hear screams followed by a shot. The screams stop. Trayvon Martin has been killed by a gunshot to the chest. He is only 70 yards from his father’s girlfriend’s home.

8. “Stand Your Ground” Law

Handout / Reuters

Even though Zimmerman confessed to shooting Trayvon, who was unarmed, he has not been charged with any crime. Zimmerman is being shielded by Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law, which gives wide latitude to homicide in the name of self-defense. Since Zimmerman claims he felt threatened and was partially bloodied in the altercation, Sanford police claim they have no grounds for an arrest.

9. The Federal Government Steps In

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Following widespread condemnation of how the Sanford police handled the case, the Justice Department has announced it will launch its own investigation into the death of Trayvon Martin, and a grand jury is being called by authorities in Florida. The Sanford City Commission voted 3-2 that it had no confidence in the Sanford Police Chief.

10. Rallies And Protests

ANDREW BURTON / Reuters

Tracy Martin, father of Trayvon Martin, and Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin’s mother, join a protest called A Million Hoodies March to demand justice for their son’s death in New York City. The Million Hoodies March is only one of many rallies that have sprung up around the country calling for further action in what many, including Trayvon’s parents, believe is a racially motivated killing.

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