Why Was Trayvon Martin Killed?

Was the 17-year-old a victim of racial profiling, vigilante justice, or was it a horrific accident?

Posted: 03/09/2012 07:24 AM EST
National news, Trayvon Martin, teenager shot, racism, Florida,crime

On the evening of Feb. 26, 17-year-old Trayvon "Trey" Martin was killed 70 yards from his father's home in a gated community in the Orlando, Florida, suburb of Sanford as he returned from a local 7-Eleven after going on a candy run. He was killed by George Zimmerman, a 28-year-old, self-appointed captain of the Retreat at Twin Lakes neighborhood watch.


The parents have filed a lawsuit seeking the release of the tape of the 9-1-1 call. They are seeking Zimmerman's arrest and want to know why their son Trey was killed.


According to the Associated Press:


Martin's father, Tracy, said Thursday that family members were upset that no arrest had been made. He described the neighborhood as mixed race but his attorneys said they believed Trayvon Martin was being profiled at the time of the encounter because he was a young Black man. Zimmerman is white. The attorneys also questioned why a neighborhood watch leader would carry a gun.


"He was stereotyped for some reason," Martin family attorney Ben Crump said of the victim. "Why was Trayvon suspicious? There are hundreds of children in that community.


There are many questions and few answers surrounding this tragedy.  


Here's what we know:


Martin was Black.


Zimmerman is white.


Martin was unarmed.


Zimmerman had a license to carry a weapon.


As Martin was walking home on the evenng of Feb. 26 with the packet of Skittles and iced tea he'd bought, Zimmerman noticed him and called 9-1-1 to report a "suspicious" person.


The police told Zimmerman to back off and that they would handle it.


Zimmerman ignored their order and followed Martin.


A fight subsequently ensued.


Neighbors called 9-1-1.


A shot was fired.


Martin was killed.


Zimmerman, who claimed self-defense as the justification for the shooting, was arrested and later released.

According to an incident report released Thursday, Zimmerman said, "I was yelling for someone to help me but no one would help me."


The Sanford Police Department is investigating, trying to determine whether Zimmerman is guilty of manslaughter. No charges have been filed by the local police department, which plans to conclude its investigation soon. At that time, the State Attorney's Office will decide whether to present the evidence to a grand jury.


Martin was your average kid who loved sports and dreamed of being a pilot. His parents had to explain to his siblings that he was gone.


Zimmerman is no longer living in the gated community.


What we don't know:


What happened that Feb. 26 night.


Why a young Black man with everything to live for was shot and killed by a stranger?


Was this racial profiling, vigilante justice gone wrong, or a horrific accident?


Why did Zimmerman ignore police orders and continue to follow Martin?


Why did the two fight?


There are many questions and few answers. No one should rush to judgement because there are many unknowns in this case and only two people know what really happened. One is dead and the other is currently free.


Stay tuned to  BET.com as we investigate the tragic shooting of Trayvon "Trey" Martin.


BET National News - Keep up to date with breaking news stories from around the nation, including headlines from the hip hop and entertainment world.

(Photo: Courtesy Facebook)

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