REPORTING FROM SANFORD, FLORIDA
On the third day of the trial of George Zimmerman, the parents of Trayvon Martin said they felt relieved and heartened by the jury selection process that has gone on at a painstaking pace since the courtroom proceedings began on Monday.
“As we sit through jury selection, we are encouraged that we as a family can get justice for our son Trayvon,” said Tracy Martin, the father of Trayvon Martin, who was shot by George Zimmerman nearly 16 months ago. “We ask that the public come forth and continue to be honest as potential jurors,” he said, speaking to reporters after the court recessed for the day.
So far, the trial of Zimmerman has involved the questioning of more than a dozen potential jurors. Hundreds of residents of Seminole County, which includes Sanford, have been summoned as potential jurors and the selection process is expected to take two weeks or longer.
In the first three days of the trial, 71 other potential jurors have been dismissed.
Benjamin Crump, an attorney for Trayvon’s father and mother, Sybrina Fulton, cautioned that there remained in the media and elsewhere a blame-the-victim mentality that sought to cast the unarmed teenager in an unfavorable light.
“Yesterday, former NYPD detective Harry Houck commented to FOX that Trayvon would be alive today if he didn’t have a street attitude,” Crump said at the press conference. “This comment is reprehensible and extremely reminiscent of the victim blaming rhetoric we saw a year ago.”
Zimmerman has insisted that he is not guilty of the second-degree murder charges, saying that he shot the teenager in self-defense after having been attacked. The prosecution and Trayvon’s parents contend that the high school student was the victim of racial profiling gone grotesquely wrong.
Crump added that he and the family of the dead teenager were calling on the media “to refuse to perpetuate victim blaming and irresponsible characterizations of an unarmed teenager, Trayvon.” He said that there was abundant evidence that there was no blood on Trayvon’s hands.
“Trayvon Martin is not on trial here, he is the victim,” Crump said. “Trayvon’s killer, George Zimmerman, is the man who is on trial. And as his mother has pointed out over and over again, he was a grown man. Trayvon Martin was a child.”
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(Photo: Joe Burbank - Pool/Getty Images)