An unarmed Florida teenager who was shot and killed by a man doing a Neighborhood Watch patrol has become a symbol of the perseverance of racial profiling in the U.S. Seventeen year-old Trayvon Martin, who was African American, was killed by volunteer George Zimmerman as Martin walked from a convenience store to a friend's home. Zimmerman called the police to report his suspicions of Martin, but the police reportedly told him to stop following Martin. Moments later, the 911 call records the fatal shot being fired.
According to NPR.org, Zimmerman is claiming that he acted in self-defense after he and Martin got into an argument. But the story has garnered national attention because of the racial profiling allegedly at play. From NPR:
At the Orlando Sentinel, which has extensive coverage, there's a story that notes how — beyond the issue of profiling — "if George Zimmerman didn't break every rule in the book when it comes to Neighborhood Watch programs, he came close. ... Zimmerman was armed. He was alone. And while waiting for police, he somehow got into a fight with the person he thought suspicious. All three of those actions are strongly discouraged by the National Sheriffs' Association, which oversees about 20,000 Neighborhood Watch programs."
Zimmerman, 28, has not been charged with a crime. According to The Associated Press, "in the months leading up to the shooting, [he] had called police numerous times to report incidents."
Trayvon's parents have put an online petition on Change.org, looking for support in their call for Zimmerman to be charged.
Image: Neighborhood watch sign, via Shutterstock.