The fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman took place on the night of February 26, 2012, in Sanford, Florida, United States. Martin was an unarmed 17-year-old African American. George Zimmerman, a 28-year-old multi-racial Hispanic American, was a self-described neighborhood watch coordinator for the gated community where Martin was temporarily staying and where the shooting took place.
While in his vehicle on a private errand, Zimmerman noticed Martin walking inside the community. Zimmerman called the Sanford Police Department to report Martin’s behavior as suspicious, because he said that Martin was “cutting in-between houses…walking very leisurely for the [rainy] weather” and “looking at all the houses”. According to a police report, “there is no indication that Trayvon Martin was involved in any criminal activity at the time of the encounter”. While still on the phone with the police dispatcher, Zimmerman left his vehicle. After the phone call concluded, there was a violent encounter between Martin and Zimmerman. The encounter ended with Zimmerman fatally shooting Martin once in the chest at close range.
When police arrived on the scene, Zimmerman told them that Martin had attacked him and that he had shot Martin in self-defense. Zimmerman was bleeding from the nose and from two vertical lacerations on the back of his head. EMTs treated Zimmerman at the scene, after which he was taken to the Sanford Police Department. Zimmerman was detained and questioned for approximately five hours. He was then released without being charged; at the time, police said they found no evidence to contradict Zimmerman’s claim of self-defense.
The circumstances of Martin’s death, the initial decision not to charge Zimmerman, and questions about Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law received national and international attention. Allegations of racist motivation for both the shooting and police conduct, along with intense media reporting that was sometimes inaccurate, contributed to public demands for Zimmerman’s arrest.
On March 22, 2012, a Special Prosecutor was appointed to take over the investigation.
On April 11, 2012, the Special Prosecutor filed a charge of murder in the second degree against Zimmerman, who then turned himself in and was placed in custody. According to the prosecution’s Affidavit of Probable Cause, “Zimmerman confronted Martin and a struggle ensued. A prosecution investigator who co-signed the affidavit later testified at a hearing that he did not know whether it was Zimmerman or Martin who started the confrontation. Zimmerman pleaded not guilty to the charge and is currently out on a $1 million bond while he awaits trial; he has requested a hearing under the “stand your ground” law provisions.
In October, 2012, Judge Debra S. Nelson set Zimmerman’s trial date for June 10, 2013. She also ruled that any “stand your ground” hearing must be held by April 26, 2013.
( News Source: Wikipedia)
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