Day 26 - Last Words: Trayvon Martin
"What are you following me for?"
Trayvon Martin, 1995-2012
On the evening of February 26, 2012, 17 year-old Trayvon Martin and his father were visiting his father’s fiancé at her townhouse in Sanford, Florida. Martin walked to a convenience store to purchase Skittles and an AriZona juice drink.
As he walked home, a neighborhood watch member named George Zimmerman called the Sanford Police to report suspicious behavior. In reply to the police dispatcher's question, "Are you following him?" Zimmerman responds, "Yes." The dispatcher says, "OK, we don't need you to do that." Zimmerman continued pursuing Martin and there was an altercation, during which Zimmerman shot and killed Martin. According to Rachel Jeantel, who was on the phone with Martin just before he was fatally shot, his last known words, addressed to Zimmerman, were, "What are you following me for?"
In April 2012 Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder. On July 13, 2013, he was found not guilty. In May 2016, Zimmerman sold the gun he used to kill Martin for $250,000 on the auction website United Gun Group. In April 2013, Trayvon Martin's parents settled a wrongful-death claim against the homeowners association of the Sanford subdivision. The homeowners association did not admit any wrongdoing or liability.
Sources: Orlando Sentinel, CNN, Washington Post
What George Zimemerman thought Trayvon Martin was, he was not. Zimmerman’s grasp of reality weakened, in Baldwin’s words, “to a sinister extent.” He thought a child wearing a hoodie and carrying Skittles was suspicious. He continued his pursuit, thinking he knew better than the police dispatcher who told him explicitly not to follow Martin. His grasp of reality was so weak that he shot and killed a child of God.