Racist gun dealer selling Trayvon Martin shooting targets

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The attorney for George Zimmerman says he’s disgusted by the Trayvon Martin-inspired targets that recently surfaced for sale on a gun website.

“This is the highest level of disgust and the lowest level of civility,” Mark O’Mara told WKMG Local 6, a CNN affiliate in Florida.

“It’s this type of hatred – that’s what this is, it’s hate-mongering – that’s going to make it more difficult to try this case.”

The paper targets to which O’Mara was referring feature black hoodies with crosshairs stamped across the chest, and images of Skittles and a can of iced tea printed near the pocket.

Local 6 first spotted the ad for the targets on a firearms auction website and reports that it has since been pulled.

The station spoke to an anonymous person who claimed to be the one hawking the prints.

“My main motivation was to make money off the controversy,” the seller told Local 6.

The prints were sold in packs of 10 for $8.

“The response is overwhelming,” the seller told Local 6. “I sold out in two days.”

While the seller wouldn’t confirm how many printed targets were made or sold, he did say that some were sold to Florida gun dealers.

In the ad, the seller states that “obviously we support Zimmerman and believe he is innocent and that he shot a thug.”

The tasteless targets were inspired by the death of 17-year-old Martin, the unarmed Florida teen who was shot dead by a neighborhood watchman, George Zimmerman, on Feb. 26. His death sparked an uproar across the United States, and a national debate about racial profiling.Martin, who was shot in the chest, was wearing a hoodie and carrying a bag of Skittles and the drink before his fatal interaction with Zimmerman in Sanford, Fla.

Trayvon Martin’s father says he warned son about stereotypes

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Years before the killing of Trayvon Martin grabbed the nation’s attention, the teen’s father warned him that his race could make him a target of violence.

The advice Tracy Martin gave his black son, that people veiled by racism and prejudices might see him as suspicious or violent, is a common and continuous warning in many black families, parents and experts say. In the aftermath of Trayvon’s death, more families are having “the talk,” teaching sons to be aware of their race, avoid confrontations with authority figures, and to remain calm in situations even if their rights are violated.

“I’ve always let him know we as African Americans get stereotyped,” Tracy Martin, Trayvon’s father told USA TODAY three weeks after his son’s death. “I told him that society is cruel.”

Trayvon, 17, was shot and killed on Feb. 26 in Sanford, Fla., as he was returning to a gated community after buying candy at a nearby store. The gunman, George Zimmerman, whose father is white and mother is Hispanic, now faces a charge of second-degree murder.

Trayvon was “profiled” by Zimmerman, who “falsely assumed (Trayvon) was going to commit a crime” as the teen was trying to get back to the home of his father’s girlfriend, according to public filings by Florida special prosecutor Angela Corey. The documents portray Zimmerman as the aggressor throughout the incident, remarking to police at one point that people like Trayvon were “punks” causing trouble in his neighborhood.

After spotting Trayvon, Zimmerman called 911, got out of his vehicle, and followed the teen. Zimmerman then “disregarded the police dispatcher” and chased Trayvon as he was trying to return home, the records say.

Trayvon’s family and their supporters maintain that Zimmerman deemed Trayvon “suspicious” because the teen was black and wearing a hoodie.

Zimmerman could face life in prison if convicted. He maintains he shot the youth in self-defense after he was attacked.

The killing sparked dozens of rallies across the country, largely fueled by the belief of many that the case is the tip of the iceberg of a glaring problem of racial injustice in the USA.

Reggie Bridges, a father of two young black boys, sees the Trayvon Martin case as an example of the type of racial profiling he has warned his sons about for years.

“You stand out from the norm,” Bridges, of Silver Spring, Md., said he often tells his children. “I try to heighten their awareness of what’s going on in the world.”

Bridges, 44, an insurance agent, often stresses dressing nicely and speaking articulately to dissuade potential perceptions that his boys are thugs or gangsters, he said.

Similar lessons have been passed down since just after the Civil War to ward off danger in an America that has for centuries perceived black men as threats, said Mark Anthony Neal, an African and African-American studies professor at Duke University.

“This kind of parenting goes back to the black codes,” he said. “It’s no different to the talk black parents had with black children, particularly black boys, prior to the civil rights movement, where the threat of real racial violence and lynching was always present. … Ultimately, what you are trying to do is keep them alive.”

Discussing racism with a child while not instilling fear or paranoia can be a delicate task. Those delivering the message — parents, extended family members, mentors or other older figures in communities — must be careful to also affirm blackness, experts say.

“Watch out should be accompanied with you’re beautiful and here’s why,” said Howard Stevenson, a psychology and education professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

It’s not enough to tell stories about Emmett Till or Rodney King to youngsters, said Stevenson, who has studied the racial awareness of children of color for several years. Kids must deal with their racial stress by understanding their feelings and practicing positive responses to potential racist situations, he said.

Dionne Bensonsmith, 40, of Claremont, Calif., started talking to her first son, Jonah, now 8, about race when he was 5 and 6. The youngster had already started saying “all police aren’t your friends” and pointing out that officers stopped a lot of black people in their small Iowa city, she said.

“I had the talk of how police target people around race,” said Bensonsmith, a professor at Scripps College. “I said if that ever happens to you, you have to remain respectful, you have to remain very calm.”

She and many parents see “the talk” as evolving lessons on racial consciousness that will cover more topics as children grow. But there are challenges to teaching kids to live within racial injustices.

“It’s really heartbreaking,” said Bensonsmith, who also has another son, Akim Shklyaro, 2. “Sometimes I get really pissed off. Sometimes I don’t want to do it. I feel like I’m crushing some sort of potential in him.”

“The talk” is one of several tips parents of all races hope will prepare and protect their children from danger, according to Gerald Koocher, a psychology professor at Simmons College.

“The talk is probably going to be surprising to white Americans,” he said. “The one that most closely aligns is don’t take candy from a stranger or don’t go anywhere with a stranger.”

When Steve Baker, who is white, decided to talk to his two half-black sons, now 25 and 20, he admits he struggled to understand their place in society. He relied on his black wife, Pamela, and friends he made through an interracial family group to learn about what his sons may encounter.

“There are certainly instances where they were identified by simply what they look like and perceived as a threat and ran into negative behavior based on that,” said Baker, a university administrator who lives in Minneapolis. “There’s real danger for young men of color in our society. … As a white person, I didn’t grow up having to think about that.”

Others also struggled. Trayvon’s case led Melinda Anderson to talk to her son Colin, 11. Both are black.

Anderson had focused on making sure her son was successful in school and exposed to various cultures. Race wasn’t at the forefront of her mind until Trayvon’s case made her see her son as a potential victim. She took Colin to a Trayvon rally in Washington, D.C., and explained how she believes race played a part in Trayvon being deemed “suspicious.”

But, she’s not teaching him to fear the police or expect racism at every step in his life, said Anderson, 48, a writer who lives in Silver Spring, Md.

“I don’t want to raise him to feel like he has to get out his 20 item checklist on how to be a black teenager,” she said. “That’s not the way I want him to live.”

Still, she said, there is a sense of hopelessness as she learns more about Trayvon’s death.

“I don’t think I could prevent him from being another Trayvon Martin,” she said.

Tracy Martin, who maintains that his son was targeted because of his race, said he told the teen prejudices could lead to danger.

“He knew that this type of thing did happen,” Martin said of his son. “He knew to be aware of this type of atmosphere and that this atmosphere did exist.”

Prosecutor Corey Announce Charges Against Zimmerman in Trayvon Martin Death

 

On Wednesday afternoon, special prosecutor Angela Corey announced the charges against George Zimmerman, 28, in the Feb. 26 killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

Corey would not discuss how she arrived at the charges or disclose other details of her investigation, saying: “That’s why we try cases in court.”

The neighborhood watch volunteer was arrested and charged with second-degree murder after months of mounting tensions and protests. Zimmerman, 28, could face life in prison if convicted in the unarmed black teenager’s death.

Racist Trayvon Martin sign spotted outside of Detroit

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DEARBORN, Mich. – Michigan State Police and Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) officials are trying to determine how an electronic road was changed to display a racist message about Trayvon Martin. The sign, which was located along I-94, at the border of Detroit and Dearborn, said “Trayvon is a Ni**er” and was discovered just before 1 a.m. on Monday morning.

“We were first notified at about 12:05 a.m. of the inappropriate message,” said Rob Morosi, an MDOT spokesman, “Immediately, we dispatched crews to verify that the message had been changed, and it was removed by 12:45 a.m. and replaced with the proper message.

Morosi said that someone hacked into a portable electronic sign that was attached to a trailer and was able to change the message. He said that the person who changed it was able to access the password controls to make the quick change.

“The sign is there as part of a big project we have at the I-94/M-39 interchange,” Morosi said. “Calls were coming in from motorists who were shocked, disturbed and every emotion you can imagine. The portable sign has a panel that was broken into. The message was changed and the keyboard was actually stolen.”

There is an investigation pending, and Michigan State Police will check surveillance footage to see how the sign was hacked and by who. Sign pranks like this are often common at this time of year, with many of them harmlessly referencing aliens, UFOs, or Santa Claus. This was a case where a “computer savvy” individual was able to spread a hate-filled message.

“We’ve had instances before where we’ve had some quirky messages regarding aliens and goblins,” Morosi said. “But rarely anything to this level of hatred that was depicted.”
This is the second such incident involving racial slurs on a digital MDOT sign in a year.

On April 8, 2011, an MDOT sign in Ypsilanti, near Eastern Michigan University, was hacked and the message “God Hates Ni**ers” was displayed for hours before authorities removed it.

This incident also comes days after someone spray-painted “Long Live Zimmerman” on the Hale Black Cultural Center at Ohio State University. That incident led to demonstrations by black students at Ohio State over the weekend.

Morosi applauded the efforts of MDOT workers and their quick response to remove the slur from the sign considering the time of night and that most workers were off for the Easter holiday. He noted that better safeguards will be put in place to prevent things like this from happening in the future.

“We hope that people understand that message boards are meant to be a public service warning drivers about upcoming work zones, closed ramps and things of that nature,” Morosi said. “We hope people are as offended by it as we were.”

Trayvon racial divide: Three out of four black Americans believe Zimmerman would have been arrested if victim was white

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A poll has revealed Americans are sharply divided by race over the killing of black teen Trayvon Martin by a Hispanic neighbourhood watchman.

Nearly three-quarters of black Americans (73 per cent) think shooter George Zimmerman would have been arrested if the teen had been white.

Yet just a third of non-Hispanic white people agreed, according to the poll conducted by Gallup and USA Today this week.

 

More than half of black people said Zimmerman is ‘definitely guilty’ based on the information available, compared to only 10 per cent of whites.

The divide comes as questions remain over Zimmerman’s actions against Trayvon in Sanford, Florida where the teen was visiting family.

The neighbourhood watchman, 28, claims he followed the youngster as he looked suspicious and was forced to used his gun in self-defense.

But Trayvon’s defenders claim he was hounded by Zimmerman, who killed him in an incident of racially-motivated vigilante policing.

Sandford police released Zimmerman without charges under the state’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ law which allows the use of a deadly force when there appears to be a threat to one’s life. Trayvon had been unarmed.

In the poll, 21 per cent of both white and black people said Zimmerman was ‘probably guilty’.

Black people have been paying closer attention to the case, which many believe signals the racial bias within the police.

More than half (52 per cent) of blacks have been following the story ‘very closely’, compared to 19 per cent of non-blacks.

Forty-nine per cent of non-blacks believe the youth’s race did not play a factor in the shooting, compared to just 20 per cent of black respondents.

In addition, nearly three-quarters of black people said race played a ‘major role’ in the shooting compared to 31 per cent of non-blacks.

Just eight per cent of black people said race played no role, compared to a quarter of white people.

The survey results were taken from the USA Today/Gallop poll which was conducted between April 2 and April 4.

It quizzed 3,006 Americans, including 242 black people.

The results matched earlier findings by the Pew Research Center which found opinions on the media coverage of the case were sharply divided.

Sixteen per cent of people who said there was too much coverage of the death were black, while 43 per cent were white.

TRAYVON MARTIN CASE: WHAT DOES THE POLL SHOW?

How closely are you following the news about the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin?

Very closely: 52 per cent blacks; 19 per cent non-blacks

Not too closely/Not at all: 19 per cent blacks; 40 per cent non-blacks

Is George Zimmerman guilty of a crime?

Definitely guilty: 51 per cent blacks; 11 per cent non-blacks

Probably guilty: 21 per cent blacks; 21 per cent non-blacks

How much of a factor did racial bias play in the shooting and the lead up to the shooting?

Major factor: 72 per cent blacks; 31 per cent non-blacks

Minor factor: 13 per cent blacks; 26 per cent non-blacks

Not a factor: 8 per cent blacks; 25 per cent non-blacks

Would Zimmerman have been arrested if person he shot was white?

Yes: 73 per cent blacks; 35 per cent non-blacks

Race did not make a difference: 20 per cent blacks; 49 per cent non-blacks

Source: Gallup/USA Today

Californian Trayvon: Cops gun down unarmed black teen

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A second shooting of an unarmed African American youth by US police is fueling suspicion of institutionalized prejudice in the force and threatening social unrest across American suburbs.

A 9-11 call claiming an armed robbery had taken place sent Pasadena police in chase of armed suspects. They followed two young men without deploying their police sirens. Two officers eventually opened fire on the youths, killing Kendrec McDade, a 19-year year-old Citrus College student, who cops claim had moved his hand towards his waistband.

McDade, a stand-out football player for the Azusa High School Aztecs, was unarmed yet died in hospital of multiple police gunshot wounds.

Local man Oscar Carillo, who placed the 9-11 call, admitted under questioning he had lied to police that the suspects were armed to generate a faster response, after McDade’s 17-yr old companion had broken into his car. The 17-yr-old has a criminal record of burglary, grand theft and failing to register as a gang member. Carillo is now charged with involuntary manslaughter by the trigger happy police.

 

‘Black men become targets of violence’

The Trayvon Martin affair , following the killing of an unarmed 17 yr old African American by a neighborhood watch coordinator, has put the conduct of US security forces and laws supporting them under intense scrutiny.

Civil activists and McDade’s family and supporters have been calling for a thorough investigation and justice for the teen.

Some have drawn parallels with the Trayvon Martin case.

They were young black men who are, when the situation comes up, targets of violence,” Earl Ofari Hutchinson, president of the Los Angeles policeroundtable, was quoted by The Daily Beast as saying.

Hutchinson also noted that the responsibility for McDade’s death should lie on Carillo, as he overstated the possible danger the two teens posed.

I think Carrillo owns a great deal of culpability,” Hutchinson said. “If he hadn’t lied, Kendrec McDade would most likely be alive. They should throw the book at him.

Others also blame the police officers who did not give warning shots or flash lights at McDade.

There’s just no way I can fathom the police not telling him ‘Stop, halt, you’re under arrest’” said Michael A. Gordon, leader of the Pasadena Community Coalition.

Neighborhood activist William Greer said the community was ready to go up in smoke because of the actions of the police officers.

The police department’s job is to serve and protect,” he noted. “They just can’t go around shooting people. It is the wild wild west here in northwest Pasadena.

Top officials and activists: Don’t jump to conclusions

Top Pasadena officials and some civil rights groups activists have called on the public not to jump to conclusions, and to the let the investigation take its course.

I ask everyone to be patient as we go out and get the facts,” said Pasadena council member Victor Gordo. He was seconded by Mayor Bill Bogaard, who also asked the public not to jump to conclusions.

Insisting on justice is different than doing a rush to judgment,” said Los Angeles civil rights activist Connie Rice. “You don’t want a rush to judgment. You want the facts collected first. Let justice speak.”

Although the cases of Trayvon Martin and Kendrec McDade appear to be similar on the surface, there are significant differences between the two. What does make them similar is the fact that both victims were black teenagers suspected of being involved in criminal activity.

Pasadena police lieutenant Phlunte Riddle notes that in Martin’s case, the teen was shot by a neighborhood watch captain on his way back home, while in McDade’s case he was killed by the police after allegedly committing a crime with his accomplice.

This wasn’t any type of profile, looking for someone of color,” Riddle said. “This was a response to an armed robbery that had just occurred with a full description. That is significantly different than the Florida case. The officers are extremely upset. They believed their lives were in danger.

Trayvon Martin case: Screams on 911 tape aren’t George Zimmerman’s: experts

2 Forensic experts say screams captured on neighbor’s 911 call don’t match Zimmerman’s voice: report

The panicked cries for help caught on a 911 call the night Trayvon Martin was killed were not coming from shooter George Zimmerman, forensic experts say.

Two leading forensic voice identification experts who listened to a 911 call from a neighbor at the Sanford, Fla., gated community where Martin was gunned down told the Orlando Sentinel that the screams didn’t match Zimmerman’s voice.

Using sophisticated voice match software, Tom Owen, forensic consultant for Owen Forensic Services LLC and chair emeritus for the American Board of Recorded Evidence, told the Sentinel that there was only a 48% chance that it was Zimmerman crying for help on the tape.

Usually, a positive match rates higher than 90%.

“As a result of that, you can say with reasonable scientific certainty that it’s not Zimmerman,” Owen said.

READ IT: FUNERAL DIRECTOR SAYS MARTIIN’S BODY SHOWED NO SIGN OF BRAWL

Owen, the former chief engineer for the New York Public Library’s Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound, also said he couldn’t be sure that the voice was Martin’s because he didn’t have a sample of the teen’s voice.

But a second audio sleuth said he heard the teen screaming for his life.

“I believe that’s Trayvon Martin in the background, without a doubt,” Ed Primeau, an audio engineer and forensics expert from Michigan, told the Sentinel.

LISTEN TO AUDIO OF 911 CALL BELOW

Primeau didn’t use Owen’s CSI-style voice analysis software, but instead relied on audio enhancement and his own well-trained ear to compare the screams to Zimmerman’s voice on a 911 call he made shortly before the killing.

“That’s a young man screaming,” Primeau said.

THOUSANDS OF PROTESTERS MARCH THROUGH SANFORD TO CALL FOR ZIMMERMAN’S ARREST

The experts’ analyses were the latest blow to claims from Zimmerman’s camp that he shot Trayvon in self-defense during a life-and-death struggle on Feb. 26.

Last week, a Miami funeral director said Marin’s body showed no signs of a brawl, and EMS documents obtained by the Daily News suggested the 28-year-old insurance agent didn’t sustain any injuries either in the alleged dust-up.

Zimmerman’s friends have said that the volunteer watchman suffered a broken nose and wounds on the back of his head during a fight with Trayvon.

But police station video shot shortly after the killing appeared to show Zimmerman without any bruises, cuts or blood stains on his clothes.

Zimmerman has not been arrested and has gone into hiding.

On Saturday, thousands of people marched through Sanford to protest his freedom.