Trayvon Martin protesters demonstrate in D.C.
Updated: March 27, 2012 - 11:38 pm
Several hundred D.C. public school students marched through the streets of northwest Washington at noon calling for justice for 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, who was shot one month ago in Florida.
The students marched on the same day that Trayvon's parents, Tracy and Sybrina, appeared at a House briefing on racial profiling and hate crimes.
The students were from the School Without Walls and have been participating this week in a letter writing campaign and now protests on the streets of D.C.
“It isn't a black thing - it's just a fact of he deserved justice,” says protester Quintess Bond. “He was killed over nonsense and we want (George) Zimmerman to be locked up.”
Across town, Trayvon's parents went before the congressional panel and thanked those who turned their 17-year-old son's death into a rallying cry against racial profiling.
Sybrina specifically took the opportunity to once again demand that Trayvon's shooter, George Zimmerman, be arrested for the fatal shooting.
"This man has not been arrested for shooting and killing my son," she said.
Martin's parents spoke briefly Tuesday at a Capitol Hill forum that began with a moment of silence for their son, who was shot and killed Feb. 26 in a gated Florida community.
Martin's father, Tracy Martin, thanked "everyone who is holding the legacy of Trayvon" while his mother, Sybrina Fulton, said, "Trayvon was our son, but Trayvon is your son."
However, their words come shortly after an Orlando Sentinel report that cites documents that allegedly back up Zimmerman's claim that the shooting was in self-defense.
The family also took the time to deny that a Twitter account, believed to be Trayvon's containing drug references, belonged to their son. They also refused to comment on allegations that Trayvon had been previously suspended from school for spreading obscene graffiti.
"There are so many things now where they are trying to blame the victim (and) demonize the victim," attorney Benjamin Crump said. "This was a young kid who was trying his best."
Some members of Congress have argued that the Feb. 26 shooting should be investigated as a hate crime.
The Department of Justice has made clear to Martin's parents that getting hate crime charges against the admitted shooter, George Zimmerman, will be a challenge. Zimmerman has said he was acting in self-defense and has not been arrested or charged.
In another part of Washington, outside the Justice Department, members from a Prince George's County church rallied, calling for the federal government to get involved.
“There's a lack of confidence in the state and local officials to do the right thing here,” says the Rev. Delman Coates of Mt. Ennon Baptist Church. “We believe that the full force of the federal government needs to be brought to this case.”
Demonstrators are skeptical about Zimmerman's account that the 17-year-old punched him in the face and was the aggressor.
“I really don't give much credit to that because I understand Mr. Zimmerman is larger than the young man who was killed,” says Vanetta Rather, a protester.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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