Trayvon Martin’s parents appeared on the Today show Thursday, a day after the man who shot and killed their son was arrested. George Zimmerman turned himself in and was charged with second degree murder. If convicted, he could face life in prison. Bond has not been set for Zimmerman yet, though he is expected to seek it today.
Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, stated that she believes the shooting was an accident. She said the situation got out of control. Fulton said she would like to know if Zimmerman knew Trayvon was a minor and unarmed. She said she understood that his family was hurt, but they could call and tall to him while she could never talk to her son again. Fulton stated that all she wanted was for Zimmerman to be held accountable.
Tracy Martin, Trayvon’s father, stated his belief that the Sanford Police Department mishandled the investigation and that led to a delayed arrest. There have been several reports on missteps the police department took, such as not having a homicide detective be the first cop to interview Zimmerman. However, one detective did want charges brought against the 28 year old neighborhood watchmen. It was prosecutors who convinced the police not to arrest him because they felt they did not have a case given Zimmerman’s self defense claim.
The arrest should bring a close much of the protesting around the country that has gone on since the incident was picked up by the national media. Trayvon was killed February 26, but the story did not make national headlines until a few weeks later. When it became common knowledge that Zimmerman had not been arrested for the killing there was a huge backlash across the country.
In the eyes of many, particularly minorities, the incident looked as if a killer was being let go because his victim was black. Zimmerman has a white father and a Hispanic mother, but most considered him white after seeing his picture in the media. The incident highlighted years of racial tension over unfair practices by police against minorities. Parents feared the same thing could happen to their children.
This trial figures to grab national headlines for its entire run. This country easily becomes ensnared in controversial trials. This will be the first big murder trial since the Casey Anthony trial last year. You can bet if Zimmerman is not found guilty there will be more backlash. Now that an arrest has been made, we must remember you are innocent until proven guilty in this country. Everyone is entitled to a fair trial.