WILKES-BARRE — Area leaders for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People are petitioning for U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to dig deeper into Trayvon Martin’s death.
At a press conference Saturday, one week after a jury relieved George Zimmerman of charges he intentionally gunned down the black teenager in Sanford, Fla., Ron Felton, president of the NAACP Wilkes-Barre chapter, spoke of the national organization’s stance on the jury’s decision. The national organization is promoting a petition for Holder to open a civil-rights case against Zimmerman.
Felton said his organization’s leaders want to see the attorney general investigate whether Zimmerman acted on racial angst when he confronted Martin and claimed the hooded boy subsequently assaulted him, necessitating deadly force. Felton said race should have been a consideration in the trial the whole time, and he doesn’t understand why Florida county Judge Debra S. Nelson told the jury race was not to be considered a motive for Zimmerman to kill Martin. Zimmerman is white/Hispanic.
“I’m just floored by the fact that, watching the trial, the first thing they said is ‘it’s not about race,’” Felton said.
In a Mount Zion Baptist Church classroom, about 15 people attending what was more like a roundtable discussion than a press conference shared opinions that the jury correctly defended the law; however, in their view, the Stand Your Ground law that allowed Zimmerman to walk free is ineffective.
“It’s very upsetting that the letter of the law was followed, but the letter of the law was wrong,” said Naomi Martin, one of the few white women in the room.
The conversation turned to what those in the room said was the heart of the matter: racial persecution continues.
Larry Singleton, the city chapter’s first vice president, said they support the jury’s decision. The jury effectively answered the questions asked, but there’s another part of the story, Singleton said.
“If George Zimmerman wanted to avoid confrontation, he should have left the gun in the car,” Singleton said.