Entries in Rally (7)


Trayvon Martin Case Becomes Rallying Point for Racists

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images(SANFORD, Fla.) -- In Detroit, far from the Florida town where black teenager Trayvon Martin was shot and killed, drivers were shocked to see an electronic highway sign with the word "Trayvon" followed by a racial slur.

The sign's offensive message Sunday night was quickly taken down, but it was the latest incident in which racists, neo-Nazis or white supremacists have used the controversial case as a rallying point.

Martin, 17, was unarmed when he was shot by George Zimmerman, 28, a white Hispanic neighborhood watch captain.

The shooting has spawned outrage in the black community, with protests and demands that Zimmerman be arrested for murder.

But Zimmerman claims the shooting had nothing to do with race, and that he shot Martin in self defense after the teenager knocked him down, slammed his head into the ground and went for Zimmerman's gun.

In the weeks after the shooting, outraged supporters of the Martin family held rallies and protests demanding that Zimmerman be arrested.  Electronic roadside signs had been used throughout Central Florida to alert people to the rallies.

And the New Black Panther Party offered a $10,000 bounty for Zimmerman.

A backlash has been growing, though, with distinct racist undertones.

At Ohio State University last week, the words "Long Live Zimmerman" were scrawled across the side of the Frank W. Hale Jr. Black Cultural Center, a part of the university's Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

"It's a hate crime," Larry Williamson Jr., director of the Hale center, told ABC News.  "Some people see it as just graffiti but if you see something done in such a negative way, you're going to have a community that feels hate."

In Sanford, Fla., where the shooting took place, the specter of racism is ubiquitous.  A group of armed neo-Nazis from the National Socialist Movement have descended upon the town, touting their intention to patrol the town to protect whites against a race riot.

The Rev. Terry Jones, the controversial pastor who once threatened to burn copies of the Koran, announced last week his plan to hold a rally on April 21 at the Seminole County Courthouse in support of Zimmerman and his constitutional rights.

And reporters covering the emotionally charged story have been inundated with angry tweets and social media messages, with some of the messages verging on threats.

Capt. Robert O'Connor of the Sanford Police Department told ABC News, "Law enforcement agencies in the area are monitoring a variety of activities and groups to ensure that conditions remain peaceful."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Miami Rally Puts Heat on Police to Arrest George Zimmerman

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(MIAMI) -- Hundreds attending a Miami rally Sunday demanded justice in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin and again called for the arrest of George Zimmerman, the Sanford, Fla., neighborhood watch captain who told police he shot the unarmed youth in self defense.

The speakers at Bayfront Park included the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the Rev. Al Sharpton, Florida Congresswoman Frederica Wilson and the Rev. Jamal Bryant, founder of the Empowerment Temple in Baltimore. Martin's parents were also on hand to address the crowd.

There have been similar rallies across the country during the past few weeks after news of the Feb. 26 incident turned viral on social media sites. Just about everyone has weighed in on the case including President Obama, Republican White House hopefuls, TV and radio commentators and celebrities.

Much of the outrage has come from the nation's African-American community, alleging that Martin's death was simply another example of how racial profiling is used to target innocent black males.

Zimmerman, who is of Hispanic origin, told investigators that he saw someone suspicious lurking around a gated community where a string of robberies occurred. He claimed after confronting Martin, he was attacked from behind and used his firearm as a last resort.

Many believe Zimmerman should have been charged instantly, but investigators said there wasn't enough evidence. Now, a grand jury that will get underway next week will determine if Zimmerman can be charged with manslaughter.

At the rally, the Rev. Al Sharpton said he promised Martin's parents that the demonstrations would go on as long as necessary until Zimmerman is arrested and formally charged.

Meanwhile, more questions have been raised about Florida's "stand your ground" law that allows the use of deadly force when a potential victim feels his life is threatened even away from home.  Critics say it can be too loosely interpreted and would result in similar cases such as the one involving Zimmerman and Martin.

In other developments Sunday, Martin’s parents have asked the Justice Department to launch a separate probe to investigate possible interference in their son's case by the state's attorney's office and a Sanford police detective.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Trayvon Martin's Parents to Attend Massive Miami Rally

Mario Tama/Getty Images(MIAMI) -- A rally for slain teen Trayvon Martin is planned for Sunday at 4 p.m. at Miami's Bayfront Park to welcome his parents home from their travels to Washington, D.C.

The event, which is expected to draw tens of thousands of people, is being hosted by Rep. Frederica Wilson, a Democrat who represents Trayvon's home district. Trayvon's parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, will also be in attendance.

"She just wanted to welcome them home, and give people in the community one place to support them, to show their support for the family, especially the students," said Gwen Belton, a spokeswoman for Wilson.

Trayvon's parents and Wilson had asked local students not to walk out of their schools to protest Trayvon's shooting, so they wanted to "give students a constructive and safe environment to express their support for Trayvon," Belton said.

Other government officials are expected to join Wilson, including Rep. Corrine Brown, Miami Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Barbara Jordan, Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, and Florida state Rep. Cynthia Stafford, D-Miami.

Other noteable figures expected to join the rally include the Rev. Al Sharpton, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, singer Chaka Khan, singer Betty Wright and actress JoMarie Payton.

"We're just trying to comfort them in their time of sorrow," said Belton.

Rallies in support of Trayvon and his family have sprung up around the country, urging the Sanford, Fla., police to arrest shooter George Zimmerman in the wake of the controversy surrounding his encounter with the teen.

The volunteer neighborhood watchman claimed that he shot and killed Martin in self-defense after the teen had attacked him. Florida's controversial "Stand Your Ground" law allows people to use deadly force to protect themselves if they feel they're facing grave danger.

While Zimmerman did not appear to be bloody or bruised in a police surveillance video obtained by ABC, his lawyer, Craig Sonner, said his client felt "one of them was going to die that night" when he pulled the trigger.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Trayvon Martin Case: Rallies Across US Demand Justice

Allison Joyce/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Thousands of people across the country are expected to participate in rallies demanding justice for slain teenager Trayvon Martin on Saturday.

George Zimmerman, the volunteer neighborhood watch captain who claimed he shot Martin in self defense on Feb. 26, has been in hiding ever since demands for his arrest and threats against his life, including a $10,000 bounty for his capture from the New Black Panther Party, were issued.

The Florida rally will end at the Sanford, Fla., police station– the same place Zimmerman was questioned and released on the night of the shooting.

About one thousand people marched to the Sanford police department Saturday morning. Among those speaking at the rally was 17-year old Brendien Mitchell, president of the Florida NAACP Youth and College Division.

“I'm asking you to fight to prevent young black males like me from becoming the victims of not just racist attitudes but racist policies...We will march, protest, lobby and rally until Zimmerman is arrested," Mitchell said as the crowd cheered.

In surveillance video, which was first obtained exclusively by ABC News, Zimmerman can be seen arriving in a police cruiser. As he exits the car, his hands are cuffed behind his back. Zimmerman is frisked and then led down a series of hallways, still cuffed.

In the video there are no visible signs of the bloody nose, and gash he told police he received in his confrontation with Martin.

The brothers of Martin and Zimmerman have publicly defended their loved ones.

“I kind of still don’t believe it, which is why it’s not easy for me to talk about him, because I just think he’s coming back,” Martin’s brother Jahvaris Fulton told CBS.

Zimmerman’s brother, Robert, told CNN’s Piers Morgan this week he believed medical records would corroborate his brother’s claims.

“We’re confident the medical records are going to explain all of George’s medical history, both how he was treated at the scene and how he was not,” he said.

The uproar has crossed into social media, where the account @KillZimmerman tweets messages calling for his death.

“don’t get me wrong I would be happy if he go to jail but I rather see a [expletive] shoot him in his [expletive] face,” one tweet said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Jon Stewart Next US President?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images for Comedy Central(NEW YORK) -- If Americans had to choose, which they don’t, they would elect political satirist Jon Stewart as President of the United States, over political satirist Stephen Colbert.

Forty-two percent of registered voters in a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll said they would support Stewart over Colbert, who received just 22 percent of the vote. Twenty-one percent wouldn’t support either.

Fittingly, the two also plan to go head-to-head Saturday in their own marches on The National Mall. Stewart, host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, has described his “Rally to Restore Sanity” as “Woodstock, but with the nudity and drugs replaced by respectful disagreement.”

Colbert, host of Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report, countered with the “March to Keep Fear Alive,” specifically the fear “that someone might take our Freedom and Liberty.” His website urged packing “five extra sets of underwear.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Did Obama Streaker Earn $1 Million?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The fate of a $1 million prize promised to a man who streaked through a President Obama rally wearing nothing but a Web address inked across his chest has gone to instant replay.

Alki David, the billionaire who promised the hefty sum to anyone who would run naked within sight and earshot of the president, will decide Wednesday about whether or not streaker Juan Rodriguez gets the payout, a spokesman told ABC News Tuesday.

David's team has been reviewing Rodriguez's naked moment in the spotlight from several different camera angles "to see if he was in eyesight or earshot" of the president, spokesman Jason Magner said.

Rodriguez, 24, was also required to shout the name of David's video sharing and broadcasting website,, six times as he streaked, which David's people will also be verifying.

The notion that David is even considering withholding the money on a technicality has prompted some to cry foul.

"I think he should get his money," said Michael Risch, associate professor at Villanova University School of Law.  He called David "chintzy" for suggesting that Rodriguez may not have qualified for the payout.

Rodriguez, 24, claims his cheeky sprint for cash got him within 10 feet of the president -- a distance that would have likely alarmed the Secret Service – before stopping and submitting to arrest.  He was charged with indecent exposure, open lewdness and disorderly conduct.

The streaker told reporters after getting out of jail that he volunteered for the prank to provide for his children and pay for surgery for his sister.

"I didn't do anything that hurt anybody," the Philadelphia Inquirer quoted Rodriguez as saying outside the jail.  "My family needs the money."

But almost immediately David began citing technicalities that could prevent Rodriguez from collecting the $1 million.

"It's still not confirmed," David told the New York Daily News on Monday.  "Whether he was in earshot and eyesight of the president is what's being debated right now."

David also questioned whether Pennsylvania law would permit him to give money to someone for committing an illegal act.

Magner said the decision would ultimately come down to "how close he was able to get."

"One million dollars is a lot of money and I think it's one of those things -- there were stipulations involved and he wanted to make sure they were met," the spokesman said.  Risch said whether Rodriguez gets his money or not could boil down to a "contract question."

"It's on the Internet," he said of the dare.  "But it's no different -- other than being illegal -- than any other challenge where somebody offers an award for some act that was done."

"It's not like he was being hired to murder somebody," Risch said.

The lawyer also questioned David's nitpicking over whether Obama actually saw Rodriguez running naked, noting that acknowledgement was very different from having to be within eyesight and earshot.

"That's important," he said.  "Even if Obama saw him do you think he's going to flinch?"

Though the stunt was obviously created to drum up publicity for Alki and, David has already been made out to be a villain by some.

"Seriously, David, just give the man his prize," New York Magazine chastised.  "You already have the wealth and accent of a Bond villain.  You don't need the cruelty of one as well."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Labor, Civil Rights Groups Rally on National Mall

Photo Courtesy - ABC NewsUPDATE: Glenn Beck's "Restore Honor" rally at the Lincoln Memorial in August was described by many as a religious revival. Saturday’s "One Nation" gathering - also at the Lincoln Memorial - organized by hundreds of groups ranging from labor unions, civil rights organizations, gay rights and environmental organizations had the feel of a political rally.

Speakers at the gathering repeatedly referenced the Nov. 2 midterm elections and the importance of voting.

"Conservatives don't believe in your freedom," liberal commentator Ed Schultz told the crowd. "For the last two years, the president has had to put up with the word 'no.'"

At "Restore Honor," Glenn Beck and featured speaker Sarah Palin tried to avoid political references.

"I hope people look at the Mall because this is what America looks like," Rev. Al Sharpton said Saturday in a swipe at the diversity of those who attended Beck's rally.

Schultz said he was told the crowd at Saturday’s rally was larger than Beck's. The U.S. Park Police did not release an official estimate.


(WASHINGTON) -- Thousands gathered at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., Saturday, for the “One Nation Working Together” rally organized by labor and civil rights groups.

“We will get universal health care someday in this country. We will create jobs. We will get the money to the small businesses,” said radio host Ed Schultz, who addressed the crowd.

“This march is about the power to the people,” Schultz said. “It is about the people standing up to the corporations. Are you ready to fight back?”

In August, thousands rallied on the National Mall in a gathering led by conservative political commentator Glenn Beck. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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