Entries in Trayvon Martin (5)


Trayvon Martin Case: Lawmakers React to Zimmerman Charges

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- For more than a month, a vocal contingent of members of Congress have repeatedly called for justice in the killing of Trayvon Martin. They’ve spoken out on the House floor, held news conferences and organized rallies to support the Florida teen’s family. Wednesday night, numerous lawmakers rejoiced at the news that the shooter, George Zimmerman, has been charged with second-degree murder in the teen’s death. Here is a compilation of some of the congressional reaction:

“It took 45 days, but finally, second-degree murder charges have been filed against the man who killed their son. That George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin is not in dispute. But letting him enjoy his freedom for 45 days was unconscionable,” Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., wrote in a statement. “Now, the American justice system will take its course.”

“State Attorney Angela Corey’s decision to file charges against George Zimmerman in the shooting of Trayvon Martin is a positive first step towards some closure on this tragedy,” Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla., noted, adding that she believed there was sufficient evidence for an arrest. “There can be no happy ending in this story, but people need to believe that the system works fairly for everyone and this development is a good sign.”

“This is a step in the right direction towards restoring the public’s confidence in our system of justice. This also sends a clear message that shootings of unarmed individuals will be taken seriously,” Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, stated. “I am glad that wheels of justice have started to turn and I trust the right decision, as determined by a court of law, on the proper punishment for Mr. Zimmerman will be made. Now members of the legislatures, both state and federal, need to ensure that these laws are not used to cover the misdeeds of those who strike a person dead in the streets.”

“I, like many others, thought that an arrest based upon probable cause was not unreasonable,” Texas Democratic Rep. Al Green wrote in a statement. “Mr. Zimmerman now deserves a fair trial. I look forward to a just verdict after a review of the evidence.”

“The arrest of George Zimmerman for the death of Trayvon Martin and the charges to be brought against him show that our criminal justice system is functioning,” Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., stated. “In this case, as in all others, the defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence, and it is important too that we let this case proceed in due course through the court system.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Boehner Says Trayvon Martin’s Death a ‘Tragedy’; Teen’s Parents Head for Capitol Hill

Roberto Gonzalez/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- House Speaker John Boehner on Tuesday said Florida teenager Trayvon Martin’s death is a “tragedy,” and investigations by Florida state law enforcement and federal authorities are “appropriate” as the exploration into his killing continues.

“Our hearts go out to his family over this tragedy, and clearly what happened is in fact a tragedy,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said at a news conference Tuesday morning. “It’s being investigated by state and federal officials, which I think is appropriate, and I think I’ll leave it at that.”

More than a month has passed since the Feb. 26 killing, although nobody, including the man local law enforcement says shot Martin, has been charged with any crimes related to his death. The shooter, George Zimmerman, claims he shot Martin in self defense. A “stand your ground” law in Florida could protect the shooter from prosecution.

Public outcry has spread to Capitol Hill as members of Congress have spoken out regularly on the House and Senate floor to honor Martin and call for justice.

Tuesday afternoon on Capitol Hill, Martin’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, are set to attend a forum on racial profiling and hate crimes organized by House Democrats on the Judiciary committee. Florida Democrats Frederica Wilson and Corrine Brown and Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee asked for the briefing, which is titled: Protecting a “Suspect” Community: Racial Profiling & Hate Crimes.

Benjamin Crump, Esq., counsel to the Martin family, is among the witnesses expected to testify, as are other local civil rights leaders. Martin’s parents are not expected to address the media Tuesday.

Last Friday about 250 congressional staffers rallied on the Capitol steps in Martin’s memory at a “Hoodies on the Hill” demonstration.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


David Plouffe: Newt Gingrich’s Comments ‘Reprehensible’

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Obama senior adviser David Plouffe eviscerated former House Speaker Newt Gingrich on “This Week” after the GOP presidential candidate lashed out at the president for his comments on the death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin.

“Those comments are reprehensible,” Plouffe said this morning on “This Week.” “Speaker Gingrich is clearly in the last throes of his political career … You can make a decision whether to go out with some shred of dignity or say these irresponsible reckless things. And he’s clearly chosen the latter."

Plouffe was addressing comments Gingrich made on “The Sean Hannity Show” on Friday, calling President Obama’s remarks on the Martin case at a Friday Rose Garden press conference “disgraceful” for focusing on race.

“What the President said, in a sense, is disgraceful. It’s not a question of who that young man looked like. Any young American of any ethnic background should be safe. Period,” Gingrich said. “We should all be horrified no matter what the ethnic background. Is the President suggesting that if it had been a white who had been shot that would be okay because it wouldn’t look like him? That’s just nonsense.”

President Obama had said “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon” in his Friday remarks on the shooting death of the unarmed Florida teenager that has outraged the nation.

“I can only imagine what these parents are going through. And when I think about this boy, I think about my own kids,” President Obama said. “And you know, I think every parent in America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative that we investigate every aspect of this and that everybody pulls together — federal, state and local — to figure out exactly how this tragedy happened.”

Rep. Michele Bachmann, (R-Minn.), told me that she believed Gingrich was emphasizing that “race shouldn’t be a factor” when examining the case.

“All human life is valuable. That should be the bottom line,” Bachmann said. “I’m a mother … And when you’re a mother, of course, when something tragic like this happens, you want to know what the truth is, what’s the result. That’s why an investigation is so important. We have to get to the truth about what really happened.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Gingrich Calls Obama’s Trayvon Martin Remarks ‘Disgraceful’

Peter Foley/Getty Images (WASHINGTON) -- President Obama’s remarks on Friday about the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin drew scowls from GOP presidential contender Newt Gingrich, who called them “disgraceful” and divisive.

“What the president said in a sense is disgraceful.  It’s not a question of who that young man looked like,” Gingrich said on Sean Hannity’s radio show.

President Obama on Friday offered a personal reflection on the tragic shooting the Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, saying the incident requires all Americans to “do some soul searching.”

“When I think about this boy, I think about my own kids,” Obama told reporters when asked about the case during a Rose Garden press conference.

“I think every parent in America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative to investigate every aspect of this and that everybody pulls together – federal, state and local – to figure out exactly how this tragedy happened,” he said.

Gingrich said on the radio show, “Any young American of any ethnic background should be safe period. We should all be horrified no matter what the ethnic background. Is the president suggesting that if it had been a white who had been shot that would be ok because it didn’t look like him?”

He added that it’s “just nonsense dividing this country up. It is a tragedy this young man was shot. It would have been a tragedy if he had been Puerto Rican or Cuban or if he had been white or if he had been Asian American of if he’d been a Native American. At some point we ought to talk about being Americans. When things go wrong to an American, it is sad for all Americans,” he said. “Trying to turn it into a racial issue is fundamentally wrong. I really find it appalling.”

Earlier this week the Justice Department opened an investigation into the incident which took place in an Orlando suburb last month. Martin, 17, was shot and killed by a neighborhood watch captain while he walked down a neighborhood street unarmed.

“I think all of us have to do some soul searching to figure out how does something like this happen,” Obama said. “And that means we examine the laws, the context for what happened, as well as the specifics of the incident.

“But my main message is to the parents of Trayvon Martin: If I had a son he’d look like Trayvon. And I think they are right to expect that all of us as Americans are going to take this with the seriousness it deserves and that we’re going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Republican Candidates Weigh In on Trayvon Martin

Mario Tama/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Republican presidential candidates called for further investigation into the death of Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old boy gunned down by a neighborhood watch volunteer in Florida.

Martin was killed in a swing state that will be crucial in the fall election, where the controversial “Stand Your Ground” law allows people not to retreat in the face of a perceived threat.

“What happened to Trayvon Martin is a tragedy,” former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said in a statement Friday. “There needs to be a thorough investigation that reassures the public that justice is carried out with impartiality and integrity.”

Newt Gingrich told reporters in Port Fourchon, La., “I think it’s exactly right for the district attorney to empanel a grand jury. They have to review, as I understand it, this particular person had been calling something – again this is just hearsay I haven’t investigated it and I don’t want to pre-judge – apparently there have been 50 cases in the past year of him calling 911…”

Gingrich suggested that the shooter, George Zimmerman, might have been outside the bounds of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law.

“The law involves somebody who’s coming at you and as I understand he was trailing the young man,” he said. “The young man wasn’t trailing him so I suspect that justice will be done. … I believe that there are some things that go to the other extreme where you can’t even defend yourself when somebody breaks into your own home. So there has to be some common ground.”

Gingrich Thursday called for letting officials continue with their investigation on CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight.

“I have faith that the American system of justice will in fact work. … I think that Americans can recognize that while this is a tragedy, and it is a tragedy, that we’re going to relentlessly seek justice and I think that’s the right thing to do”

Meanwhile, Rick Santorum told reporters in West Monroe, La., “Stand Your Ground is not doing what this man did. So, there’s a difference between Stand Your Ground and doing what he did and it’s a horrible case. It’s chilling to hear what happened and of course the fact that law enforcement didn’t immediately go after and prosecute this case is another chilling example of you know obviously horrible decisions made by people in this process.”

When asked whether the Justice Department should get involved, Santorum said, “I think that the local and state can do a great job here – whether the justice department get involved, I think it’s pretty clear the problems that we’re seeing in this case and that hopefully the state attorney general as well as the local committee has reacted and responded and hopefully this matter will be an example of what law enforcement has to do in a case like this.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio