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Florida teen's shooting death reverberates in Ga.

ATLANTA (AP) -- The shooting death of Trayvon Martin reverberated across Georgia on Sunday with "hoodie" church services, calls for lawmakers to strengthen gun laws and gatherings to remember the teen.

Activists in Atlanta are planning rallies to honor the 17-year-old, who was killed in February by a Florida neighborhood watch captain in the central Florida town of Sanford, and pressure authorities to make an arrest in the shooting.

At Atlanta's historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, hundreds of worshippers wore hoodies like the hooded sweatshirt that Martin was wearing when he was shot. The Rev. Raphael Warnock compared the teenager's death to other tragedies that helped define the civil rights movement.

"They said his name was Trayvon Martin. But he looked like Emmett Till," said Warnock, referring to the 14-year-old Chicago boy who was bludgeoned and shot to death during a 1955 visit to Mississippi for supposedly whistling at a white woman.

"At least with Emmett Till someone was arrested. And that was in 1955," he said. "You mean in 2012 we have no arrests? Many of us have been arrested for far less than that."

The men charged with killing Till were acquitted by an all-white jury, though they later confessed to the crime in a Look magazine article.

Martin was shot on Feb. 26 by George Zimmerman, a 28-year-old neighborhood watch volunteer who said he was acting in self-defense. Martin was returning to his father's fiancee's house from a convenience store with a bag of Skittles candy and a can of iced tea when the confrontation took place. He was not armed.

The shooting has ignited racial tensions and has raised questions over whether police properly handled the investigation. Martin was black, and Zimmerman's father is white and his mother is Hispanic.

It's also stoked debate about "Stand Your Ground" laws in Florida, Georgia and 19 other states that give people wide latitude to use deadly force rather than retreat during a fight. The law helps explain why Zimmerman wasn't arrested in Martin's death.

At a rally Monday in front of the Georgia statehouse, activists plan to urge lawmakers to roll back Georgia's version of the self-defense law.

Robert Patillo, a civil rights attorney who is running for a state House seat, said the law "opens the floodgates for the number of people who can be met with deadly force, whether it was warranted or not."

Others say Martin's death is a stark reminder that the struggle for civil rights is far from over.

"Here we have a black president but Trayvon Martin can't walk without suspicion through his gated community," said Warnock, who was wearing a maroon hoodie during the service. "Here we are, again, staring bigotry in the face. Staring racism in the face."

Many at Ebenezer, where Martin Luther King Jr. and his father once preached, saw strains of the civil rights movement in the teen's death. Ushers, tourists and even choir members wore hoodies in Trayvon Martin's honor, and some brought other props as well.

Ingrid Lester, 64, pinned a Skittles wrapper to her lapel to honor the slain Florida teen.

"I was a teenager during the civil rights struggle, and this felt like it did in 1963," she said.

"It just didn't feel right. I have grandchildren and great-grandchildren and some of them wear hoodies. I always worry for them, but now I'm really worried for them."

Comments

Don 2 years ago

I am just wondering why nobody has asked this question, " What was he doing in a gated community?'

Correct me if I am wrong was he not trespassing asince he did not liver there?

I am sorry for his death but when a person places himself in a bad situation bad things usually happen.

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ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years ago

"I am just wondering why nobody has asked this question, " What was he doing in a gated community?'....Correct me if I am wrong was he not trespassing (since) he did not liver there?"

Martin could not be considered a trespasser since his father lived in a condo unit within the gated community with his fiance, which is where Martin was walking back to after going to the convenience store to buy a bag of candy and a can of iced tea either before or during halftime of a basketball game that he was watching with his father.

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ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years ago

Speaking of that gated community, a really good question that is not being asked is that of the two gated entrances to the complex where this incident transpired, why does only one of the gates, the east gate to the community remain closed most of the time while the north gate, across from the elementary school, appears to remain open on at least a semi-permanent basis in an area where crime was clearly a concern and the complex is marketed as a gated community to potential buyers looking to purchase a home that is less-exposed to the higher than average crime of the area as their have been numerous burglaries in that complex recently?

From most of the recent images that I have seen of that north gate, from Google Maps satellite and streel-level images to media images and even advertising photographs, it appears as if that north gate remains open, which seems especially concerning in an area where crime is an all-too- common occurance.

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rbolden 2 years ago

@DON, what difference does it make WHERE he was?? If it was a gated community or just walking down the street you MORON! NOONE has the right to chase down someone, much less a child, and pointblank kill them. Keep your ignorant comments to yourself jackass.

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FordGalaxy 2 years ago

According to some media reports, a witness says that Martin had Zimmerman on the ground when Zimmerman shot him. That said, Zimmerman was told by the police not to confront Martin. So either Zimmerman ignored the order or Trayvon Martin was an exceptionally confrontational young man. But here's the problem with the media and their treatment of this case: In Kansas City, a 13-year-old white male was set on fire by two black teenagers. According to reports, the young white male had been verbally accosted during a class at school, and then, when set on fire, was told that it was for "being white." I didn't see Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and President Obama personalizing that case. A young male broke in and brutally beat an elderly couple in Oklahoma, killing an 85-year old woman and breaking her husband's jaw before shooting him in the face with a BB-gun. The elderly couple was white. The perpetrator was black. Again, no Sharpton, Jackson, or Obama. At Mississippi State, a student was gunned down by three black males. The news report neglects to mention the race of the victim, but he was white. Once again, no "outrage" from Sharpton, Jackson, or Obama. I'm not trying to be racists, and I don't think pointing out these stories is racist. I'm trying to show that we have a news media who practices selective journalism that fits their agenda, rather than actually presenting the facts. All three of the incidents listed above show black men attacking whites, but to hear Jesse Jackson, only blacks are attacked.

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Mack711 2 years ago

Do we really know all of the story or selected items being reported on by the media? Let us not jump to conclusions and wait until the investigation and the court has ruled in this issue.. In the meantime send Jessie Al and the others home.

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NewsReader 2 years ago

We don't know what happened between this man and child. None of us were there. But the national race pimps are opportunists where these things occur. They are our pot stirrers, and the biggest racists of them all, just like that clown over at the NAACP, Ed DuBose. And to answer your question Mack711, there's your story, my story, and the real story, or in this case, George Zimmerman's story, Trayvon Martin's story, and the real story. Since Treyvon Martin is dead and can't tell his story, the only story we have to rely on is George Zimmerman's story, and that which the evidence reveals. But I'm reasonably certain that between the testimony of George Zimmerman and the evidence, we can determine what the real story is. All this other crap with Sharpton, et al is nothing but showboating by those who have a need to have their name in the paper.

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news2me 2 years ago

You forgot to throw the New Black Panther Party into the mix. They have a bounty out for Zimmerman. Keeping racism alive keeps them relevant and in the news. The sad part is all the publcity is damaging to Trayvon and it is no longer about him anymore. They will not get the justice they want, and the race card will live on!

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