A few dozen people gathered outside the San Francisco Hall of Justice Monday afternoon to protest the fatal shooting of a teenage boy by a neighborhood watch captain in Florida last month.
Trayvon Martin, 17, was killed a month ago Monday, Feb. 26, in Sanford, Fla., by George Zimmerman, who has admitted to shooting Martin but said it was in self-defense.
The case has sparked outrage and racial tensions nationwide.
Martin was black while Zimmerman, who has not been arrested, is Hispanic.
The U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division is currently assisting state and local prosecutors in investigating the case and will determine whether the shooting constitutes a civil rights crime.
People at today’s protest in San Francisco, organized by the local nonprofit arts organization POOR Magazine, called for Florida authorities to arrest Zimmerman.
“This murderer has not been charged with anything,” said Lisa “Tiny” Gray-Garcia from POOR Magazine.
Gray-Garcia said though that “this is not just about Trayvon Martin” and mentioned local black youth who have been killed in controversial cases recently, including Oscar Grant III, who was fatally shot by a BART police officer on Jan. 1, 2009.
Mesha Monge-Irizarry, whose son Idriss Stelley was fatally shot by San Francisco police in 2001, said “We’re tired of saying ‘no more stolen lives,'” and said “now it’s time for action.”
Gray-Garcia said the San Francisco Hall of Justice site was chosen for the protest because “it’s representative of police culture across the U.S. that still has not charged this killer with anything.”
Monday’s protest was in solidarity with other rallies and marches nationwide, including one planned for 5:30 p.m. outside Oakland City Hall that is being organized by the Imani Youth Council from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s Oakland branch.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News