At a press conference and rally organized by the so-called New Black Panther Party for Self Defense in Florida on Thursday, members of the political group circulated posters calling for the arrest of George Zimmerman dead or alive for shooting 17-year-old African-American Trayvon Martin, who they say was Murdered in Cold Blood, Harold Michael Harvey reported in a blog post at FreeRepublic.com.
George Zimmerman, a 28-year-old self-appointed neighborhood watch captain, maintains that he was accosted by Trayvon Martin late at night four weeks ago. According to Zimmerman, Martin punched him in the face, bloodying Zimmerman's nose and provoking him to shoot Martin in the chest. The gunshot at point-blank range killed Martin, whose dead body lay in the morgue for three days before the police reported his death to his parents.
The press conference was led by Minister Mikhail Muhummud, who called for Sanford (Fla.) Police Chief Bill Lee to step down over the controversy, for Zimmerman's arrest, and for President Barack Obama to step in. The president has made a public statement since then, saying that if he had a son, he'd look like Trayvon Martin. However, Obama has done little else to help bring Zimmerman to justice beyond advising the U.S. Justice Department to look into the case.
I'm here today to appeal to the country, particularly President Obama, to do the right thing while you have the power, Muhummud said. Trayvon Martin symbolizes my son.
Muhummud, the southern regional director for the New Black Panther Party for Self Defense based in Jacksonville, Fla., fired off his list of demands and expressed his own outrage over the entire situation while a member of the organization passed out flyers to the crowd, which numbered about 100.
He should be afraid for his life, Muhummud said of Zimmerman.
The group began to chant Black Power, prompting longtime Sanford resident Adele Azarucquoi, who is white, to shout, What about white people?
Muhummud answered her question by quickly saying: We don't hate any group. We hate injustice. We appreciate the whites who have come forth to help us.
The crowd was heavily African-American with fewer than a dozen white people present (not counting the press).
I hope there are more people who look like me at the next rally for Trayvon's family, Azarucquoi said to bossip.com.
Azarcuquoi then demanded that a journalist accompany her to Police Chief Lee's office. When she arrived, a secretary said Lee had not reported to his office for several days. Lee announced later that day that he would be temporarily stepping down from his position.
The Black Panthers are not the first group to announce plans to take the law into their own hands to right the wrongs committed by Zimmerman. The New Black Liberation Militia has already announced its plan to send members to Orlando, Fla., next week to attempt a citizen's arrest.