Is The Mike Brown Shooting Like Trayvon Martin?

Police in tear mask in Ferguson
Police in tear masks on in Ferguson, where a black teenage boy was killed on Saturday by a police officer. Twitter/Antonio French

The shooting death of unarmed black St. Louis teen Mike Brown by police spurred protests and looting as outrage grew over the killing. Brown’s death Saturday also evoked memories of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black Florida teen who was shot and killed in 2012 by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in another case that spurred anger in the African-American community and beyond.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon urged the U.S. Justice Department to conduct an independent investigation of the teen’s death, Kansas City Star reporter Jason Hancock said. The FBI said it was reviewing the circumstances of the shooting.

Rage filled the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, where Brown was shot Saturday, as demonstrators demanded justice for the teen’s death. A vigil for Brown was followed by violent protests and looting Sunday. A number of shops were broken into and a convenience store was burned, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Protests continued Monday, with demonstrators demanding the officer who shot Brown be charged with murder. The officer’s name was not publicly released, but authorities said he was put on administrative leave. Demonstrators chanted “No justice, no peace” and “Stop the killer cops,” the Post-Dispatch reported.

St. Louis Alderman Antonio French posted video on Twitter of the protests, showing peaceful demonstrators on one side of the street and officers in riot gear on the other.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brown’s shooting death brought on comparisons to Martin.

“With the recent events of a young man killed by the police in New York City and with Trayvon Martin and with all the other African-American young men that have been killed by police officers ... this is a dire concern to the NAACP, especially our local organization,” John Gaskin, a member of the NAACP’s national board of directors and a member of the organization’s St. Louis branch, told the Associated Press. He was referring to the death of Eric Garner, whose killing was ruled a homicide. Garner died after Staten Island police placed him in a chokehold.

Here’s how the Brown and Martin shooting deaths are similar:

Both Brown and Martin were black teenagers. Brown and Martin also were unarmed when they were shot and killed. Both were in a confrontation when they were shot. Few details have been released about the circumstances of Brown’s shooting, but Zimmerman claimed Martin reached for his gun. There also has been widespread outrage in both cases.

But there’s a way in which the two shootings are different: the law enforcement response.

While the fact that Brown and Martin were unarmed provoked much of the outrage regarding their deaths, anger in the Martin shooting was also attributable to the delay in charging Zimmerman with a crime. The shooting occurred in late February and Zimmerman wasn't arrested until April -- 46 days after the incident. The Sanford Police Department initially claimed there wasn’t enough evidence to dispute Zimmerman’s claim of self-defense.

The Brown case isn’t moving as slowly on the law enforcement front. The officer involved has been placed on administrative leave, and the FBI is reviewing the case, just two days after the shooting.   

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