Law & Order

TAMPA - While thousands protested in Sanford in support of the family of slain teenager Trayvon Martin, a group of activists gathered in Tampa at the University of South Florida to call for justice in the Martin case. 

Emmanual Catalan is chair of the USF College Democrats.

 " I, as an African-American, should not be fearful of walking down a street and worry about the prospects of me being gunned down, because I fit the stereotype of a criminal because I'm wearing a hoodie, " he said, "and most importantly, I happen to be black."

Racial Tension Runs Through Sanford's Roots

Mar 23, 2012

In Sanford, Fla., historic wrongs against the local black community go back a long way. The memory of those events is still fresh, and they are getting another airing in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting, which protesters have called racially motivated.

Modern Sanford is built on the shoulders of several historically black communities. Goldsborough, incorporated in 1891, was one of the earliest black towns in Florida.

Trayvon Martin was "a typical teenager who would end up in a casket, buried in white suit with a powder blue vest," the Miami Herald writes.

Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law says you do not have a duty to retreat if you feel threatened. It's come under renewed scrutiny because of the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

But two legal experts say the law may have little affect on Martin's case, or whether self-appointed neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman goes to jail.

Here's what Stetson Law professor Robert Batey told us in an e-mail:

As national attention continues to be focused on the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla., last month and the questions it resurrects about race relations in the U.S., The Orlando Sentinel today adds to what's known about George Zimmerman, the 28-year-old man who pulled the trigger.

Trayvon Martin apparently was being followed by self-appointed neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman before Zimmerman shot and killed the unarmed teenager, according to ABC News.

The case has gained national attention for its racial overtones (Martin was black, Zimmerman white) and how it raises questions about Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law.

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