On February 26, 2012, Florida teenager Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by George Zimmerman, a man who purportedly worked with a local neighborhood watch association. Zimmerman claimed Martin assaulted him, while other witnesses and 911 tapes suggested that Zimmerman stalked and confronted Martin. Sanford Police Department officials investigated the incident but did not arrest Zimmerman because of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, which gives individuals wide latitude to claim self-defense for shootings.
Tens of thousands of people nationwide have protested Trayvon Martin’s death and the subsequent investigation by local law enforcement officers. The ACLU of Florida has publicly questioned the mismanagement of the police investigation. Locally, the ACLU of Ohio rallied with students and activists to call for a poem in honor of Trayvon Martin.