Rev. Al Sharpton plans rally over Trayvon Martin killing
The station reports civil rights leaders declared a victory Tuesday night in getting federal and state officials to investigate the case but continued to pressure authorities to make an arrest in the death of the unarmed black teenager last month.
"We are pleased the Department of Justice has heeded our calls and agreed to investigate this outrageous case," Benjamin Jealous, national president of the NAACP said in an emailed statement Tuesday. "The rules of justice in this nation have failed when an innocent teenage boy can be shot to death by a vigilante and no arrest is made for weeks."
At a town hall meeting Tuesday evening in Sanford, officials from the NAACP, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Nation of Islam urged residents to remain calm but demand that the shooter, George Zimmerman, be arrested.
"I stand here as a son, father, uncle who is tired of being scared for our boys," Jealous said. "I'm tired of telling our young men how they can't dress, where they can't go and how they can't behave."
Zimmerman has a concealed weapons permit, and it has become the focus of an 11:00 a.m. rally Wednesday outside the Florida Division of Licensing in Orlando. Local pastors and members of the Florida Civil Rights Association are planning to rally for Zimmerman to have his concealed weapons permit revoked.
Zimmerman has not been charged in the Feb. 26 shooting and has said he shot Martin, who was returning to a gated community after buying candy at a convenience store, in self-defense after Martin attacked him. Police said Zimmerman is white; his family says he is Hispanic.
"This is just the beginning of what is taking place," local NAACP leader Turner Clayton Jr said. "We're going to make sure justice prevails."
An online petition urging local authorities to prosecute Zimmerman had drawn more than 700,000 signatures at the website Change.org as of early Wednesday.
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