**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**
April 11, 2012
Contact: Aja Worthy-Davis at (212) 788-7081
Council Member Letitia James Comments On Charges Against George Zimmerman
(New York, NY)— On April 11, 2012, Florida special prosecutor Angela Corey announced the state’s intention to charge George Zimmerman for murder in the second degree, in relation to the shooting death of unarmed teen Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman recently surrendered to the Florida State Department of Law Enforcement. Previously, elected officials and social justice advocates nationwide criticized the fact that Mr. Zimmerman remained outside of police custody, with no criminal charges laid against him despite overwhelming evidence.
The tragic murder of Trayvon Martin has struck a chord with many Americans. On March 28, 2012, Council Members Letitia James and Melissa Mark Viverito held a press conference on the steps of City Hall calling for justice for Trayvon, and harsh criticism of ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws nationwide. That same day, the City Council put forth a resolution condemning the senseless shooting of Trayvon, and the inadequate investigation that followed. There have also been a number of similar demonstrations in New York City churches and public parks in the past month.
“What happened to Trayvon was a senseless tragedy,” said Council Member Letitia James. “However, it has begun a national conversation around gun control, racism, and the many faces of violence. The overt and covert ways in which we as a society label young Black men as ‘threatening’ must stop. It is important to recognize that reckless vigilantism is a threat to the safety of us all, and we must adopt a no-tolerance approach. I again extend my condolences to Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton over the loss of their son, and I commend the Florida state special prosecutors on their handling of the case.”
The wearing of a hooded sweatshirt (in reference to the clothing Trayvon was wearing when he died) has become a symbol of anti-violence and social justice; and a call for the end of the demonization of young men of color.