The case of a teenage boy being shot and killed in a gated community armed with only a bag of Skittles and an iced tea has pulled on the heartstrings of St. Louisans.
Trayvon Martin's case simmered for more than three weeks until it gained social media attention and was propelled into national headlines. Now supporters in St. Louis are taking a stand.
Friday morning beginning at 10 a.m., those in support of bringing Trayvon Martin's family justice marched downtown. St. Louis Aldermanic Board President, Lewis Reed, organized the march.
Friday evening, a prayer vigil and rally will be held at Tower Grove Park, 7 p.m.
About the Case
Martin is a 17-year-old Florida teen shot to death by a self-appointed neighborhood watch captain on Feb. 26. The captain, George Zimmerman, is heard on 911 tapes telling police the teenager looked suspicious because he was walking in the rain with a hoodie on and had something in his hand.
Martin had walked to the store to purchase a pack of Skittles for his younger brother, and an iced tea. He was visiting his father in the community.
Zimmerman has yet to be arrested, claiming self-defense despite it coming to light that the teen did nothing to provoke the incident, and the police told Zimmerman to quit tailing the teen after his 911 call. These facts alone have sparked outrage across the nation, as Martin could be anyone's brother, son or friend.
Progress on the Case
Since the case caught national attention and that of the U.S. Justice Department, the FBI and Florida's State Attorney have been sent to the town this week to investigate. A judge has dismissed the original prosecutor and assigned a new one from out-of-town.
Many credit mishandling of the case by Sanford Police Department and on Thursday, Police Chief Bill Lee, Jr. temporarily stepped down from his post. On Wednesday, Sanford's City Council had voted "no confidence" over the Chief's handling of the situation.
President Obama Weighs In
President Obama made an appeal Friday for further investigation into Martin's case and described it as a “tragedy” at a press conference.
“If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon,” Obama said from the White House Rose Garden, referring to 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. “When I think about this boy, I think about my own kids.”
Friday was the first time Obama commented on the case, and was very careful not to declare Zimmerman guilty or call for an arrest.
"It is imperative that we investigate every aspect of this,” President Obama said. "And I think every parent in America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative that we investigate every aspect of this and that everybody pulls together, federal, state and local to figure out exactly how this tragedy happened."
St. Louis Taking a Stand: Hoodies, Skittles and Iced Teas
If you were driving downtown Friday morning, you saw men, women, children, young, old, black, white and everything in between with signs that say, "I Am Trayvon Martin," "I'm Not a Hoodlum, I Just Wear Hoodies," and "This Could Be Your Son Too."
Supporters donned hooded sweatshirts and carried packs of Skittles and iced teas.
If you are on Facebook or twitter, more likely than not, you have a friend who has either changed their picture to Martin's or posted a picture of themselves in a hoodie in support of the case.
St. Louis City Mayor Francis Slay is expected to attend the prayer vigil Friday and rally at Tower Grove Park at 7 p.m.