On the evening of February 26, 2012, seventeen-year old Trayvon Martin left his father’s fiance’s house in the Retreat at Twin Lakes, a gated community in Sanford, Florida where he was visiting. He walked over to a local shop looking for skittles and maybe a soda. Local resident and neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman saw Martin when he was returning to Twin Lakes. The armed Zimmerman called the local police department telling the dispatcher that “this guy looks like he is up to no good or he is on drugs or something… these assholes, they always get away.”
What made Zimmerman so suspicious? He had a pattern of targeting young, Black men, frequently calling in reports to local police of “suspicious” looking people. Zimmerman starts stalking Martin and minutes later can be heard on the tape of the call yelling “he’s running.” “Which way is he running?” asks the dispatcher. But Zimmerman doesn’t answer. He’s running after Trayvon Martin, gun in hand. When the dispatcher realizes that Zimmerman is in pursuit, the dispatcher tells him to back off. “We don’t need you to do that,” they tell him. Within minutes Trayvon Martin is dead, chased down and shot to death by the vigilante Zimmerman.
George Zimmerman was eventually charged with second-degree murder. On July 13, 2013 an all-white jury found Zimmerman not guilty. In the days after the verdict, outraged people everywhere held rallies and vigils to remember Trayvon Martin and condemn the kind of racist violence that made both Trayvon Martin’s death and Zimmerman’s not guilty verdict possible.
One of those vigils was held in Albuquerque. Nearly 200 people rallied at the southern end of Bataan park on Wednesday, July 17, 2013.