|Trayvon Martin, 17, was fatally shot by George |
Zimmerman. (photo: ABC News)
08 April 12
Prosecutorial misconduct, police corruption and 'stand your ground' laws are part of the lingering lynch-mob mentality.
he shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, has exposed the issue of official misconduct, as police have failed to arrest, and prosecutors have refused to indict, George Zimmerman, Martin's self-professed killer. Zimmerman, a neighbourhood watch volunteer, claimed Martin looked suspicious and that he shot him in self-defence. Although a federal investigation is under way, Martin's parents have asked the US department of justice to investigate possible meddling by the state's attorney's office with investigations by Sanford police the night of the killing. Martin's family believe that state attorney Norm Wolfinger and Sanford police chief Bill Lee overruled the recommendation of the chief homicide investigator that Zimmerman be arrested and charged with manslaughter. Further, the "stand your ground" law implicated in this case enables vigilantes who wish to perform private, extrajudicial executions and become a legalised lynch mob. The law breaks with centuries of legal tradition by allowing a person to "stand one's ground" and use deadly force wherever he or she feels threatened, without a duty to retreat.