The media feeding frenzy surrounding the suspicious death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin continues, and yet more racially-motivated actors are climbing out of the woodwork. Last night, Al Sharpton invited the grieving parents and family attorney onto his show, and joined in venting rage against the Florida Justice system.
Whether or not the shooting was motivated by racial animus, groups with precisely that motivation are involved now. Enter the New Black Liberation Militia (NBLM), a militant group in the mold of the Black Panthers, headed by a man styling himself "Prince Najee Muhammad." The NBLM intends to march straight into Florida and perform a "citizen's arrest" on Martin's shooter, George Zimmerman as a substitute for the arrest they believe should have happened. From the Associated Press story on this new development:
Members of a self-described black militia group will attempt a citizen's arrest on a white neighborhood watch leader who has admitted to fatally shooting an unarmed African-American teen in an Orlando suburb, but has not been charged, a leader of the group said Thursday.
Members of The New Black Liberation Militia plan to take 28-year-old George Zimmerman to federal authorities this week since local police haven't acted, said Najee Muhammad, a leader of the militia group.
"We'll find him. We've got his mug shot and everything," Muhammad said.
According to Business Insider, Trayvon Martin's parents have already said they disagree with this proposed course of action. The NBLM doesn't seem to care.
As to what means the NBLM plans to use to execute their would-be citizens' arrest, a quick look at their website provides a good clue. Notice the following photos:
The NBLM is scarcely the first racially motivated group to attempt to make citizens' arrests where they argue that the established criminal justice system has failed, especially in cases involving racial animus. Fortunately, the potentially violent consequences that usually happened in those cases may not have to be courted in this case. New evidence has come to light further suggesting that Martin may have been attacked, rather than the reverse. The Guardian reports:
In a dramatic press conference on Tuesday, the Martin family's lawyer Benjamin Crump detailed how the unnamed girl – a minor who was so traumatised by Martin's death she was taken to hospital at his wake – was talking to him on his cell phone in the minutes leading up to his death, and heard the altercation with his killer.[...]
"He says: 'Oh, he's right behind me. He's right behind me again,'" Crump said the girl told him. "She says: 'Run.' He says: 'I'm not going to run, I'm just going to walk fast.'
She then heard Martin saying "Why are you following me" and another voice saying "What are you doing here?" She told Crump they both repeated themselves, and then she thinks she heard Zimmerman push Martin "because his voice changes, like something interrupted his speech." She heard an altercation and then the phone call was cut off, Crump said.
Phone records have confirmed that Martin was on the phone with the unnamed girl. Obviously, the call was not recorded, but in the absence of further evidence, this may be the breaking point that causes the Florida police to rethink their original decision not to arrest Zimmerman. In fact, at this point, even the authors of the bill that Zimmerman is using to defend himself are calling for his arrest.