Million Hoodie March: Support, Outrage, Over Death of Trayvon Martin

Photo by: AP Photo/John Minchillo
Demonstrators hold up signs during the Million Hoodie March rally for 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on Wednesday, March 21, 2012, in New York. The teenager was unarmed ... more 
Photo by: AP Photo/John Minchillo
Demonstrators hold up signs during the Million Hoodie March rally for 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on Wednesday, March 21, 2012, in New York. The teenager was unarmed and wearing a hooded sweatshirt when he was killed.
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Thu, Mar 22, 2012 2:42 PM EDT
Treyvon Martin, shown here in an undated family photo, was shot and killed in Florida on Feb. 26. Treyvon Martin, shown here in an undated family photo, was shot and killed in Florida on Feb. 26. Thousands of people gathered in New York City on Wednesday for the "Million Hoodie March" in support of the family of Trayvon Martin, 17, who was shot and killed by a self-appointed Neighborhood Watchman as he returned to his father's girlfriend's home in a gated community in Sanford, Florida, on February 26.

Trayvon's parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, attended the march, where his father told supporters that his son, who was wearing a hoodie and described as "suspicious" when he was killed, "did not deserve to die."

"My heart is in pain, but to see the support of all of you really makes a difference," his mother told the crowd.

The teenager had gone to buy snacks and was on his way home when he was pursued and confronted by George Zimmerman, AGE, who was carrying a licensed concealed weapon. After calling 911 and being told not to follow Trayvon, Zimmerman shot the unarmed teenager once in the chest, killing him. Though 80 pounds heavier than the teen, who was carrying a bag of skittles, an Arizona iced tea, and his cell phone at the time, Zimmerman claimed the shooting was in self-defense under Florida's broad "Stand Your Ground" law, which local police accepted. He has not been charged with a crime.

Recordings of Zimmerman's 911 call (listen to the recording here), calls from neighbors to the police, and testimony from the Trayvon's girlfriend, who was on the phone with him at the time of the shooting, have called Zimmerman's defense into question. There are 10 different petitions calling for Zimmerman's arrest on Change.org; the one created by his parents has more than 1,100,000 signatures so far.

"Trayvon was our hero," his parents write in their petition. "At the age 9, Trayvon pulled his father from a burning kitchen, saving his life. He loved sports and horseback riding. At only 17 he had a bright future ahead of him with dreams of attending college and becoming an aviation mechanic. Now that's all gone."

Sanford police chief Bill Lee has repeatedly said that he has no probable cause to arrest Zimmerman, thanks to the "Stand Your Ground" law, which allows the use of deadly force if one feels threatened. The number of justified homicides in Florida has tripled since the law went into effect in 2005.

During an intense meeting on Wednesday night, Sanford city commissioners asked Lee to step down and conducted a vote of "no confidence" in which three out of five Commissioners voted against him. City Manager Norton Bonaparte Jr., who has the authority to fire Lee, said he would take the move "under advisement." The U.S. Attorney in Central Florida and representatives of the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division are now investigating the case to see if Martin could be the victim of a hate crime (a recording of Zimmerman's 911 call indicate that he may have called Martin a racial slur while chasing him.)

"The unknown in a tragedy will make the heart do crazy things, and we haven't done a good job of getting out in front of that," Sanford Mayor Jeff Triplett told ABC News. "I have confidence in him [Lee] in a lot of ways, and don't have confidence in him in some ways."

Protests and rallies have taken place around the country, and Martin's parents attended the Million Hoodie March in New York on Wednesday. Holding signs saying "We are all Trayvon Martin," protesters marched from Union Square to Times Square and back, encountering police along the way. Martin and Fulton thanking supporters and urging them to push for police to file charges against Zimmerman.

"My son is your son," Fulton told the crowd in New York. "This is not about black and white. This is about right and wrong."

Copyright © 2012 Yahoo Inc.

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