Surfing the web….
… I came across this picture. Beneath it were thousands of comments stating that the only difference was the fact that Trayvon Martin was a young black male and Marley Lion was a young white male. My stomach churned as I read thousands of people’s comments that Trayvon’s death was given “preferential treatment” because of his race. I got angry as I read the numerous comments stating that Marley Lion deserved the same publicity, rallying, and outcry Trayvon Martin received. My response? Trayvon Martin deserved the same JUSTICE that Marley Lion received. Point. Blank. And the PERIOD.
The photo asks “what’s the difference?” So let’s do Elizabeth O’Neil (the creator of the photo) a favor and answer her question.
Trayvon Martin, a 17 year old African American male, was walking home to his father’s house in Sanford, FL when he was approached by George Zimmerman, a Hispanic-Caucasian male. Zimmerman had been watching and following Martin, against the instruction of a 911 operator. Moments after Zimmerman approaches Martin, neighbors hear a gunshot. Zimmerman states he shot Martin in self-defense. Martin dies at the scene.
Marley Lion, a 17 year old Caucasian male, is in his SUV in the parking lot of a Famous Joe’s Bar and Grill in Charleston, South Carolina. He has pulled into the parking lot to sleep after attending a party. In an unsuccessful robbery attempt, Lion is shot by an unidentified African-American male. He tells police two black men approached his vehicle. The shooting is caught on a surveillance camera in the parking lot. He dies at a local hospital.
DIFFERENCE #1: The shooter of Marley Lion is initially UNKNOWN. The shooter of Trayvon Martin CONFESSES to the shooting, claiming self-defense. Police Chief Bill Lee states there was no investigation needed. George Zimmerman, the known killer, is released.
Two days following the death of Marley Lion, police release the surveillance footage from the night of the shooting and begin a zealous quest to obtain information and make an arrest as soon as possible. There are press conferences held by both the family and police, begging for justice. A reward fund is set up to find AND CONVICT the murderer. Police are constantly monitoring hotlines, following leads and are working around the clock to find justice for Marley Lion. A little over a month after Lion’s death, police arrest four men believed to be involved.
We all know the details of the Trayvon Martin case, so no need to reiterate them. Let’s however note that though it was always known who pulled the trigger of the gun ultimately killing Trayvon Martin, no charges were filed. Not even after the recommendation of Sanford Police Detective, Christopher Serino, that George Zimmerman be charged with manslaughter. Almost two months went by before Zimmerman was arrested and charged with second degree murder.
DIFFERENCE #2: The investigators did what they should have done immediately following the death of Lion. The family, community, and POLICE were vehement about making arrests and seeking justice for Marley. There was an immediate search for the killer and rapid actions were taken. That didn’t happen for Martin. The killer of Trayvon was known all along, but the President had to speak out before any arrest was made for Trayvon.
In November 2013, at the conclusion of the Marley Lion case, Bryan Rivers and Julius Brown were convicted of voluntary manslaughter and sentenced to 28 years in jail. George Brown was found guilty of accessory to murder and is serving 12 years. Ryan Deleston, the triggerman, was found guilty of murder and attempted armed robbery. He is serving life without the possibility of parole.
In July 2013, at the conclusion of the Trayvon Martin case, after a 16 hour deliberation by the jury, George Zimmerman is acquitted. He is arrested again in September 2013 for a domestic violence dispute with his estranged wife and her father. He is later released. He is arrested again in November 2013 and charged with felony assault for pointing a gun at his girlfriend.
DIFFERENCE #3: Suspects are convicted and justice is served in the case of Marley Lion. The Suspect is acquitted and justice is DENIED in the case of Trayvon Martin.
But let’s just be real. The denial of justice for Martin didn’t occur when the jury found Zimmerman not guilty. Justice for Trayvon was denied the second Zimmerman began following him, telling 911 operators that Martin was up to no good. Justice was denied with the police’s less than wholehearted approach to an investigation in the case. Justice for Trayvon was denied when his body was undergoing toxicology tests and his Twitter and FB pages were being used as character defamation. Finally Justice was shot straight to hell when George Zimmerman, acquitted, was given his gun back; the same gun that ended a young life.
So the DIFFERENCE between Marley Lion and Trayvon Martin – JUSTICE!
Now ask another stupid question….