WASHINGTON, D.C. (WAVY) - Tuesday, the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder regarding the death of Trayvon Martin and the murder trial of George Zimmerman.
In the passionately written letter, Caucus members called for justice, requesting civil charges be filed against George Zimmerman for the death of Trayvon Martin.
The letter said Zimmerman's escape of punishment was evidence of flaws within the U.S. system of justice. But writers said the acquittal went beyond injustice:
"The Zimmerman acquittal says to African Americans and, quite frankly, other minorities, that if you put on a 'hoodie' and walk through your own neighborhood, you now become probable cause."
The letter in its entirety reads as follows:
The Honorable Eric Holder
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
Dear Attorney General Holder:
On behalf of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, representing eighteen House of Delegates and Senate of Virginia members from across the Commonwealth, I am writing to join our voices to those requesting that civil charges be filed against George Zimmerman for the wrongful death of Trayvon Martin. While we all believe in the rule of law and our system of justice, the system is not without its flaws. The outcome of the case State of Florida v George Zimmerman attests to those flaws.
The murder of an unarmed teenager walking home with an ice tea and skittles is a case of vigilante justice because George Zimmerman deemed Trayvon Martin "suspicious." While we may never know all the details of what transpired the night of February 26, 2012, we do know that Trayvon died and cannot speak for himself. We are now his voices. Many people are angry, concerned, and rightfully outraged at the not guilty verdict. Zimmerman's overzealousness with neighborhood watch and repeated 911 calls accusing "them" of causing problems set the stage for his confrontation with Trayvon Martin. He was the person with the gun. He was the person who was told not to follow Trayvon. He was the person with superficial wounds. Trayvon Martin lost his life. George Zimmerman has escaped punishment.
This situation goes beyond Trayvon Martin. The Zimmerman acquittal says to African Americans and, quite frankly, other minorities, that if you put on a "hoodie" and walk through your own neighborhood, you now become probable cause. On the eve of the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington, it is a sad commentary in the annals of American history that in 2013 we have to fight the same battles. The Declaration of Independence states that we all have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, with life being a fundamental civil right. George Zimmerman's actions violated those very rights that belonged to Trayvon Martin.
We urge vindication of and justice for Trayvon Martin through civil charges being filed against George Zimmerman. Thank you for your consideration.
Mamie E. Locke
Member, Senate of Virginia
Chair, Virginia Legislative Black Caucus
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