trayvon martin

Law
7:20 am
Fri November 8, 2013

Protesters call for answers, justice in Renisha McBride's death

Renisha McBride
Credit Family photo

Questions persist - and outrage is growing - over the death of a young unarmed Detroit woman in a suburban community.

Renisha McBride was shot to death on the porch of a Dearborn Heights home last weekend.

The circumstances surrounding her death remain murky. The man who killed her reportedly told police he thought McBride was breaking into his home, and he shot her accidentally.

The man has not been arrested or even identified.

Read more
Politics & Government
10:28 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

Detroit CFO suspended over "hostile and abusive" comments

Detroit’s new chief financial officer has been suspended.

The city’s former finance director, Cheryl Johnson, has accused Jim Bonsall of creating a hostile work environment, particularly for black women.

Read more
Law
7:08 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

Clergy, civil rights groups in Detroit say they're not done fighting for Trayvon Martin

This undated photo of Trayvon Martin has become an iconic image.
Credit wikimedia commons

Civil rights activists say they’re not done trying to get justice for Trayvon Martin.

They have actions planned in Detroit and around the country to push for federal intervention in the Florida teen’s case.

Neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman shot and killed Martin, a black, unarmed teenager, in 2012.

Zimmerman’s acquittal this past weekend has sparked national outrage—and questions about persistent racial inequities in the justice system.

Read more
Law
4:38 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

Michigan's 'stand your ground' law mirrors Florida law more than any other state

A protest against the Zimmerman ruling
user: Fibonacci Blue Flickr

A much debated issue surrounding the George Zimmerman case was Florida's "stand your ground" law, which grants immunity to an individual who uses deadly force as a mode of self-protection.

States that adopt "stand your ground" laws generally indicate a person has no duty to retreat if they feel unlawfully threatened by another individual, regardless of where the person is.

If you use deadly force against someone when you feel unlawfully threatened by them, you are protected under these state laws. 

According to a think tank called the Sunlight Foundation, a non-profit group promoting government transparency, what Michigan's "stand your ground" law says is almost identical to Florida's law. 

Read more
Opinion
10:03 am
Mon July 15, 2013

The Zimmerman trial: A case of race and guns

Lessenberry commentary for 7/15/2013

Eighteen years ago, I was teaching a large “survey of the media” class at Wayne State University when word came that there was a verdict in the O.J. Simpson case. I put television on.

This was a Wayne State University class with almost equal numbers of black and white students. When it was announced that OJ had been acquitted of the murders of his wife and her friend, the reaction seemed almost Pavlovian.

The white students were openly disgusted. The black ones, pleased. Times have changed. Today, we have a black President. 

But my guess is that if I had been teaching a similar class when the Trayvon Martin verdict was announced, I would have seen something like a mirror image. Certainly the African-Americans would have been outraged; though I am not sure the white students would have been all that pleased with George Zimmerman’s acquittal.

Read more
Politics & Government
7:18 am
Mon July 15, 2013

In this morning's news: Rally for Trayvon, Straits of Mackinac oil pipeline, student loan debt

Morning News Roundup for Monday, July 15, 2013
User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Rally held in Detroit for Trayvon Martin

More than a hundred protesters rallied in Detroit's Grand Circus Park yesterday in response to the not guilty verdict in the George Zimmerman trial. Zimmerman was charged with second degree murder in the shooting death of black 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida. Rally goers described a desire for overall social change regarding civil rights issues like education, mass incarceration and gun violence.

Oil pipeline worries Michigan environmentalists

Environmental groups have rallied to call attention to an oil pipeline that crosses the Straits of Mackinac, the area linking Lakes Huron and Michigan. Critics say the 60-year-old pipeline at the bottom of the straits is aging and risky.They also fear Enbridge will pump heavy tar sands oil through the line, although the company says it has no plans to do so. It says the line is safe and regularly monitored.

Student loan debt higher for less expensive colleges

College students who go to pricier state schools are graduating with less student loan debt than those from supposedly less expensive state schools. On average, graduates from Michigan Tech, Central Michigan and Eastern Michigan University all have more student loan debt than those from Michigan State or the University of Michigan. Debbie Cochrane, research direction at the Institute for College Access and Success, says because of the amount of financial aid that might be available, the high sticker price of a larger school might actually end up costing less than a supposedly more affordable state school.

Law
12:02 am
Mon July 15, 2013

'Justice for Trayvon': Detroiters protest in honor of Trayvon Martin

Lucy Perkins

"How many people believe today that there shouldn't be another Trayvon Martin?" Ron Scott asked a crowd through a megaphone.

This was the opening question to a rally on the corner of W. Adams and Woodward Ave. in Eastern Detroit Sunday evening to honor Trayvon Martin. Martin was an unarmed black teenager who was shot last year by George Zimmerman, a Hispanic neighborhood watch  volunteer. Zimmerman was found not guilty on Saturday of a second degree murder charge in the case. A jury determined Zimmerman shot Martin in self defense.  

The rally was organized primarily by the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality, but had support from many other organizations, including the Detroit branch of the NAACP and the Green Party. 

On the base of a statue, several people spoke to about 100 people, including Ron Scott of the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality.

Read more
Law
12:35 pm
Sun July 14, 2013

Group plans Detroit protest against George Zimmerman jury verdict

Zimmerman didn't talk to the media after his exoneration, but his lead lawyer said they were "ecstatic with the results."
NPR

DETROIT (AP) - Several groups say they're holding a rally at a downtown Detroit park to protest the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida.

The Coalition Against Police Brutality says it and other groups are holding the rally at 6 p.m. Sunday at Grand Circus Park, which is near Comerica Park and Ford Field.

The group says the action is a protest against the "egregious jury verdict in favor of George Zimmerman."

Newsmaker Interview
5:16 pm
Tue May 22, 2012

Does Michigan's 'stand your ground' law promote violence?

Tim Bledsoe is a Democrat representing Michigan’s 1st House District, which includes Grosse Pointe
Rep. Bledsoe's official website

Florida caught lots of attention after the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, a Florida teen. On trial for the killing is George Zimmerman who claims he acted under Florida’s “stand your ground” law.

Michigan is among several states with laws similar to Florida’s. Michigan’s “stand your ground” law was revised in 2006 by bipartisan majorities in the legislature. It was signed into law by Jennifer Granholm, who was the Democratic governor at the time.

Now, more than a dozen Democratic Michigan House members have introduced legislation to repeal the law.

Democratic Representative Tim Bledsoe sponsored House Bill 5644. “I think the Trayvon Martin case really showed us the problem with having a law like “stand your ground," he said.

According to Bledsoe, Michigan has another self-defense law called the Castle Doctrine, which states that a person has the right to defend themselves, their family and their property in their home.

“Our effort to repeal the "stand your ground" law does not in any way affect the Castle Doctrine. But what we are seeing is that, if you are in a public place, and you are in a confrontation, and there is this opportunity for you to retreat, you must take advantage of that opportunity to retreat,” said Bledsoe.

The Democratic representative said although he has not identified any case in Michigan where the "stand your ground" law has been used in self defense, he said "We see this more in terms of acting in a preemptive way to try to avoid situations like the Trayvon Martin case here in Michigan."

Rep. Bledsoe said he and others will continue to seek out public support to pressure legislators to repeal the law.

Education
2:54 pm
Tue April 17, 2012

Online petition seeks to reinstate fired Pontiac teacher

screen grab of Harris on Democracy Now

A Pontiac teacher who says she was fired after helping her students organize a fundraiser for the family of Trayvon Martin is receiving support in the form of over 200,000 petition signatures. According to the Detroit Free Press, the online petition calls for Brooke Harris to be reinstated to her post at Pontiac Academy for Excellence and organizers plan to present the signatures during a meeting of the school's board at 5p.m. today.

From the Free Press:

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a nonprofit based in Montgomery, Ala., started the petition.

The district has denied Harris was fired because of the fundraiser, but Superintendent Jacqueline Cassell previously told the Free Press she could not discuss a personnel issue.

According to Harris, the Free Press writes, students in her yearbook class planned to raise money and pledged to wear hoodies to school, a violation of the school's dress code meant to show solidarity with Martin who was wearing one when he was shot and killed in Florida earlier this year.

Harris told the Free Press that when school administrators became aware of the plan, they moved to block it:

Harris said Cassell said no, and when she asked whether students could meet with Cassell to make their case, she was suspended for two days for being insubordinate.

Harris said she came to the school while suspended, so her suspension was extended to two weeks, but she was fired after questioning it.

It remains to be seen if the petition will have any effect on Harris' employment status.

-John Klein Wilson, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Lansing
7:48 pm
Tue March 27, 2012

Trayvon Martin protest reaches the steps of Michigan's state capitol

 A few hundred people, many wearing hoodie sweatshirts, gathered on the steps of the state capitol in Lansing  Tuesday to demand justice for a teenager shot and killed in Florida last month.

A month ago, 17 year old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed.   The Florida teen’s death has spurred a national debate over what constitutes self-defense and concerns for the safety of young black men.      

Read more
Culture
10:13 am
Tue March 27, 2012

Trayvon Martin supporters rally in Ypsilanti (photos)

Heather Mapstone holds the sign "Justice for Trayvon," at a rally on March 26 in Ypsilanti.
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

A crowd wearing hooded sweaters of all colors gathered in downtown Ypsilanti Monday afternoon, one month after the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin of Florida.

The unarmed black teenager was wearing a hoodie when he was shot and killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer in a gated community in Sanford, Florida. The man who shot Martin has not been arrested.

 Jeff Clark lives in Ypsilanti, and helped organize the event.

Read more
Trayvon Martin
11:37 pm
Mon March 26, 2012

Trayvon Martin rally set for Michigan State Capitol Building

Trayvon Martin
(NPR.org)

Organizers of a rally to protest the shooting death of a Florida teenager hope to attract a few thousand people to the steps of Michigan’s state capitol Tuesday afternoon.

Trayvon Martin was shot and killed a month ago, in an incident which has raised questions about race and self-defense.

O.D. Harris is organizing the rally at the state capitol. He hopes the rally will help end tragedies rooted in ‘stereotyping’.

“We stereotype people based on what their attire is," says Harris, "I don’t want to make it a race thing…we stereotype people based on their names… we stereotype people based on all types of reasons… and we have to stop that.”

Similar protests took place in Kalamazoo, Flint and a handful of other Michigan cities on Monday.

Read more