Trayvon Martin's Parents to Lead March in Miami

March among several planned Wednesday to protest teen's shooting

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    NEWSLETTERS

    On the 44th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.?s death, bereaved South Florida mothers gathered to pay tribute to their children taken too soon. Miami Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones held the Peace Walk at Sherdavia Jenkins Peace Park in memory of the 9-year old girl who was killed by a stray bullet in Liberty City in 2006. (Published Wednesday, Apr 4, 2012)

    Several marches and rallies to demand an arrest in the shooting of Miami teen Trayvon Martin will take place Wednesday, including a nighttime rally led by his parents in conjunction with a candlelight memorial on the 44th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

    Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton will lead the Trayvon Martin March for Justice beginning at 6 p.m. on MLK Boulevard at Northwest 8th Avenue that will include a "Reclaim the Dream" candlelight memorial service and gospel concert.

    The free concert will feature James Fortune & Fiya, Vickie Winans, the Wardlaw Brothers, and Sensere.

    King, a clergyman and civil rights activist, was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968.

    Before the rally, City of Miami Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones held a Peace Walk at Sherdavia Jenkins Peace Park in memory of the 9-year old girl who was killed by a stray bullet in Liberty City in 2006. After the ceremony, Commissioner Spence-Jones will lead the group to join the Martin march.

    "Today is really to remember a gerat man that understood the power and importance of justice, but also to acknowledge that violence has basically created a major issue in this community," said Spence-Jones.

    Miami mother Wanda McMillan's 16-year-old son was gunned down in 2008. His murder remains unsolved.

    "I don't want no mother to feel like I feel and have a change in their family because it's a pain that we have to bear for the rest of our lives," she said.

    Hundreds are expected to attend a rally in Tallahassee Wednesday night to protest the Miami teen's shooting by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman at a gated community in Sanford on Feb. 26.

    The Miami Gardens teen was visiting with his father at his father's girlfriend's home in the gated community and had gone to buy a bag of Skittles and iced tea at a nearby convenience store and was walking back when the shooting happened.

    Though Martin was unarmed, Zimmerman told police the shooting was self-defense, and no charges have been filed in the case. Zimmerman remains in hiding, though his attorney, Craig Sonner said Monday that Zimmerman would surrender to authorities if he's charged.

    On Tuesday, it was announced that Orlando criminal defense attorney Hal Uhrig would be joining Zimmerman's defense team, according to WESH.

    Also on Tuesday, Miami-Dade County commissioners called for a repeal of the "Stand Your Ground" law and passed a resolution urging the Florida Legislature to convene hearings on the statute. State Senator Chris Smith of Fort Lauderdale also announced on Tuesday that he formed his own task force to look into the law.

    Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee Jr., who has temporarily stepped down pending the investigation into the shooting, had said there was no probable cause to arrest Zimmerman, citing the state's controversial law.

    Zimmerman told police he had been following Martin but was walking back to his car when the teen approached him from behind, punched him in the face, got on top of him while he was on the ground and started bashing his head into the sidewalk.

    Police said Zimmerman had a bloody nose, gash on the back of his head and grass stains on the back of his shirt. Zimmerman's family and Sonner say the 28-year-old also had his nose broken by Martin.

    Zimmerman's brother said the neighborhood watch volunteer was in a fight for his life the night of the shooting, and insists the cries for help heard on a 911 call from the scene are his brother's.

    Martin's family and their attorney claim the cries for help came from the teen. They also say Martin was not the aggressor, and claim a Sanford Police video that shows Zimmerman hours after the fatal confrontation refutes that he was injured.

    Florida Gov. Rick Scott has appointed a special prosecutor to oversee the investigation into Martin's death. The FBI and U.S. Justice Department are also investigating the shooting.

    Earlier Monday, Martin family attorney Benjamin Attorney sent a formal request to the Justice Department requesting they examine Seminole County State Attorney Norm Wolfinger's interactions with police the night of the shooting.

    Crump, who represents parents Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, said in his letter that he wants the department to look into possible interference by Wolfinger's office with the Sanford Police investigation.

    Last week, it was revealed that the Sanford Police Department requested an arrest warrant from the Seminole County State Attorney's Office in the shooting, but the state attorney's office held off until the case could be further reviewed.

    There's no indication the prosecutor went to the scene of the shooting, but in a police report of the incident, there's an indication that Sanford Police may have felt a manslaughter charge was warranted in the case.

    On the incident report, the case was described as "homicide-negligent manslaughter-unnecessary killing to prevent an unlawful act."

    Sanford Police issued a statement, saying that it was inaccurate to say an officer at the scene of the shooting wanted an arrest based on the "Uniform Crime Code" listed on the report.

    "All police reports from all law enforcement agencies require a 'Uniform Crime Code' to qualify an incident and for statistical purposes for tracking types of incidents," the statement said. "This code does not indicate a formal charge that will be lodged against an alleged offender. It is used for internal processing and to type cases."

    According to Crump's letter to Deputy Assistant Attorney General Roy Austin, Lee and Wolfinger overruled the recommendation of lead homicide investigator Chris Serino, who recommended the arrest of shooter George Zimmerman.

    Serino filed an affidavit stating he didn't find Zimmerman's statements on the shooting credible, Crump said. He added that members of Zimmerman's family were also present at the Sanford Police station the night of the shooting.
     
    Wolfinger on Monday denied interfering with police in charging Zimmerman with manslaughter.

    Communities all across the nation have been galvanized by the event. The shooting has led to numerous marches and protests throughout South Florida and across the country, as Martin's family and supporters demand Zimmerman's arrest.

    Wednesday evening, St. Fort Funeral Home in North Miami Beach will hold a memorial service to pay respects to the Martin family and friends. The service begins at 6 p.m.