The controversy surrounding the shooting of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin continued to grow today as thousands of students from roughly 50 schools in Florida staged walkouts to protest the killing. Meanwhile, the Change.org petition demanding the arrest of George Zimmerman, Martin’s shooter, surpassed 1.5 million signatures, making it all time fastest-growing petition in Change.org’s history, according to the group.
Today, Fox News contributor Geraldo Rivera added to the controversy, when he seemed to indicate that Trayvon Martin’s apparel was somehow to blame, saying “the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as George Zimmerman was.” Geraldo later clarified, saying ”Trayvon Martin, God bless him, an innocent kid, a wonderful kid, a box of Skittles in his hand didn’t deserve to die, but I’ll bet you money if he didn’t have that hoodie on that nutty neighborhood watch guy wouldn’t have responded in that violent an aggressive way.”
Rivera, who said he does not allow his own son to wear hoodies, said ”there are some things that are almost inevitable,” adding that Martin “wore an outfit that allowed someone to respond in this irrational overzealous way.”
Rivera concluded, “there is no rehabilitating the hoodie…unless it’s raining out or you’re at a track meet, leave the hoodie home.”
It is worth noting that it was raining the night Trayvon Martin was killed.
Supporters of Martin’s family organized a “Million Hoodie March” last Wednesday in New York City. Hundreds of participants wore hoodies to the march which sought to protest both the police handling of the shooting and racial profiling in general. A second march, which organizers hope will draw at least 1,000 people, is scheduled to take place in Philadelphia tonight.
Trayvon Martin was walking in a gated community carrying Skittles and an iced tea when he was followed and later shot and killed by local neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman. Zimmerman, who called 911 to report Martin as suspicious person, has not been arrested or charged in the case. Criticism over police handling in the case resulted the temporary resignation of Sanford police Chief Bill Lee yesterday afternoon.
“That was my baby, my youngest son,” Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, told ABC News in an interview in Miami. “He meant a lot to me, I don’t think the police department really understands that. … I need justice for my family, I just want justice for my son.”