McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Police/Courts

July 16, 2013

Trayvon Martin case spurs March in McAlester

McALESTER — The recent verdict in the Trayvon Martin case has inspired one Stuart woman to organize a march at the federal courthouse building on Carl Albert Parkway this weekend.

A “Hoodies Up March” set for Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. at the Carl Albert Federal Building is expected to bring hundreds of people to the area, according to organizer Arlene Arme.

“We want people to join us,” she said.

George Zimmerman was acquitted Saturday in the February shooting death of Martin, who was unarmed when he was killed. Martin’s parents and civil rights leaders said Zimmerman racially profiled the teenager — who was black — when he followed him through a gated community and shot him, but Zimmerman said he was physically assaulted by Martin and shot the teenager in self-defense.

Arme said this weekend’s march was organized in support of United States Attorney General Eric Holder as the Justice Department considers whether to pursue criminal civil rights charges against George Zimmerman for the death of Trayvon Martin.

A Florida jury found Zimmerman not guilty of killing 17-year-old Martin, who was unarmed at the time.

Martin was wearing a hoodie when he was shot.

In reaction to the not-guilty verdict, Arme said she and others are organizing “Hoodies Up” marches at federal buildings across the country.

“The trial didn’t go they way it should have; it was an injustice,” Arme said.

“We are hoping Holder will take up the case because the state of Florida failed us.”

 She said the verdict could cause rippling effects against  civil rights.

“Minorities are already afraid of the police,” Arme said.

 “Right here in McAlester there are serious issues which need to be addressed.”

The Carl Albert Federal Building is at 301 E. Carl Albert Pkwy.

Contact Jeanne LeFlore at jleflore@mcalesternews.com.

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