On 26 February 2012 Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year old African American, was shot dead by George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida, after a quarrel.
Zimmerman said it was self-defence; he invoked the notorious ‘stand-your-ground’ law. This states that an individual has no duty to retreat from any place the individual has a lawful right to be, and may use any level of force, including lethal, if the individual reasonably believes they face an imminent and immediate threat of serious bodily harm or death.
After demonstrations across America protesting about the killing, and an online petition calling for a full investigation and prosecution of Zimmerman had gained 2.2 million signatures, Zimmerman was arrested. He was charged with (but found not guilty of) manslaughter in July 2013.
The case is stirring emotions once more because Zimmerman has now put up for auction the pistol he used in the killing; it is, he says, “an American icon”,
United Gun Group, which is hosting the auction, says their goal is to “defend liberty” and that “unless the law has been violated, it is the intention of the United Gun Group to allow its members to use any of the available features. While not always popular this is where we stand.”
Zimmerman has defended the auction saying: “I’m a free American, and I can do what I like with my possessions.”
In an online posting to announce the auction, Zimmerman said that he would use the profits to “fight” the Black Lives Matter movement and oppose Democrat Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
Picture source: Flickr