Council members say Trayvon Martin case reminds them of NYC deaths
Council members are speaking up to say what happened to Trayvon Martin can happen in New York, too.
A dozen council members will meet at City Hall tomorrow, in hoodies and holding Skittles and iced tea, which Martin was wearing and carrying when he was shot.
Martin’s parents came to New York City last week for a march in Union Square. Critics have accused the shooter, George Zimmerman, of racially profiling Martin before shooting him. Zimmerman said Martin attacked him.
On Feb. 26, Zimmerman called 911 to report “a real suspicious guy,” and moments later, neighbors called to report a scuffle and Martin was dead. Police did not charge Zimmerman under the “Stand Your Ground” law that allows someone to use deadly force if they say they are threatened.
Several Council members said they connected the Martin case to deaths to New York City, saying his death strikes a chord here.
Flatbush Councilman Jumaane Williams said the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy creates situations where New Yorkers are racially profiled by police who assume they are a criminal threat.
“The danger of New York City seeing the next Trayvon Martin-type tragedy is real — just ask the family of Ramarley Graham,” Williams said.
Councilman Daniel Dromm, whose district includes Jackson Heights and Elmhurst, also said he was reminded of the Graham, his spokesman said.
Cops followed Graham, 18, into his Bronx home in February and fatally shot him in his bathroom because police thought he had a gun. He was unarmed.
Northern Manhattan Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez said the incident reminded him of John Collado, a grandfather who was shot in Inwood in September. An undercover narcotics detective shot him after he said Collado choked him while the officer confronted his neigbor. Collado’s family says he did not know the undercover officer was a cop and was trying to help.
“For us, it just gets tied back to racial prejudice and the disproportionate impact that violence has on young men of color,” Rodriguez spokesman David Segal told Metro.
This month, a grand jury declined to indict the officer in the Collado case, which Segal called a “big disappointment.”
Councilman Daniel Garodnick, who represents the Upper East Side and Turtle Bay, said the Martin case reminded him of a crime against two Ecuadorian men in Bushwick in 2008, where three men yelled anti-gay and anti-Latino things at two brothers, then beat one with a baseball bat. Jose Sucuzhanay was killed, and Keith Phoenix and Hakim Scott were sentenced to 37 years in prison.
“Hate crimes happen everywhere and we hope those behind incidents like these are brought to justice,” his spokesman David Kimball-Stanley told Metro.