Thousands rally for slain black teen Trayvon Martin
Al Sharpton and Martin Luther King III joined Martin's parents at the rally.
One sentiment was clear among the thousands who rallied Thursday night for action in last month's fatal shooting of an unarmed Florida teenager: justice.Skip to next paragraph
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"We cannot allow a precedent when a man can just kill one of us ... and then walk out with the murder weapon," Sharpton said, flanked by Martin's parents and a stage full of supporters. "We don't want good enough. We want George Zimmerman in court with handcuffs behind his back."
The rally came the same day that bitterly criticized Police Chief Bill Lee stepped down temporarily, he said to help quell the rising passions surrounding the case. Hours later, Gov. Rick Scott announced that the county prosecutor also had recused himself from the case and that a state attorney from Jacksonville would take over the investigation.
Sharpton attended the rally just hours after the death of his mother. "This is where she would want me to be," he said.
Trayvon Martin lived in Miami and was in Sanford visiting family Feb. 26 when he went to a convenience store. He was walking back carrying a bag of Skittles candy and can of iced tea, the hood of his jacket pulled over his head because it was raining. He was approached by the 28-year-old Zimmerman, who told a police dispatcher he thought Martin looked suspicious. Zimmerman shot Martin following a chase and fight.
Zimmerman says he shot Martin in self-defense, and Sanford police officials say there is no evidence that contradicts that. Some neighbors in the gated community have praised Zimmerman for taking a stand against crime in the neighborhood that is 57 percent white and 30 percent black. Police say Zimmerman is white; his family says he's Hispanic.
Martin's parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, believe Zimmerman should have been arrested. They claim he was profiling their son and acted like a vigilante.
The rally was initially planned for a 400-seat church. But it was moved to downtown to make room for all the people who stood shoulder-to-shoulder in Fort Mellon Park, many holding signs with everything from "Justice For Trayvon" to "Chief is gone, Zimmerman is next."