6:00pm March 19, 2012

Trayvon Martin and 7 Black Men Who Should Be Alive Today


GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: “This guy looks like he is up to no good. He is on drugs or something,”

911 DISPATCHER: “Are you following him,” the 911 dispatcher asks.

ZIMMERMAN: “Yeah,” (says cop wanna-be and self appointed busybody watchman)

911 DISPATCHER: “OK – you don’t need to do that.

Zimmerman did anyway.

The 911 tapes of Zimmerman’s call to police shortly before he killed teenager Trayvon Martin on February 26 have been released.  Self appointed “watchman” Zimmerman had phoned police 46 times in the last 13 months. Anyone surprised?  He told the dispatcher that 17 year-old high school student Trayvon Martin, who he murdered, may have had a gun saying he had “something in his waistband,” and “he’s got something in his hands.” The teenager had gone for a snack to a 7-Eleven during the NBA All-Star game half-time.

What he had was an Arizona Iced Tea.

Funny how people see things that don’t exist – time and time again. Problem is: It would only seem to happen when the suspected person is a Black male in the United States.  Martin had no gun and no criminal record. The Martin incident indicates that to some, a Black male doesn’t have to actually be doing anything unlawful to be murdered.  A Black male need only be walking while carrying an iced tea and a pack of Skittles to become the subject of attention.

“These a**holes always get away,” Zimmerman told the 911 dispatcher.  Self defense? A listen to Zimmerman’s call to 911 reveals that he chased Martin.

With that, we find that in Sanford, FL, a self appointed “watchman” with no police powers and zero law enforcement training walks free after murdering a teenager.  But, incidents of suspicious killings of Black males in America followed by no punishment is not new.  The status of Black males in American society remains clear: Expendable.  Did the nation pause in June 2010 after ten Black males were shot dead and 51 wounded in just 3 days in Chicago? Does anyone believe there would be no national outcry if the victims were from any other group? The famous incidents are met with justifications — even in cases where the victims were completely innocent.

In 1984, it was Bernie Goetz.  Goetz shot four Black males on a New York City subway after one asked for five dollars.  All were unarmed. There was no physical altercation.  Goetz shot all four, paralyzing one, saying he feared he’d be mugged. Eighteen months before Goetz said, “the only way we’re going to clean up this street is to get rid of the spics and niggers.” Goetz and his defenders said the shootings were justified because of fear.

In 1999, it was Amadou Diallo, 23. Diallo had no criminal record and no weapon.  New York Police mistook Diallo for a rape suspect.  An officer at the scene yelled “gun” and 41 shots were fired by four plain clothes officers. Diallo had no gun, only his wallet.  All were acquitted.

In 2000, it was Patrick Dorismond, 26. Dorismond, a security guard, was shot and killed by a NYPD plain clothes police officer after being approached by undercover officers who asked where they could buy marijuana. An argument ensued and Dorismond was shot and killed.  No one was charged.  A grand jury found the shooting was an accident.

In 2003, it was Ousmane Zongo, 24.  Zongo was shot and killed by an undercover police officer dressed as a mailman during a raid for counterfeit goods.  He was unarmed and had no criminal record.  The officer was convicted of criminally negligent homicide but served no jail time.

In 2004, it was Tim Stansbury, 19. Stansbury was shot in a rooftop stairwell by a police officer who admitted he was startled and pulled the trigger accidentally.  Stansbury had no gun and no criminal record.  A grand jury found the shooting was accidental. “There appears to be no justification for the shooting,” Chief Ray Kelly said at the time.

In 2006, it was Sean Bell, 23.  Once again, a cop at the scene yelled “gun” – but no gun was found. Plain clothes NY City Police fired 50 rounds at three males: Two Black, one Hispanic. Bell was shot four times and died on his wedding day.  He had no criminal record. No one was found guilty.

In 2009, it was Oscar Grant, 23.  Grant was shot in the back and killed by BART Police Officer Johannes Mehserle.  Mehserle feared Grant was reaching for a weapon as he held him face down on a subway platform.  Grant had no weapon.  Grant had previously served time for drug possession.  The Justice Department opened a case against Mehserle. He would serve less than a year in jail.

Last month, Ramarley Graham, 18, was shot to death in the bathroom of his mother’s house after NY police gave chase.  A plain clothes narcotics officer believed Graham had a gun.  No gun was found. Graham had been previously arrested for marijuana possession and burglary.

The combined jail time after seven incidents?  Seven dead = 23 months.  In every incident, the absence of involvement by the pursuer would have meant seven people would be alive today.  What do all the cases have in common? The victims: All Black males.  All unarmed.  As the City of New York continues to pay out millions in wrongful death suits one wonders: Does our society care when innocent people who also happen to be Black are killed for doing nothing? Diallo, Bell, Dorismond, Stansbury, Zongo were not engaged in unlawful activity.

Add another the list: Trayvon Martin.  This time by a pretend-cop with too much time on his hands.

Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee Jr., like so many before him, defended the handling of the Martin case. “The hysteria, the media circus, it’s just crazy.  It’s the craziest damn thing I’ve ever seen, and it’s sad. It’s sad for the city of Sanford, the police department, because I know in my heart we did a good job.”

It’s sad alright.  The Justice Department should be in touch with Chief Lee soon.  Rev. Al Sharpton is set to have another march regarding a case of an unarmed innocent Black male who is dead for no reason.

LAUREN VICTORIA BURKEPolitic365 Chief Congressional Correspondent, publishes the blog Crewof42 on the Congressional Black Caucus.  She is heard every Tuesday on WMCS 1290 in Milwaukee on Earl Ingram’s show The Evening Rush as well as on WHUR and WPFW in Washington DC. You can follow her on twitter at @crewof42

About the Author

Lauren Victoria Burke
Lauren Victoria Burke
Lauren Victoria Burke is an opinion journalist, comms expert and political analyst focused on justice reform policy. She created Crewof42.com, a blog that covers the work of Black members of Congress, in 2009. Ms. Burke was a staffer for the Senate Democratic Policy Committee and Director of Communications for Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN). She has had a very diverse career in politics and media and appears regularly on NewsOneNow with Roland Martin, Hardball and Up on MSNBC, WVON in Chicago, WURD in Philadelphia and WOL and WHUR in Washington, D.C. She is currently the Managing Editor of Politic365 and a contributing writer for TheRoot and NBC Black where she writes opinion and analysis. Additionally, Ms. Burke has been a contract photographer for Associated Press since 2004. She has authored three books of photography including two on President Obama's 2008 campaign for the presidency and one with Marvel Comics publisher Stan Lee. Ms. Burke was born in the Bronx, New York and grew up on Long Island. She holds a B.A. in History from The American University. Here e-mail is: LBurke007@gmail.com. Twitter: @LVBurke. Instagram: LVB325.


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  1. Julie

    I would add Wendell Allen of New Orleans to this list. There are probably many more names that could be added to this list. Thank you for this article.

  2. Carlton

    Prince Carmen Jones – a Howard U student in DC killed by cops.


    They need to stop letting these people get away wi killing our young people. Its time to stand up and fight for our rights. Just know God will handle them at the end.

  4. [...] men. We are loosing them too soon, guilty of nothing more than existing while black. This article, Trayvon Martin and 7 Black Men Who Should be Alive Today speaks about the perils that our black men are facing.  Seven black men killed and collectively [...]

  5. MeMe B

    Corey Ward, Atlanta, GA, 2002

  6. [...] Johnny Gammage is Sean Bell is Oscar Grant is Ramarley Graham is any and all African American men slain because of the color of their skin.  But he is also different in that all of those African American men were killed by the police. [...]

  7. [...] on February 26 after an encounter with a self appointed “neighborhood watchman” named George Zimmerman who contacted police 46 times in 13 months. On February 26 saying that Martin looked [...]

  8. [...] READ THIS AT POLITIC365 — OTHER TRAYVONS over the years.  [...]

  9. Marcus Lowe

    DeAunta Terrel Farrow, 12, West Memphis, Ar, 2007.

  10. Tiffany Williams

    Its a shame how our justice department is. It is really sad that racisim is still going on today. How many more of our black young mens is going to be murder. In every case it have been ignore or been accidental death. I think that the officers needs to be punish better because what they did is unlawful. There were no kind of justice in each case. Us black people need to keep fighting because we are going to find justice. This murdering our young black generation needs to end.

    • Singledigit

      The last statistics I saw, 91% of blacks murdered were murdered by blacks.

      Why does no one honor them?

      You’re only interested if “racism” can be the accusation?

      If folks were interested in ALL blacks being murdered, maybe someone would take articles like this seriously. But the credibility is nil, as the author jumps over a thousand murders to identify ten.

  11. keep the names and other examples coming… lauren

  12. [...] 7 black men who should be alive Share this:FacebookShareEmailPrint [...]

  13. [...] and the officer is currently serving less than a year in jail.  Unfortunately, cases like these continue to pop up in this post-racial society. If Trayvon were white, or if Trayvon were a girl, George Zimmerman [...]

  14. Josh.Jones

    in Miami, we had 7 killed in 8 month span:

  15. Josh.Jones

    and this was another one after that article was released. ALL BY MIAMI COPS: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXpMzT5yGp8

  16. My hearts bleeds and reach out to the family and loved ones who are still in mourning, Its really sad and shameful that we still live in a world where people are been judged by the colour of their skin!!

  17. [...] Lauren Victoria Burke, Politic365.com: Trayvon Martin and 7 Black Men Who Should Be Alive Today [...]

  18. [...] Lauren Victoria Burke, Politic365.com: Trayvon Martin and 7 Black Men Who Should Be Alive Today [...]

  19. cadesertvoice

    A good read, Lauren. Thank you for tracking these murders. Also…

    Daily Kos: Bo Morrison: Wisconsin's own Trayvon Martin – murdered March 3 by homeowner using the "Stand Your Ground" law

    • common sense

      Bo Morrison is a tragic loss of life, but he illegally broke into a home. The homeowner had no idea of Morrison's intentions. The homeowner should not have to risk his life to ask an intruder what his intentions are. He was in reasonable fear for his life and therefore justified in shooting Morrison. Morrison should not have attended an underage drinking party, should not have ran from the police and should not have broken into someones home to escape the police. The Castle Doctrine and stand your ground laws are good laws, however, they do not come into play with Trayvon Martin. In the case of Bo Morrison; I would do the same thing the homeowner did. The lives of my family and my property are worth more to me than someone unlawfully entering my home.

  20. [...] Trayvon Martin and 7 Black Men Who Should Be Alive Today (background on this murder) Stand Your Ground Law States Law enforcement and other groups fought against this law predicting exactly what has happened, yet Jeb Bush (of the Bush Family) and other governors in 24 states (I think) have signed this monstrous law into effect The NRA (gun lobby) is the primary reason for this law. They paid well to get it in action. Understanding the role of the GOP, NRA, ALEC and even a confederate supporter in enacting this law _____ [...]

  21. Mailk Jones, 21 New Haven CT

    The saga began on April 14, 1997. Jones, who’s black, was driving in East Haven. He had been meeting a man with whom he had been involved in alleged gun-dealing. The police didn’t know that; they wanted to make a motor vehicle stop. (No evidence was ever presented that the police knew whom they were trying to stop.) Jones fled instead of stopping. A high-speed chase ensued onto I-95, over the Q Bridge, onto Grand Avenue in New Haven’s Fair Haven neighborhood.

    Jones stopped in a vacant lot a block away from his home. One of the officers chasing him stopped, too. The officer, Robert Flodquist, jumped out of his car, busted the window of Jones’ car, and pumped a stream of deadly bullets into Jones’ body. Jones was unarmed. Flodquist later said that Jones gave him a “go to Hell” look, and the car may have been slowly rolling backwards, so he thought his life was at risk.

    Source: http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/arch

  22. Mac

    This is the New form of Lynching and I.am sooo gald that it is now in the open. I remember coming back to Miami in 1959 going to the court house seeing signs colored drinking fountain and white water fountain. The whole police department in Sanford including the Mayor and his cohorts
    should be put in Jail. Everyone knows that they hit Zimmerman themselves but they could not
    erase the 911 tape or Martins girlfriends phone calls the assholes forgot that part.

  23. Mac

    Last year at the URban Weekend on Miami Beach they killed a young Black man they said they saw something shiny they have yet found this weapon. I pray that these Young Black Adults find somewhere else to spend thier money and enjoy themselves please they don't want you there.
    i don't want to see another T Martin on Miami Beach

  24. The truth

    Persecution & outright murder of black males will never end. USA too entrenched in racism & paranoia against anything non white. Been that way in USA since 1492

  25. [...] are and have been vehemently professing. Trayvon Martin’s death is simply indicative of the traditional cavalier indifference to a black male’s life in this country. “Bitch you lying you say we aint hanging from a tree. Frederick Carter Greenwood, [...]

  26. [...] editorial board also chose to posthumously bestow the Game Changers honor on Trayvon Martin. His mother, Sybrina Fulton, and father, Tracy Martin were present to accept the [...]

  27. lorraine

    what was the name of the little boy who was shot in nyc where the cops were looking for a black male about 30 years old. the shooter's defense was "all I could see was the color of his skin". And of curse he was found justified. that was in the late 60's or early 70's

  28. [...] Trayvon Martin and 7 other black men who should be alive today [...]

  29. [...] come home in a body bag because of some officer’s “mistake”. (See here, here and here for some bone-chilling examples of why having beautiful, chocolate and caramel skin has become a [...]

  30. [...] come home in a body bag because of some officer’s “mistake”. (See here, here and here for some bone-chilling examples of why having beautiful, chocolate and caramel skin has become a [...]

  31. [...] disregard for a black male’s life. Trayvon Martin’s death is simply indicative of a cavalier indifference to an African-American male occupancy. Relative to other demographic groups, black males seem to be recognized as [...]

  32. Robert Roberts

    I just have one comment:


  33. Nate Higgers

    “This verdict means that Whites can now get away with killing our black children.”
    NEWSFLASH! We’ve been doing it for centuries already! This verdict only sets a new precedent in which we able to get away with it even more.
    Step 1, verdict.
    Step 2, the apes riot.
    Step 3: Whites, already armed to the teeth once the kenyan took office, Stand Their Ground.
    Step 4: All out race war!
    Step 5: America is finally cleansed of it’s n1gger cancer infestation, and everyone lives happily ever after. Well… except for the chimps of course, you’ll all be in mass graves that we p!ss on daily, to remind us why to never involve ourselves with you subhuman apes anymore, ever.

    • Rob Randall

      When will all you ignorant mfs die? You are a coward and probably uneducated. You are a disgrace to your own race. You are what’s bad about this country! Hope you rot in hell! You racism bastard. Your mother should have aborted you!

  34. Nig Haven

    Hey, I’ve got an idea! How about we make a list of the thousands upon thousands of white folks that are killed by blacks? Oh, wait…that would be r-a-y-y-y-y-y-c-i-s-s-s. You yard-apes can ook and eek about ‘jussiss’ all you want, but one day all will be revealed, and there will be HOLY HELL to pay.

    • Singledigit

      I’m wondering how many black people read this ignorant and inflammatory post and exclaim “that’s how white people are!”

      But do you ascribe the worst of the black race to all blacks? Of course not. As well you shouldn’t.

      Ignorance and hate like the above post should be left to the person who wrote it. Not to an entire race.

      • Nig Haven

        Reality is a hell of a thing, sometimes. Turning a blind eye to the suffering of your own people is what’s really ignorant.These are not just nameless faceless statistics. These are our mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, our loved ones, our people, GOD’S PEOPLE! They are being robbed, raped, beaten and killed EVERY DAY, but nobody says a damn thing about it, for fear of being called a r-a-y-y-y-y-c-i-s-s-s-s. WE’VE HAD ENOUGH!

        “The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.” – Winston Churchill

    • Rob Randall

      White people kill white people. Black people don’t go in white neighborhoods looking to kill white people. We would be in jail before we knew what happened any black male between the ages of 8 to 80 and 4′ 10 to 6’10 inches tall would a suspect.

  35. [...] of our humanity. And when we buy into it, seduced into sleepiness by a few calm years between heinous hate crimes, we give our collective power [...]

  36. […] of all charges and walks free today. This surely is not the first time this has happened. There are multiple accounts of this in recent […]

  37. […] Racial profiling still exists. Snap assumptions based on race happen all the time. Trayvon Martin and Mark Duggan are only two examples of it. […]

  38. Rob Randall

    If people would read we African Americans aren’t making this up, it’s like hunting season on black men and boys! Black people aren’t looking for racism it’s almost always there.We want to be able to raise our children like any other race. Not worry if our children go to the store the next we see them it’s in a body bag

  39. Rob Randall

    If these children were white, the nation would be going nuts, Congress changing/making new laws against this lawlessness. Why does it matter to the majority what color a child is? A child is a child. Then it’s the notion that we “had to be doing something wrong” just because we’re black.

  40. Rob Randall

    White mothers and father’s look at or think about it being one of your children and how you would feel if it were your child/children. I would be posting similar things if we were talking about any other race of children as well! But fall on deaf ears when it’s black children.

  41. I visit every day a few blogs and sites to read articles or reviews, however this
    website provides quality based writing.

  42. sparkle

    The crimes that had to do with the police officers i think the people knew that the cops were guilty but they won’t arrest or charge a so called hero.


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