Episode 2 of Rest In Power: The Trayvon Martin Story included new and rarely-divulged information about several facts related to the aftermath that followed the murder of the Florida teen in February of 2012.
Here are 6 things we learned more about after tuning in.
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1. The city of Sanford, Florida, where George Zimmerman murdered Trayvon Martin, has an ugly history of racial unrest.
In episode 2, we saw several cast members speak in detail about the now-defunct town of Goldsboro, FL. Goldsboro was a predominantly-Black town near Sanford where African-American families were able to thrive and establish a sense of stability during the segregation era. The town was eventually shut down by the Sanford mayor in 1911 to make room for the expansion of neighboring Sanford— a white town where armed KKK members were known to antagonize Black residents during the early days of the segregation era. Among the notable public figures linked to Goldsboro were famed author, Zora Neale Hurston, and professional baseball player, Jackie Robinson.
2. George Zimmerman was permitted to walk around the Sanford Police Department uncuffed and without escort immediately after being questioned about murdering Trayvon Martin.
Rarely-seen footage in episode 2 showed the self-proclaimed neighborhood watchdog walking up the stairs inside the Sanford Police Department unattended. As noted during the episode, this footage further supported suspicions that Zimmerman was given preferential treatment by members of the Sanford Police Department while the investigation into Trayvon’s murder was still ongoing.
3. Under Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, police officers can potentially be held personally liable if they arrest someone who claimed self-defense under the provisions of the law.
Several cast members who appeared in episode 2 spoke on knowledge of police officers feeling a sense of obligation to uphold the Stand Your Ground Law whenever possible, fearing liability consequences that supposedly come along with prosecuting someone whose claims of self-defense under Stand Your Ground hold up in court.
4. Rachel Jeantel, who was on the phone with Trayvon when Zimmerman started following him, heard the beginning of his conversation with George Zimmerman.
Recounting her telephone conversation with Trayvon as the last person who spoke to him alive, Rachel elaborated on the beginning of Trayvon’s verbal exchange with Zimmerman as she heard it. Rachel said she heard Trayvon ask Zimmerman, “Why are you following me?” To which she says Zimmerman replied, “What are you doing around here?” She said the call went dead shortly after.
5. A White college student created the first petition calling for George Zimmerman’s arrest.
It was white Howard Unversity Law student, Kevin Cunningham, who created the first Change.org petition calling for George Zimmerman’s arrest. “They only race I believe in is the human race,” Cunningham told MSNBC in 2012 after the petition gained over 2 million signatures.
6. Conservative news outlets accused Trayvon of buying skittles and iced tea to make the recreational drug known as “lean.”
The Arizona Iced Tea and skittles Trayvon purchased from a nearby 711 just minutes before George Zimmerman began following him home became key symbols in telling his story and calling for justice. In addition to George Zimmerman claiming that Trayvon looked suspicious as reasoning for his decision to unlawfully follow him home, episode 2 of the docuseries included clips of conservative news outlets attempting to vilify Trayvon following his murder by suggesting that he was purchasing the iced tea and skittles to make lean.
—Episode 3 of Rest In Power: The Trayvon Martin Story airs Monday, August 13 on the Paramount Network.
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