Lawmakers wear hoodies to protest shooting

March 29, 2012 7:01:08 PM PDT
California Democratic lawmakers Thursday staged their own protest over the shooting death of a black Florida teenager by a neighborhood watchman. They wore hoodies during a legislative session. The California event follows Wednesday's action by Illinois Rep. Bobby Rush, who wore a hoodie on the House floor, calling for justice for Trayvon Martin.

"If I, Sen. Wright, am wearing a hoodie, I could be Trayvon Martin," St. Sen. Rod Wright, D-Inglewood, said.

Led by Wright, members from the Black, Latino and Asian caucuses are the latest lawmakers to don hoodies to protest last month's killing of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin by a neighborhood watch volunteer.

Normally, hats are prohibited, but Democratic leaders allowed it.

"Some people say why are you doing this? The Senate Floor? We are leaders and we must always demonstrate our willingness to step in somebody else's shoes and understand what it must be like," Sen. President Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, said.

Republicans didn't wear hoodies, but they joined in the sentiment of adjourning session in memory of the 17-year-old who was walking to his father's home.

"I hope we can see this as an opportunity to come together to find the truth and maybe get to the point of healing," St. Sen. Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar, said.

Sacramento's symbolic act comes as ABC News obtained police security video of the gunman, George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watchman who is claiming self-defense. Zimmerman said Martin knocked him to the ground and punched him, but the video, just hours after the incident, shows no visible sign of a struggle.

The pictures added to lawmakers' anger.

"There clearly was no bruises that were visible from the video and it did not appear he had a broken nose or required medical attention," Wright said. "Which again adds to much of the outrage that many of us feel."

While critics called the Legislature's action inappropriate because not all the facts are in, lawmakers felt it was important for Californians to talk about racism and racial profiling.

The chairman of the Latino Caucus called on Florida lawmakers to revise the self-defense law that he says allows people to kill in cold blood and walk away with no consequences. Assm. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell, says the spirit of the law should fit the letter of the law.


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