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Trayvon Martin was an American teenager killed by George Zimmerman on February 26, 2012, sparking national controversy.
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Trayvon Martin was born in Florida on February 5, 1995. Martin had no criminal record when he was shot and killed by neighborhood watch member George Zimmerman on February 26, 2012, in Sanford, Florida. Zimmerman's arrest sparked a national debate over racial profiling and the role of armed neighborhood watch members in law enforcement. On July 13, 2013, a jury acquitted Zimmerman of murder.
Trayvon Benjamin Martin was born in Florida on February 5, 1995. His parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, divorced four years later. Trayvon Martin attended public schools in Florida, including the Dr. Michael M. Krop High School in Miami Gardens.
Martin struggled with disciplinary issues during his high school years. He was suspended three times during his junior year, for tardiness, possession of drug paraphernalia and vandalism. A police search of Martin's bag following one of these infractions yielded several pieces of women's jewelry that may have been stolen. Despite these infractions, Martin was never charged with a crime and had no juvenile record.
In late February 2012, Martin spent his third high school suspension visiting his father and his father's fiancée, Brandy Green, at Green's home in a gated community, The Retreat at Twin Lakes in Sanford, Florida.
Incidents of criminal activity at Twin Lakes were frequent. In response to a rash of robberies and burglaries, the residents of the community established a neighborhood watch in September 2011. George Zimmerman, one of the residents, was selected as the program coordinator. Zimmerman regularly patrolled the streets and was licensed to carry a firearm. In February 2012, during the time of Martin's stay, Zimmerman reported a young man peering into windows, possibly with the intention of burglarizing local homes.
On the evening of February 26, Zimmerman encountered Martin, who had left the house to purchase Skittles and iced tea. Zimmerman called the Police Department at 7:09 PM to report a suspicious person, Martin, walking between homes. The police dispatcher instructed Zimmerman not to follow Martin, and Zimmerman agreed.
After Zimmerman hung up the phone, he and Martin engaged in a physical fight. According to Zimmerman, Martin approached and punched him in the face, initiating the conflict that followed. The confrontation ended with Zimmerman shooting the unarmed teenager in the chest. Martin died less than a hundred yards from the door of the townhouse in which he was staying.
An officer arrived on the scene at 7:17 p.m. He found Martin dead and Zimmerman on the ground, bleeding from multiple wounds to the head and face. The officer then took Zimmerman into custody. Martin's father learned of his son's death after filing a missing persons report with the Miami-Dade Police Department. The case became a national story, with Zimmerman's critics alleging that racial antipathies may have motivated his actions.
Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder on April 11, 2012. The trial began on June 24, 2013, following the selection of an all-female jury. The following month, on July 13, 2013, the jury acquitted Zimmerman of murder, triggering mostly peaceful protests in several American cities.
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