LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Los Angeles City Councilman Bernard C. Parks Tuesday introduced a resolution to fellow council members asking for their support of a federal investigation into the death of Trayvon Martin.
Parks, a former Los Angeles police chief, is raising concerns about the investigation of the fatal shooting of the unarmed teen in Sanford, Florida.
“There’s a lot of speculation as to whether the city and the state did an effective job,” Parks said. “There’s clear information that there is ability of the federal government to look at civil rights; we’ve seen it in the city of L.A.”
If the resolution passes, Los Angeles will become the first city to formally endorse a federal civil rights probe announced by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder earlier this month.
“Essentially we are calling for a big full-throated, complete investigation, a federal probe which, by the way, is already in the works, but it’s really supporting that call,” community activist Earl Ofari Hutchinson said.
Martin, a 17-year-old Black boy, was shot and killed on Feb. 26, 2012, in Florida by George Zimmerman, a Latino neighborhood watch volunteer. Zimmerman, who claimed he acted in self-defense, was acquitted of second degree murder and manslaughter on July 13.
The teen’s death and Zimmerman’s subsequent acquittal has prompted protests and a national discussion about whether race played a role in Martin’s murder.
“We hope that it basically sends a message that the city of L.A. believes that it’s been impacted by something 3,000 miles away, and hopes that the federal government will bring some closure to this,” Parks said.
Parks’ resolution comes as a new Pew Research Center poll, out Tuesday, suggests America is deeply divided about the verdict.
The poll surveyed 1,500 adults and found blacks expressed a clear and strong reaction to the case with 86 percent saying they were dissatisfied.
Of White participants polled, 30 percent were dissatisfied and 49 percent they were satisfied with the verdict.
Nearly 60 percent of Latinos surveyed said they were unhappy with the verdict, while 25 percent were satisfied.
When participants were asked if the issue of race was getting more attention due to the verdict, 13 percent of blacks agreed, versus 60 percent of whites and 40 percent of Latinos agreeing.