Residents in the Sanford, FL community are angry after a 17-year-old black high school junior was shot and killed by a white neighborhood-watch captain more than two weeks ago.
On February 26th, Trayvon Martin was walking home from 7-Eleven when he was met by George Zimmerman, 28, the neighborhood watch captain. They ended up getting into a confrontation; ultimately leading to Trayvon’s death.
Zimmerman called police before the shooting, saying there was “someone suspicious” afoot, but the police told him not to engage.
Zimmerman told police that the incident was in self-defense.
The growing sentiment felt by Sanford residents is that not only did the police free Zimmerman, but their slow footed treatment of the investigation shows that they don’t care. If Zimmerman was not white and the teen was not black, things would be different.
The town of Sanford is known for its racist past, it was founded by laborers in the late 19th century, and Goldsboro, once an active center of black life, became the second town in Florida incorporated by blacks.
But in 1911, Sanford stripped Goldsboro of its charter and took it over. The streets, named after its black pioneers, were immediately renamed.
Ulysees Cunningham, an 80-year-old retired contractor, has lived in Sanford for most of his life and remembers the days of segregation very well.
The Sanford police also has a checkered past. Scandals involving former police chiefs, along with shootings of other black victims have garnered questions about how the Sanford police conduct their investigations.
The town of Sanford and its police department are in the national spotlight with the shooting death of Trayvon, so it’s important to know why the town is the way it is.
For instance, Sanford has a per capita income of nearly more than $20,000 a year, and barely a third of its 54,000 residents are black, according to 2010 U.S. census data.
Here are a couple other things to know about Sanford.