SANFORD, Fla. – A town hall meeting called by the NAACP on behalf of Trayvon Martin, the slain 17-year-old, filled the Allan Chapel AME Church to capacity, leaving nearly 300 local residents outside straining to listen to a loud speaker broadcasting the meeting.
Inside Allan Chapel AME, NAACP Executive Director Ben Jealous said, “I am here tonight because Sanford has a problem; one time is too many times.” Jealous went on to say, “I stand here as a son, father, uncle, who is tired of being scared for our boys, I’m tired of telling our young men how they can’t dress, where they can’t go and how they can’t behave.”
Echoing the demands of the residents inside and outside of the church, Ben Jealous called for the removal of Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee for the mishandling of the case and not arresting shooter George Zimmerman.
Turner Clayton Jr., a local NAACP leader, said, “This is just the beginning of what is taking place,” and added, “We’re going to make sure justice prevails.” Clayton continued, telling the crowd that the Justice Department should take over the Sanford Police Department.
The demonstrators outside, many of whom could not hear the loud speaker broadcast, chanted slogans like “Arrest Zimmerman” and “We are Trayvon Martin.”
With the sun going down and many people becoming restless from not hearing any news from inside, the crowd decided to march to the Sanford Police Department – about five blocks east of the church. The chanting continued during the march and for about 45 minutes outside the police station. Many volunteers, who appeared to just emerge from the crowd, made sure that the roadway was kept clear and that things remained peaceful.
Photo: Joshua Leclair/PW