$10 000 offered for US black teen's killer

2012-03-24 22:46
Sanford - A black political group offered a $10 000 reward on Saturday for the killer of an African-American teenager, amid a nationwide uproar which has prompted a rethink of America's race issues.

The New Black Panther Party displayed a wanted poster on its website with a picture of George Zimmerman, the neighbourhood watch volunteer who shot Trayvon Martin, 17, last month.

"WANTED!!! For the murder of Trayvon Martin... ALIVE, not dead or harmed," the poster read.

Several dozen supporters of the group known by its acronym NBPP - unrelated to the revolutionary Black Panther Party active in the 1960s-1980s - meanwhile protested for the third time this week at the police headquarters in Sanford, Florida.

"An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth," leader Mikhail Muhammad told the Orlando Sentinel. "We don't hate anyone, we hate injustice."

Activists had called for the mobilisation of 5 000 black men to capture Zimmerman. And Muhammad said the NBPP was receiving donations from black entertainers and athletes, with a goal to collect $1m by next week.

Thousands of demonstrators have marched in at least 10 US cities to express their outrage over the attack, with some of the anger directed at local authorities handling the murder investigation.

Not racist

They have not arrested or charged Zimmerman because he claimed self-defence, which allowed him to benefit from Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law that lets state residents use lethal force when they are at risk of being killed or seriously injured by an assailant.

Zimmerman had a permit to carry a gun.

And Sanford police told AFP they were ignoring the NBPP's call to capture Zimmerman, a white Hispanic.

Despite the racially charged nature of the case, Zimmerman's lawyer insisted his client was not racist.

"I asked him, 'Are you a racist? Do you have anything against black people?' and he said 'No’," Zimmerman's legal adviser Craig Sonner told CNN on Friday. "I don't see anything that indicates to me that he's a racist."

Sonner said Zimmerman and his wife acted as mentors to two teenage African Americans, even after funding was cut for the programme.

They have also helped at a fundraiser for an African-American church, according to the lawyer.

President Barack Obama has called for nationwide "soul searching" in the wake of the tragedy.
Read more on:    george zimmerman  |  trayvon martin  |  us  |  racism

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