Trayvon Martin‘s shooting death last year in Florida sparked a number of nationwide debates surrounding racial profiling. Over the weekend, the NYPD’s controversial “stop-and-frisk” tactic was challenged by Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, who stated the practice unfairly targets people of color.
Appearing Sunday (August 18) as a guest on NBC’s Meet The Press, Ms. Fulton spoke from Arizona and was flanked by her attorney, Benjamin Crump. Host David Gregory also welcomed NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly and NAACP president Ben Jealous on the program. With stop-and-frisk ruled as unconstitutional last week, Kelly made his case for the controversial practice and stated his reasons why the city is seeking to appeal the ruling.
The commissioner also brought up the Martin case, which was mentioned in the federal ruling, and stated it was a different matter than what has occurred in New York.
“I would also submit, though, that the Trayvon Martin case is a little bit different,” said Kelly. “These are two civilians. It clearly was a tragedy but it didn’t involve sworn police officers.”
Fulton countered Kelly’s statement by mentioning proper training be administer to police officers and civilians on how to best handle these encounters.
“I think it’s all about laws, and I think you have to give not only civilians, but you have to give the police officers the right direction,” said Fulton. “You can’t give people the authority, whether a civilian or police officers, the right to just stop somebody because of the color of their skin.”
Fulton and Crump announced on the program that with the launch of the Trayvon Martin Foundation, they aim to challenge the 21 states that have current “stand your ground” laws in place and have them amended while also working with other families who have suffered because of gun violence.
Watch the full Meet The Press clip below.
[Props to Village Voice]