Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), speaking at a news conference convened to support Rep. John Conyers’ (D-MI) End Racial Profiling Act, said Florida teen Trayvon Martin died because of racial profiling.
“Civil rights is still the unfinished business of this nation,” Cardin said. “In Trayvon Martin’s case, the jury has spoken as to the criminal liability, but there’s no question that but for racial profiling, Trayvon Martin would be alive today. He was identified solely because of what he looked like rather than any facts related to an individual crime.”
CNS News confronted Cardin with the statement of Martin’s attorney, Daryl Parks, who said last month, “Race is not a part of this process, and anybody who tries to inject race into it is wrong. It’s profiling, yes… it’s not racial.” Cardin evaded answering directly, simply reiterating:
He [Martin] was identified by Mr. Zimmerman because of what he looked like – there was no specific information about a crime that had taken place. He was identified because he was African American, and the way that he was dressed, for scrutiny. And the confrontation never would have taken place but for racial profiling. The law enforcement handling of it was based upon race. If it had been someone else and the confrontation would have resulted in a death, there would have been a different investigation done. The investigation was done differently because of Trayvon Martin’s race. And both of those are well established, that’s racial profiling. But for racial profiling, Trayvon Martin would be alive today. But for racial profiling, the investigation would have been handled differently and we don’t know how the criminal trial would have come out, but there would have been a different commitment to the type of evidence gathering that should have been done.
Margaret Huang, executive director of Rights Working Group, echoed Cardin’s charges, asserting:
Many have asked whether racial profiling was involved in Trayvon’s case, because George Zimmerman was a neighborhood watch person, not a cop. But the answer is yes. Trayvon was first racially profiled and assumed to be up to no good by a neighborhood watch volunteer who worked with the Sanford Police… and then, after his death, he was racially profiled again by the Sanford Police Department, which quickly concluded that Trayvon was the perpetrator of a crime and that Zimmerman had acted in self defense.