Seattle marchers call for justice in Trayvon Martin death


by TONYA MOSLEY / KING 5 News and KING 5 News Staff

Posted on March 25, 2012 at 11:36 AM

Updated Monday, Mar 26 at 8:34 AM

SEATTLE -- More than a thousand people marched in central Seattle Sunday -- one of many marches around the nation calling for justice in the death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin, who was killed last month by a neighbor claiming self defense.

George Zimmerman is the neighborhood watch volunteer accused of shooting and killing Martin in Sanford, Florida.  Zimmerman told police he confronted Martin because he looked suspicious.

Marchers gathered at Seattle's Greater Mount Baker Baptist Church and walked eight blocks to MLK Park. Many wore hoodies or held signs and chanted "Justice for Trayvon Martin."

Martin was walking from the store and wore a hoodie when the incident occured.

Trayvon's cousin, Cederic President-Turner, lives in Tacoma and was at Sunday's rally. He said Trayvon's mother asked him to deliver this message.

"For African Americans as myself, we should not be able to walk down the street and live in fear of police officers harassing us or a watchman thinking he has the authority to kills us just because we look suspicious," said President-Turner. "That is one thing I'm not going to stand for and we should not stand for - period."

Earlier Sunday, Pastor Kenneth Ransfer preached to a packed congregation at the Greater Mount Baker Baptist Church in a hoodie, in memory of Martin.

"A family lost a son, a mother has lost a child," said Ransfer. "We're behind them, even way here in Seattle, Washington. We're behind this family and we want justice."

The incident resonates deeply with the church's congregation.

"When I first heard of it, I did think of myself," said Kyle Williams, 17.

Both Williams and his brother, Darius, believe Martin's death was racially motivated. Many people are wondering one month after his death why there hasn't been an arrest.

The case has sparked nationwide attention and prompted several "hoodie marches" across the country. In Portland, members of the community gathered at Peninsula Park Saturday to show support for Martin's family. Many participants wore hoodies.

“I feel like there’s a certain judgment that comes with your hoodie, your skin color,” said Midge Purcell, a member of the Urban League of Portland. She said she lives in fear every time her 21-year-old son leave the house.

"If you escalate a conversation, it could have deadly consequences," he has had to explain to him.

Meanwhile, Zimmerman claims he acted in self-defense.

"George Zimmerman suffered a broken nose, grass stains on the back of his shirt... and he was acting in self-defense," said Craig Sonner, Zimmerman's attorney.

A neighbor tells Dateline she saw Zimmerman straddling the teen after the shooting, with Zimmerman pressing his hands on Martin's back.

Dateline's Lester Holt will have more on the shooting of Trayvon Martin and the community's demand for justise on Dateline Sunday at 7 p.m. on KING 5.

KING 5's Tonya Mosley and contributed to this report.