FORT PIERCE, Fla. — Emotions ran high on the corner of Avenue D and 15th Street Wednesday night as a crowd of close to 100 gathered to voice demands for justice in the highly publicized Sanford shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin by a community watch volunteer.
Fort Pierce resident Linda Norman, 60, brought flowers and a teddy bear that donned a hoodie to honor the late seventeen-year-old.
"It's not a black and white thing. It's a right and wrong thing," Norman said. "I cry every time I see him. It's very emotional."
The protest was organized by the NAACP of St. Lucie County.
"It's a violation of rights. Period," said Fort Pierce resident Ernestine Hendley, 41, who held a sign that read, "We are all the mother of Trayvon."
"It's time for us to take a stand. We want justice for Trayvon," said Roosevelt Salter, 57, of Fort Pierce, who attended with his friend, Leon Hall, 58, also of Fort Pierce.
Salter hoped the wave of protests that swept the nation in recent weeks would bring the details of the case to light.
"We don't know exactly what happened. We know what we are reading in the newspaper," said Salter of the Feb. 26 killing. "We also know it doesn't sound right."
Salter and Hall, who are both fathers, said the shooting hit close to home.
"It could have happened here. It could have been one of our kids," Hall said. "It's sad because I see his parents and they lost a child."
The organization's president, Eddie Whitfield, said he hoped the event educated the public about the hotly debated handling of the controversial case by police and government. "It's a terrible tragedy. It was definitely a violation of justice," Whitfield said. "I want to see a thorough investigation and I want to see justice."
"I pray to God that it doesn't happen here, but it could happen in any community," Whitfield added. "Parents need to talk to their kids about it."
Fort Pierce City Commissioner Reginald B. Sessions called for the elimination of Florida's "stand your ground" law. Sanford police cited the self-defense law as a reason for not arresting Martin's shooter, George Zimmerman, 28.
"Stand your ground law must be eradicated," said Sessions, who urged community members to contact their state representatives and senators. "It gives an individual a license to hunt a man down and shoot him in cold blood when it's not justified."