Posted 10:25 PM 4/16/2012 : Trayvon Martin: Could it happen here?
TUCSON - Could the Trayvon Martin tragedy happen here? That was the question at the Dunbar Culture Center. "That very same thing could happen in our community with individuals that carry that same mentality," said Kristian Salter, attorney.
Since Zimmerman, the man charged with killing Trayvon, was a neighborhood watch volunteer, one audience member wanted to know if Tucson Police had a neighborhood watch program in place and what kind of training do they receive. The Tucson Police chief says it is not an organized program like it used to be due to budget cuts, but they certainly give concerned citizens guidance. "And we would never talk about confronting anyone. We would talk about just observing and reporting," said Roberto Villasenor, Tucson Police chief.
The panel discussed racial profiling as well. Villasenor stands behind his officers, but admits there can always be problems. "The police department represents the entire community, so we're not immune to that either. But what I will tell you when it's brought to our attention, when it's brought forward we will investigate it, we will take the appropriate action to deal with it."
The prosecutor explained that here in Arizona, if you're the aggressor, you do not get to claim Stand Your Ground law. So for argument's sake if George Zimmerman was the aggressor, and something like that happened in Arizona, he could not use the Stand Your Ground defense.
Rev. Elwood McDowell wanted to define at least 3 goals or strategies to use in combating this issue. That didn't happen. But NAACP leaders say it will in the next forum, which should take place within 30 days.
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