Memphis leaders weigh in on Trayvon Martin - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis leaders weigh in on Trayvon Martin

Trayvon Martin, FL, Teen killed by neighborhood watch volunteer, photo courtesy: Martin family. Trayvon Martin, FL, Teen killed by neighborhood watch volunteer, photo courtesy: Martin family.

(WMC-TV) - Memphis leaders are weighing in on the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, the Florida teen who was killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer who said he acted in self-defense.

"Justice is supposed to be blind," said Congressman Steve Cohen.

Cohen appeared on MSNBC Friday to discuss Martin's death.  He questioned the Florida "Stand Your Ground" law that allows anyone to use deadly force anywhere if they reasonably fear for their safety.

"It's important that citizens look out for each other, but this is a case where Trayvon Martin was not alleged by anyone to have threatened anyone," said Cohen.

In a letter to the United States Attorney General, Cohen and other members of Congress questioned the motive in this case, writing, "We encourage the department to review whether the shooting death of Trayvon Martin qualifies as a hate crime."

"And it may be determined that it's not a hate crime, but just a crime committed by a psycho," said Cohen.

Randy Wade, Cohen's deputy director, is seen on his Facebook page wearing a hoodie to support Martin, who wore a hoodie the night he was killed.

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton also spoke out about the gun law and his personal experience with racial profiling.

"As a father of a son who was stopped once because he was driving my car and had his little girlfriend with him," said Wharton.

"There's always been such an offense as driving while black, that's racial profiling," said Cohen.

A vigil is scheduled in Memphis for Martin outside the National Civil Rights Museum Monday, where shirts reading "I am Trayvon Martin" will be worn.

"Any time there is a threat to due process, equal protection, to any type of fairness that's guaranteed and should be guaranteed by our Constitution, I'm offended," said Cohen.

Both Cohen and Wharton are calling for a review of the Tennessee state law that allows the use of deadly force outside a home or business.

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