Former NAACP leader C.L. Bryant is accusing activists Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton of “exploiting” the shooting of Florida teen Trayvon Martin, fearing that this will “racially divide this country.” Rev. Bryant said in an interview with The Daily Caller, “His family should be outraged at the fact that they’re using this child as the bait to inflame racial passions.”

The parents of the teenaged Trayvon have appeared numerous times on television and in public rallies calling for justice following the controversial incident on February 26 in which a neighbourhood watch captain in Sanborn FL allegedly shot to death their 17-year-old son in a fatal altercation.

Rev. Bryant was once a NAACP chapter president in Garland TX and has called out Jackson and Sharpton as “race hustlers” for “acting as though they are buzzards circling the carcass of this young boy.” Jackson, who was once an associate of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr, said recently that Trayvon’s death shows that American “blacks are under attack” and that “targeting, arresting, convicting blacks and ultimately killing us is big business.”  Rev. Bryant, however, who has made a film called “Runaway Slave,” said Jackson and Sharpton are misleading Americans that there is an epidemic of “white men killing black young men.”  Said the outspoken minister, “The epidemic is truly black on black crime...“The greatest danger to the lives of young black men are young black men.”

Former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, a frequent critic of President Obama and the Democratic party, said of the Trayvon Martin case, that the swirling rhetoric concerning the case “creates an even more tense situation out of this very tragic incident. We need a complete investigation and all the facts, not a premature ‘War of Words.”

(Dr. Martin L. King Jr and niece, Dr Alveda King)

For her part, commentator Deneen Borelli said that Rev.  Martin Luther King, Jr. would not “condone” the way some activists have handled the Trayvon Martin shooting. “He [King] would never condone what Spike Lee has done, who tweeted Zimmerman’s address,” said Borelli. “He would not condone President Obama’s comments and Al Sharpton injecting himself into this situation the way that he has. This is something that Martin Luther King would absolutely not stand for.” Following an outbreak of violent threats against the alleged shooter, George Zimmerman, and massive rallies in Florida and elsewhere demanding justice in the case, President Obama spoke at the White House saying that if he had a son “he would look like Trayvon.” The Justice Department, at his direction, is now investigating the handling of the case by local police.

“Trayvon Martin's death is senseless, and we are deeply grieved that a young man's future has been aborted and hidden under a cloak of Florida's 'Stand Your Ground law,' said Dr. Alveda King, the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and daughter of slain civil rights strategist Rev. A. D. King, and his widow, Mrs. Naomi King.  Dr. King said that she is "praying for the family of young Trayvon." She also said that targetting young men for wearing 'hoodies' is tantamount to racial profiling.

George Zimmerman is now in hiding and has yet to be arrested in connection with the shooting. Florida law provides latitude for the use of deadly force in cases of self-defense. Immediately after the incident in which Trayvon died, it was alleged that the teenager was entirely innocent and armed only with a cold drink and a bag of candy. Subsequently released statements by witnesses and police suggest that Trayvon may have engaged Zimmerman in a fight, bashing the latter’s head on the pavement near the teenager’s home. It is alleged that Zimmerman killed the teen in self-defense.

Zimmerman has been variously described as ‘white’ or ‘Hispanic’. According to various reports, his father is German and his mother is Peruvian. A former resident of Virginia, Zimmerman was once an altar boy and is now married. A recording of a 911 call to local police has been offered as evidence of a racially-tinged motivation for the killing. On the recording, Zimmerman can be heard using what some believe is the word ‘coon’ – a racist epithet – to describe Trayvon, while others believe Zimmerman used the word ‘goon’ – which for some may mean ‘criminal’. Earlier this week, a long-time friend of Zimmerman appeared on television to allay any concerns that Zimmerman may have acted out of racist sentiment. Zimmerman is in hiding, even while his legal counsel knows his whereabouts, because of the many death threats he has received. In addition, the Black Panthers have offered a bounty for his arrest.



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