Can Social Media Bring Justice for Trayvon Martin?

Mashable

The Department of Justice and the FBI opened an investigation into the murder of Florida teen Trayvon Martin on Monday, after a month of fierce online petitioning on Twitter, Facebook and Change.org.

The case was sent to a grand jury by the Florida state attorney general Tuesday.

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Trayvon, 17, was shot dead by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman when Trayvon was walking through his gated Sanford, Fl. community on Feb. 26, carrying a cellphone, a bag of Skittles and an iced tea. Trayvon was unarmed.

Zimmerman says he was acting in self defense. He has not been charged with any crime and the local police department has refused to arrest him.

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Throughout the past month, "Zimmerman," "Trayvon Martin," "#Justice4Trayvon" and other related topics have trended on Twitter as social media users demand justice in what they have called a racially-motivated crime.

Twitter campaign #STOPZIMMERMAN draws attention to "license to murder" or "stand your ground" laws in various states, which makes those acting in "self-defense" immune to arrest.

More than 500,000 people have signed a Change.org petition that was started by Trevon's parents Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton. The petition calls for Zimmerman's arrest.

Celebrities such as director Spike Lee and musician Wyclef Jean have retweeted the petition, contributing to its spread across the social web.

Actor/director Blair Underwood, among other celebrities, posted on Facebook that "it's only the public pressure that has forced the hand of law enforcement officials."

On Friday, the recording of the 911 call Zimmerman made to a police dispatcher was released to the public. You can read in the transcript of the call that the police instructed Zimmerman not to follow Trayvon through the neighborhood.

Do you think social media is having any impact on the case? Sound off in the comments.

This story originally published on Mashable here.

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