Trayvon Martin's parents are protesting the release of his confidential school records as part of George Zimmerman's murder trial.
Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton held a press conference in front of the Seminole County courthouse today ahead of a hearing in the Zimmerman case in which a judge will rule on whether Martin's school records can be included in discovery.
Martin, 17, was killed in February while serving a 10-day suspension from school for having a bag that had traces of marijuana in it. Now, Zimmerman's attorneys have requested all of his disciplinary, academic, and attendance records from his middle school and high school.
Zimmerman has claimed self-defense in the shooting and is charged with second-degree murder.
"First I'd like to say that Trayvon was the victim," Tracy Martin said today. "As human beings, our first priority shouldn't be to assassinate the character of the victims and make it seem as though they're the perpetrator."
Martin's parents appeared with attorney Benjamin Crump, who argued that Trayvon's records are irrelevant to the case since Zimmerman knew nothing of the teen's past when he shot him in February.
"George Zimmerman, for whatever reasons, profiled. He made conscious decisions to get out of his car and pursue Trayvon, who was unarmed, and shot him in the heart, and Trayvon is not here to tell us his version," Crump said. "So why is it relevant about his school records or his Facebook page? George Zimmerman knew none of that on Feb. 26, when he claimed Trayvon's life."
Crump also argued that releasing the victim's personal records could set a bad precedent for cases in the future.
"We just think it's terrible precedent to set that a dead child's records are now berated by his murderer as justification for his killing," Crump said. "This is a slippery slope."
Crump said that if the court decides Martin's school records should be included in the trial, then so should Zimmerman's confidential medical records.
In records released by prosecutors earlier this year, Zimmerman was shown to have taken medications on the night of the murder including Librax and Temazapam, which treat digestive problems, anxiety, and sleeplessness.
Zimmerman's attorney, Mark O'Mara, also released records showing that Zimmerman took Adderall, which treats attention disorders, and Omeprazole, which treats digestive problems.
"If the court sees fit to release Trayvon's confidential school records, then we demand the release of George Zimmerman's medical records. They are far more relevant as to why he shot and killed Trayvon Martin on Feb. 26," Crump said.
The Martins also touted their newly-created organization, Change for Trayvon, which aims to change Stand Your Ground laws in 32 states around the country. The law, which Zimmerman has evoked in Travyon's killing, allows individuals to shoot someone if they feel threatened without first having to try to escape the situation.
"I hope you all have not forgotten about my son because I certainly have not forgotten about him," Sybrina Martin said. "It is important to remember Trayvon was a minor. He had just turned 17 years old. He was just a kid up against a grown adult, so it's very difficult. That's the reason we have created the Change for Trayvon committee, to draft legislation that we can take to legislators so they can support us."
The Martin's released a website, ChangeforTrayvon.com, on Tuesday. They are asking for donations to help raise awareness about the law and said all contributions will go directly to elected officials, campaigns, and candidates who advocate for changes to existing legislation.
"Trayvon is dead, and there's nothing we can do to bring him back," Tracy Martin said. "I ask that mothers, daughters, sons, fathers, brothers, and uncles, I ask you to join us in our efforts in becoming ambassadors, becoming spokespersons for Change for Trayvon. We feel as though together we can make a difference."
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