Iowans will be watching this week as a Florida man stands trial for killing an unarmed teenager. George Zimmerman claims he shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in self-defense. Prosecutors argue it was racially profiled murder. Tomorrow, a jury of six women and four alternates are expected to hear opening statements in the case.
“Very intently, I’ll be watching it,” says Des Moines lawmaker and activist Ako Abdul-Samad.
Martin’s death prompted communities into action. Abdul-Samad say events like Saturday`s peace rally at the State Capitol are the result.
“Everybody knew that he was following him in part just because he was black,” says Des Moines civil rights attorney Tom Newkirk.
The issue of race makes this case more complicated.
“Whether it`s Iowa or Florida, the African-American`s race is always on trial. It is important to try and help the jury understand that they can have biases in favor of a non-African-American and against an African-American just as easily as the person who pulled the trigger,” says Newkirk.