Hoodie-wearing California lawmakers call for justice for slain teen Trayvon Martin

Lawmakers wear hoodies in support of slain teen Trayvon Martin, March 29, 2012.
Lawmakers wear hoodies in support of slain teen Trayvon Martin, March 29, 2012.
Julie Small/KPCC

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At the state capitol on Thursday, dozens of lawmakers donned hoodies to demand justice for the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

Just over a month ago in Florida, a neighborhood watch volunteer shot and killed the African-American teen as he walked home from a store carrying a bag of Skittles and a bottle of iced tea. Police have not arrested the shooter, but California lawmakers say they should.

A handful of state senators slipped grey cotton hoodies over their suits as they closed session. The black lettering across their backs: “In memory of Trayvon Martin.”

Martin was wearing a hoodie when George Zimmerman spotted him and called 911 to report a suspicious person.

"God forbid that in the United States that wearing a hoodie makes you guilty of a crime subject to the death penalty," said Senator Roderick Wright of Los Angeles at a press conference after the protest.

Wright later told reporters that Zimmerman’s call to the 911 dispatcher justified a full investigation into Martin’s killing.

"Everything that happened subsequent to his 911 call when he was asked not to follow Trayvon Martin becomes his fault in my view," said Wright, "because he initiated the contact."

Police have said Zimmerman claimed he shot Martin in self-defense after the teenager broke his nose with a punch, and then pounded his head against the ground.

Dozens of lawmakers from California’s black, Latino and Asian/Pacific Islander caucuses, as well as the leaders of both houses, joined the protest.

South Bay Assemblyman Warren Furutani said the shooter of an unarmed man should be arrested, charged and tried.

"I know there’s much discussion, there’s back and forth, there’s tweeting, there’s all kinds of comments being made in the press," said Furutani. "This should not be done in the press, this should be done in a court of law."

State and federal officials are still investigating the shooting.