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new black panther party
New Black Panther Party offer reward for capture of George Zimmerman
Zimmerman said he shot Trayvon in self-defence
New Black Panther Party offer reward for his capture
Pastor disappointed with the Panthers' approach.
MEMBERS of the New Black Panther Party are offering a $9660 reward for the "capture"
of George Zimmerman, the Neighbourhood Watch volunteer who allegedly shot and
killed unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin.
Zimmerman admits he killed Martin, 17, and says it was in self-defence, citing Florida's
controversial "stand your ground" law that allows the use of lethal force in certain
circumstances. Zimmerman has not been arrested, sparking growing anger that has
spread beyond Florida.
New Black Panther leader Mikhail Muhammad announced the reward during a protest in
Sanford. And when asked whether he was inciting violence, Muhammad replied
defiantly: “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.''
The bounty announcement came moments after members of the group called for the
mobilisation of 10,000 black men to capture Zimmerman, who shot Trayvon in a gated
Sanford community on February 26.
Zimmerman has not been charged in shooting that has ignited racial tensions and raised
questions about the Sanford police's handling of the case. Martin was black, and
Zimmerman's father is white and his mother is Hispanic.
Muhammad said members of his group would search for Zimmerman themselves in
Maitland, where the 28-year old worked before the shooting.
He declined to say when the group would begin their search.
Sanford city officials issued a statement late on Saturday, condemning the group's appeal
and asking citizens to leave all arrests to the police.
The statement was sanctioned by Sanford Police Captain Robert O'Connor - one of two
captains now leading the department in the wake of Police Chief Bill Lee's temporary
"The city is requesting calm heads and no vigilante justice,'' the statement said.
"Attempts by civilians to take any person into custody may result in criminal charges or
Former Orange-Osceola County prosecutor Esther Whitehead said the Panthers' bounty
opens them up to civil and possibly criminal liability.
"I can't see how anyone can go out and take action as a private citizen without some
government action like the issuance of a warrant,'' she said. ``It doesn't make sense. It
doesn't sound reasonable.''
The New Black Panthers were in Sanford for the group's third protest in the past two
weeks over the fatal shooting of the Miami Gardens teen.
The group has consistently called for Zimmerman's arrest and threatened to find and
detain him if police were not willing to do so.
Muhammed led the small group in chanting "Justice for Trayvon!'' and "Black Power!''
"If the government won't do the job, we'll do it,'' Muhammad said.
Pastor Moses Brown of Tampa said he was disappointed with the Panthers' approach.
"We believe in a message of justice, not hate,'' said Brown, who was in town to pray at
the memorial and attend the Monday event at Sanford's Civic Centre. "We believe justice
will come through the court system.''