George Zimmerman trial begins Monday

By Christina Vazquez, Reporter, cvazquez@wplg.com
Published On: Jun 09 2013 11:00:00 PM EDT
Updated On: Jun 10 2013 07:16:54 AM EDT

The trial for George Zimmerman, charged in the shooting death of teen Travyon Martin, is just hours away.

SANFORD, Fla. -

Jury selection in the trial for George Zimmerman, charged in the shooting death of teen Travyon Martin, begins Monday.

VIEW: George Zimmerman trial section

The racially-charged case is drawing widespread media attention.

A handful of protestors stood outside the courthouse Sunday afternoon, chanting slogans that are spreading across social media. It was a glimpse of what is expected on Monday.

The flyers they distributed urge demonstrators to arrive at the courthouse at 9am for what they are calling "National Hoodie Day" in tribute to the late teen.

Daryl Parks is one of the attorneys representing the Martin family. On Sunday in Sanford, he told Local 10's Christina Vazquez that for them, this is more than a criminal case, it's a civil rights issue.

"The civil rights part is when they refused to give Trayvon justice," said Parks.

Trayvon's parents led a nationwide call for action in the absence of an arrest in the days and weeks after his death.

Civil rights leaders like Al Sharpton joined the ranks culminating in a powerful protest in Sanford.

"I will never forget that day," said Parks. "The energy, the emotion that you saw there, it was a group of people crying out that has seen so much injustice."

Zimmerman would be arrested 44 days after the shooting. In that time, the deafening cry for an arrest morphed into a national movement, the case becoming a symbol for perceived racial injustice.

The racial undertones are attracting worldwide attention to this trial. Shortly after arriving to Sanford, Local 10's Christina Vazquez caught up with Paul Hunter who is the Washington, D.C.-based correspondent for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).

"There's a keen interest in this story because it puts a spotlight on an issue that America has struggled with, which is race," said Hunter.

"I think it would be difficult for any potential juror to not to have to think about all the racial implications," said University of Miami Associate Law Professor Mary Anne Franks. "This might very well become a lighting rod for racial tensions in this country."

"America is a country that's terrific at putting the spotlight on itself," said Hunter, "and examining its own issues and here was go."

Local 10's Christina Vazquez will be covering the trial from gavel to gavel. WPLG Local 10 has reserved a seat inside the courtroom.

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