Cher - Celebrities Call For Arrest In Teen Shooting Controversy
Cher, John Legend, Mia Farrow and Wyclef Jean are among the celebrities who are calling for police to arrest a Florida man accused of fatally shooting an unarmed black teenager last month (Feb12).
Trayvon Martin, 17, was shot to death in a gated community on 26 February (12) after self-proclaimed "neighbourhood watch captain" George Zimmerman alerted cops to his "suspicious" behaviour.
During the 911 call, he told the police dispatcher Martin, who was carrying an iced tea drink and a pack of Skittles candy, was "just walking around looking about". He began to pursue the boy against the explicit instructions of the officer and allegedly gunned him down.
Zimmerman has not been charged with any crime.
A host of stars have been campaigning for justice on Twitter.com and have thrown their support behind an online petition on Change.org, created by Martin's devastated parents, demanding action from authorities.
Pop superstar Cher writes, "We Must Not Forget Travor Marti (sic)! This Beautiful Young man was Murdered In Fla. (Florida) & his killer was Set Free without even a drug test! Shame. !"
Legend adds, "we're p**sed because no one should get killed with Impunity because they 'look suspicious' (are black with a hoodie). murder is illegal. If you get caught you go to prison. This is egregious because the guy is comfortably sitting at home".
Meanwhile, actress and humanitarian Farrow has expressed her fears for the safety of one of her adopted sons just because of his skin colour.
She tweets, "My 20 year old son is African American.He sometimes wears a hoodie and he loves Skittles. #justice4trayvon"
Director Spike Lee, rap mogul Russell Simmons, rapper Talib Kweli and actresses Gabrielle Union and Alyssa Milano have also been tweeting about the shooting and have urged their fans to join the more than 435,000 people who have already signed the Change.org petition, demanding the arrest of Zimmerman.
The public outrage at Martin's murder prompted officials at the FBI and the Justice Department to launch an investigation into the shooting on Monday (19Mar12), while Florida State Attorney Norm Wolfinger announced on Tuesday (20Mar12) that the case will be heard by a grand jury.