Trayvon Martin's Death Takes Toll on Family
George E. Curry | 3/22/2012, 4:41 p.m.
Sanford, Fla. has a checkered race relations record.
In 2005, two parking lot security guards, one the son of a Sanford police officer, fatally shot a black teenager, Travares McGill, in the back. They, too, claimed self-defense and had their case dismissed in court.
Last year, Police Chief Brian Tooley was forced from office after the son of a lieutenant was caught on camera beating a defenseless homeless black man. The department refused to prosecute the officer, Justin Collison, until after the footage was
Tracy Martin told Roland Martin that his son saved his life in 2004.
"At the time, he was 9 years old," the father recounted. "We had just came from the Little League football park. We fell asleep while the stove was on. A grease fire started. I went into the kitchen to try to put the grease fire out. The grease splattered all over my leg. My body went into shock and by me and him being in the house, I started calling out his name.
"He finally woke up and, at 9 years old, he pulled me from out of the kitchen, where the kitchen cabinets were on fire. He pulled me out of the kitchen onto the balcony. He actually went back into the house and got the cell phone and called 911."
An emotional Tracy Martin said, "He was my hero - he was actually my best friend. He saved my life. And for me not to be there to be able to save his life is very upsetting."
George E. Curry, former editor-in-chief of Emerge magazine and the NNPA News Service, is editorial director of Heart & Soul magazine. He is a keynote speaker, moderator, and media coach