Reported By: Britt L
The shooting death of an unarmed white South Carolina Marley Lion teen has drawn comparisons on the Internet to the slaying of unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin after a Charleston woman made a comparison with a photo to highlight Marley’s case.
James Island, South Carolina resident Lizz O’neil said she used the comparison photo to highlight what she called the senseless killings of youth and that she was not viewing Lion’s alleged slaying at the hands of three black men as a racially motivated crime.
“I wanted to make the point that lives are lost every day. Some are nationally recognized and some never make it past the local news,” O’Neill told the Charleston Post and Courier. “Every life, in my opinion, deserves the same recognition despite race or circumstances.”
Last Saturday, 29-year-0ld community watchman George Zimmerman was acquitted of murder and manslaughter charges in regards to the February 26 2012 slaying of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida. A six woman jury decided Zimmerman acted on self defense in a scuffle between Zimmerman and Trayvon.
There wasn’t enough sufficient evidence to prove otherwise.
The 17-year-old white male, Marley Lion, was gunned down less than four months after Trayvon. Marley was shot in June 2012 after calling police to inform them that two black men shot him five times. At trial, four black men were charged with murder.
Another Black male was charged, only this time he allegedly tried to rob Lion, not shoot him.
After Lion made way to his car, he turned on the car alarm to deter his attackers before he was shot.
Many Twitter Titans believed that O’neil’s photo, with Trayvon’s picture at the top and Lion’s at the bottom, was a way for O’neil to claim Marley Lion’s case wasn’t getting national coverage because he was white.
On Martin’s photo O’Neil wrote, “This story made national news and was recognized by the president and countless celebrities.” By Lion’s photo, she wrote, “This story never made it past the local news.”
Under the photos, she posed the question, “You tell me….What is the difference?”
O’neil claims that she was not implying race was the actual difference in the two heart riveting tragedies.
“The reason why I chose Marley in particular was not because he was a white boy killed by a black man, as so many are trying to make it seem. I used his story because it hits close to home,” she said in the city paper interview.
The NAACP accused Zimmerman of profiling Martin because of his race and hoodie he was sporting the night he was killed. Similar allegations of racist behavior haven’t been leveled against the men accused of killing Lion June 2012.
Rev. Joseph Darby, the first vice president of the Charleston NAACP chapter, talks about the similarities and differences between the two teenage deaths. Darby did not attribute race for putting Martin’s death in a large spotlight, while Marley’s death was not.
“The distinction was the failure of the Stanford, Florida police department to charge Zimmerman with a crime in a timely manner,” said the reverend.
“On the one hand, they were two young men who were minding their own business when it occurred,” Darby said, according to the Charleston City Paper. “On the other hand, I think the problem in the Trayvon case is that the aftermath was different. In the case of Marley Lion, there was an immediate search for the killer, fairly rapid apprehension, rapid action. With Trayvon Martin … the police were aware of the killing, but there was no charge until there was national pressure. I think the reason the Trayvon Martin case made national news was the level of inaction in Florida.”
Charleston’s NAACP current president Dott Scott made a statement in comparison to reverend Darby’s stating:
“One thing we need to be clear on: I applaud how things were handled with Lion’s case, because here was a young man, fresh out of high school, bothering no one, taking a rest in his own car, and he had someone take his life away from him. [Police] did what they should have done,” she said. “The only thing we’re saying is it doesn’t happen the same way with the life of a black child. That’s where the disparity is, and the fact that it took so long to even bring Zimmerman to the due process of the justice system, and to have the verdict that it did… We feel like that would not have been the same verdict if race wasn’t an issue.”
O’Neil told the Charleston paper that she never intended for the photo to surface the nation the way it has. We must also remember that in the case of Trayvon Martin, no one was convicted. In this other case, all of the men are expected to serve time in jail. Maybe that is part of the difference also.