Mayor Michael Bloomberg, back from a tour of Asia, was asked at a press conference today for his thoughts on the killing of Trayvon Martin on February 26, a story that enveloped the national news over the weekend.
The killing of the unarmed teen has become a flashpoint for gun control advocates and critics of racial profiling across the country, following the Justice Department’s decision to investigate the teen’s death, which was legal under a Florida law that allows a bystander in threat of imminent danger to use deadly force. The man who shot Martin, George Zimmerman, has not been arrested.
“Your heart just has to go out to the parents,” Bloomberg said at a press conference this morning in Brooklyn. “I guess you pray for the deceased, but this really struck a nerve with a lot of people across the country. I think what you see here and we should be perfectly clear about this: The gun lobby is writing our nation’s gun laws.”
“It’s a disgrace,” Bloomberg added. “They write them in Washington, they write them in state capitals. And the result is that our children are being killed, our police officers are being killed, you and I and are families are in danger, in greater danger than we should be.”
On Wednesday, Brooklyn Councilman Jumaane Williams, an outspoken critic of the city’s stop and frisk policy, joined protesters rallied in Union Square wearing hoodies like the one Martin was wearing when he died, to protest what they said was stereotyping of young black men that may have contributed to Martin’s death. Williams laid the blame for Martin’s killing at the feet of racial stereotyping.
“It’s Trayvon Martin in Florida. It’s Ramarley Graham in the Bronx. The darker your skin, the more you look like a criminal,” he said at the rally, Gothamist reported.
But this morning, Mayor Bloomberg stuck to the topic of gun control, and did not bring up New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly’s stop-and-frisk policy, which Williams and other detractors argue disproportionately targets young men of color.
“I mean this is just the craziest thing, only in America,” Bloomberg said. “We have more guns than people, and the rest of the world is looking at us incredulously, that we’re letting people kill our citizens.”
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