As preparations begin for the trial of former neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman, MoveOn.org is ready to stir racial tensions on behalf of another victim in a different swing state.
The liberal advocacy group on Saturday morning sent out a petition and plea for donations to its members, urging “Justice for Jasmine,” a black North Carolina teen apparently shot accidentally by a white man last year.
In a letter to MoveOn.org members, Treka McMillian, Jasmine Thar’s godmother, alleged that Thar’s shooter, a “23-year-old Caucasian male,” was never brought to justice for the death of the “16-year-old African American” because investigators simply did not care.
“The 23-year-old Caucasian male who fired the fatal shot from the house across the street was taken in for questioning, but he has not been charged with a crime of any kind,” she wrote to members, claiming the man also had a Confederate flag and Nazi literature in his house.
“The message being sent is that you can shoot and kill someone like Jasmine and get away with it by simply claiming it was an accident,” she wrote. “That can’t be the world we live in.”
According to The Charlotte Observer, the bullet came from inside the home of James Anthony Blackwell, who told police his Remington Model 700 fired without him touching the trigger. The Remington Model 700 has been the subject of more than 75 lawsuits, which have alleged the model is subject to discharge without the trigger being pulled.
The Observer also reported that a witness saw Blackwell run from his bungalow shouting “No! No! No!” as he fell to his knees at the time of the shooting.
The USA Today reported in 2010 that the Remington Arms Company has twice considered recalling the rifle due to the firing flaw, which has been linked to at least 24 deaths and over 100 injuries.
Remington contends that the rifle is “safe, trusted and reliable.”
The Chadbourn, NC police department brought Blackwell in for questioning but did not arrest him.
Thar’s mother on Friday held a press conference in uptown Charlotte, N.C. (the site of the 2012 Democratic National Convention) with community activists to urge prosecutors to take action against Blackwell, saying she believes the shooting was racially motivated, The Charlotte Observer reported.
The conference did not shy away from comparisons to the Trayvon Martin case in Sanford, Fla.
“It’s like déjà vu,” activist John Barnett said at the press conference, comparing the Thar investigation to the Martin case. “It’s happening all over again.”
MoveOn.org’s petition so far has 31,345 signatures, with a goal of 40,000. It reads:
“We demand justice for Jasmine Thar who was shot and killed. Three months after the shooting we still have no answers. We urge you to sign this petition to demand a lawful, thorough, and unprejudiced investigation from the SBI and sound judicial decisions from Columbus County District Attorney Jon David and ADA Chris Gentry.”
Treka McMillian and Jah-mesha McMillian were also hurt by the single bullet.
According to the Observer, the FBI’s civil rights unit is now looking into the case.