"I am urging the parents of black and Latino youngsters particularly… (Richard Drew / Associated…)
Geraldo Rivera has entered the public discussion about Trayvon Martin’s death by blaming the Florida teenager's choice of dress.
“I am urging the parents of black and Latino youngsters particularly not to let their children go out wearing hoodies. I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin‘s death as much as George Zimmerman was,” the Fox News host said Friday on “Fox and Friends.”
Martin, 17, was shot and killed Feb. 26 in Sanford, Fla., by Zimmerman, a 28-year-old neighborhood watch volunteer. Zimmerman was not arrested because police said there was no evidence to contradict his claim that he fired in self-defense.
The teen’s death and the lack of arrest have sparked protests and inspired a “Million Hoodie March” Wednesday in New York. It attracted hundreds of protesters, many of them wearing hoodies.
"As long as [Zimmerman] is outside of the court system, the protests will intensify and spill over into other dimensions," the Rev. Jesse Jackson told The Times Friday.
"His lack of appearance in the court system is a source of embarrassment and humiliation. He needs to face the court," Jackson said.
Still, Rivera chose to focus on another aspect of Martin’s death that he believes could have changed the outcome.
“Trayvon Martin, God bless him, an innocent kid, a wonderful kid, a box of Skittles in his hands. He didn’t deserve to die. But I bet you money, if he didn’t have that hoodie on, that nutty neighborhood watch guy wouldn’t have responded in that violent and aggressive way," Rivera said.
Perhaps reacting to Rivera’s comments, at some point someone off camera can be heard saying, “Uh oh.”
Jackson was later reached by Politico and said he preferred not to “dignify” Rivera’s on-air comments.
“It’s a diversion from the pain of a child who should be alive,” Jackson said.
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