Students demanding justice in the shooting death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin shut down the Sanford Police Department headquarters.
A group of students calling themselves the Dream Defenders blocked the entrance of the department’s headquarters early Monday. City officials said the protest would have “minimal effect” on police and fire officials’ response to emergency calls.
“I can honestly say that I’ll never forget this experience,” James Bland told WOFL on Sunday. “It’s been incredible, I honestly feel, as if I’m participating in something that will forever change the course of history.”
Gabriel Pendas, one of the organizers of the march, said the students were doing “the right thing” by participating in the three-day, 41-mile march from Daytona Beach to Sanford.
“We’re coming to Sanford with love and with compassion and ... working to heal this community,” Pendas told WOFL.
Due to the protest, police services such as fingerprinting were not available Monday, department officials said. Other routine business would be conducted at City Hall.
"The city of Sanford hopes the actions of the students will be as peaceful and orderly as the previous rallies and marches have been. We want to be accommodating to all our visitors providing they act in a manner that is respectful to the people of the city," City Manager Norton Bonaparte said in a statement.
George Zimmerman has admitted to fatally shooting Martin, 17, during a confrontation on Feb. 26, but has said it was in self-defense. Martin’s death has led to nationwide protests and spurred a debate on Florida’s so-called “stand your ground” law, which allows the usage of deadly force if an individual feels threatened for their life during a confrontation.