SANFORD, Fla. – An unarmed black teenager shot to death by a neighborhood watch captain told his girlfriend moments before he was killed that he was being followed, a lawyer said Tuesday as federal and state prosecutors announced they would investigate.
“ ‘Oh he’s right behind me, he’s right behind me again,’ ” 17-year-old Trayvon Martin told his girlfriend on his cellphone, the Martin family’s attorney said.
The girl later heard Martin say, “Why are you following me?” Another man asked, “What are you doing around here?” attorney Benjamin Crump said.
The phone call that recorded Martin’s final moments was disclosed as the U.S. Justice Department opened a federal civil rights probe into the shooting Feb. 26 and the local prosecutor convened a grand jury to investigate.
The neighborhood watch captain, George Zimmerman, has not been charged and has said he shot Martin in self-defense after Martin attacked him. Police say Zimmerman is white; his family says he is Hispanic.
The case has ignited racial tensions in this Orlando suburb of 53,500 people, sparking rallies and a protest in Gov. Rick Scott’s office Tuesday. The Rev. Al Sharpton was expected to join Sanford city leaders at a town hall meeting later Tuesday to discuss the investigation.