Trayvon Martin Repeat? Black Veteran Shot And Killed in NMBy: Tina Volpe - March 16, 2014
There may not be a huge similarity in this shooting death of a back Iraq War Veteran, to Trayvon Martin, but an investigation is underway after a complaint was made by a civil rights group claiming it was all too familiar.
It happened in New Mexico in March 2013, involving the death of Jonathan Mitchell, 24, who was shot and killed by his neighbor, Donnie Pearson, who described the killing as an exchange of gunfire.
In a statement, state police said it has agreed to conduct a thorough review into the alleged shootout, due to controversy surrounding the details.
The Albuquerque chapters of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference have disputed Pearson’s version and said he instigated the confrontation. They also suggested race may have been a factor and have compared it to the shooting death of Florida teenager, Trayvon Martin.
A petition to open an investigation regarding the death of Mitchell has been created and is circulating, requesting that Bernalillo County District Attorney Kari Brandenburg file charges against the shooter.
The NAACP and the Mitchell Family met with DA Brandenburg and her staff for a report overview. The outcome was so alarming that the New Mexico State Police and the FBI made a formal request for independent investigations.
Last week, DA Brandenburg said that she was unaware that State Police had declined to review the case all the way back in November after State Police met with Mitchell’s family. Apparently the DA had been waiting for four months for the review, which stalled progress in making a ruling on whether charges would be filed.
The comparison shows that when Trayvon Martin was shot, Zimmerman told police he was attacked, prompting the shooting. However, supporters and family of Zimmerman believe that he shot Martin as a potential criminal because he was black. Mitchell’s family, as well as civil rights group NAACP, believes this was the reason Mitchell was shot a well.
New Mexico State Police announced Thursday that their investigators will take a new look at the March 2013 shooting death of Jonathan Mitchell, killed by his neighbor in Albuquerque, following an outcry from local groups and a miscommunication between the family and the District Attorney discovered last week.
“There are a lot of similarities with the Trayvon Martin,” Albuquerque NAACP president Harold Bailey said. “Pearson shouldn’t have been there in the first place, like Zimmerman.”
Video taken from an Albuquerque police helicopter showed Mitchell firing first in an exchange of gunfire with Pearson but also revealed that Pearson’s SUV drove up to Mitchell’s garage.
Albuquerque police later said investigators didn’t have probable cause to charge Pearson. But the agencies have agreed to a review, which will be conducted by the Investigations Bureau of the New Mexico State Police.
Bailey said he was pleased about the review.
“We just want a fair and objective review of all the facts,” said Jonathan’s father Isaac Mitchell.
Image via NDN