The New Black Panther Party made the news Saturday after it announced it was putting a $10,000 bounty on George Zimmerman, the man who shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. The bounty, which featured Zimmerman’s face on a wanted poster, was also featured on the group’s website, according to AFP.
The New York Daily News reported NBPP leader Mikhail Muhammad initially announced the bounty at a protest in Sanford, Fla. Using the phrase “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth,” Muhammad insisted the group wasn’t trying to promote hate, merely demanding justice.
The NBPP is also claiming it has been gathering donations for their cause from black celebrities and athletes that support what they are trying to do. The Southern Poverty Law Center has previously condemned the group as being “virulently racist and anti-Semitic.”
The foundation representing the legacy of one of the leaders of the original Black Panther Party movement, Huey P. Newton, has also previously condemned the group. In an open letter, the Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation denied any affiliation between the original Black Panther Party and the NBPP, calling them exploitative. The letter further went on to say that the NBPP goes against the very core of the original Black Panther movement by promoting hate.
Muhammad made his announcement just moments after also announcing that he and other members of the group would be going on a search for Zimmerman in cities in which he has been known to work. The NBPP also called for 5,000 black men to join them in their attempts to “capture” Zimmerman, according to the McClatchy-Tribune News Service.
The bounty announcement by the NBPP is another side of the growing controversy and continuing outrage regarding Martin’s killing. Protests have been held in at least 10 of the U.S.’s largest cities demanding justice for the teen, including a protest held at Freedom Plaza in Washington D.C. that saw more than 1,000 participants.
In addition, people from around the world have joined the “hoodie movement,” taking pictures of themselves while wearing a hoodie to post on the Internet in support of Martin’s family and their quest for answers. The movement is a reference to the hoodie that Martin was wearing on the night that he was killed.
Meanwhile, Florida authorities have issued their own statements regarding the bounty put out by the NBPP on Saturday. According to the Orlando Sentinel, city officials in Sanford have released an appeal to the public requesting that people allow the police to make any necessary arrests rather than get involved in the manner that the NBPP is promoting.