Former Rep. West: ‘Race baiters’ pushing Trayvon Martin debate

Former Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) on Wednesday lashed out at those showing solidarity with Trayvon Martin, saying that “faux leaders” and “race baiters” were turning the killing of the teenager into a racial issue.

“Do you really want to talk about the issues that are confronting the black community or do you want to talk about the politically manufactured crises that you have these faux leaders and these race baiters that are out there, you know, promoting it,” West said on Fox’s "Kilmeade and Friends" radio show.

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Martin, an unarmed black teenager, was killed in February 2012 by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain. Zimmerman was acquitted by a Florida jury on Saturday on charges of manslaughter and second-degree murder, leading civil rights leaders and many Democratic lawmakers to charge racial bias.

West singled out Attorney General Eric Holder, who criticized Florida’s “stand your ground” laws, which received scrutiny during the trial, and MSNBC host and activist Al Sharpton, who joined demonstrations decrying the jury verdict.

“If we want to have these media frenzy-created crises, or someone like an Al Sharpton running around all over the country like a charlatan that he is, then we’re not talking about the real issues and we’re not having the real conversations about race,” he continued. 

“We’re never going to have an honest conversation when you have someone like Attorney General Eric Holder that stands up in front of the NAACP and basically says, you know, we’re going to manipulate the law to give you your quote-unquote social justice,” West added.

Holder in remarks on Tuesday said that "stand your ground" laws sowed “dangerous conflict.” 

The Justice Department says it is reviewing the evidence in the case and deciding whether to bring federal civil rights charges against Zimmerman.