Dem introduces anti-racial profiling bill one year after Trayvon Martin's death

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) on Tuesday proposed an anti-racial profiling bill to mark the one-year anniversary of the shooting death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin.

Norton's bill, H.R. 838, would let states apply for federal grants to create programs aimed at reducing racial profiling. These programs could include instituting anti-racial profiling laws, maintaining data on traffic stops to check for racial bias, and training law enforcement officers.

"The Trayvon Martin tragedy did not involve a law enforcement officer, but his death reminded the country that racial profiling discrimination remains largely unaddressed," Norton said. "The responsibility for eliminating racial profiling should begin with the federal government, especially when racial profiling happens on federally funded roads."

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Trayvon Martin, a 17 year old returning home from a convenience store, was shot and killed in Florida on Feb. 26, 2012, by George Zimmerman. Zimmerman said he had followed Martin after noticing what he described as suspicious behavior and had acted in self-defense.

But some say Zimmerman shot Martin because the teenager was black, and that Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, ignored requests from police to stop following Martin as he walked home.

The case against Zimmerman is still ongoing — he is being charged with second-degree murder, and his trial is set to start in June.

Martin was unarmed at the time of the shooting. Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law allows the use of deadly force in some cases of self-defense.

Norton's bill would reinstate a grant program for racial profiling that expired in 2009. It was originally established in a surface transportation bill in 2005; Norton said she would try to insert her proposal into the next surface transportation bill that the House considers. The expired program allowed $7.5 million per year in federal grants to states for anti-racial profiling programs.