Fox News contributor Geraldo Rivera may have stepped into a storm of controversy today when he blamed the shooting death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin on his choice of clothing that fatal night – a hooded sweatshirt.
During the March 23 edition of Fox & Friends, Rivera said “I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as George Zimmerman,” according to the blog Media Matters.
Zimmerman, a member of a neighborhood watch group, has been at the center of a firestorm ever since he shot and killed an unarmed Martin, 17. Zimmerman pursued Martin during a 911 call, claiming that he was high, and shot him after a scuffle. Zimmerman claimed self-defense and charges have yet to be filed, despite surging demands from the public and pending investigations.
While Rivera said Zimmerman “should be investigated to the fullest extent of the law” and prosecuted if found liable, the talk show host couldn’t help but point out the real culprit was Martin’s hoodie.
Martin “wore an outfit that allowed someone to respond in this irrational, overzealous way,” Rivera said.
The ubiquitous piece of clothing, Rivera said, can especially cause trouble for non-white youth.
“I am urging the parents of black and Latino youngsters particularly to not let their children go out wearing hoodies,” Rivera said.
It’s advice he’s also shared with his own son, according to the transcript from Media Matters.
“When you, when you see a kid walking … down the street, particularly a dark skinned kid like my son Cruz, who I constantly yelled at when he was going out wearing a damn hoodie or those pants around his ankles. Take that hood off, people look at you and they — what do they think? What’s the instant identification, what’s the instant association?”
“Trayvon Martin’s you know, God bless him, he’s an innocent kid, a wonderful kid, a box of Skittles in his hand. He didn’t deserve to die. But I’ll bet you money, if he didn’t have that hoodie on, that — that nutty neighborhood watch guy wouldn’t have responded in that violent and aggressive way,” Rivera continued.
Rivera’s comments on Martin’s choice of clothing came on the heels of a “Million Hoodie March” held in New York City, where hundreds gathered to demand Zimmerman’s arrest.