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'Million Hoodie March' rallies for Trayvon Martin

  • NEW: DOJ opens probe; grand jury to convene in April
  • NEW: Sanford explains why officer didn't arrest shooter
  • New York gathering aims to raise awareness about shooting
  • 911 caller: 'We did not hear any wrestling ... no fighting'
'Million Hoodie March' rallies for Trayvon Martin

Friend defends George Zimmerman

Friend defends George Zimmerman

Outrage was being channeled into organization Wednesday as several grass-roots movements kept the nation's attention on the case of Trayvon Martin, a teenager shot dead February 26 in a gated Florida community.

The city of Sanford released a statement explaining why the responding officer didn’t make an arrest in the boy's shooting. “(George) Zimmerman provided a statement claiming he acted in self-defense which at the time was supported by physical evidence and testimony,” the statement said.

“By Florida Statute, law enforcement was PROHIBITED from making an arrest based on the facts and circumstances they had at the time,” the statement said.

A "Million Hoodie March," a reference to the attire the 17-year-old was wearing when he was shot, was planned for later in the day in New York City.

As frustration mounts in the case, the U.S. Justice Department announced it was opening a civil rights investigation and Seminole County State Attorney Norm Wolfinger said a grand jury will meet April 10 to consider evidence in the case.

Social media spreads word about rallies, marches

Social media continued to be a driving force in public reaction to the shooting, which has sparked rallies in several cities and plans for marches in many others, including one Saturday in Greenville, South Carolina.

A Facebook page dedicated to the New York march instructed people to: "1. Wear your hoodie on Wednesday 3/21 and upload a pic to Twitter, Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #millionhoodies."

A webpage about the march told supporters if they couldn't make the rally to, “Send bags of Skittles to the Sanford Chief of Police, demanding that George Zimmerman be brought to justice.” Trayvon Martin was found to have an Arizona Iced Tea and Skittles on him when police responded.

On Twitter, users uploaded pictures of themselves in hoodies. A rap Youtube video about the shooting circulated online.

Zimmerman has not been arrested or charged in the killing of the black teenager. A police report describes him as a white male, but his family says he is Hispanic.

Neighbor defends Zimmerman: 'This is a perfect storm'

On Tuesday, Frank Taaffe, a friend of George Zimmerman, defended the neighborhood watch captain's actions on that fateful night, telling HLN's Jane Velez-Mitchell, "This is a perfect storm. Once again there are documented crimes in our neighborhood being perpetrated by one group of young black males.

"George simply confronted the individual, asked him a question," Taaffe said. "He could have responded by saying, 'I'm here visiting my mother.'"

Read more: Trayvon Martin's father: All we want is justice

Also on Tuesday night, two 911 callers from the gated neighborhood where Trayvon's body lay described the harrowing scene to CNN's Anderson Cooper.

"The time that we heard the whining and then the gunshot, we did not hear any wrestling, no punching, no fighting, nothing to make it sound like there was a fight," said Mary Cutcher, one of the callers.

Cutcher told CNN's "AC360" that Zimmerman seemed frazzled after the shooting.

"He'd pace and go back to the body and just like -- I don't know if he was kind of 'Oh, my God, what did I do? What happened?'" she said.

Read more: JVM: Trayvon Martin case a wake-up call

Another caller, Selma Mora Lamilla, said she did not hear any signs of a scuffle or confrontation, but the teen let out a cry and "whimpered" before the shooting.

 She said she saw a man "straddling" the teen after the shooting, saying he was "on his knees on top of a body."

Also on Tuesday, Sanford Mayor Jeff Triplett met in Washington with a Justice Department official and Florida Congresswoman Corrine Brown, who represents Jacksonville, to discuss a federal investigation into the shooting.

CNN/HLN has made numerous attempts to contact Zimmerman, but has been unsuccessful.

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