US shooting-death teenager Trayvon Martin’s parents visit Islington

The parents of black teenager Trayvon Martin whose death sparked huge racial tension in America attended a civic event in Islington.

Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin joined the Society of Black Lawyers bash on Friday at the Cottons Caribbean restaurant in Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell.

Their 17-year-old son died from gunshot wounds in Florida in February which caused outrage when police failed to hold a suspect for questioning.

Florida neighbourhood watchman George Zimmermann has now been charged with his murder and is awaiting trial after he pleaded not guilty.

Peter Herbert, Society of Black Lawyers chairman, said: “The parents feel the suspect may never have been charged without the huge amount of publicity. In my view there’s a history of incidents in the US and UK where they have failed to find individuals when the victims are black.”

Trayon’s mum and dad visited Britain last week to raise the issue of racial profiling and met the mother of Stephen Lawrence who was murdered by a racist gang in South London in 1993.

Cllr Caudia Webbe, Islington Council member, said: “I think it was a historic joining up of the victims of racism.

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“American civil rights is such an integral part of its history but the fact they can still learn from our experiences sends out a strong message for communities in the UK.

“It gives black people in London and Islington a lot of heart to see this coming together of the families of Stephen Lawrence and Trayvon Martin.”

The teenager was unarmed and carrying his I am Trayvon Martin badge which became a symbol of the protests that swept across America.

Trayon’s parents visited the Islington function with their attorney Daryl Clarke.

Mr Herbert said: “We talked about evidence, what happens with the prosecution process and the fact Obama showed empathy.

“Cottons was our venue because it is one of the most successful African Caribbean businesses in London.”