From suspect to victim to cultural symbol, Trayvon Martin has metamorphosed into a political point of departure over race.
When President Barack Obama spoke about how his son could have looked like the 17-year-old, his white Republican rivals quickly accused him of being racially divisive.
When Gov. Rick Scott established a task force to investigate the Stand Your Ground gun law connected to Trayvon’s shooting, a state Democratic leader rebuked him for wanting to wait until the case is adjudicated.
Liberal and left-leaning media have taken up Trayvon’s case, with calls to arrest his shooter, George Zimmerman. Conservative and right-leaning media have called for a get-the-facts first approach, while some have published images of Trayvon portraying him as a thug.
Groups from the NAACP to the National Council of La Raza, to white and black supremacist groups, have entered — or been drawn into — the political fray as well.
“It’s campaign time, and unfortunately, it has come to that. But that’s what we get these days, unfortunately," said Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll, the only elected black Republican in Florida’s Capitol.