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Trayvon Martin shooting: Race hangs over case as trial begins (+video)

As the trial of George Zimmerman begins Monday, the major legal question will be whether the defendant acted in self-defense. But the Trayvon Martin shooting also pokes at issues such as profiling, interracial crime fears, and vigilantism.

George Zimmerman trial begins
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The tale of how George Zimmerman shot and killed unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin on the streets of a gated community in Sanford, Fla., continues to poke at uncomfortable truths in a not-so-post-racial America – including perceptions about profiling, interracial crime fears, drug use stereotypes, and vigilantism. 

But the trial of Mr. Zimmerman on second-degree murder charges, which begins Monday, will present jurors with a more straightforward task than addressing the nation's imperfections.

After a year of legal maneuvering by both sides, the basic question jurors will consider remains the same: Was Zimmerman, an aspiring police officer who was part of a volunteer neighborhood watch group, justified in confronting the 17-year-old on a rainy Feb. 26, 2012, and subsequently shooting him point-blank in the chest? 


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