Geraldo Rivera: Hoodie Travyon Martin was wearing partially responsible
Geraldo Rivera, who has never been for a loss of words over the course of his long television career, had some pointed words about the Trayvon Martin shooting on Friday morning.
Rivera, while appearing on Fox News Channel's morning show Fox and Friends, said that he believes that the fact that Martin was wearing a hooded sweatshirt - commonly known as a "hoodie" - was partially to blame for why George Zimmerman allegedly shot and killed him.
"Every time you see someone sticking up a 7-11, the kid is wearing a hoodie," Rivera said. "Every time you see a mugging on a surveillance camera or they get the old lady in the alcove, it's a kid wearing a hoodie."
Martin, 17, was shot and killed in late February near Orlando, allegedly by a neighborhood watch volunteer.
"He didn’t deserve to die," Rivera went on to say. "But I bet you money, if he didn’t have that hoodie on, that nutty neighborhood watch guy wouldn’t have responded in that violent and aggressive way.”
Hoodies on the Hill
In response to the comments, a group of Congressional staffers donning hooded sweatshirts took to Capitol Hill to express their outrage over Rivera's comments.
"You shouldn't feel you are in danger or feel at risk just because you are wearing something with a hood," Congressional staffer Clifton Williams said.
Speaking from the White House, President Barack Obama insisted that the shooting be fully investigated.
"If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon," President Obama said. "I think (Trayvon's parents) are right to expect that all of us as Americans are going to take this with the seriousness it deserves."
Meanwhile, in Florida, where outrage has continued weeks after the shooting, students walked out of four high schools in protest. At one school, students filed out to a football field and formed into the shape of Trayvon's initials - TM.
Rivera's non-apology and Twitter reacts
Rivera later told Politico in an email that he would "absolutely not" consider retracting his comments. He then took to Twitter to defend his position, despite saying that his own son wrote that he was ashamed of his father's position.
My own son just wrote to say he's ashamed of my position re hoodies-still I feel parents must do whatever they can to keep their kids safe— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) March 23, 2012
Justice will come to Zimmerman the Fla shooter-but I'm trying to save lives like Trayvon's-Parents Alert: hoodies can get your kid killed— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) March 23, 2012
Its not blaming the victim Its common sense-look like a gangsta&some armed schmuck will take you at your word— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) March 23, 2012
In response to Rivera's comments, people nationwide, including prominent commentators, took to Twitter to blast his viewpoint.
So Geraldo, Black & Hispanic kids must walk around in three-piece suits to signal to everyone else, "Don't shoot. I'm a safe minority!"— rolandsmartin (@rolandsmartin) March 23, 2012
Hey Geraldo: I wear my hoodie when I go jogging in my neighborhood. I'm part Hispanic. Should I be worried my neighbors will shoot me?— Matt Baldwin (@thisbrokenwheel) March 23, 2012
The alleged shooter, George Zimmerman, has claimed self-defense in the shooting. No charges have been filed in the shooting.
In the wake of the shooting and investigation, Sanford, Fla. Police Chief Bill Lee stepped down Thursday after receiving a vote of no confidence.