Sybrina Fulton, mother of slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, has received 34 weeks worth of donated time off from fellow Miami-Dade County government employees, allowing her to be paid while taking time off from work to deal with issues surrounding the racially charged murder case. Yolanda Knight Evans, Martin’s aunt, has received nine weeks of donated time, according to documents released by the county.
“Ms. Fulton and Ms. Knight Evans are members of the Miami-Dade County family,” Suzy Trutie, the county’s assistant director for communications said by telephone Monday. “The board decided to allow employees to assist the family however they could.”
The Miami-Dade County Commission passed a resolution in April to allow county employees to donate vacation time to Fulton, an administrative officer for the housing authority, and Knight Evans, a water and sewer customer-service representative. The donations are computed based on the donor’s hourly pay rate and are capped at $50,000. The cap was reached in two weeks, Trutie said.
The county has about 26,000 employees; 192 people donated to Fulton and 70 to Knight Evans, though there may be some who donated to both. The donations were first reported last week by newspapers in Florida.
The donations for Fulton added up to 1,362 hours — a total of 34 paid weeks off. Trayvon’s aunt collected nearly nine weeks. Fulton earns $68,768 a year; Knight Evans $48,542.
Trayvon Martin was shot to death on Feb. 26 in Sanford, Fla., by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer. Zimmerman, the son of a Latina, said he acted in self-defense when he shot the unarmed teenager, an African American. Zimmerman was released that night without being charged by local police.
But as demonstrations against the release increased across the nation, a special prosecutor was assigned to the case. She eventually charged Zimmerman with second-degree murder. Zimmerman was released last month on $150,000 bond.
Zimmerman also has been soliciting donations, first through a website that he established. That site raised more than $200,000 in about three weeks, his lawyer Mark O’Mara said. Zimmerman had spent about $50,000 for living expenses.
The lawyer closed that site and established a new fund-raising site administered by a former IRS agent and registered with the appropriate state agency. So far, Zimmerman has spent $7,000 on PayPal fees, $5,000 toward his bail bond and unspecified amounts to set up secure living quarters.
“I’m not going to be unrealistic to the fact that everyone is seeking donations in relation to this case, including the Trayvon Martin family,” O’Mara said at a recent news conference. “It seems as though we have become in this criminal justice system a system where we can ask other people to help us. That’s what we are doing.”
- Trayvon Martin’s mother got 8 months of donated vacation time
- Donations continue for both sides of slain teen case
- Families of Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman receive outpouring of donations
- Donations flood in for families of Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman
- Zimmerman Web Donations Trigger Bail Dispute