The Trayvon Martin case is threatening to spiral into a dangerous conflict of vigilante against vigilante, officials fear. The New Black Panther Party is calling for a militia of 5,000 black volunteers to capture Trayvon's killer, George Zimmerman, who's in hiding. The small group has posted flyers calling for his capture "dead or alive." That's in addition to the $10,000 bounty the group is offering for Zimmerman's capture. "An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth," regional leader Mikhail Muhammad declared at a weekend rally in Florida. "If the government won't do the job, we'll do it." Muhammad said the group's national office in Washington, DC, was collecting donations, and hoped to raise $1 million, though offered no documentation concerning contributions, according to the Deseret News.
The call was denounced by mainstream civil rights and religious leaders. "I think disciplined, persistent, non-violent action works," Jesse Jackson told reporters. "We believe in a message of justice, not hate," said Pastor Moses Brown of Tampa. Sanford city officials issued a statement condemning the group's appeal, and asking citizens to leave all arrests to them, reports the Orlando Sentinel. "The city is requesting calm heads, and no vigilante justice," the statement said. "Attempts by civilians to take any person into custody may result in criminal charges or unnecessary violence." The Southern Poverty Law Center calls the New Black Panther Party, a black-separatist group founded in 1989, "virulently racist, anti-Semitic," and violent.