Marley Lion Case Draws Comparison to Trayvon Martin Shooting, Goes Viral

July 17, 2013 12:06 pm Last Updated: July 17, 2013 2:36 pm

The Marley Lion case,  which involved a 17-year-old South Carolina boy who was shot and killed  in June 2012, drew a comparison to the Trayvon Martin shooting case in a viral Facebook post.

A local South Carolina woman, Elizabeth O’Neill, told ABC News she created the image that went viral on Facebook. The image shows Lion, a white male who was allegedly shot to death by black assailants in his car during a botched robbery. It then compares his shooting to the Martin case, but it questions why Lion’s shooting death didn’t get national attention. 

Thousands of people “liked” and shared the photo.

“It doesn’t matter what color your skin is. Everybody bleeds red. It doesn’t matter. Two mothers still lost their son,” O’Neill said.  “I just posted it on my wall and from there, that’s how it started. I never expected it to go this far,” she told the station.

“I wanted to make the point that lives are lost every day. Some are nationally recognized and some never make it past the local news,” she also the Post and Courier. “Every life, in my opinion, deserves the same recognition despite race or circumstances.”

She added: “The reason why I chose Marley in particular was not because he was a white boy killed by a black man as so many are trying to make it seem. I used his story because it hits close to home.”

Three suspects were charged in Lion’s death. They are Julius Brown, 32; Bryan Rivers, 28;  and Ryan Deleston, 31–all of whom are black.

Following the acquittal of George Zimmerman, the shooting suspect in the Martin case, the Charleston, S.C., chapter of the NAACP referenced the Martin-Lion comparison.

“On the one hand, they were two young men who were minding their own business when it occurred. On the other hand, I think the problem in the Trayvon case is that the aftermath was different. In the case of Marley Lion, there was an immediate search for the killer, fairly rapid apprehension, rapid action. With Trayvon Martin … the police were aware of the killing, but there was no charge until there was national pressure. I think the reason the Trayvon Martin case made national news was the level of inaction in Florida,” First Vice President Rev. Joseph Darby said at a press conference, according to the Charleston City Paper.

Local NAACP President Dot Scott further talked about the comparison.

“One thing we need to be clear: I applaud how things were handled with Lion’s case, because here was a young man, fresh out of high school, bothering no one, taking a rest in his own car, and he had someone take his life away from him. [Police] did what they should have done. The only thing we’re saying is it doesn’t happen the same way with the life of a black child. That’s where the disparity is, and the fact that it took so long to even bring Zimmerman to the due process of the justice system and to have the verdict that it did. We feel like that would not have been the same verdict if race wasn’t an issue,” Scott said.