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It was said by Fox News Channel commentator Geraldo Rivera on Friday that the hoodie an unarmed black teenager wore when he was killed in Florida is as much responsible for his death as the man who shot him.

The veteran TV personality, speaking on Fox & Friends, waded in with an opinion on the shooting of Trayvon Martin, a story that has attracted attention across America over the past month. He later acknowledged that his comments were “politically incorrect”.

Killed ... Trayvon Martin.Killed … Trayvon Martin.

People wearing hooded sweatshirts are often going to be perceived as a menace, Rivera said.

“I’ll bet you money that if he didn’t have that hoodie on, that nutty neighbourhood watch guy wouldn’t have responded in that violent and aggressive way,” Rivera said.

The unarmed 17-year-old Martin was killed on February 26 in Sanford. He was wearing a hoodie and returning from a trip to a convenience store when neighbourhood watch captain George Zimmerman started following him, telling police dispatchers he looked suspicious. Zimmerman hasn’t been charged and says he shot Martin in self defence.

Supporters of Trayvon Martin rally in Union Square during a Million Hoodie March in Manhattan.Supporters of Trayvon Martin rally in Union Square during a Million Hoodie March in Manhattan. Photo: Getty Images

The case brought hundreds of people together in New York with Martin’s parents for a protest march this week. The BET television network said it would air a special, Shoot First: The Tragedy of Trayvon Martin, on Monday.

Of Martin, Rivera said, “God bless him, he was an innocent kid, a wonderful kid.” But he said the case should be a warning to parents to watch what their children should wear.

“If you dress like a hoodlum eventually some schmuck is going to take you at your word,” he wrote in a commentary posted on Friday on the website Fox News Latino.

Geraldo Rivera ... "If you dress like a hoodlum eventually some schmuck is going to take you at your word."Geraldo Rivera … “If you dress like a hoodlum eventually some schmuck is going to take you at your word.” Photo: Getty Images

Hundreds of people had posted messages on Rivera’s Facebook page by Friday afternoon, the overwhelming majority of them negative about Rivera’s comments.

Rivera compared his own comments to those of fellow Fox analyst Juan Williams, who was fired by National Public Radio in 2010 for saying on Fox that he gets nervous when he sees people on a plane with clothing that identifies them as Muslim.

“No one black, brown or white can honestly tell me that seeing a kid of colour with a hood pulled over his head doesn’t generate a certain reaction – sometimes scorn, often menace,” Rivera wrote in his commentary.

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