Did you watch the trial? I did. I work at home and had the trial going on as I worked. I’m sure I saw at least 3/4 of the trial live and heard playbacks of anything important that I missed. If I had been in the jury, I would have voted to acquit him as well.
Do I think George Zimmerman is a racist? Well, yes and no. He’s not your classic Ku Klux Klanner. The state never turned up any blatantly racial statements he had ever made. He did lament to a police operator once that “The assholes always get away.” Some people are reading those words as implicitly racial, but there is no supporting evidence for that assumption.
He had even volunteered in programs that mainly benefited black youth!
At the same time, I think there is little doubt that he profiled the victim, Trayvon Martin. I’m not sure he profiled him because he was black. I think perhaps he would have profiled any male teen walking along in Zimmerman’s neighborhood who had the hood of his hoodie up.
I think the initial mistake was in charging Zimmerman in the first place. The local police decided there was no case and decided not to prosecute. It was only after a clamor orchestrated by Trayvon’s family attorney that the state Attorney General stepped in and forced a prosecution that Zimmerman was charged.
The problem the prosecution faced was that the only eye-witness to the fight between Martin and Zimmerman supported Zimmerman’s story that Trayvon was on top, pounding Zimmerman’s head on the concrete sidewalk. And Zimmerman did have a broken nose. All Martin had was a bullet through the heart, which is allowed in Florida (and in most states, even ones without specific Stand Your Ground laws) if Zimmerman had reason to feel his life was in danger.
In final summations, where generally it is the prosecution explaining the letter of the law and how to apply it, while the defense often appeals to the jury’s feelings rather than their intellect, it was reversed. It was the defense explaining in detail how to apply the law while it was the prosecutors shouting and foaming at the mouth about the injustice of Trayvon Martin’s death. That alone signaled that the prosecution really didn’t trust their own case.
In retrospect, it appears that the local police were right. And, in fact, during cross examination, the lead local investigator admitted that he personally believed Zimmerman’s story based on the facts he discovered. While the judge ordered the jury not to consider that opinion (because it’s an opinion and not a fact), “You can’t un-ring a bell.”
This case should have all of us thinking about assumptions we make regarding young people and especially young black males. Perhaps Florida will reconsider it’s “Stand Your Ground” law which makes it easier to defend oneself with lethal force based merely on a belief that one is in danger of death or severe bodily harm.
I don’t know what actually happened leading up to the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. Only George Zimmerman knows that. Did he profile Trayvon? I think he did. Did he profile him racially? The evidence doesn’t support that. Trayvon was probably profiled more as a young male than as a black male. Under his hoodie, his race may not have been evident.
Profiling may be a bad thing but it isn’t an illegal thing. And Zimmerman wasn’t on trial for profiling, but for murder. The state had to prove that Zimmerman had hate in his heart, and that they didn’t do.
The verdict, as dissatisfying as it may be, was the right one based on the facts.
"Maybe he was. But maybe not." - otherwise known as reasonable doubt.
The "he" in that sentence was Trayvon Martin, not George Zimmerman, and Trayvon was not on trial.
I'm aware of that, and his behavior certainly was on trial, as it was the catalyst that determined justification, or lack of it, for George Zimmerman's actions.
You didn't watch the trial, obviously. Several people testified that Zimmerman, though he'd taken some courses in self defense and hand-to-hand was a wimp and a very poor pupil. Had he been a better fighter, Martin might still be alive, but unfortunately he picked a fight with a guy who was no match for him and who, then, resorted to what was at hand.
It's true that we can't be totally sure what happened. In that case, the jury must do with the information on hand, and so must Trayvon's family.
I don't get this widespread lynch mob mentality when really it can't be based on anything we know. I'd bet that almost to a person, these people in the streets are getting their info from biased or ignorant sources and never really watched the testimony.
You like many of the lynch mob seem to overlook that Trayvon followed Zimmerman for four minutes and then, apparently, sucker punched him. If he'd just done the smart thing and kept on his way home, he'd be alive today. The fact that Zimmerman had a gun (legally carried, it turns out) simply gave him a way to defend himself. Trayvon died of what many teens die of: poor judgment.
George Zimmerman must give direct testimony and give a full account of his actions from start to finish. Mr. Martin's family has a right to get answers through our legal system at all levels available to them in their search to learn the truth of what happen that terrible night.
He did give a full account. While he didn't testify on the stand, the local police made a video of him on the scene explaining what had transpired the night before.
Martin's parents can sue Zimmerman in civil court if they like, but I don't think they'll get much further. There is no special reason why Zimmerman needs to testify. His story is on the record. And it shouldn't even be there because the case was overcharged to start with. The local cops had it right that there was no case to be brought and all the trial did was serve to prove that.
Some people will never be satisfied and I think you are probably one.
You feel Zimmerman is guilty of something. If you are open-minded, then what, if you heard it, could change your mind?
There is no evidence, none, that George Zimmerman was a bigot. There is no evidence he went out intending to end up in a fight. He followed Trayvon Martin for a while despite being advised not to do so, but even so he broke off the pursuit. THEN is when he was attacked and found himself believing that his life might be in danger. That is all there is to it.
The mindless social networks lynch mob sees Zimmerman as symbolizing all bigots or all people carrying guns itching for the chance to shoot someone. He qualifies in neither category. He should be allowed to resume his life as a citizen as normally as circumstances will allow. I'm sure before he goes to sleep every night he'll replay all the events of that night. Even though he isn't at fault, no non-psychopath can find it easy to live with being the agent of someone else's demise.
The defense’s argument was based on Zimmermanfeeling afraid (that's all) and therefore that he justifiably killed Martin in self-defense according to the laws of Florida. That is exactly the unjust law I said that I would disregard as a juror, remember?
But what else can we expect people act on other than their perceptions? After all, that's what the jury is supposed to act on!
Gallup: The defense’s argument was based on Zimmerman feeling afraid (that's all) and therefore that he justifiably killed Martin in self-defense according to the laws of Florida. That is exactly the unjust law I said that I would disregard as a juror, remember?
Unseen: But what else can we expect people act on other than their perceptions? After all, that's what the jury is supposed to act on!
I didn't say people should not act on their perceptions. I said putting a gun to Trayvon's chest and firing a bullet into his heart is not a justifiable response to getting punched in the face.
The law in Florida says it is. That law-- a pet law of the NRA-- is unjust and unethical, so as a juror I would disregard that law.
But since you brought up race, jury perceptions, and Zimmerman's perceptions? Fear is the subjective standard by which deadly force may be applied under the law. Perceptions of who inspires fear, due to who has a violent or criminal "nature", runs along racial lines. This makes members of some races more likely to end up "justifiably" dead than others because of Stand Your Ground.
The MetroTrends urban institute analyzed 4,650 FBI records of homicides in which a person killed a stranger with a handgun. (See the table below.) In Stand Your Ground states, 13.6% of homicides under these circumstances were found to be justified, versus 7.2% in non-SYG states. Examined in the context of race, SYG drastically increases the likelihood of a not-guilty finding in a homicide, but only when a white person kills a black person.
I have news for you. Zimmerman would have been exonerated almost anywhere in the U.S. based on the evidence presented. You may not like it, but if someone attacks you and you believe you are in peril of death or serious harm, you can defend yourself with whatever is at hand.
Where did you get the iimpression that this case has anything to do with Stand Your Ground? His legal team never invoked it.
I have news for you. Zimmerman would have been exonerated almost anywhere in the U.S. based on the evidence presented.
The jury said they acquitted Zimmerman "based on the law", not the evidence presented.
"When they started looking at the law, the person who initially wanted second-degree murder changed her vote to manslaughter, the juror said. Then they asked for clarification from the judge and went over it again and again. B37 said some jurors wanted to find Zimmerman guilty of something, but there was just no place to go based on the law."
The jury had to "no place to go" because of the law and for that reason Zimmerman's subjective claim of fear became the standard for the trial, not the evidence.
That isn't news to me at all. Look at the chart I posted above about "justifiable" killings and race. You're suggesting I didn't know?
You may not like it, but if someone attacks you and you believe you are in peril of death or serious harm, you can defend yourself with whatever is at hand.
I like that just fine. What I keep saying, and you're ignoring, is that I think Zimmerman was in a fist fight, not in peril of death or serious harm. And the evidence of Zimmerman's "very insignificant" injuries do not support his claims to belief of the contrary.
Where did you get the iimpression that this case has anything to do with Stand Your Ground? His legal team never invoked it.
Zimmerman was never going to be prosecuted at all because of Stand Your Ground. You were just complaining that the bringing of charges in this case at all was the equivalent of a mob lynching. On what basis were you and your ilk making that claim of utter, unfair, brutal, deathly persecution if not that Stand Your Ground was not being allowed to stand unfettered?
Zimmerman was in a fist fight, not in peril of death or serious harm. And the evidence of Zimmerman's "very insignificant" injuries do not support his claims to belief of the contrary.
Yeah, I'm sure Zimmerman was thinking "Are these injuries I'm sustaining beyond insignificant?" Who would?
Don't be silly.
Prosecutors almost anywhere would not have charged Zimmerman based simply on the fact that he was enduring an attack that could any second have gone lethal or led to brain damage.
Gallup: Zimmerman was in a fist fight, not in peril of death or serious harm. And the evidence of Zimmerman's "very insignificant" injuries do not support his claims to belief of the contrary.
Unseen: Yeah, I'm sure Zimmerman was thinking "Are these injuries I'm sustaining beyond insignificant?" Who would? Don't be silly. Prosecutors almost anywhere would not have charged Zimmerman based simply on the fact that he was enduring an attack that could any second have gone lethal or led to brain damage.
Not by a long shot.
You're generally allowed to defend yourself using force that matches the level of force used against you. You can't get punched in the face, shoot the attacker dead, then claim the right to use lethal force because the next punch hypothetically could have caused death or brain damage.
Even the 16 states which have Stand Your Ground laws are split on the application of lethal force versus nonlethal force. So that's at least 42 states where a prosecutor will have you facing charges for doing what Zimmerman did, and possibly all 50 given how unevenly SYG laws are enforced.
This is what I was referring to when I said shooting Martin point blank in the heart is not an appropriate response to getting punched in the face.
It would be an appropriate response if Martin really had been slamming Zimmerman's head against the concrete in an attempt to beat his brains out. But as I keep explaining (and you keep ignoring to the point of absurdity) the "very insignificant" injuries done to Zimmerman put the lie to the level of violence and force inherent to this claim.
There are only so many ways I can keep restating that after you willfully ignore and fail to address it. That isn't contributing anything substantive to the conversation. So we're basically done here.
The use of self-defense must also match the level of the threat in question. In other words, a person can only employ as much force as required to remove the threat. If the threat involves deadly force, the person defending themselves can use deadly force to counteract the threat. If, however, the threat involves only minor force and the person claiming self-defense uses force that could cause grievous bodily harm or death, the claim of self-defense will fail.
Duty to Retreat
The original laws regarding self-defense required people claiming self-defense to first make an attempt to avoid the violence before using force. This is also known as a “duty to retreat.” While most states have removed this rule for instances involving the use of nonlethal force, many states still require that a person make an attempt to escape the situation before applying lethal force.
Stand Your Ground
In contrast to the duty to retreat, many states have enacted so-called “stand your ground” laws. These laws remove the duty to retreat and allow for a claim of self-defense even if the claimant did nothing to flee from the threat of violence. As mentioned above, this is the more common rule when situations involve nonlethal force. States are split on the stand your ground principle when lethal force is in play, however.
The fallacy of your argument is that one can only respond proportionally if one is capable of a proportional response. It was testified that Zimmerman was basically a wimp with no real fighting skills and a psychological mindset that didn't make him a fighter.
So...on to Plan B. The gun.