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.
I won't link to it, but, in an act of apparent intended magnimity, a black columnist suggested that there's a need for the black community "to forgive George Zimmerman."
Considering that Zimmerman shot Martin while Martin was actively engaged in a physical assault that effectively blocked any route of retreat or escape, I find the exhortation to forgive rather puzzling.
I also find it puzzling, and indicative of widespread ignorance of the facts presented at trial, that the virtual lynch mob still refers to Zimmerman, exonerated in a classic self-defense trial, as a "murderer," and that they seem to think that Stand Your Ground was somehow a factor in his defense. It was not.
There is plenty that needs to be fixed about how blacks are treated in the justice system, but why they have latched onto George Zimmerman as their poster child simply shows their ignorance. There have to be better examples of what is wrong.
One of the key tenets of justice in a democracy is that once a trial is over and a "not guilty" is reached, that's the end of it. The mob is not keeping up their part of the bargain that democratic justice is based on.
RE: "I find the exhortation to forgive rather puzzling." - clearly, he/(she?) was just trying to defuse an inflammable situation. Had he said, "You're wrong, Zimmerman is not guilty," no one would have listened to him. By couching it in the terms he/she did, he may have reached a few, which is better than none.
Re-read Antony's funeral oration from Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar," for an absolutely masterful, as well as believable, effort to turn an angry mob 180 degrees, while under extreme restrictions.