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 don't think Zimmerman went out that night wanting a fight. He was prepared for one, obviously, but let's not lose sight of the fact that the available evidence indicates that the actual assault was initiated by Martin, not Zimmerman. The evidence would seem to show that Zimmerman may have been wise to have been armed, at least on that night.
The only thing the evidence shows is Zimmerman is a very lucky man because Martin wasn't armed. Otherwise it would have been a whole different outcome
It wasn't supposed to be a fistfight, four minutes after Zimmerman thought the confrontation was over, Martin attacked him.
And when someone is slamming your head into concrete over and over, you use the tools at your disposal to stop the attack. Or you will likely suffer severe injury if not death.
Point by point...
You don't keep following someone with a hot weapon when the police has already advised you not to pursue the person. The fact that Zimmerman did go, just shows that he was looking for a confrontation.
The fatal confrontation apparently happened four minutes after Zimmerman gave up the pursuit and was heading back to his car. So you're right that the one who, in the end, bears responsibility for the fight is Trayvon Martin. I can certainly understand his anger and frustration at being falsely profiled, but there is no law against profiling. There are laws against initiating an assault, and even in jurisdictions without Stand Your Ground laws, you're unlikely to be prosecuted for murder if you shoot someone who is assaulting you.
Also Travyon's prior record should have no bearing on the case, because at the moment in time, he was just walking home to his father's home, he was not showing any hostility towards anyone, hence Zimmerman should have listened to the police and not pursue his course of action. The need for Zimmerman's self defense came about because of Zimmerman's need to pry into situations that he not need to because of his bias inference of the situation.
In the end, Trayvon's record was not introduced into evidence or even discussed within earshot of the jury who were out of the courtroom during those motions. It was never a factor in the case presented to the jury. While, yes, Zimmerman did disregard the police operator's advice to break off following Trayvon, in disobeying he broke no law. He did eventually turn around, though, and who was following whom was reversed. Then, apparently, Martin sucker punched Zimmerman, and you want to speak as though the whole blame falls on Zimmerman.
Sorry being black and in a hoodie doesn't automatically equate someone to be "dangerous" or a target of a predetermined racial bias. There was absolutely racial profiling in this case. I highly doubt zimmerman would had done the same if it was a Mexican like him or White 17 year old kid walking down the street with a hoodie.
I believe a Neighborhood Watch's "job" IS to do some kind of profiling. I saw no evidence, though, that Zimmerman profiled Martin for being black. For being in a hoodie, perhaps, but it seems he became suspicious of Trayvon before he knew his race. Zimmerman may have been an amateur at profiling and he may even, like many people, be suspicious of teens they imagine may be prowling. Why? Well, watch the news sometime and see how many dumb and damaging things are done by teens. That sort of suspicion may be wrong, but it is understandable.
The prosecution simply didn't meet the very high burden required for convicting someone of murder OR manslaughter which basically is knowing almost to a dead certainty that George Zimmerrman killed Trayvon Martin either out of hatred (murder) or when he had other options (manslaughter). Unfortunately, being in fear of losing one's life or of severe bodily harm is a mitigating factor, and it seemed clear to me, as well as to the jury, obviously, that it was Trayvon Martin who gave Zimmerman that escape clause by physically assaulting Zimmerman four minutes after the first verbal confrontation.
The fatal confrontation apparently happened four minutes after Zimmerman gave up the pursuit and was heading back to his car
Sorry you are wrong. The confrontation had already started when Zimmerman decided to go pursue Travyon. Everything else after that is just a cause and effect. The actual fighting might not happened immediately, but it actually a logical conclusion of Zimmerman's prying to a situation where he didn't need to be.
In the end, Trayvon's record was not introduced into evidence
I know that, I was replying to Hawk's random reference of Martin's character which had nothing to do with the situation at hand.
Why? Well, watch the news sometime and see how many dumb and damaging things are done by teens. That sort of suspicion may be wrong, but it is understandable.
Sorry unlike you I don't go into situations with biased inference and think any teen walking in my neighborhood is a felon. It's only understandable if a person is an uneducated bigot. Also there is no need for idiotic "neighborhood watch" when we have a police force. Perhaps certainly not one walking around with a concealed hot weapon.
"Sorry you are wrong. The confrontation had already started when Zimmerman decided to go pursue Travyon."
You make it sound like Martin did not at any time have the option to escape.
"I know that, I was replying to Hawk's random reference of Martin's character which had nothing to do with the situation at hand."
That was Ed, not me. I don't think it bears any consideration in this matter either.
"Also there is no need for idiotic "neighborhood watch" when we have a police force."
There is certainly nothing idiotic about neighborhood watch programs. They are installed nationwide and are a very effective tool in thwarting crime. The police cannot be everywhere all the time and rely on citizens to provide help and assistance in controlling crime.
Your statement is one of ignorance.
I live in a rural town in a small, close cul-de-sac neighborhood. We (the neighbors) all get along well and watch out for each others' children. However, a new family moved into the one rental house, and all hell broke loose. They have five teenagers (none of which are in school) and one 5th grader. The teenagers quickly started stealing, vandalizing, and loitering everything and everywhere in sight. The local police are there nearly every single day (no exaggeration here, unfortunately), and one of the boys just returned from a stint in juvenile detention. The parents point fingers at the rest of us in the neighborhood and have an attitude of victimization: ie, "Why are you all picking on us? Why are you being so mean to us?" and take no responsibility for what is now going on in our neighborhood.
The rest of us who originally live here have banded even more closely together and have been working with the local police to try to keep this family under control. It is, in a sense, an unofficial Neighborhood Watch program. I fully support such programs if it helps keep crime down and aids in keeping families and their children safe.
Actually, I think Zimmerman was heavier at the time of the confrontation. He weighed about 185 and Martin around 160. (source)
The question I haven't seen asked is, "why would a young man who feels threatened decide his best option is to ambush someone rather than escape?" No one from the time of the shooting to now has been willing to address that young black men are more likely to be the victim of violence and are more likely to die by being shot. This problem desperately needs to be understood and become part of a public discussion.
"Young males (14 to 24 years-old), particularly young black males, were disproportionately involved in homicide compared to their proportion of the populationWhile young black males have accounted for about 1% of the population from 1980 to 2008, they have made up an increasing proportion of homicide victims, going from 9% of all homicide victims in 1980 to 18% in 1994. Aft er 1994, their proportion of homicide victims has remained relatively stable at about 16%.Th e percentage of young black male homicide offenders also increased rapidly from the mid-1980s to the early 1990s, going from 17% in 1985 to 35% by 1993 before declining. By 2008, young black males made up about a quarter of all homicide offenders (27%)-Bureau of Justice Statistics, P. 16
A large proportion of the black male fatalities are black-on-black crime.
In answer to your first line, there is this thing called "black rage syndrome" sometimes used to explain black overreaction to what they perceive to be race-based slights.
"A large proportion of the black male fatalities are black-on-black crime."
But why is that? And why is it so disproportionate?