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.
You know what's really wrong is the idea that the Federal Government can skirt the prohibition against double jeopardy with a trial based on a civil rights violation.
In the context of citizen's frustrated over their community's repeated incidents of burglary, robbery, grafitti, etc. it is all the more understandable when they take a proactive approach (ie Neighborhood Watch) to address the problem. Residents in urban environments get tired of being victimized and have a right to patrol their community's streets. Call it what you want but it makes absolute sense.
Further, Ed, all too often, out of fear of reprisal, too many neighborhoods roll over and allow tyranny to flourish - a strong neighborhood watch program sends the message, "Not in MY neighborhood, you don't!"
Due to both nature and nurture, human beings constantly judge one another for an unending number of reasons.
I agree that the Zimmerman verdict was correct and lawful. I also believe that in this day and age, it's not a good idea to act like a punk and attack someone no matter what color you are, because you have a good chance of getting killed.
Your last paragraph presents a good argument for a goodly number of the public being armed. That way everybody considering doing something bad has to consider that it might cost him his life.
As it did in this case.
I find that many of the people who are outraged by the verdict are people who are ignorant of the facts. They think Zimmerman attacked Martin. No, the evidence seems to support the opposite. They think Zimmerman is a racist. Once again, there's no evidence to support that. They think the jury rendered a verdict based on race. The verdict conformed with the law.
Many people seem unaware of the fact that the prosecutors hid evidence from the defense team.
I think George Zimmerman did wrong, but whatever he did wasn't illegal. He was only charged due to pressure from social media, black civil rights leaders, and the Martin family attorney who made himself very available to the press. The Sanford Florida police chief lost his job for not charging Zimmerman. In retrospect, it appears he was correct.
Many people seem unaware of the fact that the prosecutors hid evidence from the defense team.
That is a HUGE violation of jurisprudence. That should result in a firing (and not of the whistleblower, which is what happened), if not jail time.
Alan Dershowitz is certainly among the Top 10 American lawyers and teaches law at Harvard. Early on, he warned that we should expect an acquittal in the Zimmerman case. He is now saying that the Special Prosecutor appointed after local authorities refused to press charges should be disbarred for her conduct in bringing charges against Zimmerman.
She submitted an affidavit that was, if not perjurious, completely misleading. She violated all kinds of rules of the profession, and her conduct bordered on criminal conduct. She, by the way, has a horrible reputation in Florida. She’s known for overcharging, she’s known for being highly political. And in this case, of course she overcharged. Halfway through the trial she realized she wasn’t going to get a second degree murder verdict, so she asked for a compromised verdict, for manslaughter. And then, she went even further and said that she was going to charge him with child abuse and felony murder. That was such a stretch that it goes beyond anything professionally responsible. She was among the most irresponsible prosecutors I’ve seen in 50 years of litigating cases, and believe me, I’ve seen good prosecutors, bad prosecutors, but rarely have I seen one as bad as this prosecutor, [Angela] Cory. (source)
This acts to confirm my suspicion that this whole sorry legal episode was motivated by PC run amok.
1) Zimmerman was overcharged (charged with a worse crime than the evidence supported).
2) Evidence was sparse.
3) The testimony of Trayvon Martin's friend, Rachel Jeantel, was a disaster.
4) The voice in the telephone call was impossible to place.
5) The lead detective in the case, Chris Serino, despite being a prosecution witness, said he believed Zimmerman's account
From an article today on Yahoo! News:
Trayvon Martin was an unarmed teenager walking home from a convenience store with Skittles and iced tea, when he was shot to death by a racist, profiling wannabe cop named George Zimmerman.
In the Big Media, which has relentlessly sought out the voices of those most incensed by the verdict in Sanford, Fla., that is how the Saga of Trayvon Martin is being told. And from listening to TV reports of the rage across black America, that is what is widely believed there.
But is that what happened? Well, not exactly.
Trayvon Martin was not shot while walking home.
He was shot after sucker-punching George Zimmerman, breaking his nose, knocking him down, jumping on top of him, beating him martial arts style and banging his head on a concrete walk, while Zimmerman screamed again and again, "Help me, help me."
This is what George Zimmerman said happened.
It is what the sole eyewitness to the fight, John Good, says happened. It is what Sanford police believed.
It is what the defense proved beyond a reasonable doubt. It is what that jury of six women came to believe.
Why, then, do so many in the black community believe Trayvon was profiled and murdered, when even most of the analysts on the cable news shows were saying in the last days of the trial that the prosecution had failed completely to make its case?
Answer: Many had convicted George Zimmerman in their hearts before the trial began. Here, as this writer noted a year ago, are some of the voices that had declared Zimmerman guilty of murder before a witness had been called.
"Blacks are under attack," railed Jesse Jackson. "Killing us is big business." Trayvon was "shot down in cold blood by a vigilante ... murdered and martyred."
"A hate crime," said Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif. Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., said Trayvon had been "executed."
The Grio compared his killing to the lynching of Emmett Till in Mississippi in 1955. The New Black Panther Party put Zimmerman's face on a "Wanted Dead or Alive" poster, called for 5,000 black men to run him down and said Trayvon had been "murdered in cold blood."
Spike Lee twittered Zimmerman's home address.
Moments after the verdict, Al Sharpton ranted, "This is an atrocity."
Not only did they all inflame the black community into believing a racist atrocity had occurred, others still do so, even after the weeks of testimony that raised far more than a reasonable doubt.