Zimmerman Jury to Citizens: Kill at Will
© Josh Sager – July 2013
On the evening of July 13th, the jury in the George Zimmerman trial ended deliberations and came back with a verdict of not guilty on all charges. With this verdict, the terrible tragedy of the Trayvon Martin shooting comes to a close with Zimmerman escaping all criminal liability for his actions on the night of the shooting.
Despite the finality of this verdict on the fate of George Zimmerman, the resolution of this case gives birth to several very important legal and social debates. Chief among these debates, we face extremely controversial questions about the use of self-defense and the racial biases in the justice system.
The following article is my analysis of the Zimmerman not-guilty verdict and the very real issues illustrated by the acquittal of Zimmerman for his killing of Martin.
When I first saw the news alert for the verdict of the Zimmerman trial, my first thought was the following (and please excuse the language): “What the fuck just happened?”
Since the Trayvon Martin shooting in February 2012, I have followed the social and legal responses to the shooting very closely. In addition to following the situation in the news, I took action through writing articles on the situation and participating in several Boston-area protests (the “Million Hoodie March”). During all of this time, I thought that justice would eventually be done and that Zimmerman would suffer severe legal consequences for his killing of an unarmed teenager.
Legally speaking, there has always been an extremely valid debate over whether Zimmerman should be charged with 2nd degree murder or voluntary manslaughter. The primary difference between these two charges is a matter of intent:
- 2nd Degree Murder: A person is guilty of 2nd Degree murder in Florida if they kill somebody without premeditation or special circumstances (ex. torture), and they demonstrate a “depraved mind.” A depraved mind in this situation consists of a lack of regard for human life that surpasses simple negligence.
- Voluntary Manslaughter: A person is guilty of Voluntary Manslaughter in Florida if they act intentionally and without reasonable justification in a way which results in the death of another person.
As it is extremely difficult to prove intent in the Zimmerman situation, many (myself included) argued that Zimmerman should have been charged with manslaughter rather than murder. While manslaughter is a lesser charge, Florida law would have required that Zimmerman face a mandatory minimum sentence of 9.25 years for his shooting of Martin if convicted. Due to the public pressure on the situation, the judge would likely have given a sentence far above the minimum.
Zimmerman was initially charged with 2nd degree murder, but voluntary manslaughter was added into the indictment at the end of the trial in order to give the jury an option other than murder or acquittal.
Put plainly, there was easily enough evidence to convict Zimmerman of voluntary manslaughter and the decision by the jury to acquit is unfathomable. Not only was Zimmerman proven to have lied numerous times to investigators (ex. getting out of his car because he didn’t know the street name, Martin jumping out of the non-existent bushes, etc.), but he was an armed and MMA trained person with a history of violence following an unarmed minor. Given the preponderance of the evidence and the inclusion of the lesser charge of manslaughter, I simply have no idea how the jury decided to let Zimmerman walk away.
Zimmerman will never face legal consequences for his shooting of Trayvon Martin, but I hope that he is stigmatized, persecuted and harassed for the rest of his life. He may have escaped legal judgment, but that will do nothing to insulate him against becoming a national pariah, akin to OJ Simpson or Casey Anthony.
Ultimately, this verdict not only compounds the tragedy for the Martin family, but it exposes a very troubling series of concerns regarding the Florida justice system. Apparently, the Florida self-defense statute now allows armed individuals to pick a fight with unarmed individuals and to kill them if they dare to fight back when there are no other witnesses.
The Zimmerman verdict presents an expanded, and fairly terrifying, view of self-defense which has broad ramifications if it becomes mainstream. Under the view of self-defense used by the Zimmerman jury, an armed man can instigate conflict with no legal justification, only to shoot their target if he dares to fight back and try to escape—this is murder disguised as self-defense.
In order to demonstrate this, I will isolate the self-defense aspects of this case by stripping away the racial and age factors which made the Martin shooting so controversial to many Americans:
Person A is an armed man who has been trained to fight and who weighs over 200lbs. Person B is an unarmed man who has had no formal combat training and who weighs 150lbs. One night, Person A follows Person B for no valid reason and instigates a fight—this fight results in the shooting death of Person B and several minor injuries inflicted on Person A. After the shooting, Person A is the only surviving eyewitness and he claims that Person B attacked him, pinned him, and tried to kill him, thus necessitating Person A to defend himself with lethal force. When the evidence is analyzed, it demonstrates that Person A had lied in several areas of his story; his injuries were minor, his account was physically impossible and Person B had no blood or foreign DNA on his hands.
From a purely objective point of view, it is apparent that the story of Person A of this situation should not be believed—it isn’t supported by the evidence, he has a history of violence, and he has an extremely compelling motive to lie in order to evade the consequences of his action. Unfortunately, the jury of the Martin case was presented with this very situation (made worse by the fact that his victim was a minor and the probability that the initial conflict was based upon racial biases) and they chose to let the armed pursuer/killer go free.
If self-defense begins to conform to the logic of the Zimmerman jury, then Florida will have become a place where murder is essentially legal. In order to murder somebody, a Floridian can simply get them into a place where there are no eyewitnesses, hit them in order to start a fight, and then shoot them once they get a few punches in—the facts that they were the aggressor in the initial conflict and that they responded with force way beyond the level that they were presented are apparently meaningless.
The propagation of this view of self-defense is a nightmare scenario for public safety, particularly in such a famous case. After seeing this verdict, violent Floridians with a grudge and a gun suddenly think that they have a powerful defense for murder and the likelihood that they will act out their violent fantasies suddenly becomes much higher. In fact, we have already seen this creep in self-defense during several murder cases in states which have passed expansive self-defense protections.
For example, Raul Rodriguez—a Texas firefighter—was angry about his neighbors’ loud music one night, so he went over to his neighbors’ house with a gun and a video camera. After walking over to the house, Rodriguez got into an argument with his neighbors, leading him to fatally shoot one of them while repeating “I’m in fear for my life” and “I’m gonna have to defend myself” for the camera. Once the police arrived, Rodriguez claimed self-defense and gave them the tape in order to prove it—apparently, he thought that his constant repetitions of self-defense language would mitigate the fact that he went out of his house with a loaded gun and a camera, obviously intending to shoot his neighbors and establish self-defense on camera.
Ultimately, Rodriguez’s mistake was to bring the camera, as it gave a clear and perfect picture of the situation that showed his falsification of the self-defense situation to the police and jury (you can view the full tape here); he is now in jail, having been sentenced to 40 years for murder. The lesson learned from the Martin and Rodriguez cases are simply that you can legally kill people, just as long as there isn’t a video or witness to discredit your story.
The expansions of self-defense statues demonstrated in the Martin case has now sent the message to violent people living in some states that they can kill at will, just as long as they do so in a way that doesn’t leave witnesses to contradict their story after the fact (and don’t tape their crimes for the police). To be “fair” to Florida’s justice system though, it appears that all of their states’ population has been given massively expanded rights to kill anybody who even looks at them the wrong way—that would be a protection granted primarily to white and wealthy Floridians.
Racial Disparities in Self-Defense
If “kill at will” self-defense were to be applied equally across all demographics in Florida, the state would just be facing a terrible crisis in public safety. Unfortunately, Floridians have further compounded their self-defense problems by creating a racially-disparate view of self-defense, where white defendants are protected by self-defense and minority defendants are handed draconian prison sentences.
Put plainly, if everything in the case remained the same, except Zimmerman were a black man and Martin a white teenage girl, this case would have been looked at and prosecuted radically differently. Nobody can say with a straight face that Zimmerman would be allowed to claim self-defense and it is ridiculous to think that the victim’s pot experimentation and clothing would be relevant.
White people are more likely to be able to successfully claim self-defense and are much less likely to be killed in “self-defense” when not committing a crime than African Americans. This disparity leads to a system of justice where white Americans receive additional legal protections and are not subject to realistic fears that they will be seen as “scary” and killed while walking down the street.
This graph pretty much says it all about racial self-defense disparities.
White People “Defending Themselves” Against Black Teens
The fact is, self-defense works when the jury sees the victim as a threat to the defendant; because of this latent biases against certain demographic groups lead it to be more likely that somebody will get away with certain groups of people. Unfortunately, American culture portrays young black males to be inherently dangerous, thus it is far easier for a white person to get away with killing one than it would be if they killed a person of another race.
Some paranoid white people have a fear of black youth that causes them to act violently and then claim that they were justified in their actions because they were defending themselves—we have seen this both in cases involving public citizens and with police officers (oftentimes resulting in dozens of bullets killing the young black man).
In fact, we see a perfect example of how “self-defense” is used to kill black youths by white paranoids in the case of Jordan Russell Davis. In 2012, only months after the Martin shooting, Davis—a 17 year old black Floridian—was shot in another virtually identical “self-defense” case. Michael Dunn, the shooter, is a white man who was irritated that Davis’s car stereo was too loud. According to witnesses, Dunn opened fire on Davis in his car after asking him to turn the sound down. After he was caught (he fled the scene), Dunn claimed self-defense and said that he saw a shotgun in the car and was in fear for his life—no gun was found. Dunn is currently on trial and we don’t know what the disposition of the case will be.
African Americans’ Decreased Ability to Claim Self-Defense
The very same latent biases which make it easier for white Americans to claim self-defense when they kill black people make it more difficult for African Americans to claim self-defense.
During a series of cases, we have seen that African Americans have a difficult time avoiding legal consequences by claiming self-defense, even if they have very strong cases. The perfect model example of this low accessibility to self-defense arguments by African Americans can be found in the Marissa Alexander case.
On the afternoon of August 1, 2010, Marissa Alexander and her husband Rico Gray–both African American residents of Jacksonville Florida—got into an argument which escalated to violence. Mrs. Alexander was threatened with bodily harm and she decided to fire a warning shot from her pistol into the ceiling in order to prevent her husband from beating her. Nobody was harmed during this incident, yet, when the police arrived on scene, Mrs. Alexander was arrested and charged with three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon (20+ year minimum sentence). In the legal proceedings that followed, Mrs. Alexander claimed that her actions were self-defense and necessary to protect her life in the face of an abusive husband, yet she was still charged with multiple felonies.
Mrs Alexander’s claim that her discharge of a weapon was simply an attempt to ward off violence from her husband is supported by statement from Mr. Gray himself, as well as his well-documented history of violence towards women. Mr. Gray himself admits to perpetrating physical violence against Mrs. Alexander on previous occasions, thus her assumption that he meant her harm in this particular incident is entirely reasonable.
This case should be the model example of self-defense, where a woman used the absolute minimum force to prevent a much larger attacker from harming her. Unfortunately, Alexander was convicted after only 12 minutes of jury deliberations and is now one year into her 20 year prison sentence—her abusive husband now has custody of their children.
While it isn’t impossible for African Americans to claim self-defense, they find it much less accessible than white Americans do. This disparity is terribly unfair and the cause of huge miscarriages in justice like the Martin and Alexander cases.
Racial Self-Defense Disparities in the Zimmerman Trial
During the Zimmerman trial, we saw an example of the disparity in self-defense availability between the races when nobody on either side brought up the obvious question: Even if Martin hit Zimmerman, why weren’t his actions considered self-defense? After all, Zimmerman was a strange man who was following an innocent kid at night—didn’t the kid have a right to “stand his ground” if he thought that the stranger stalking him was going to try to harm him?
Unfortunately, we will never know what Martin was thinking that night, as the man following him turned out to be armed and willing to kill. Perhaps he thought that Zimmerman was following him through the neighborhood in order to rob or assault him? Maybe he thought that Zimmerman was unbalanced and dangerous? We simply don’t know what Martin was thinking, and defaulting to the idea that Martin wasn’t afraid because he isn’t around to explain his fear is just wrong.
Every piece of objective evidence and simple common sense points to the fact that Zimmerman was the initial aggressor in this conflict—he followed Martin and his story of Martin “jumping out of the bushes” at him is debunked by the fact that there were no bushes at the scene. The only reason why Zimmerman would lie about how the fight started is if he didn’t think that the truth would reflect well on him, thus it is highly likely that he caught up with Martin and did something which would be seen as instigative (if Martin truly started the fight, Zimmerman would have no reason to create his own story). As the initial aggressor, Zimmerman has no right to claim self-defense if the fight shifts away from his favor (after all, FL “stand your ground” law gives Martin a right to use force to defend himself if he is legally in a location).
Apparently, some people see self-defense as something that only applies if you are both white and the last person standing.
Zimmerman’s “Scary Black Man” Defense
George Zimmerman’s defense team utilized a startlingly hypocritical and odious defense strategy. The Zimmerman defense strategy was based on justifying Zimmerman’s actions through demonizing Martin and utilizing the stereotype of the “scary and violent black man.” Despite this defense strategy, the Zimmerman defense and supporters have staunchly denied any racial motivation for the killing and decried any attempts to label Zimmerman as a racist as defamatory.
During the trial and in the media, the Zimmerman defense painted Trayvon Martin as a scary and violent black man who posed a great enough threat to necessitate lethal force. This propaganda campaign was aimed purely at tarring the victim enough that the jury would see his killing as justified. Of the sentiments that made this campaign, here are a few of the worse ones:
- Martin was labeled a “thug” and a “gangster” by the Zimmerman lawyers, despite the fact that he had no criminal record and was not breaking the law on the night that he was killed. Put plainly, “thug” and “gangster” are just dog-whistle code words for young black males who don’t look and act like Urkel from Family Matters.
- Martin’s pot use and bad language on social media was conflated into a shadowy and nefarious past which was used to suggest that he was violent. If every teenager to use pot and bad language online were worthy of extra-legal execution, then the millennial generation would likely not exist today.
- The Zimmerman defense introduced evidence of robberies in the Sanford area and made clear to stress that the perpetrators were black. This inclusion of unconnected robberies by OTHER black youth can only serve to imply that all black teens are criminals and that Zimmerman was correct in shooting Martin. Justifying the shooting of Martin—an innocent teen—by introducing evidence that people who share Martin’s race had committed crimes in the area is the very definition of racism—they were attempting to generalize across an entire race in order to justify a killing.
- Martin was suspended from school for possessing a baggie with pot-residue. Despite this simple and common reason for being reprimanded, Zimmerman defenders claimed that Martin had been suspended for anything from operating a fight club to being a drug dealer. The claims that Martin was violent and a fighter are absolutely debunked and were nothing short of lies. It is possible that Martin was selling or trading drugs (there is no evidence to support this claim, but there is none to refute it) but this is not a reason to assume that he is violent, nor is it an excuse for Zimmerman to kill him.
In a starkly ironic situation, the Zimmerman defense claimed that Zimmerman would never racially profile a young black man, all the while basing their defense on the assertion that Martin was dangerous due to a series of racial stereotypes.
Just before the verdict was read, Geraldo Rivera said something that I though was among the most offensive things proposed by mainstream media commentators in recent memory. Despite its offensive content, I see it as a very good descriptor of what the Zimmerman defense was aiming to get the jury to believe:
“I see those six ladies in the jury putting themselves on that rainy night, in that housing complex that has just been burglarized by three or four different groups of black youngsters from the adjacent community. So it’s a dark night, a 6-foot-2-inch hoodie-wearing stranger is in the immediate housing complex. How would the ladies of that jury have reacted? I submit that if they were armed, they would have shot and killed Trayvon Martin a lot sooner than George Zimmerman did.”
In this statement, Rivera not only justifies racial profiling but also asserts that it is reasonable for such profiling to end in the shooting of minority Americans. Put plainly, this statement asserts that white people should legally be able to shoot black people who enter their neighborhoods if there have been incidents of other black people breaking into houses. I don’t know if Rivera knows this, but segregated housing and lynchings are frowned upon in this century and not excuses for murder.
As an interesting note, what do people think would happen if Rivera’s statement were reversed? What do people think would happen if he said that, because white men in expensive suits destroyed the economy and stole thousands of houses, it would justify people shooting white people in suits in pre-emptive self-defense? If Rivera (or anybody in the media) were to express this type of sentiment against white men in suits, human science doesn’t have a measurement of speed fast enough to describe how quickly they would be derided, ostracized and fired.
Unfortunately, it appears that Rivera’s comments—while despicable and racist—were entirely correct in regard to the feelings of this jury. Given their verdict decision, it appears that the Zimmerman defense was successful in swaying the women on the Zimmerman jury to share Rivera’s thinking on the criminality of black males and the legality of shooting black teenagers for being in the wrong neighborhood.
The NAACP’s Pursuit of a Federal Case
While I agree with the NAACP’s belief that the verdict of the Zimmerman case is a complete travesty, I do not agree with their attempts to convince the federal government to charge Zimmerman with civil rights violations.
In the United States justice system we have a legal concept called “double jeopardy,” which prevents somebody from being tried for the same crime multiple times. Under the law, if a person is acquitted of a crime—regardless of how unfair or disturbing that acquittal is—they cannot be charged for the same event, even if new evidence is found after the conclusion of the trial.
The double jeopardy rule exists for a very important reason: to prevent the state from repeatedly prosecuting an individual for a crime until they get a jury which agrees with their arguments.
At the time of the shooting, activists and concerned citizens wanted a trial—after much work, we got what we wanted and now we must live with the jury’s decision. Under the law, Zimmerman is now not guilty of killing Trayvon Martin, even if every sane American understands that he is morally, ethically, and logically guilty of a crime (to use the HuffingtonPost headline for the verdict announcement: “Zimmerman Not Guilty, but Not Innocent”).
The Zimmerman acquittal is a terrible miscarriage of justice, but going after Zimmerman is not worth the cost of undermining the idea of double jeopardy. Zimmerman may not spend the rest of his life in jail for his crimes, but he will live with the stigma of his actions and will likely have to spend his life under the same rock that Casey Anthony is currently living under.
In the coming months, the American civil rights community and concerned citizens should focus upon preventing the next Trayvon Martin from being killed and creating laws which would prevent the next George Zimmerman from falling through the cracks. We lost the fight over George Zimmerman’s fate, but we simply cannot afford to lose the greater war against racial injustice, inequality in the law, and murder masquerading as self-defense.
“the terrible tragedy of the Trayvon Martin shooting comes to a close with Zimmerman escaping all criminal liability for his actions on the night of the shooting.”
I have been on a jury trying a serious crime -attacking man with a knife and disabling him for life. Given the objective evidence (vs. the media caterwauling and emotional outbursts and theories ad nauseum not based much on facts) I would have found Zimmerman not guilty too.
“Not guilty” doesn’t mean “innocent.” It means the jury cannot – based on the object facts alone -find the person guilty of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
It is true that there has been disparity in how justice is handed out. You give the example of the black woman sentenced to 20 years for firing warning shots. From what little I have read about that – and the liberal media isn’t too interested in her case apparently – she should have be no billed or at the very least acquitted. It sounds to me like a clear case of self defense.
But the solution is not to unjustly send Zimmerman to jail based on largely non-objective theories against solid evidence and eye witness testimony that raised legitimate reasonable doubt. The solution is to fight for justice for people like this woman and find out how it was a prosecutor railroaded her into jail.
The solution is not to counter injustice with injustice. The solution is to demand justice for all people regardless of who they are.
It is not theory that Zimmerman.
1) left his vehicle after being told it was not “necessary”. (Exactly how terrified could Zimmerman have been to go toward the threat?)
2) Zimmerman pursued (running after) his threatening “suspect”, (Zimmerman’s word for the child that had not threatened him in any way)
3) According to testimony of Martin’s friend, corroborated with neighborhood witnesses, the screaming for help stopped the second the shot was fired.
4) Trayvon Martin is Black.
5) The Zimmerman trial’s jury was all white. The population demographic of that area is 20% black, yet no one of color was chosen (Hispanics are white).
6) The woman who shot warning shots in defense of her life against her abusing husband is Black.
“It is not theory that Zimmerman.
1) left his vehicle after being told it was not ‘necessary’.”
You may have that backwards. Zimmerman had left his vehicle, told the dispatcher, and was advised (not ordered) “that is not necessary.”
“Zimmerman pursued (running after) his threatening “suspect”, ”
Again, you don’t know that. You are theorizing that Zimmerman ran after Martin. No provable facts support that.
” According to testimony of Martin’s friend, corroborated with neighborhood witnesses, the screaming for help stopped the second the shot was fired.”
And how is that important? Zimmerman was screaming, shot Martin, then stopped screaming. We have eyewitness testimony that it was Zimmerman screaming, not Martin. Martin was in the process of beating up Zimmerman.
“The Zimmerman trial’s jury was all white.”
I heard the prosecution failed to use a black witness because he (she?) watched Fox News.
Again, people will make up endless stories and theories, but the facts we know are sufficient to have reasonable doubt that Zimmerman committed a crime.
You are incorrect, lwk2431, the dispatcher’s recording has Zimmerman talking while huffing and puffing in pursuit, saying he was in pursuit. It’s on the recording, not conjecture. Yes, he was told “We do not need you to do that” while traveling in his vehicle, again in pursuit of Martin.
“We (?)have eyewitness testimony that it was Zimmerman screaming, not Martin.” One main woman witness whose testimony the jury ignored said just the opposite, and testified she believed it was a younger or [boy’s] voice, calling for help.
“And how is that important? Zimmerman was screaming, shot Martin, then stopped screaming?” it seems to me that if Zimmerman was screaming for help because he believed his life was threatened., he would have continued to yell for help even after shooting, or else he knew he was killing the boy.
The one witness, who spoke to FOX after the trial was over, was not imme diately taken as a juror. She was held back at first. She had said during jury selection that ” She knew there was “rioting” because of the trial.” She had already made up her mind before the trial had started. Her above statement alone should have permanently excused her from the jury.
Nothing I have stated here is made up or exaggerated. The only person in that hideous event, who actually had the right to “stand their ground” was Trayvon Martin. But he was unarmed.
One last interesting thing to ponder……if Martin was “beating Zimmerman about the head, breaking his nose, and banging his head on a sidewalk”, why was there absolutely none of Zimmerman’s blood or DNA on Martin’s hands, clothes, or body? Heads have a tendency to bleed profusely when “bashed”.
I have to disagree, while I think it was stupid and wrong for Zimmerman to follow and confront Trayvon, I do think there was reasonable doubt and that the jury made the only right call they could. This isn’t to imply that Zimmerman is necessarily innocent per se, but I feel like your article presents a false dichotomy between guilty and innocent without addressing how one can personally believe someone is guilty, but recognize there is reasonable doubt. Even Alan Dershowitz (known for going so far as to advocate the repeal of the Second Amendment) believes there was clear reasonable doubt, because even if Zimmerman is mostly guilty looking in the fact, that is still not enough. Doing what he did, following someone on a public street and even confronting them is not illegal nor does it prove that he physically provoked Trayvon (I’m not claiming the opposite either, merely acknowledging there doesn’t appear to be enough evidence either way) but shooting someone during the heat of a fight (which was confirmed) amdist disputed facts is not necessarily a clear case of manslaughter regardless of Zimmerman’s background.I also think Stand Your Ground laws are irreverent since ZImmerman did not use a stand-your-ground defense and the same circumstances could have transpired without such a defense (ie someone could shoot someone in a sudden fight and claim that due to the position they were in they couldn’t retreat, which seemed to be Zimmerman’s defense anyway, that Trayvon was ontop of him which was supported by both eye witness and expert testimony) I really feel like this case has been politicized so much people can’t just look at the facts of what we know about what happened that night and how it holds up to our legal standard. My view is not unique though not even to Dershowitz, many other lawyers were unsurprised and even anticipated a not guilty verdict on all counts given their opinion on the law and the facts. All we know for is that he shot Trayvon probably while he was ontop of him and sustained a minor head-wound, I think given that situation there is reasonable doubt that he could have feared for his life and been in a compromsing position, and the wrong move’s he made earlier are not clearly legally relevant.
Strangely I commented on this last night and it went missing, not accusing you or anything (its your blog anyway you have the right to do what you want with it) but I figured I’d re-post my point in the event it was some weird glitch. I think the jury made the only right decision not based on ZImmerman’s innocence per se but based on reasonable doubt. I feel like all the political and racial incidents and context that have been added to this trial in large part by the media are irreverent to the facts from a legal perspective, for example the fact that black defendents have been convicted in similar circumstances illustrates a horrendous double standard, but it doesn’t mean ZImmerman should be convicted to even the scale (I”m not saying your implying that, but that for that reason those other cases such as the woman convicted of firing warning shots) its not legally relevent. Also stand your ground laws are irreverent because there was no stand-your-ground defense and ZImmerman’s story, right or wrong, claimed he was in a position where he could not retreat anyway once the fight started. The fact that Zimmerman made a wrong move in following Trayvon doesn’t make him guilty either, as doing so while unjust and in poor judgement isn’t illegal. Many legal experts including liberal Alan Dershowitz anticipated and supported this verdict based on a measurement of the facts to the legal standard. Its horrible what happened, and Zimmerman may even be ultimately at fault, but sometimes our legal standard means letting someone go free not because they didn’t do it, but because there just isn’t enough evidence, and with much of the facts disputed and unknown it seems like this is a clear example of this case (also keep in mind that both eye and expert Witness testimony indicated Trayvon was on top of Zimmerman at the time of the shooting)
What I found amazing is that on the day that the verdict was returned, two million people on Facebook suddenly got their law degree. . .
I know, right.
There are so many people out there with no knowledge of the law making fools of themselves through inane comments; that said, this is a very complex case that goes into some fairly subjective legal concepts (ex. what constitutes “depraved mind”) and there is disagreement even among the experts.
“One last interesting thing to ponder……if Martin was “beating Zimmerman about the head, breaking his nose, and banging his head on a sidewalk”, why was there absolutely none of Zimmerman’s blood or DNA on Martin’s hands, clothes, or body? Heads have a tendency to bleed profusely when “bashed”.”
So is the new theory that Zimmerman beat himself up, banged his head on the sidewalk, and broke his own nose after shooting Martin, obviously to obfuscate his deliberate homicide? 🙂
There are copies of the transcript of the conversation between Zimmerman and the dispatcher with some descriptions of indeterminate noises. Nothing is absolutely clear.
It depends on whose testimony one chooses to believe. The testimony of the coronor stated simply that Zimmerman did not suffer a broken nose, and the lacerations on the back of his head were not consistent with having been “bashed”.
No, it’s not a theory. Martin had no blood or DNA of Zimmerman’s on his person when police got to the scene. This would be inconsistant with science and common sense, if Zimmerman’s accusations were true that he was pummeled by Martin.
Personally I am horrified, that any person, of any race, could be walking back from a store, minding their own business; be profiled, pursued, and murdered by any person, of any race. Those who would choose Zimmerman for a poster personna for gun rights, “stand your ground law”, or vigilantism, are not realizing, next time the death could be their’s.
“The testimony of the coronor stated simply that Zimmerman did not suffer a broken nose…”
The coroner would have examined Trayvon Martin’s body, not Zimmerman who was still alive. That is what coroners do, examine dead bodies to determine cause of death and other relevant evidence.
“CNN) — A medical report by George Zimmerman’s family doctor shows the neighborhood watch volunteer was diagnosed with a fractured nose, two black eyes and two lacerations on the back of the head after his fatal confrontation with Trayvon Martin.”
“Martin had no blood or DNA of Zimmerman’s on his person when police got to the scene.”
You have a source for that? I have read reports that Martin’s DNA was not found on the gun. Have seen nothing about DNA on Zimmerman himself.
“This would be inconsistant with science and common sense, if Zimmerman’s accusations were true that he was pummeled by Martin.”
Yes, it would be pretty odd I guess. But then that would say no fight occurred and that is hugely inconsistent with Zimmerman’s injuries and eyewitness testimony that places Martin on top of Zimmerman beating him.
“Personally I am horrified, that any person, of any race, could be walking back from a store, minding their own business; be profiled, pursued, and murdered by any person, of any race.”
Very clearly the jury did not believe the scenario that Martin was innocent and minding his own business until accosted by Zimmerman. Largely what I see you saying above are unsubstantiated claims that a jury with access to a lot more evidence than either of us have seen did not believe.
According to a Rasmussen poll announced today a large majority believe the verdict was correct.
“Those who would choose Zimmerman for a poster personna for gun rights, ‘stand your ground law’, or vigilantism, are not realizing, next time the death could be their’s.”
Despite all the coverage in the news, the “stand your ground” law appears to have really played no part in this. Even if that was not taken into consideration, and the jury had been using the older standard requiring a person to retreat, it would have made no difference. Retreat was not possible for Zimmerman in the scenario the jury believe, that is, the scenario of Martin on top of Zimmerman beating him.
Self defense is not vigilantism. Defending your property (e.g., a neighborhood watch that attempts to spot burglars and report them to police) is not vigilantism.
People are bemoaning the loss of life in this case. Someone I read today made an excellent suggestion. If young blacks don’t want to get killed in a similar fashion then don’t be violent criminals and attack people because you are upset they observe you wandering around looking for an apartment to burgle.
I am guessing there is a lot we don’t agree on. My point has always been that we look at known facts and not waste a lot of time on theories that can’t be proven with those facts. I also know that in the vast majority of criminal cases the evidence is always a little fuzzy, that testimony sometimes is conflicting, and emotions often seize on defending a person we can more easily identify with.
Personally I am not invested in Zimmerman being perfectly innocent. It is possible he did things that he should not have, but ultimately – based on the facts the jury believed – Martin should not have assaulted Zimmerman and put him in fear of his life.
Even Martin’s girlfriend (who is totally lacking in credibility) is now saying she things Martin threw the first punch (some interview on the news this morning).
Of course, I misspoke using “coronor”. It was expert testimony concerning none of Martin’s DNA anywhere on Zimmerman, or his gun. To most who have opinions similar to your’s about this incident, the judging part starts after physical contact between Martin and Zimmerman.
The incident begins, in my opinion, with Zimmerman “patroling” the neighborhood in search of “suspects”. A true neighborhood watch program is just that; people watch and report, they do not patrol and confront. Zimmerman was patroling with a semi-automatic gun with hollow point bullets.
When Martin ran, Zimmerman pursued. Doesn’t the stand your ground law only permit pursuit if in fact your person and/or personal property is in jeopardy? Zimmerman did not own the whole neighborhood. I contend that at that moment when Zimmerman pursued the fleeing boy, the stand your ground law became Martin’s defensive right not Zimmerman’s
The point here to me is when it is said by you and others “It is possible he [Zimmerman]did things that he should not have, but ……..” You and they have already determined Zimmerman’s innocence without considering all the facts.