Is it really that simple?
July 23, 2013
Trayvon Martin is dead because he was walking in George Zimmerman's neighborhood. He did nothing wrong. His killer is now free. Seems simply wrong, doesn't it? It's not that simple, if you watched the trial. I did.
The prosecutors dropped the ball. It's that simple. Hear me now, Zimmerman may have indeed committed murder, but, it wasn't proven. The prosecution and most of their witnesses did a lousy job.
The charge of murder was a reach from the beginning given the evidence and the "Stand Your Ground" law in Florida. Theoretically this law allows a rapist to kill his victim if the victim aggressively defends themselves to the point where the rapist fears for his life. That's similar to what happened in this case. According to his own defense team, Zimmerman wanted to be a cop. (this was his moment) He physically confronted Martin and when Martin started winning the fight, Zimmerman shot him.
Let's get this straight, Trayvon Martin was 17. The hyperbole broadcast over and over, that he was just a child won't fly. He was a strong man. If the roles were reversed Martin would have been tried as an adult. And convicted, I might add. Had the prosecution devoted its attention to proving manslaughter, I believe Zimmerman would have been convicted. The politically motivated murder charge muddied the waters and Zimmerman's defense team took full advantage.
Zimmerman was armed inside his car, yet he told investigators he was afraid. That's incredible. The police told him to stay in his car and not pursue Martin. Zimmerman originally denied being told this. He lied. He could have driven away and let the police handle Martin. He didn't. His job as a neighborhood watch person is just that; watch and report anything suspicious to the police. Martin wasn't even doing anything suspicious. It wasn't Zimmerman's role to confront suspects.
The facts are indisputable. Zimmerman disobeyed police instruction, got out of his car and pursued Martin simply because he was one of them walking in his neighborhood. His action resulted in Martin's death. That's manslaughter.
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Zimmerman called the police from his car because, as he stated, one of "them" was in his neighborhood and might be up to no good. There's no doubt as to the racial overtones in his statement. The police wouldn't even have had a reasonable cause to stop Martin.
He might have followed him because he was black. The physical confrontation might have occurred because he was black. He might have shot him because he was black. We'll never know. Proving any of that would be impossible.
If you are white and shoot a black person there is a 35 percent chance it will be ruled justifiable homicide. If you are black and shoot a white person there is only a 3 percent chance. The differences are more pronounced in certain parts of the country. Something is terribly wrong.
I hope what I have to say now will be taken the right way. I remember being extremely disappointed when the jury found O.J. Simpson not guilty. I was actually sickened when the television showed cheering crowds of African Americans delighted with the verdict. I understood, given the history of injustice they have faced. They wrongly felt it was payback time. I had hoped for better. I watched all of that trial also. The prosecution in that case also did a lousy job. "Try on this glove O.J." I was convinced Simpson was guilty without any doubt. It was an injustice. Based on comments by jurors, the jury in that case committed malfeasance.
I was also convinced that Zimmerman was guilty of manslaughter. You can't blame the jury for not being bright enough to believe the prosecution. Honestly, the prosecution's failures and a bad law passed by gun supporting Republicans in Florida's state house made the jury's verdict quite predictable.
I'm unsure if the Justice Department should file federal charges against Zimmerman for violating Martin's civil rights. It seems clear that Zimmerman was motivated in part by racial intolerance, but the Justice Department would have to prove intent to kill Martin solely because of his race. That could be impossible.
We need to work together to improve our system of justice. Justice must be truly blind of race, religion or where one may live. That's why I can't support the death penalty. Our system is too imperfect to justify the final solution. Juries, prosecutors, judges, and defense attorneys err. Too many innocent people have been executed. Too many guilty set free, like Orenthal James Simpson and George Zimmerman.
Glen McAdoo, a Churchill County resident, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org