Why did the Seminole County jurors vote not guilty? How could six women, five moms, care so little about a 17 year old teenager that they let a killer walk free? Is it because they are cold people? Is it because they are mostly white? Is it because our legal system sucks? Or is it possible that there is another reason why they voted not guilty?
Six people were sequestered, away from the media, away from the social groups, away from the protests, away from the everyday non-stop overload of mob opinion, and focused on what was presented to them in court, and then they decided.
Six months ago, if you were to ask me what I thought about this case, I would have told you that George Zimmerman had a lot of explaining to do for why he got out of his truck and shot Trayvon. I would have told you that he’s probably guilty of manslaughter. I also would have told you that this will be a tough case for the prosecution to prove. For people that don’t typically follow trials, they may not fully grasp how heavy the burden of proof really is, and therefore they assume it’s a slam dunk for guilty. I’m glad that the burden of proof is high. Not because I want criminals on the street. But because I don’t want innocent people in jail and prosecutors locking away every person that they “think” did something criminal. Some people think that the prosecutors always get it right. Sadly, that is very far from the truth. They are not immune to the politics that exist in our country. This is why we are judged by our peers and not judges. It really is the best system in the world. Six months later, and after a quest for truth, my opinions have radically changed. Not about the case being hard to prove but about what really happened that night.
So how did this case get so out of hand and why is America once again completely divided? On a rainy February night in central Florida, a 28 year old man, George Zimmerman, who was the captain of a neighborhood watch program, spotted a suspicious person in his neighborhood. He called it in to the non-emergency number and reported what he deemed to be suspicious. That suspicious person was 17 year old Trayvon Martin who wore a dark hoodie covering his head. And yes he was black. For whatever his own reasons that we’ll never know, Trayvon spotted George and decided to run. George got out of his truck to see where he went. This is the decision that has forever changed the lives of two men, two families and an entire nation.
What exactly happened in that moment that George hung up with the non-emergency operator and the moment that the fight began, nobody will ever know. But what happened during that fight, is what the jurors needed to decide. What the general public doesn’t understand, and what the state attorney’s office, Al Sharpton and the mainstream media don’t want you to know is that following somebody is not illegal. George Zimmerman did not commit any illegal act by getting out of his truck that night. He had every right to go see where this person went. Was it poor judgement? I think we all agree, yes it was. Do neighborhood watch programs advise against following suspicious people, yes they do. This poor choice was the beginning of what occurred but it legally was not provocation. This is extremely important to understand. The media and the prosecutors will scream at you that George provoked this crime. He did not, according to the law. That is not my opinion. That is fact. And just because George investigated something that he deemed suspicious, and that person happened to be black, does not automatically mean that George is a racist with a depraved mind that wanted to kill. You can’t make that assumption without proof and you certainly can’t charge somebody with second degree murder without proof.
So… why did George really get out of his truck? Have any of you really searched for the answer to that question beyond what the media has fed to you before making a judgement? Because if most people had a glimpse in to what was happening in that neighborhood, many people would have an answer to that question. Did George Zimmerman want to be a cop? Yes. Did George Zimmerman care about the safety of his family and community? Yes. These are noble desires. Not criminal desires.
In the summer of 2011, there were a series of burglaries that took place at the Retreat at Twin Lakes. Some burglars got away, some were caught. Most of the offenders were young. During one of those burglaries, a mother with a 4 month old baby was home and had to lock herself in the nursery, on the phone with 911, and scissors in her other hand as a weapon, while two young men broke in to her home and robbed her. Police made it there in time to help her, and the burglars fled. One ended up being caught, the other was not. They were in their late teens and they were black. Due to the events escalating in their neighborhood, the residents being fearful, met with their HOA and decided to create a neighborhood watch program. George became the captain of this group. The neighbors who knew him all described George as being calm, friendly, helpful and caring. After the creation of the neighborhood watch, George was able to prevent an attempted burglary by his patrol efforts. The program was helping. There are reports in the media that he called 911 hundreds of times. Clearly this must mean that he is an over-zealous paranoid cop-wannabe. The reality is that it was not hundreds of times and it was not always 911. Neighborhood watch captains are told to either call the non-emergency line or 911 depending on the level of the event. Every captain is informed of any potential crime that happens in the neighborhood. That is how the program works. Yes he did call those numbers numerous times to report events, some small, some big. He was doing what the program intended for him to do.
On the night of February 26, 2012, on his way out to the store, George spotted Trayvon Martin. He was a young man that he didn’t recognize, in a hooded sweatshirt standing on his neighbor’s lawn. It was raining and it appeared that Trayvon was just standing around. And yes he was black. George deemed him to be suspicious. Is this an enormous stretch to you that George found him suspicious? I propose in light of the burglaries, probably not. My mother was the victim of a burglary. If I saw somebody who was hooded standing on her lawn, I would be suspicious too. Suspicions are subjective. We are entitled to them. Did the fact that Trayvon was black play in to George’s suspicions? I’ll never know the answer to that question. But there is nothing in George’s history that suggests racism. If there was, don’t you think the prosecution would have brought that to trial? They didn’t.
Another misconception is that the police instructed him not to get out of his vehicle. This is also not true. George had already gotten out of his vehicle and was half way down the sidewalk, trying to see where Trayvon went, when the non-emergency operator asked him if he was following the suspicious person. He said yes. The operator said “we don’t need you to do that”. That is VERY different than a police officer commanding you NOT to do something. That is not how the media reports it. George’s response back was “ok”. There is no evidence whatsoever, again contrary to what the prosecutors want you to believe, that proves that George continued to chase Trayvon down after that point. The evidence actually points to George walking back to his truck when Trayvon reappeared and the fight began.
When George was brought to the police station the night of the shooting, the photos that the media wanted you to see were long distance grainy images of George getting out of the police car, and they went out of their way to point out that George had absolutely no injuries on him. What most people don’t know is that other photos were taken at the crime scene very soon after the event and George did indeed have a very swollen broken bloody nose, scrapes to his face and head, contusions, lacerations and bleeding on the back and sides of his head. He had been beaten. These photos are rarely seen by the public.
The lawn of the townhome where the shot was fired and where Trayvon was found belongs to John Good. He was the closest witness to the event. He was standing approximately 10 feet away from them. His statement hours after the event, and on the stand one and a half years later, has remained largely the same. He had no idea what George’s story was so there is no possibility that he made it up to match. This is his own account of what he saw that night: Trayvon was on top of George (he identified them by clothing and skin color, he did not know either of them by name), first Trayvon was laying on top of George in the grass and then straddling him on the pavement. (George reports that Trayvon was straddling him, pounding his head in to pavement.) Trayvon’s arms were moving in a downward motion, appearing as if he was raining down punches. He could not testify to definitively seeing fists hit skin but he did testify that there was a flurry of hands going in a downward motion and the man on the bottom was screaming. He said it looked like a mixed martial arts fight that is considered a ground and pound event.
George states that he was screaming for help. He saw John on his patio and was screaming for his help. John yelled out to the two men to stop what they were doing and that he was calling 911. He went back inside to make the call and then went upstairs to look out the window. It was after he went back inside that the shot occurred. So nobody actually witnessed it. The infamous screams on the 911 call made by neighbor Jenna Lauer match up with George’s statements and John Good’s witness accounts. I have listened to that tape numerous times. Although I certainly can’t say for sure who it is that is screaming, it does sound like George to me. But more importantly, it matches up with the accounts of that night.
If George was depraved and intended to harm Trayvon that night, why did he call the non-emergency line? Why did he request that police come to the scene to check out this suspicious person? For all he knew, the police could have been nearby and on-site within a minute or two. He also knew that there were witnesses to the fight. There were numerous townhomes surrounding them. It wasn’t just John Good watching but he reported that he could see other neighbors looking out their windows. In today’s day and age, somebody could have easily videotaped this. Are these ideal conditions to intentionally shoot somebody out of depravity? Use your logic.
The investigators who initially worked this case all testified at trial. In summation, they believed George and felt his statements were mostly consistent. And these were prosecution witnesses. This is why charges weren’t pressed for 40+ days. Not because the police department didn’t care about Trayvon, or because George supposedly had inside influences, but because this was a case of self defense and there was no evidence to prove otherwise. Every day there are cases that go uncharged because evidence doesn’t exist. You can’t charge somebody just because you’re pretty sure they did something wrong. Our justice system doesn’t work that way, thank god.
What happened after that?…. The Martin family didn’t like the fact that George wasn’t being charged and hired Benjamin Crump, a civil rights attorney. They began to circulate pictures of Trayvon that were 4 years younger, portraying him as a little boy, they got the Department of Justice involved, they held rallies with packets of Skittles and wore hoodies, and made their pleas to the American public. People became outraged, rightfully so. If the story they told was actually true, it would be outrageous. I bought in to it for a brief time too. The state attorney’s office demoted the original investigators, fired the chief of police and brought in a special prosecutor. They declined going to a grand jury, and instead decided to charge George with second degree murder. To prove second degree murder, you have to prove that the person killed with a depraved mind. It does not involve premeditation as is required with first degree murder, but does require the depraved mind element. Why did they charge him with 2nd degree murder instead of manslaughter? Because that decision was based on emotion and political pressure, not on fact or evidence. The state’s attorney office would like you to believe that the defense team brought race in to this case, but I’d like you to remember that the family’s attorney, a civil rights attorney, appealed to Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and the Department of Justice for their assistance in this case. I propose to you that race was suggested by the state, not the defense. And oh how the media loved that. Now we have a story. And the American public ate it up.
The ONLY supposed evidence that the prosecution presented at trial to show that George acted with a depraved mind was that when he was on the phone with the non-emergency operator reporting the suspicious person, he muttered under his breath “these assholes always get away” and “fucking punks”. He did not shout those words, he did not say them angrily, he did not use any racial slurs. NBC went so far as to make a false version of that recording and added in a racial slur that I refuse to post on this blog. But please do google that event and you will be absolutely disgusted with NBC. They were totally busted for falsifying the recording and the Zimmerman family is suing them, rightfully so.
Does it seem plausible to you that perhaps these utterances under George’s breath were the result of a man who was just frustrated by the burglars in his neighborhood? Don’t misunderstand, this does not mean that Trayvon was a burglar. There is no evidence of that whatsoever and I’m not accusing him. We are talking about George’s perception and in his perception, Trayvon was suspicious. How many of you use the words asshole and punk on occasion when you are frustrated? Are you racist? I hope to god that someday I’m not accused of murder with a depraved mind in a criminal court because I used the word asshole.
The truth of this story that nobody wants to even remotely address is that Trayvon chose to fight that night. This is not my opinion and this is not an attack on the victim. This is information that was brought out at trial that is supported by physical evidence and witness accounts. He was not a helpless little boy with only a bag of candy. He was beating George. That was the choice that he made. He did have George’s head on pavement, and George feared for his life. George was carrying a legal concealed weapon. Whether you like guns or not, George did have a legal right to carry his gun. People who carry concealed weapons typically have them loaded. Why? Because how is it going to help them in an emergency if it’s not loaded? For people that are not gun advocates, the concept of carrying a loaded gun is crazy. For people that are gun advocates, the concept of carrying a loaded gun is perfectly normal. People do it all the time. My personal feelings about the gun debate have no relevance on this case and are topic of discussion for another blog entry. The Florida law states that George was legally in possession of his gun. The Florida law also states that deadly force is legal if it is used to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony (i.e. robbery). The force that George used that night was legal. If you don’t like these laws, you need to contact your political leaders and work to change them. But you absolutely cannot send somebody to prison because you don’t like the law and want to make a point.
It’s much easier for people to believe that George is an evil man who gunned down a black boy in cold blood because he was black; than it is to believe that a 17 year old teenager chose to fight, and had the ability to fight, a 28 year old man. Trayvon made as many bad choices that night as George did. I’m not being insensitive by saying this. I’m trying to speak the truth. What he did to George was illegal. If Trayvon had lived, he would probably be in court fighting assault and possibly attempted murder charges today.
If the racial card was never played by the Benjamin Crump camp, then none of us outside of Sanford, FL, would have ever heard of this case. Focusing on cases where racism is suggested merely because somebody is black, and there is no proof to back it up, does not help the healing in our country. It widens the divide. I am absolutely in favor of civil rights leaders getting involved where legitimate injustices have occurred. If they are not sure if something was a legitmate injustice, they have a responsibility to investigate first before blasting it all over the country and getting everybody incensed. I hope that all human beings will always fight for their equal rights in this country. I hope they do it in an honest way that is intended for the truth to be told, and not mobs to be created. And I am in total opposition to civil rights leaders who use their power only to achieve personal interests and intentionally cause divides. I feel strongly that this is what occurred in this case and I am not alone in this belief.
I am sad for the loss of Trayvon and for the pain of the Martin family. I am disappointed that they hired the people that they did to represent them. Those representatives did not properly honor Trayvon’s life. Trayvon should not have died. He didn’t deserve to die. I am also sad for the Zimmerman family, and for George. He shouldn’t have been beaten and he shouldn’t have been demonized by people that don’t know the whole story, or refuse to accept the whole story. He will have to live in hiding for the rest of his life. I don’t consider myself a George supporter. I don’t consider myself a Trayvon supporter. It’s not relevant to the commentary on this case. My opinions are all from the standpoint of seeking the truth and following the law. Some may read this and assume that I’m insensitive, that I don’t care about other ethnicities, that I’m anti-civil rights or that I support guns and crime. But those of you who know me will attest, nothing could be further from the truth.
I find myself in very unfamiliar territory with this case. Very rarely do I find myself agreeing with defense teams and disagreeing with victim’s families. And very rarely do I ever hear prosecutors say in court to a jury “it might have happened this way”. I have never in my life seen such a weak prosecution case. That’s not by chance… it’s because a case doesn’t exist. So in many ways, I’m out of my comfort zone and kind of feel like I’m standing on a ledge here. But I would be completely disingenuous if I stood up with the rest of the crowd and said “I am Trayvon” and wore a hoodie and demanded that George be thrown in jail. I am not Trayvon. I am an American who cares greatly about the well-being of my loved ones, my fellow citizens, equality and peace, and who seeks the truth, even when the answers are ugly.
What is really the biggest problem in this case? It’s not racism, it’s not media, and it’s not Al Sharpton. It’s OUR absolute blind acceptance of the media that is fed to us and the mob mentality that it creates. Media is a business. Of course they report the most dramatic and salacious information that they know the public craves. It sells stories and makes them money. It’s not their fault. It’s our fault for believing it without demanding proof or doing our own research.
If I was part of the Seminole County six, I would have voted Not Guilty. And in the interest of truth, I refuse to be afraid to admit that. I hope that every American takes the time to research what they hold dear. Don’t settle for what others want you to believe. Seek out the information and then make your own choice.
18 Replies to “Not Guilty – Zimmerman Verdict”
You bring up interesting points about the standards required for a charge of 2nd degree murder. How do they differ for a charge of manslaughter? What was the standard they had to hit in order for a juror to name him guilty of manslaughter?
The manslaughter is an added lesser charge that the state has a right to add. The jury would need to find that George committed an intentional act that was neither excusable, nor justified that resulted in the death of another person. Typically manslaughter is considered more a crime of passion/heat of the moment event. It does not require a depraved mind, and it’s certainly not premeditated.
Because the prosecution cannot prove how exactly the fight was provoked, and also because there is solid evidence that George was beaten and it was likely self defense, there is ample reasonable doubt on all charges. I don’t know if the jury acquitted him because they straight up believe the self defense story (in which case, both charges are automatically out because the killing is justified) or if they just felt the prosecution didn’t prove their case. Perhaps it was a combination.
I hope they eventually speak. Although, anonymously would probably be ideal. I think it would greatly help with healing for people to really understand why they voted how they did. Many people truly don’t understand how juries work or why they make the decisions that they do.
Thank you for a great blog. I appreciate your insight into the workings of the jury and the legal system overview. Keep it coming…
I appreciate your thoughts on this, juror 13. Did you watch AC 360 tonight? Very interesting…
So appreciate an honest and obviously educated insight…keep it coming Lisa xoxo
What a good job you’ve done. You are a talented writer, and I’m glad I found your blog.
I have just listened to Holder’s speech to the NAACP. This entire circle is comming around to bite the gov. in the butt.
It was he who first insisted AC prosecute this. Now, Holder is calling for a very harsh look at the SYG law, which Holder responded to in defense, and stands behind.
So, Scott got what he wanted with Zimmerman, and now it will cause him his beloved SYG law.
I love Karma.
PS I do not have an opinion on the SYG law, and it is not my intention to discuss that. I am simply smiling that Scott’s deeds have gone full circle – at the expense of George Zimmerman. Shame on them all.
Prayers for the Zimmermans.
Sorry – forgot this part. In the public articles on the juror’s interview, the comments are atrocious and threatening.
Sweet Jesus, help us in this time of need in the USA.
Thank you, Jan. I agree that the response to her interview is appauling, and sadly I am not at all surprised. The same people that are outraged about supposed (completely not proven) racial profiling are now saying that the jury was a bunch of stupid, white women. The hypocrisy is rich indeed.
I’m. sorry but I disagree with you. The law should have protected Trayvon from a predator like Zimmerman, but instead it’s (apparently and sickeningly) the other way around. Just because he was part of a neighborhood watch group that was started for legitimate reasons does not make him any less of a predator. Yes, as you point George Zimmerman broke no laws by patrolling his neighborhood or getting out of his truck, but Trayvon Martin wasn’t breaking any laws either. He had the right to walk home unmolested. It was his community as much as it was Zimmerman’s. Zimmerman was not an officer of the law. He had no right to interfere whatsoever in Martin’s walk home.
For me to believe that this verdict was somehow not a complete disgrace I have to believe Zimmerman’s story and I just don’t. I have to believe that there was some tiny bit of reasonableness for him to suspect Trayvon Martin. I don’t, because there wasn’t. There are no sidewalks in that community; people are either forced to walk on the street (dangerous, esp on a rainy night) or walk on the grass. Someone walking too fast, or too slowly, or wearing dark clothing, or being black is not suspicious. Yet for me to even remotely consider that Zimmerman deserved acquittal I have to believe all of those things are somehow suspicious. And I also to have to completely believe his story that Martin caused the physical altercation. Martin was being stalked while walking home. He had every right to fear for his safety, but apparently he didn’t have the right to defend himself the way Zimmerman did.
You can convince me that legally (I used that term loosely due to Florida’s absurd statutes regarding self-defense and allowing untrained idiots to own deadly weapons and carry them around in public) the jury, based on evidence presented in court by the prosecution, had only one real option, and that was to acquit Zimmerman. Fine. I would not have done so but so be it. You can convince me that the prosecution didn’t do a very good job (an understatement) and the burden of proof is on the prosecution. I get that, and that burden is a good thing and shame on Florida for not prosecuting the case with the vigor it deserved. But you can’t convince me that justice has somehow been served here. The unarmed Trayvon Martin was racially profiled by someone carrying a deadly weapon and wound up a corpse. Period. I agree that the second degree murder charge was a stretch (see previous statement about general incompetence of prosecution) but this is minimally manslaughter unless you believe George Zimmerman’s inconsistent story (of which, unlike the prosecution witnesses, he never had to defend under oath or face cross-examination) and that you believe it was reasonable for him to treat Trayvon Martin with suspicion. I just don’t. For me to be OK with this verdict I have to ignore every action and event that night except the precise moment where Zimmernan found himself in a physical fight with Martin and fearing for his safety somehow, despite being pinned to the ground, managed to reach behind his back and retrieve his deadly weapon, point it at Martin despite the furious beating he was receiving, and then pull the trigger.
I think this case has a lot in common with the OJ Simpson trial. Along with general media absurdity, shoddy police work, and a questionable prosecution, both cases share something in common: the defense was able to make the trial about something other than the actual crime. In OJ’s case, the LAPD was put on trial and the juice was set loose. In this case, Trayvon Martin was put on trial, enough so to give the jury enough reason to believe that Zimmerman was within the bounds of normal, civilized human behavior when he 1) called to report a “suspicious” person and 2) then proceeded to take it upon himself to get out of his vehicle and follow that “suspicious” person.
We can talk about evidence and the rule of law all we want but that doesn’t mean crimes and trials take place in a vacuum. There is 200+years of state-sanctioned and promoted racism in America that continues to this day. Black men carry the presumption of criminality that crosses the bounds of evidence and the burden of proof. Zimmerman presumed Martin was a criminal because he was walking too slowly, because he was wearing a hoodie, because it was night out, because other black men had committed crimes in the area, because he was walking on the grass. To defend Zimmerman’s actions that night is no different than excusing a rapist because his victim was dressed provocatively.
Trayvon Martin is not alone in being presumed a criminal, nor is he alone in having the so-called justice system fail to protect him. Our system and those who participate in it (police, prosecutors, jury members) presume black men are guilty, and one black man is a good substitute for another (see Zimmerman’s brother’s disgusting post-trial claims that Martin was a drug dealer in training, as if that somehow excuses his execution as some sort of pre-crime neutralization). Please look up the statistics. It’s staggering the number of black men who are behind bars, mostly for drug-related offenses. Whites consume illegal substances in just about the same numbers as blacks but the discrepancy of who actually gets punished for those crimes is massive. I saw a stat recently that America now imprisons a higher percentage of its black population than Apartheid-era South Africa.
Justice has not been served. Zimmerman killed an unarmed boy and got away with it. I think it’s telling that in order to defend this acquittal on moral grounds a person has to ignore the right-wing engineering that has taken place with Florida’s laws, particularly the noxious Stand Your Ground statute which is disproportionately used to excuse whites for killings blacks. These are laws pushed for and paid for by gun nuts, because in their sick and twisted view of the world we can’t rely on institutions like the police to protect us, and since the world is filled dangerous criminals just waiting to rape, rob, and murder us we all need to walk around armed to the teeth and be excused for killing people if we think we are in danger…and, well, since we assume all black men are criminals, have at it. Their mere presence in our world is a threat That the inevitable, logical outcome of this view is that more guns, ammunition and totally awesome, kick-ass related accessories (including Trayvon Martin shooting targets!) are sold is just good business I suppose. I’m sorry, but this is so repulsive and disgusting, and these crazy laws were very clearly part of the jury’s deliberation process and the instructions they received. Martin’s crime was being a black man in America, and under Florida law I guess that’s enough to warrant an execution.
Race was part of this case before the day Trayvon Martin was even born and it was about it up to the day his killer was acquitted and beyond. The defense very clearly used race as part of their defense—because other black men had committed crimes in the area, it was therefore reasonable for Zimmerman to suspect Martin of being an asshole who always got away with things. And I’m not surprised the jury bought that, especially because the prosecution seemed unwilling to really push the issue of the obvious racial profiling that sparked the whole tragic night.
I assure you that the outrage that I feel, and that many others feel, is not because we have been duped by the media or just aren’t paying attention. The facts are pretty clear: an unarmed black teenager walking home from 7-11 was killed by someone armed with a deadly weapon who chose to interfere in that perfectly legal walk home and who, in theory, should have been there to protect him but instead shot him; the police did nothing, and a nearly all-white jury let his killer go. While this might be a consistent outcome under Florida laws, it’s a sad, sickening outcome for any society that claims to hold values such as justice and equality as core to its identity.
Zimmerman was not some innocent do-gooder who was railroaded by the government responding to some faux public outrage due to Al Sharpton manipulating the press. He was a self-styled neighborhood watch captain armed with a deadly weapon who used it against someone armed with a bag of skittles. In any civilized society, that’s a crime. Trayvon deserved the same presumption of innocence that Zimmerman got. He didn’t and now he’s dead.
Thank you for responding, Dave. Even though we see this case through two completely different sets of eyes, I do appreciate your honesty. I have highlighted some points from your commentary that I’d like to respond to:
The law should have protected Trayvon from a predator like Zimmerman. So because he was part of the neighborhood watch and spotted somebody that he deemed to be suspicious based on previous activity in his neighborhood, he is a predator? Is that not the same profiling in reverse? Are you aware of anything in George’s background that deems him to be a predator?
Rachel Jeantel, the “star witness” for the prosecution team was the girl who was speaking to Trayvon on his cell phone the night of the shooting. She testified that Trayvon told her a “creepy ass cracka” was following him and later proceeded to also refer to him as a “n*gga”. Rachel in response told Trayvon that he was probably a rapist and he should run. Is this not also profiling? George was not a rapist. Just as George had wrongfully profiled Trayvon as a criminal, Trayvon wrongfully profiled George as a creepy rapist.
Both men sadly made terrible assumptions and terrible decisions that night. The totality of their decisions and actions is what lead to Trayvon’s death. Trayvon was not a thug. George was not a predator. Those are emotional statements from both sides of the argument not based in fact.
He had the right to walk home unmolested. He was not molested.
For me to believe that this verdict was somehow not a complete disgrace I have to believe Zimmerman’s story and I just don’t. Why don’t you believe it? Because you don’t want to or did you watch the trial and have made your own informed opinion? Respectfully, if you have not examined the evidence, listened to the witnesses, listened to the medical examiners, considered the police investigation, reviewed the phone calls, reviewed the phone records, etc, etc you do not have the right to make an uninformed opinion about whether the evidence is believable or not. If you have watched all of the trial, and you know all of the evidence, not just pieces of it, then I will respectfully accept your opinion.
And I also don’t have to completely believe his story that Martin caused the physical altercation. Martin was being stalked while walking home. He was not being stalked. The definition of stalking is to approach your prey stealthily. George randomly spotted him while driving through the neighborhood. He made eye contact with Trayvon while he was sitting in his truck. They both were aware of each other’s presence. George did not sneak out of his car, hide behind walls, sneak up on him… he opened his car door, got out and walked down the sidewalk with two flashlights in his hand to go look. Everybody has this vision of a crazed man foaming at the mouth chasing down a young boy with a bag of candy in his hands, and that’s completely untrue. We can disagree all day long, but the EVIDENCE in this case supports that George did not chase/hunt/stalk/harass Trayvon.
He had every right to fear for his safety, but apparently he didn’t have the right to defend himself the way Zimmerman did. Yes, every human has the right to fear their safety. And their fear is subjective. Based on our collective life experiences, we develop fears and suspicions. And yes he would have had the right to defend himself IF he had been hit first. The evidence, not my opinion, does not support that he was attacked first. Why do you think the prosecution couldn’t win this case… because they have no evidence of that whatsoever. Not only do they not have evidence of that, there are other witnesses and medical personnel that testified the exact opposite. George did not punch Trayvon in the face, he did not throw him to the ground, he did not kick him and he did not whip out his weapon and hold him hostage. These are all radical theories from emotionally charged people who simply just do not want to look at the truth in this case. George walked down the sidewalk to see where Trayvon went and sadly Trayvon made the decision to violently attack George. Trayvon did not have the legal right to do that. If somebody follows me down the sidewalk and stands there staring at me, sure it would creep me out. But if they don’t lay a hand on me, I do not have the right to turn around and beat the crap out of that person. I would be arrested.
You can convince me that legally (I used that term loosely due to Florida’s absurd statutes regarding self-defense and allowing untrained idiots to own deadly weapons and carry them around in public) the jury, based on evidence presented in court by the prosecution, had only one real option, and that was to acquit Zimmerman. Fine. I would not have done so but so be it. For accuracy sake, George was not untrained. You and I are on the same side of the argument about gun laws. I too think they are absurdly loose and need to be revised. I think the Stand Your Ground laws are terribly flawed and also need to be revised. I think the regular Self Defense laws are just fine as they are. George actually happened to be one of the citizens that did everything to the letter of the law with his gun. He was adequately background checked, registered, and trained. As to your other comment that you would not have acquitted regardless of the fact that you acknowledge by the law he is not guilty… I hope to god you are never on a jury! I respect your personal and moral feelings, but to deliberately ignore the law and vote however you want regardless of instructions is not legal and not responsible. We mine as well just go back to hanging people in the town center if we have no intention of following laws.
I totally get that people are outraged by the laws that exist. I too have my serious concerns about many laws. But you do not change laws by throwing people in jail because you feel like it and want to make a point. I don’t want to live in a country that does that. I would seriously hope that you do not either.
The unarmed Trayvon Martin was racially profiled by someone carrying a deadly weapon and wound up a corpse. Period. No, not period. That is your emotional opinion. And you are entitled to it. There is no proof that Trayvon was racially profiled. Just because he was black and George was not, and Al Sharpton doesn’t like that, does not make him a racist. Yes, he was profiled as somebody who potentially may be up to no good. Everybody makes light of the fact that he had weed in his system and no big deal, it only gives you munchies, doesn’t make you violent… well guess what… on the non-emergency call, George stated that he saw somebody acting unusual that he thought may be on drugs and he was. Of course, the prosecution didn’t want the jury to know that so they fought that evidence coming out and the judge sustained their objection. She later modified that ruling to let the jury see that evidence in their deliberations, and that was the correct decision. That jury has every right to see and review the autopsy report in its entirety. Please don’t immediately make the jump that I am demonizing Trayvon or justifying his death because he smoked weed. I am absolutely not at all saying that. My whole purpose on discussing this is to have an honest conversation about facts in this case. George suspected somebody on drugs. Trayvon was on drugs.
this is minimally manslaughter unless you believe George Zimmerman’s inconsistent story (of which, unlike the prosecution witnesses, he never had to defend under oath or face cross-examination) and that you believe it was reasonable for him to treat Trayvon Martin with suspicion. No, it is not manslaughter. Just because you don’t like the self-defense laws it doesn’t mean that you get to interpret the law as you choose. If this case had gone to a grand jury with the lack of evidence that the prosecution has, it would very likely not have gone to trial. That is exactly why Angela Corey intentionally disbanded the grand jury and immediate pressed charges for second degree murder. She knew there was no way in hell any grand jury would give her that indictment. Also, the defendant does not have to take the stand under oath. Every single defendant in this country has that right and the jury is not allowed to consider that in their deliberations. To ignore that, is once again ignoring the instructions of the court.
George did however very willingly give many statements and fully cooperated with police. There is a misconception in the public that he gave “inconsistent” stories. Please outline for me his inconsistencies and I will be very glad to address them. I mean that sincerely. Let’s not have a vague discussion here. Tell me where he was inconsistent and let’s evaluate the relevance to the case. The investigators on this case testified that George’s account was largely consistent. Not only that, it matches eyewitness accounts from that night. I have listened to every one of his statements and watched the walk-thru he did with police. You know, I follow a lot of cases. His accounts were some of the most consistent I have ever seen. Starting from his immediate statement within minutes of the shooting, all the way thru today, his story never changed.
Whether or not I think it’s reasonable that Trayvon was deemed suspicious really doesn’t matter. The jury needed to evaluate why George deemed him suspicious on that particular night.
I think this case has a lot in common with the OJ Simpson trial. Along with general media absurdity, shoddy police work, and a questionable prosecution, both cases share something in common: the defense was able to make the trial about something other than the actual crime. I believe you have this in complete reverse. The evidence tells the story of the actual crime. The media, activists, and public tell a story born out of sadness, racial divide and personal interests.
Zimmerman presumed Martin was a criminal because he was walking too slowly, because he was wearing a hoodie, because it was night out, because other black men had committed crimes in the area, because he was walking on the grass. To defend Zimmerman’s actions that night is no different than excusing a rapist because his victim was dressed provocatively. I completely disagree with this statement. The reason I disagree, and I am going to sound like a broken record, but the evidence does not support that George attacked, or had any intention of attacking Trayvon that night. A rapist has every intention of attacking regardless of what somebody is wearing. George had every legal right to carry that gun. Do I like concealed weapons, no I don’t. But as long as they are legal, I can’t make the assumption that every owner has the intention of harming and killing people. I know plenty of people that legally own guns and carry them with them every day and they are not predators, molesters or murderers. By assuming that George was any one of those things because he carries a gun, you are profiling.
Our system and those who participate in it (police, prosecutors, jury members) presume black men are guilty, and one black man is a good substitute for another. Wow. I literally am almost speechless at this statement. This implies that our entire justice system and civilians doing their civic duty are racist. Are some of them racist, sadly yes. Are all of them, no. I believe that blanket statements like that do far more to fan the flames than help to solve any problem. I’m not being naïve. I do recognize that there is a disparity in how black people are prosecuted in this country. It is a serious problem. But as soon as you start seeing the world through such narrow eyes and assuming that the entire system is wrong, you sadly are doing the same thing that you are fighting against.
Martin’s crime was being a black man in America, and under Florida law I guess that’s enough to warrant an execution. This is an emotional statement, and you are entitled to make it, as long as you are being honest about why you are making it. If it’s because you have evaluated the evidence in this specific shooting and know this to be fact, then I will accept your opinion. If you are making it because you hate the laws, hate racism and hate our justice system, then that is a broader social commentary and not one that is relevant to this case. I believe that George is being unfairly used in this case.
Race was part of this case before the day Trayvon Martin was even born. YES, THANK YOU!! It was. And it now becomes the REASON every time a black person is killed by a non-black person regardless of the evidence in the case. Is this not dangerous and irresponsible to interject it where it doesn’t belong? For the sake of sincerity, why is a black man’s death only relevant to the public when the shooter is non-black?
I assure you that the outrage that I feel, and that many others feel, is not because we have been duped by the media or just aren’t paying attention. Did you watch the trial?
The facts are pretty clear Whose facts? Yours or the actual evidence?
an unarmed black teenager walking home from 7-11 was killed by someone armed with a deadly weapon who chose to interfere in that perfectly legal walk home and who, in theory, should have been there to protect him but instead shot him; the police did nothing, and a nearly all-white jury let his killer go. The police did not “do nothing”. The initial investigators on this case did investigate this case, they made their recommendations for a grand jury to review for possible charges, and were shut down. They wanted to handle things the way they are legally supposed to be handled. But the state attorney’s office decided it was better to fire the people they didn’t like, hire some new ones, and just press charges.
Perhaps you are not aware that the Martin family refused to give Trayvon’s cell phone password to the authorities so they could review his phone data. The police department had to send the phone off to be cracked so they could download all of the information, which in turn the prosecution withheld from the defense until earlier this year. Why did they withhold the information?
Because the phone contained images of Trayvon smoking pot, holding guns, there were text messages about fighting and buying guns, getting kicked out of his house (twice) and being suspended. Also, all of the GPS data from his phone was completely captured for the month of February, except for one day. February 26. His GPS was erased for the day of the incident. Why? We’ll never know. Ask the prosecution what they are hiding. I can’t emphasize enough that this is not about demonizing the victim. I personally could care less if he smoked pot or was suspended. This is an honest conversation about how this case was handled and the fact that things were intentionally hidden. Why? I for one do not agree that every single text message and picture that a person has on their phone should be used in court. They should only use what is relevant to the case. The fighting was relevant to this case, because the prosecution tried to sell you a story about a young boy who wasn’t capable. That is not an honest truth. Regardless, the jury never did see any of the photos or text messages. The judge ruled them inadmissible. Again, I agree with that decision except for the messages that relate to fighting and the guns.
Rachel Jeantel, the girl on the phone, testified that she knew her friend was being followed. She says she heard a thud, the phone dropped and she heard “get off, get off”. She did not follow up with Trayvon the next day to see if he was ok. Why? She NEVER told anybody about that phone call or the man following even after she found out that Trayvon was killed. The Martin family had to come looking for her one month later when they saw her number on the phone bill.
What does Rachel do when they find her… she lies about her name and her age (claims to be a minor so she doesn’t have to get involved). When they ask her why she didn’t go to the funeral, she lies and tells them she was in the hospital. She wasn’t. Then she does an interview with Benjamin Crump, the family’s attorney, not law enforcement, because the family wanted to keep her hidden until they could talk to her first. Why? They taped the interview and turned it over to the defense. After the defense reviewed the tape, it was uncovered that the interview was edited. Why? Why was she initially so evasive and why was she so confusing and pissed off on the stand? She will tell you because she’s sad about the death and doesn’t want to be involved. So instead she sat up on the stand being rude to the attorneys. What a great way to honor and help your supposed dear friend. These are the reasons she is not a credible witness. She could have so easily helped Trayvon but she made such a mess of the testimony on top of the lying that it simply is impossible to believe her.
Every legal head and activist on TV is making every excuse under the sun for her saying how genuine she is, how misunderstood she is, how mean America is (and yes, I have seen some very mean stuff over these past few months). But nobody holds her accountable for the lies and evasion? Why? Because her lies are totally excusable when they are serving their purpose.
There have been some very dangerous games played in this trial and they are inciting more hate and violence in our country. As disgraced as you are by the laws that lead to the death of Trayvon, I am equally disgraced at the dishonesty, flat out corruption and insincere motives of the people in this case. I’m also disgusted at people criticizing the jury and assuming their decisions are only because they are white. This is also racism, yet it seems be quite justifiable when applied to this case. Funny how that works.
Prosecutorial misconduct? If this case was such a straight-forward crime of hatred, why is there hidden evidence, and lying going on?
I’m sorry but I agree with Dave, as much as I admire this website. The evidence is on audio tape: Zimmerman used the words, “fucking coons,” before stalking Trayvon, Zimmerman did cause a physical altercation as proven by the ear witness, and Zimmerman held Trayvon at gunpoint for more than 40 seconds before executing him. I would urge you to please reconsider your view of this case. It was a horrible crime, the murder of a 17 year old boy, and a terrible miscarriage of justice.
Hi John, I appreciate your comments and opinions. I’m just curious, did you watch the full trial? Because – as usual – there are a lot of things about this case that were inaccurately reported. Believe me, I’m in no way a fan of George Zimmerman. I think he is a troubled man who seems to be getting more and more troubled with each passing year. With that said, I did watch the trial and have examined the evidence. I believe pretty strongly he was defending himself. As for that recording where you hear the slur, CNN admitted to enhancing the audio, and after they reported on what they thought was a slur, they backtracked and admitted they couldn’t say with certainty what words were used. Like I said though… this isn’t about me taking one side or the other, or favoring Zimmerman. Mine is a purely objective view based on the evidence I examined.
Juror13, I agree with you 100% on this case..Followed the case every day..the evidence presented clearly corroborated Zimmerman’s story as it occurred with the EYE WITNESS and FORENSICs. I also say that even if Trayvon was ‘white’ in the same set of circumstances, Zimmerman would have pulled that trigger.He had to …As per Rachel’s evidence, Trayvon was just at the doors of his father’s home to safety, when he decided to go back to get the “dude” who dared to have followed him…jumped out of the bushes behind where George was heading back to his truck and began the physical altercation…..I have been ridiculed and bashed for my belief that Zimmerman is innocent of the charges by those who use ’emotion’ rather than the ‘truth’ …Never understood why the state succumbed to public pressure when the evidence was clearly against them…and they knew it!! Your response and post are greatly said and I appreciate it immensely that you have a mind over emotions …..
a) Didn’t Obama jump on the band waggon and make some statements about justice for Trayvon Martin?
b) It shows how the “truth” can be spun.
c) It shows how lobbyists work on government. Having access to the ears of those in power is critical for some. Hence the importance given to developing private networks.
d) The media in general fail in their “democratic functions”
e) Hence the need for individuals such as Jury13 🙂 Please tell me you are a part time (full time?) freelance journalist, writer.
Thanks, Jason. I am not a journalist. Just a lay person with a great interest in crime investigation and trials.
It,s called stand your ground not hunt them down….try that on a man and R.I.P.and sooner then later Z will lose. How is he allowed to carry a firearm…maybe next time he go after an off duty cop…..lets see him try to claim stand your ground on that!