Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Justice For Trayvon

By Carl
There are mornings I wake up, look at the calendar and wonder if it's on some weird galatic Daylight Savings Time. This shouldn't happen in the 21st century:

It's been 25 days since [Trayvon] Martin was shot and killed inside a gated community. The admitted gunman is still free. And despite two ongoing investigations by the Justice Department and state attorney, outrage within this community continues to grow daily.

So many people wanted to attend a gathering inside a church in Sanford that hundreds were forced to express their frustration outside, on the street. One shouted, "That was murder." In the church, repeated chants of "Arrest Zimmerman" could be heard.

It's all part of the continuing controversy over Martin's death - and on Tuesday it reached Capitol Hill.

"I am tired of burying young black boys," declared Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, who represents the district where Martin lived. "No more racial profiling," she continued. "I'm tired of fighting when the evidence is so clear."

That evidence wasn't enough for local police to arrest Zimmerman, who cited self-defense.

There are a lot of questions I have before I assess whether Zimmerman is guilty of murder or not, but the facts indicate he has some very serious tribulations confronting him.

For instance, if the claim is self-defense, as I understand it under Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law, then how does it apply to a case where the "victim" stalks his "attacker" onto someone else's private property? I can understand if Zimmerman stood his original ground, and Martin turns, where Zimmerman might have a case to make that he was in danger. But that's not what happened.

Why was Zimmerman carrying a concealed weapon on a neighborhood watch, when the first and foremost duty of the watch patrol is to notify the police, who will handle the matter from there? I know he had abused that privilege some 46 times over the last year or so, and it was unlikely the cops were going to rush to the scene, but isn't that Zimmerman's fault for being such a pantywaisted Chicken Little?

And on that note, how many of his previous calls resulted in actual arrests for attempted crimes, even misdemeanors? Of those, how many were dark-skinned males?

We know here in NYC, for example, that a black or Latino is nine times more likely to be stopped and frisked than a white person: part of that is because blacks and Latinos tend to live in poorer neighborhoods with higher crime rates, but in reality, there's racial profiling going on as well. And we also know that an even higher percentage of those stopped and frisked are exonerated, either at the scene or by the courts later.

I would like to know if, in a more conservative, gated community, the percentages range closer to 100%, particularly with respect to the neighborhood patrol activities.

The 911 phone calls have been released and they don't really add much to the story, a case of "he said, he said," except that one of the hes is now dead. However, Martin was speaking to his girlfriend at the moment Zimmerman and he encountered each other, and her story-- admittedly hearsay evidence-- would refute Zimmerman's defense that he was headed back to his car when Martin attacked. 

Why did Zimmerman continue to pursue Martin when the police dispatcher pointedly told him not to? I think that question is answered in Zimmerman's background: a failed attempt at becoming a police officer and his pretty clear fixation with being a LEO (he proposed and was the first volunteer for the neighborhood watch.)

There's an irony here, too: Zimmerman was arrested for fighting with an undercover cop, but his record was expunged before the case went to trial when he agreed to attend what appear to be anger management classes. Had his case gone to trial, had justice been served, Zimmerman would have been ineligible for a carry permit.

And Trayvon Martin would have finished his Skittles.  

(crossposted to Simply Left Behind)

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  • I have a Florida carry permit and as I read the pages and pages of law and the dire warnings that come with it, the law that some insist is a license to kill is anything but that. Yes, you're quite right. Zimmerman committed several serious breaches of the law, including unlawful restraint and by doing so abrogated his claim to self defense. One cannot claim self defense while in the commission of a crime. One cannot display or even verbally threaten someone by saying "I have a gun." If one has instigated the confrontation or even "escalated" it, one has given up the right to a presumption of innocence.

    As it is, the danger of running afoul of the complex law is so intimidating, that even with the permit, I don't carry a weapon. I only applied for it after the hurricanes of 04 because the police were so far away and there was no way to call them anyway.

    If anything, Treyvon Martin had the right to stand his ground and defend himself - which is another violation by Zimmerman who had no right to accost him or chase him. If anything is to blame for this tragedy, it isn't the law, it's Jim Crow, alive and well in Sanford Florida.

    By Blogger Capt. Fogg, at 11:09 AM  

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