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 Post subject: Trayvon Martin Case (Zimmerman charged; 2nd deg. murder) PostPosted: 2012-03-19 11:05pm
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NYT Op-Ed
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Op-Ed Columnist
The Curious Case of Trayvon Martin
By CHARLES M. BLOW
Published: March 16, 2012

“He said that Tray was gone.”

That’s how Sybrina Fulton, her voice full of ache, told me she found out that her 17-year-old son, Trayvon Martin, had died. In a wrenching telephone call, the boy’s father, who had taken him to visit a friend, told her that Trayvon had been gunned down in a gated townhouse community in Sanford, Fla., outside Orlando.

“He said, ‘Somebody shot Trayvon and killed him.’ And I was like, ‘Are you sure?’ ” Fulton continued in disbelief. “I said ‘How do you know that’s Trayvon?’ And he said because they showed him a picture.”

That was Feb. 27, one day after Trayvon was shot. The father thought that he was missing, according to the family’s lawyer, Benjamin Crump, but the boy’s body had actually been taken to the medical examiner’s office and listed as a John Doe.

The father called the Missing Persons Unit. No luck. Then he called 911. The police asked the father to describe the boy, after which they sent officers to the house where the father was staying. There they showed him a picture of the boy with blood coming out of his mouth.

This is a nightmare scenario for any parent, and the events leading to Trayvon’s death offer little comfort — and pose many questions.

Trayvon had left the house he and his father were visiting to walk to the local 7-Eleven. On his way back, he caught the attention of George Zimmerman, a 28-year-old neighborhood watch captain, who was in a sport-utility vehicle. Zimmerman called the police because the boy looked “real suspicious,” according to a 911 call released late Friday. The operator told Zimmerman that officers were being dispatched and not to pursue the boy.

Zimmerman apparently pursued him anyway, at some point getting out of his car and confronting the boy. Trayvon had a bag of Skittles and a can of iced tea. Zimmerman had a 9 millimeter handgun.

The two allegedly engaged in a physical altercation. There was yelling, and then a gunshot.

When police arrived, Trayvon was face down in the grass with a fatal bullet wound to the chest. Zimmerman was standing with blood on his face and the back of his head and grass stains on his back, according to The Orlando Sentinel.

Trayvon’s lifeless body was taken away, tagged and held. Zimmerman was taken into custody, questioned and released. Zimmerman said he was the one yelling for help. He said that he acted in self-defense. The police say that they have found no evidence to dispute Zimmerman’s claim.

One other point: Trayvon is black. Zimmerman is not.

Trayvon was buried on March 3. Zimmerman is still free and has not been arrested or charged with a crime.

Yet the questions remain: Why did Zimmerman find Trayvon suspicious? Why did he pursue the boy when the 911 operator instructed him not to? Why did he get out of the car, and why did he take his gun when he did? How is it self-defense when you are the one in pursuit? Who initiated the altercation? Who cried for help? Did Trayvon’s body show evidence of a struggle? What moved Zimmerman to use lethal force?

This case has reignited a furor about vigilante justice, racial-profiling and equitable treatment under the law, and it has stirred the pot of racial strife.

As the father of two black teenage boys, this case hits close to home. This is the fear that seizes me whenever my boys are out in the world: that a man with a gun and an itchy finger will find them “suspicious.” That passions may run hot and blood run cold. That it might all end with a hole in their chest and hole in my heart. That the law might prove insufficient to salve my loss.

That is the burden of black boys in America and the people that love them: running the risk of being descended upon in the dark and caught in the cross-hairs of someone who crosses the line.

The racial sensitivity of this case is heavy. Trayvon’s parents have said their son was murdered. Crump, the family’s lawyer, told me, “You know, if Trayvon would have been the triggerman, it’s nothing Trayvon Martin could have said to keep police from arresting him Day 1, Hour 1.” Even the police chief recognizes this reality, even while disputing claims of racial bias in the investigation: “Our investigation is color blind and based on the facts and circumstances, not color. I know I can say that until I am blue in the face, but, as a white man in a uniform, I know it doesn’t mean anything to anybody.”

Zimmerman has not released a statement, but his father delivered a one-page letter to The Orlando Sentinel on Thursday. According to the newspaper, the statement said that Zimmerman is “Hispanic and grew up in a multiracial family.” The paper quotes the letter as reading, “He would be the last to discriminate for any reason whatsoever” and continues, “The media portrayal of George as a racist could not be further from the truth.” And disclosures made since the shooting complicate people’s perception of fairness in the case.

According to Crump, the father was told that one of the reasons Zimmerman wasn’t arrested was because he had a “squeaky clean” record. It wasn’t. According to the local news station WFTV, Zimmerman was arrested in 2005 for “battery on a law enforcement officer.”

Furthermore, ABC News reported on Tuesday that one of the responding officers “corrected a witness after she told him that she heard the teen cry for help.” And The Miami Herald published an article on Thursday that said three witnesses had heard the “desperate wail of a child, a gunshot, and then silence.”

WFTV also reported this week that the officer in charge of the scene when Trayvon was shot was also in charge of another controversial case. In 2010, a lieutenant’s son was videotaped attacking a black homeless man. The officer’s son also was not initially arrested in that case. He was later arrested when the television station broke the news.

Although we must wait to get the results from all the investigations into Trayvon’s killing, it is clear that it is a tragedy. If no wrongdoing of any sort is ascribed to the incident, it will be an even greater tragedy.

One of the witnesses was a 13-year-old black boy who recorded a video for The Orlando Sentinel recounting what he saw. The boy is wearing a striped polo shirt, holding a microphone, speaking low and deliberately and has the heavy look of worry and sadness in his eyes. He describes hearing screaming, seeing someone on the ground and hearing gunshots. The video ends with the boy saying, “I just think that sometimes people get stereotyped, and I fit into the stereotype as the person who got shot.”

And that is the burden of black boys, and this case can either ease or exacerbate it.



This is disgusting.



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Last edited by Dalton on 2012-04-11 06:10pm, edited 3 times in total.
Formerly "Don't Be Black in Florida" which is unnecessarily sensationalistic - updated with charges against Zimmerman

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 Post subject: Re: Don't Be Black in Florida PostPosted: 2012-03-20 12:58am
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What is truly disgusting is this killer is going un prosecuted because of a gun law in FL called "Stand your ground"

Which basically says if you are "defending yourself" against a threat and stand your ground, then it's ok if you shoot and kill the guy.
Of course in this case the shooter was Actively chasing down the assumed threat but who cares about details?



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 Post subject: Re: Don't Be Black in Florida PostPosted: 2012-03-20 01:18am
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Yeah, it's kind of a fucked up law, but it does not apply during the commission of a crime and you have to reasonably believe that you are at threat of death or great bodily harm. Since this guy essentially harassed and assaulted this child and the kid had no weapon and was outweighed by 100 pounds as well as the fact that he could be heard begging for his life on 911 tapes and by several witnesses, the law just doesn't apply.



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 Post subject: Re: Don't Be Black in Florida PostPosted: 2012-03-20 01:23am
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Just when I thought I had read everything....



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 Post subject: Re: Don't Be Black in Florida PostPosted: 2012-03-20 01:29am
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Flagg wrote:
Yeah, it's kind of a fucked up law, but it does not apply during the commission of a crime and you have to reasonably believe that you are at threat of death or great bodily harm. Since this guy essentially harassed and assaulted this child and the kid had no weapon and was outweighed by 100 pounds as well as the fact that he could be heard begging for his life on 911 tapes and by several witnesses, the law just doesn't apply.


Well, according to the police, it was Zimmerman that was crying for help. :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: Don't Be Black in Florida PostPosted: 2012-03-20 02:02am
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Christ - what year is this?

'Round the hanging tree, swinging in the breeze'

I really hope this provokes enough of a shitstorm to make a change, but that change shouldn't require a teenager to be shot by a gated community vigilante.

And that police department? Christ - I hope they loose half their annual budget to a lawsuit. Maybe then people might be motivated to properly control these uppity twats.



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 Post subject: Re: Don't Be Black in Florida PostPosted: 2012-03-20 02:37am
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I just ehard that the FBI is investigating this as a hate crime...



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 Post subject: Re: Don't Be Black in Florida PostPosted: 2012-03-20 05:39am
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It seems ridiculous that Zimmerman would be the one threatened when he is holding the 9 millimeter handgun and Trayvon the skittles, but for all we know that was a 9 pound bag of skittles with needles protruding from it. And don't get me started on the threat the iced tea may have posed.

Flagg wrote:
Even the police chief recognizes this reality, even while disputing claims of racial bias in the investigation: “Our investigation is color blind and based on the facts and circumstances, not color. I know I can say that until I am blue in the face, but, as a white man in a uniform, I know it doesn’t mean anything to anybody.”

Don't try too hard to be colorblind. I cannot help but remember Stephen Colbert's jokes about not seeing color, but assuming he is white because the police officer calls him Sir.

Flagg wrote:
According to the newspaper, the statement said that Zimmerman is “Hispanic and grew up in a multiracial family.” The paper quotes the letter as reading, “He would be the last to discriminate for any reason whatsoever” and continues, “The media portrayal of George as a racist could not be further from the truth.”

Nice. What is his class, by the way?



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 Post subject: Re: Don't Be Black in Florida PostPosted: 2012-03-20 07:46am
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Ok, after getting over my initial emotional response to this... I would like to make the following prediction.

From what we know of the "facts" thus far, the damning part about this is that Zimmerman chased Taylor down. He actively went after him and shot at him.
These are not the actions of a man who clearly thinks his life is in danger (one of the statutes of the 'law' currently protecting him,)
Also, on one of the 911 tapes, after being told police are on the way and to NOT follow the suspect, he says something to the effect of "these punks are always terrorizing the neighborhood and getting away with it"

To me.. This makes me feel that what he wanted to do was to "show the kid a lesson" that if this goes to trial, his defense will boil down "I didn't mean to kill him, I just wanted to scare him!"
That basically, while we should consider this man a horrible despicable person.... This may in fact NOT be race related or a hate crime.



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 Post subject: Re: Don't Be Black in Florida PostPosted: 2012-03-20 09:20am
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Why does his being Hispanic mean he can't possibly be racist? I know that there are a not insignificant number of Hispanics out there who are very racist against black people. Minorities can be racist too, so just saying he is one doesn't mean shit.



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 Post subject: Re: Don't Be Black in Florida PostPosted: 2012-03-20 09:43am
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This is pretty awful and I hope the dude actually gets punished, but I'm currently trying to puzzle out how a thread about a hispanic dude shooting a black kid for "looking suspicious" has a mini-rant about how white people are the victims of an unfair stereotype. I mean, nobody was arguing minorities can't be bigoted or that all white people are, but thanks for throwing in that little persecution complex, I guess.



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 Post subject: Re: Don't Be Black in Florida PostPosted: 2012-03-20 09:58am
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Losonti Tokash wrote:
I mean, nobody was arguing minorities can't be bigoted or that all white people are...

Zimmerman's father was, by saying Zimmerman was Hispanic as if that meant something.

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 Post subject: Re: Don't Be Black in Florida PostPosted: 2012-03-20 11:07am
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though white fat, and jewish I would probably point out that being inter racial does not mean your not prejudiced, hell there are some who are even more becsuse of harasmenet in school growing up, and there are others who are raised to be incredably ttolerant. I remember being part of a neighborhood watch program, we were never armed and kicked the Korean War Vet out for wanntibg to be armed



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 Post subject: Re: Don't Be Black in Florida PostPosted: 2012-03-20 11:17am
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worse the amature detective in me hears/sees zimmerman (jewish surname) and a number of bells go off, than hearing about his previous arrest, seeing his appearance and hearing about his being rejected in attempts to join Fla police. I see a Psych profile type he really fits a bit too close



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 Post subject: Re: Don't Be Black in Florida PostPosted: 2012-03-20 11:40am
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On MSNBC they just aired the extended 911 call and you can clearly hear the cocksucker say "fucking coons" under his breath. So yeah, it was racially motivated. As if that was really in any question.



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 Post subject: Re: Don't Be Black in Florida PostPosted: 2012-03-20 11:44am
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On to the topic of the law.. Does this not mean that if two gangs see each other on the opposite sides of the street, they can have a full out gun battle because they can safely claim the other side would kill 'em if they didn't fight back?



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 Post subject: Re: Don't Be Black in Florida PostPosted: 2012-03-20 11:56am
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I've been following his case because it's been a pet project of Cenk over on The Young Turks. Part of the latest updates in this case is the last phonecall Trayvon ever made to a girlfriend.

ABC
ABC wrote:
In the final moments of his life, Trayvon Martin was being hounded by a strange man on a cellphone who ran after him, cornered him and confronted him, according to the teenage girl whose call logs show she was on the phone with the 17-year-old boy in the moments before neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman shot him dead.

Martin's death Feb. 26 has stirred national outrage and protests, partly prompting the U.S. Justice Department's Civil Rights Division and the FBI to open an investigation into the case.

Florida State Attorney Norm Wolfinger announced today that he has ordered an "expeditious review" of the investigation conducted by the Sanford police department and that he would be "utilizing the investigative resources of the Seminole County Grand Jury which will be called to session" next month.

ABC News was there exclusively as the 16-year-old girl told Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump about the last moments of the teenager's life.

"He said this man was watching him, so he put his hoodie on. He said he lost the man," Martin's friend said. "I asked Trayvon to run, and he said he was going to walk fast. I told him to run but he said he was not going to run."
PHOTO: Trayvon Martin, 17, was fatally shot by neighborhood watch leader George Zimmerman.
ABC News; Orange County Jail
Trayvon Martin, 17, was fatally shot by... View Full Size
Trayvon Martin's Alleged Killer: 911 Calls Watch Video
Florida Teen Killed by Community-Watch Member Watch Video
Trayvon Martin's Family Calls for Justice Watch Video

Eventually he would run, said the girl, thinking that he'd managed to escape. But suddenly the strange man was back, cornering Martin.

"Trayvon said, 'What, are you following me for,' and the man said, 'What are you doing here.' Next thing I hear is somebody pushing, and somebody pushed Trayvon because the head set just fell. I called him again and he didn't answer the phone."

The line went dead. Besides screams heard on 911 calls that night as Martin and Zimmerman scuffled, those were the last words he said.

Trayvon's phone logs, also obtained exclusively by ABC News, show the conversation occurred five minutes before police first arrived on scene. The young woman's parents asked that her name not be used, and that only an attorney could ask her questions.

Martin's father, Tracey Martin, and mother, Sybrina Fulton, listened to the call along with ABC News, ashen-faced.

"He knew he was being followed and tried to get away from the guy, and the guy still caught up with him," Tracey Martin said. "And that's the most disturbing part. He thought he had got away from the guy and the guy back-tracked for him."

The teen was killed by Zimmerman while walking back to his father's fiancés home after stepping out to buy Skittles and some iced tea during the NBA All-Star Game. After weeks of relentless pressure, the Sanford Police have decided to release emergency and non-emergency calls placed during the incident.

"These a**holes always get away," Zimmerman says in a call to a non-emergency number.

Dispatcher: "Are you following him?"

Zimmerman: "Yeah."

Dispatcher: "We don't need you to do that."

An altercation soon ensued. A few moments later a torrent of 911 calls flooded in and Martin was killed by a single bullet. Zimmerman claimed self-defense and has yet to be arrested, stoking outrage and claims of prejudice against the police department.

"When George Zimmerman is arrested, tried and convicted I will get a little rest," Tracey Martin said.




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 Post subject: Re: Don't Be Black in Florida PostPosted: 2012-03-20 12:27pm
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What exactly is Zimmerman claiming happened?

We know he saw Trayvon walking and decided to follow him, eventually giving chase and confronting him. He's not denying that, is he?

So the only part of this that he can cling to is what exactly happened after Zimmerman confronted Trayvon. What is he claiming the 17 year old did to make him feel threatened enough to shoot him? I can't seem to find any news sources that really say what exactly Zimmerman is claiming took place. Is the stand-your-ground law actually being used or is it a more general self defense claim? Zimmerman was apparently bleeding when the police arrived - is he claiming that this is a result of Trayvon attacking him or just a result of him trying to forcibly restrain Tray?

I guess I'm just a bit infuriated trying to figure out exactly what in the hell made the police think they shouldn't arrest this guy.

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 Post subject: Re: Don't Be Black in Florida PostPosted: 2012-03-20 12:39pm
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SirNitram wrote:
On to the topic of the law.. Does this not mean that if two gangs see each other on the opposite sides of the street, they can have a full out gun battle because they can safely claim the other side would kill 'em if they didn't fight back?


Its a crime to be acting as part of a criminal gang on Florida, so no that would not be protected unless your gang had never done anything ever that was criminal before.



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 Post subject: Re: Don't Be Black in Florida PostPosted: 2012-03-20 12:40pm
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Superboy wrote:
I guess I'm just a bit infuriated trying to figure out exactly what in the hell made the police think they shouldn't arrest this guy.

With the new facts out, basically it quite literally boils down to the following:

Zimmerman: "I felt threatened! So I deffended myself as best I could!"
FL Police: "Ok that sounds good enough for us!"

The law protecting him states if you feel your life is in danger, you can use leathle force to defend yourself.
The fact there there is clear evidence that:
Zimmerman was never in danger,
Zimmerman actively hunted down Trayvon,
Trayvon repeatedly tried to flee and ask Zimmerman to stop chasing him.

Are all circumstances that the FL Police seem intent on ignoring and making no effort to mitigate.

So basically untill someone from the Feds get involved, this man will go scott free.



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 Post subject: Re: Don't Be Black in Florida PostPosted: 2012-03-20 12:55pm
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Superboy wrote:
What exactly is Zimmerman claiming happened?

clicky
Quote:
Zimmerman said he had stepped out of his truck to check the name of the street he was on when Trayvon attacked him from behind as he walked back to his truck, police said. He said he feared for his life and fired the semiautomatic handgun he was licensed to carry because he feared for his life.

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 Post subject: Re: Don't Be Black in Florida PostPosted: 2012-03-20 01:03pm
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http://www.orlandosentinel.com/videogal ... von-Martin

1:54 is where you hear Zimmerman say "fucking coon".



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 Post subject: Re: Don't Be Black in Florida PostPosted: 2012-03-20 01:04pm
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The Justice Department is investigating, but it may be difficult for them to make their case. It's a tough standard to nail someone on federal civil rights charges, and the "stand your ground" BS apparently makes prosecuting this guy ridiculously difficult in Florida.

Miami Herald

Quote:
“The department will conduct a thorough and independent review of all of the evidence and take appropriate action at the conclusion of the investigation,” the Justice Department said in a statement. “The department also is providing assistance to and cooperating with the state officials in their investigation into the incident. With all federal civil rights crimes, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person acted intentionally and with the specific intent to do something which the law forbids — the highest level of intent in criminal law.

“Negligence, recklessness, mistakes and accidents are not prosecutable under the federal criminal civil rights laws.”


I would think that there is more than enough evidence at this point to destroy Zimmerman's self-defense story, considering "Several witnesses said they heard cries that sounded like a boy wailing — howling silenced by the crack of gunfire — and were shocked to hear police later portray the cries as Zimmerman’s. One witness said police ignored her repeated phone calls." Another thing I've read several times (not in this story) is that a witness was pressured to change her testimony by a cop on the scene from Martin crying out to Zimmerman crying out.

This story is getting a LOT of attention, so there's hope.



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 Post subject: Re: Don't Be Black in Florida PostPosted: 2012-03-20 01:38pm
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Crossroads Inc. wrote:
What is truly disgusting is this killer is going un prosecuted because of a gun law in FL called "Stand your ground"
The ability to defend yourself from an attacker with lethal force is something that many states have had on the books for way longer than they've had "Stand your ground" laws.

"Stand your ground" removes "duty to retreat" from the situation. A lot of criminal and civil cases were made against people defending themselves due to the ambiguous nature of what is considered "retreating." Another main point of this law was to remove civil action against those who had been found to have done no wrong. Namely, if you killed/injured someone in self-defense, and it was found to be justified (as in, you were not charged with a crime or were found innocent), you could then not be sued by the family/etc after the fact.

Crossroads Inc. wrote:
Are all circumstances that the FL Police seem intent on ignoring and making no effort to mitigate.
This is the actual issue at hand. With the evidence presented, at best, Zimmerman was affecting a (poorly thought-out) citizen's arrest. At worst, he decided to take it upon himself to strong-arm what he viewed as "an undesirable" then murder him when things went south.

"Stand your Ground" wouldn't even apply here as he's the instigator. Provided the prosecutors aren't waiting for more evidence or time to look at the evidence to make their case, through either incompetence, corruption, or just laziness, the police/prosecutors office are at fault for not acting.

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 Post subject: Re: Don't Be Black in Florida PostPosted: 2012-03-20 01:48pm
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Jedi Master

Joined: 2011-02-15 05:16pm
Posts: 1111
blahface wrote:
Superboy wrote:
What exactly is Zimmerman claiming happened?

clicky
Quote:
Zimmerman said he had stepped out of his truck to check the name of the street he was on when Trayvon attacked him from behind as he walked back to his truck, police said. He said he feared for his life and fired the semiautomatic handgun he was licensed to carry because he feared for his life.


Also in that article it states:

Quote:
George Zimmerman, 28, a neighborhood watch volunteer with a long history of calling in everything from open garage doors to “suspicious characters,” called police to say he had spotted someone who looked drugged, was walking too slowly in the rain, and appeared to be looking at people’s houses.


So yeah is story right off the bat sounds like bullshit. If you are a "neighborhood watch" captain who routinely makes calls to police you know what fucking street you are on in your own neighborhood. Second, if it was raining why would you get out of your vehicle to check a street name when street signs would be just as visible from within your vehicle.

What you have is a wannabe cop who thought he'd make a name for himself. And you've got local cops who feel a "brothers in blue" kinship even though the guy wasn't officially a cop. This reminds me so much of this incident that its sickening. Thankfully, the state is at least stepping in where the local cops failed miserably. At the very least one would hope that the law is changed to prevent gung-ho idiots from provoking incidents where they have to "defend themselves with deadly force".

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