Tag Archives: George Zimmerman

If Disney makes a movie of the book, she’ll be played by a vulture…

So, this is happening.

One of the women on the jury that found not guilty on Saturday has already signed with a book agent.

According to Reuters, literary agent Sharlene Martin said Monday that the juror “hopes to write a book explaining why the all-women panel had ‘no option’ but to find Zimmerman not guilty of murder.”

When I consider the qualifications to write a compelling examination of the intense debate in a jury room — a modern day 12 Angry Men, if you will, I surprisingly don’t think of a woman who gets all her news from The Today Show.

Nor one who describes the victim simply as a “boy of color.”

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Posted by on July 15, 2013 in Social Commentary


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Sympathy for the Black Conservative…

Can we take a momThomasent to express sympathy for a group who’s about to experience a trying few weeks? I refer, of course, to black conservatives. They’ve got to agree that the Zimmerman verdict was not just appropriate but that Zimmerman’s version of events was most likely completely true. They’ve got to agree that race had nothing to do with Trayvon Martin’s death… although, race was the reason George Zimmerman was unfairly prosecuted and victimized. They’ve got to nod and say how Martin shouldn’t have been wearing a hoodie. How else would Zimmerman have known he wasn’t a criminal like so many other black males that the Democrats have failed with their social polices and lenient welfare handouts? And, yes, Martin shouldn’t have attacked Zimmerman or fought back or anything like that. He’d still be alive if he’d just politely waited for the police with Zimmerman, who he should have trusted completely was not a sexual predator. It’s not like he looks like one, after all. They’ve got to agree that Benjamin Crump is a “race huckster” just like Al Sharton, Jesse Jackson, and the NAACP. They’ll probably have to talk about O.J. Simpson some more. And, oh yes sir, Barack Obama is dividing the nation by race when he refers to the death of a violent thug as “tragic.” He’s promoting race riots, just like his crony Eric Holder. If he were alive today, Martin Luther King would agree, because he’d also be a black conservative.

On the upside, black conservatives will receive lots of invitations to dinner and cocktail parties for the rest of the month so their friends can get their comforting opinions on record.


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The Freedom to Follow…

Over on Daily Kos, I discuss George Zimmerman’s perceived “freedom” to pursue a stranger at night, and Trayvon Martin’s accepted “burden” to explain himself.

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Posted by on July 1, 2013 in Social Commentary


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Redefining paranoia…

The upcoming George Zimmerman trial would be amusing, if not for the fact that it centers on the senseless death of an unarmed kid.

Defense lawyers for George Zimmerman, who is charged with second-degree murder in the killing of Trayvon Martin, will be barred from mentioning Mr. Martin’s marijuana use, fighting or high school suspension during opening arguments in Mr. Zimmerman’s trial, which begins June 10.

At a hearing in Seminole County court, Circuit Judge Debra S. Nelson denied a string of defense motions Tuesday that sought to portray Mr. Martin as a troubled teenager with a propensity for fighting and an interest in guns. Prosecutors argued that the evidence has nothing to do with the seven minutes that led to Mr. Martin’s death on Feb. 26, 2012. Mr. Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old, was killed by Mr. Zimmerman, who said he shot him in self-defense.

Mark O’Mara, a lawyer for Mr. Zimmerman, argued in court that Mr. Martin’s drug use could have made him more aggressive and paranoid, traits that could have prompted him to attack Mr. Zimmerman.

This is bad comedy. As others have pointed out, there’s a difference between the use of marijuana and being a deranged junkie, which is how Zimmerman’s defense wishes to depict Martin. Junkies tend to not run benign errands for family members. It’s usually a miracle to get them off the couch.

Also, it requires more guts than shooting an unarmed teen to argue that the dead kid is “aggressive and paranoid” when you’re the one pursuing a stranger with a concealed weapon.

O’Mara claims that Zimmerman was “put in a position” to kill Martin while all logic and reason makes it clear that Zimmerman was to one who put Martin in the position to die.

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Posted by on May 28, 2013 in Social Commentary


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George Zimmerman is “living in an NRA World”…

George Zimmerman, who claims he shot and killed the unarmed Trayvon Martin last month in self-defense, is reportedly in hiding.

He has good reason. People have recklessly published his home address, and he’s received death threats.

The New Black Panthers — I think it’s like the New Teen Titans and the new X-Men. I prefer the original Black Panthers with Aqualad — offered a $10,000 bounty for George Zimmerman’s capture. It’s unclear if that includes expenses.

Our society functions best when people trust each other to follow the rule of law. We rest more easily knowing that it’s not the Wild West. You can walk home without an untrained, wannabe cop deeming you suspicious and pursuing you. If you are believed to have killed someone, you can hire lawyers to defend you in court rather than a security team to defend you from angry villagers out of Frankenstein movie.

George Zimmerman might have enjoyed carrying a weapon with him prior to the events of February 26, but I doubt he enjoys doing so now when it might actually be necessary for his protection. No one wants to live in fear, especially when that fear might be real rather than the province of our own neuroses.

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Posted by on March 28, 2012 in Social Commentary


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As more information comes out about the Trayvon Martin case, it just gets more depressing.

(Police Chief Bill Lee Jr.), Investigator Chris Serino — the case’s lead detective — and other department managers sat down for an exclusive interview with the Orlando Sentinel today.

Lee said he is frustrated that Trayvon’s family, its lawyers and others have ripped his department for its handling of the case. He is not a racist, he said, and his officers conducted a thorough and fair investigation and did nothing underhanded or untruthful.

“The hysteria, the media circus, it’s just crazy,” Lee said. “It’s the craziest damn thing I’ve ever seen, and it’s sad. It’s sad for the city of Sanford, the police department, because I know in my heart we did a good job.”


It is unfortunate that Martin’s family can’t see past their own shock and pain over his sudden death to consider the impact on the city of Sanford and the police department.

Lee does not seem capable of expressing an iota of sympathy for Martin’s family. This is very different from the reaction from authorities in the Sean Bell incident in New York. Yes, the officers responsible were ultimately acquitted but they were put on administrative leave and the police conceded that the turn of events was regrettable.

Lee is having none of that. He’s too busy being annoyed at having his actions questioned.

The best account of what happened came from Zimmerman, Serino said. Other witnesses who saw or heard parts of what happened corroborate his version of events, the investigator said.

Zimmerman told police he got out of his SUV to follow Trayvon on foot, and the 17-year-old came toward him.

The two got into a fight, and Zimmerman wound up on the ground, he told police. Trayvon hit him in the face, and Zimmerman yelled for help.

Yes, the guy who killed a 17-year-old unarmed kid is usually capable of providing the best account of the events because he’s, you know, still alive.

Some obvious questions remain unanswered:

Zimmerman admits that he was following Martin. Isn’t it possible that Martin approached him out of concern for his own safety?

If the two got into a fight, what provoked it? Did Serino — as lead detective — speak to the victim’s family? Did he determine that Martin had a history of violence? Did he learn that Martin was easily provoked? If his family insists otherwise, doesn’t that raise questions regarding Zimmerman’s story? What did Zimmerman say to Martin? Did Martin have reason to believe Zimmerman was threatening him?

The police believing this story on its face implies to me that they believe that 17-year-old Trayvon Martin — a kid who went to the store for Skittles — was capable of such violence that shooting him was the only way for Zimmerman to save his life.

I should also repeat that Zimmerman is not a police officer. Police officers have a duty to initiate contact with potential offenders. If there was a fight, it would not have occurred if Zimmerman had not followed Martin, who all evidence indicates was not engaged in any illegal activity.

Lee said he is dumbstruck by critics who demand that police simply arrest Zimmerman then let a judge and jury decide whether he acted in self-defense.

“You’re violating their civil rights if you do that,” he said.

And Zimmerman, despite all the criticism he’s faced, does have civil rights, police said.

What about the civil rights of anyone else in the community Zimmerman might later find “suspicious”? Zimmerman also has a history of stalking suspects and of police envy.

Zimmerman contacted the Sanford Police Department 46 times in the past 15 months, the agency reported today. The most frequent reason for his call – eight times – was to report a suspicious person, the agency said.

“I hold law enforcement officers in the highest regard and I hope to one day become one,” Zimmerman wrote in an application to the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office citizen’s law enforcement academy. That’s a class in which citizens learn about policing and how the sheriff’s office works.

He went through that program in 2009.

… In 2003 he saw a 24-year-old Lake Mary man shoplift a 24-inch TV from an Albertson’s Supermarket, called the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office and followed the suspect’s car for several blocks, allowing a deputy to make an arrest.

The next year, he followed a man in his vehicle for several blocks after accusing him of spitting at him, according to an incident report. The other driver accused Zimmerman of tailgating him, and was not arrested.

Yes, the good people of Sanford should rest easy with Zimmerman roaming the streets. I presume the police took his gun for testing, but what’s to stop him from buying another?

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Posted by on March 16, 2012 in Social Commentary


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Black Kids and Skittles: A Deadly Combination…

A life cut short.

The murder — and I’ve seen no evidence to classify it otherwise — of Trayvon Martin reinforces the very real dangers that black Americans still face.

Around 7 p.m. on February 26, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin walked out of the gated community near Orlando where he was visiting his father to go get some Skittles at a neighborhood convenience store. On his way home, Martin somehow aroused the suspicions of neighborhood watch leader, George Zimmerman, who called 911 to report the boy.

When police arrived, Martin was dead, shot by a bullet from Zimmerman’s 9mm semi-automatic handgun.

Zimmerman had been advised by 911 to not approach Martin and wait for the police. Zimmerman ignored this advice so what could have just been embarrassing for Martin — explaining his sinister Skittles addiction to the authorities — turned lethal.

There is no evidence of “suspicious” activity. I’m admittedly weird but I consider it more suspicious to stalk an unarmed teenager with a 9mm than to shop at a convenience store in your father’s neighborhood.

Zimmerman approached Martin without provocation or legal grounds. Martin was not in the process of committing a crime other than “arousing Zimmerman’s suspicions.” Any concern should have been abated by the 911 call. The police were on their way. Zimmerman chose to escalate the situation. Zimmerman chose to initiate the confrontation. And now Martin is dead.

Zimmerman, 28, who was bleeding from the nose and back of his head when police found him, claimed the two got in a scuffle and that he shot the boy in self-defense.

Can you really claim self-defense in a fight you started? That makes no sense. I also usually hold adults responsible for any “scuffles” they get into with teenagers. When I was 17, I was still under orders from my mother not to talk to strangers (she actually never rescinded those instructions). Doesn’t Martin have the right to be left alone? He is under no obligation to explain himself to someone who is not a police officer. If this were a 17-year-old woman Zimmerman approached, we certainly wouldn’t have expected her to stop and chat with a strange man against her wishes.

Zimmerman’s hardly life-threatening injuries could be the result of Martin’s attempts to flee. It’s also possible an altercation arose because Martin was just pissed that Zimmerman treated him like a suspect (it does get old). It bears repeating that Martin was 17 years old. Even Morgan Freeman was rash at 17. Shouldn’t we expect an adult to defuse a situation with a possibly frightened and upset kid? Or does he just become a potential threat to be neutralized once he hits puberty?

Don’t expect immediate answers to these questions because Zimmerman hasn’t been charged with anything.

Martin’s family, not surprisingly, is outraged, and calling for Zimmerman’s arrest.

“What gave him the right to think he was judge, jury and executioner?” asks Martin’s uncle, Ronald Fulton.

The answer to his question may be simple: the state of Florida, which in 2005 enacted one of the nation’s strongest so-called “stand your ground” self-defense laws. According to the statute, a person in Florida is justified in using deadly force against another if he or she “reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.”

I would think that the bar rises on what is a “reasonable” threat to your life when you have a gun and the best the other guy can do is make you “taste the rainbow.”

This is idiotic — so much so you’d think the NRA was involved. Oh wait.

According to the National Rifle Association – which has lobbied for and in some cases assisted in writing laws expanding self-defense statutes – since 2006, at least 29 states have passed amended self-defense laws that the gun rights advocacy group supports, including four last year. Although each state’s statute is slightly different, generally, this new crop of laws allows citizens to use deadly force on someone they reasonably believe is a threat to their life. Instead of having a so-called “duty to retreat” from perceived danger, a citizen can “stand their ground” and meet force with force. Some laws also create immunity from civil lawsuits for those found to have reasonably used deadly force.

So instead of retreating from danger like a sissy, you are legally allowed to confront danger head on like a deranged Dirty Harry or, more simply, Dirty Harry. Who needs the police or even police training as long as you have a gun and think someone is “suspicious”?  Even better — Florida is a concealed carry state. Zimmerman himself has a permit. If someone looks “suspicious” to you, the possibility that they’re packing heat can also crank your paranoia up a notch.

How is this helpful? Doesn’t enabling irrational fear promote an environment where there’s a very real fear that someone might kill you if you look at them the wrong way? Or if you just happen to look the wrong way.

…Allen County, Indiana prosecutor Karen Richards, who has prosecuted cases involving claims of self-defense, says that the new laws simply “solidify what juries were feeling anyway. If you’re in a place where you have a right to be and you have a reasonable belief you need to use deadly force, juries don’t think you need to retreat.”

Wasn’t Martin in a place “where he (had) a right to be”? If he saw that Zimmerman had a gun, wouldn’t he also have a “reasonable belief” that he had to protect himself? What if Zimmerman made it clear that retreat was not an option? We only have Zimmerman’s word for what transpired.

“In this case Mr. Zimmerman has made the statement of self-defense,” (Sanford Police Chief Bill) Lee said. “Until we can establish probable cause to dispute that, we don’t have the grounds to arrest him.”

Probable cause? Zimmerman’s own story and actions are probable cause. He’s not a police officer. Martin didn’t fit the description of some baby-faced serial killer. That’s the problem with Urban Cowboy justice. Zimmerman had no authority to stop and hold Martin against his will. Even if a police officer had arrested Martin for no good reason, he would have recourse after the fact. He could also reasonably believe that they weren’t going to mug him or kill him.

Thus far, there is no indication that Trayvon Martin was in the commission of any sort of crime when he was approached by Zimmerman, who was reportedly driving an SUV. Still, judging by the fact that he has not been arrested and the case has been referred to the state’s attorney, law enforcement seems to be struggling to determine whether Zimmerman’s actions fall within the scope of the Florida law.

Remember 20 years ago when we got all mad because the cops who beat Rodney King like a chocolate-stuffed pinata were acquitted? Or back in 2000, when the cops who mowed down an unarmed Amadou Diallo walked? Or Sean Bell in 2006 … well, you get the idea. But those cases had trials. Lawyers. Changes of venue. If a white guy’s going to kill me, all I ask is that he has to put on a suit and take a few days off of work. After Selma and the March on Washington, I thought black men had reached a point where our deaths would at least be a mild inconvenience.

It reminds me of what Richard Wright wrote in his memoir, Black Boy. He recalled young friends of his who simply vanished. He referred to this as “the white death, the threat of which hung over every male black in the South.”

George Zimmerman shot an unarmed child. And then he went home. That bothers me more than rising gas prices.


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