Martin? Zimmerman? Who is on trial?
If the scales of justice are unbalanced then they are no longer scales of justice but rather a measure of injustice in our legal system. If the Lady of Justice is not blind and impartial then she may be sighted and partial or prejudiced reflecting a deep rift in our social fabric.
Justice was not done in Sanford Florida yesterday. A jury of six women, no Afro-Americans and no males, acquitted George Zimmerman of 2nd degree murder and manslaughter. This was a trial that may never have been heard since the Sanford Police Department released George Zimmerman February 2012 after hearing his justification for fatally shooting Trayvon Martin, a 17 year old Afro-American who was visiting his father’s fiancée and her son at the Retreat at Twin Lakes townhouse development.
It was only the outcry and outrage expressed by the public that brought Mr. Zimmerman to trial to account for his actions which brought about the death of a teenager who had purchased candy and iced tea at a local convenience store and was walking back to an apartment where he was staying with family. Otherwise, a man with a concealed weapon who profiled pursued and shot through the heart a “suspect” would have been allowed to go free forever based on his word and physical condition that prima facie demonstrated that he was justified in defending himself against his hoodied assailant. Trayvon Martin would be buried and forgotten- just expendable.
The State brought charges against Mr. Zimmerman and after one year or so we had a three week trial which resulted in a finding for Mr. Zimmerman of not guilty. After the acquittal verdict, at the press interview with the defense attorneys, Attorney West spoke of tragedy and travesty the former referring presumably to the death of Trayvon Martin and the travesty apparently referring to the attempt of the State of Florida to hold Mr. Zimmerman accountable for taking the life of another human being. Mr. West’s comment epitomized how the scales of justice were so weighted down against the victim and how the blindfold of justice was off exposing deep racial prejudices and anything but “color blindness”.
The burden of proof was not on the defendant but upon the victim who couldn’t defend himself because he was dead. In fact, with no allowance for cross examination of the defendant, the prosecution was at a distinct disadvantage to compose a supportable and evidentiary narrative to counter Mr. Zimmerman’s self serving story of his innocence and of Trayvon Martin’s guilt.
Zimmerman was never on trial – Trayvon Martin was. This young man was guilty because of who he was –because there were burglaries in the neighborhood committed by Afro-American youth so Mr. Martin was a “suspect”- because Mr. Martin purportedly surprised Mr. Zimmerman and beat him to the ground and repeatedly pounded his head on the concrete walkway and Zimmerman cried for help but no help came and so to save his body and his life he had to shoot Mr. Martin directly into the heart- the kill shot.
Was Mr. Zimmerman culpable? – no way. The would- be policeman who took courses in legal procedures including Stand Your Ground Law and got an “A”? The mixed martial arts guy who took lessons in defending himself with his hands and body who was so inept after taking three lessons a week for about a year that his instructor rated him as .05 on a scale of 1-10?. The man who was only proficient in pulling a trigger point blank on an unarmed boy who, if Trayvon was defending himself, had the right to do so as much as Mr. Zimmerman? Did Mr. Zimmerman act responsibly in leaving his SUV after being instructed by the police dispatcher not to? Wasn’t he ultimately responsible for the altercation which would have never happened had Mr. Zimmerman followed those instructions? Would Mr. Zimmerman have been so bold to pursue an unknown hooded figure in the rain if he didn’t have a loaded and ready to fire weapon? Was an unarmed boy more or a threat to Mr. Zimmerman than Mr. Zimmerman was to Trayvon?
Did Mr. Zimmerman have a mouth to communicate with? Like identifying himself as a resident of the complex and part of the neighborhood watch program? Or even crying “uncle” or “enough” and talking to Trayvon instead of crying to unseen others for help? Or was Trayvon, the punk, not worthy of verbal communication and, in the mind of George, was determined to murder Mr. Zimmerman so he could go home and watch the NBA All-Star Game? Was Mr. Zimmerman’s interest to prevent a crime that never occurred or to seek vigilante justice- for burglaries that eluded Mr. Zimmerman and now he had his suspect in his sights?
We’ll never know.
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