Important to look at facts in Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman case
General Manager/Editor Ron Schott
Since last weekend, protestors across the country, have taken to the streets to voice their concerns regarding the verdict in the George Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin case.
A six-woman jury acquitted Zimmerman of second degree murder and manslaughter after deliberating for more than 16 hours over two days.
In February 2012, Zimmerman fatally shot Martin in what he claimed was self-defense.
While I know that many who followed the case are filled with emotions of what they considered to be a racist murder, I believe the facts spoke for themselves and at the end of the day this case should have never fueled the emotions it has.
Let’s take a look at a summary of facts surrounding the February 26, 2012 incident…
The shooting took place in the gated community called The Retreat at Twin Lakes in Sanford, Fla.
From January 2011 to the night of the shooting, police had been called there 402 times. In late 2011, the residents created a neighborhood watch program and selected Zimmerman as the program’s coordinator. Earlier in February 2012, Zimmerman once called the police to report a young man was peeking in windows. By time the police arrived, the man ran away. Four days later, two young black men were lingering in a yard around the same time a home was burglarized with a laptop and jewelry stolen. The next day one young black man was arrested and Zimmerman said it was the same guy he saw earlier in the month peeking into windows. This is only to prove that Zimmerman was on high alert for anything in recent weeks so February 26 was no different for him. That evening, Zimmerman was driving through the neighborhood and called police a little after 7 p.m. in regards to a suspicious person. He told the dispatcher there were recent break-ins. He said the guy was just walking around in the rain and looked up to no good. He then said the man later identified as Trayvon Martin, was running. Zimmerman’s car door noise can be heard on the 911 call as he got out of his vehicle to confront Martin. The dispatcher told him he did not need to follow the suspect. Meanwhile, an altercation occurs between Martin and Zimmerman. Without getting too detailed, Zimmerman has told officials about a dialogue between him and Martin that is full of cursing. I don’t want to be that detailed for the purpose of this commentary though he clearly identified Martin as the aggressor. Eyewitness Jonathan Good testified that he saw a person described as Martin on top of Zimmerman.
Officer Timothy Smith testified that Zimmerman said he was yelling for help and nobody came to him. Zimmerman was described as light headed and had moisture on the back of his jacket and pants along with grass blades, showing he had been laying on his back.
Lindzee Folgate, a physician, testified that Zimmerman’s nose appeared to be broken and his head had several cuts. She also said his injuries might have been caused by head trauma as his head was slammed into the concrete. Zimmerman was described by Smith as bleeding from his nose and the back of his head.
A gunshot wound expert testified that Zimmerman’s gun muzzle was two to four inches away from Martin and the trajectory shows he was on bottom. In a capias request a couple of weeks later, an investigator said he didn’t believe there was evidence to charge Zimmerman with a crime. Though he did note that the encounter could have been avoided if Zimmerman had remained in his vehicle and waited for law enforcement. So, in summary, should Zimmerman be charged with murder? I say the answer is no.
Is it sad a young man lost his life? Definitely. Could this have been avoided by Zimmerman just staying in his car? Likely. With that said, there is no sign of racism at all in this case. In fact, he and an African-American friend had opened up an insurance office in Florida, he reportedly took an African-American girl to his own school prom, has black relatives, and has tutored black children. Unfortunately, the media, officers, and the prosecutors did a poor job of getting the facts of this case out to the public in the beginning. If they had, the racial tension in our country from this case would not be there.
They used photos to perpetuate this. They circulated a picture of an unshaven Zimmerman along with a clean cut image of Martin, the kid “next door.” Not shown were the pictures of Martin flipping off the camera or smoking marijuana.
If you remember, as months started to go by in 2012 after the shooting, more and more of the details were being released and a different picture of what happened came together.
Details also included background information on both of those involved. Zimmerman had previous run-ins with the law. At 21, he was charged with assaulting a police officer. Later he had a restraining order filed against him by an ex-fiancee. Martin was out of school on the fateful day after being suspended for the third time in the same school year. The last time was due to possession of a marijuana pipe and an empty bag of marijuana. One previous suspension involved graffiti and another involved tardiness.
I personally hate it that this young man lost his life. I wish the whole incident never happened but it did. In all honesty, if Zimmerman had stayed in his car and was not wanting to “see what street he was on,” we might not be talking about this case; but he didn’t. In the altercation however, he had the right to protect himself. This is my opinion and feel free to disagree with me. Share your opinion with the community regarding this case. Please write a letter to the editor and drop it off at my office or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Letters print if approved.