Zimmerman’s Acquittal, and the Coming Civil Suit

George Zimmerman was acquitted in the killing of Trayvon Martin — a not wholly surprising result, but by no means an inevitable one. From what one can conclude about the jury’s deliberations, with their apparent focus on the elements of manslaughter, the jury wasn’t sold on Zimmerman’s self-defense claim, but they weren’t wholly buying some part of the manslaughter charge.

But the system worked in this case, or at least it worked as well as the system can ever be expected to. Zimmerman had to face trial for his decision to kill an unarmed kid, and was not able to skip away from the shooting without a proper investigation or prosecution. What should have been a routine matter was turned into a media circus, and the narrative of the killing usually vastly overshadowed the actual facts of the case, but that shouldn’t overshadow the basic success that was accomplished — which is that the procedures of the criminal justice system were complied with, no matter what one thinks of the substantive result.

Zimmerman won’t go to jail, because he was able to claim — with no supporting evidence from anything outside of his own police statements — that a kid walking home from the store tried to commit murder, for no better reason than the kid had his feelings hurt by Zimmerman’s decision to follow him in his car. But “not guilty” has never meant “acted in a manner worthy of respect,” and anyone who claims that the acquittal is a vindication of Zimmerman’s insane actions is not someone worth listening to. Zimmerman was irresponsible, and a teenager died as a result.

And, although it should go without saying, Zimmerman being found “not guilty” does nothing to imply, not even in the tiniest amount, that Trayvon was guilty of any criminal acts.

But while the not guilty verdict is disappointing, it’s not outrageous. And Zimmerman’s legal defense is not yet over, because of the fact that Zimmerman has received hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations — money that he is unlikely to prove, with probable cause, that he should be able to keep. While I don’t find the result of the criminal case particularly upsetting, I would be outraged if Zimmerman is able to financially benefit from his decision to kill a kid. Luckily, I don’t expect that to happen. There should be a civil suit here, and all of Zimmerman’s blood money should go to Trayvon Martin’s estate.

If Zimmerman has sense, he will settle any civil claims brought — but nothing Zimmerman has ever done has indicated he has much sense to begin with. Which means Zimmerman will have to produce comprehensive information under the civil discovery process about his actions that night, as well as take the stand himself. And Zimmerman’s criminal defense won’t be sufficient to withstand that.

The Homeowner’s Association for the Retreat at Twin Lakes already settled with Martin’s estate for something above the $1 million policy limit of the HOA’s insurance coverage. Although the specific terms are under seal, and there is no way to know for sure what motivated the HOA to settle, the rumors that have leaked out about the settlement suggest that the HOA had significant exposure on several fronts. Most significantly, it appears that (1) the HOA failed to properly complete the Neighborhood Watch certification requirements for its program, and (2) the HOA had knowledge, from complaints received by other residents, of Zimmerman conducting patrols while armed, in violation of Neighborhood Watch standards (and common sense) and did not take actions to stop it.

The HOA’s liability is nothing compared to Zimmerman’s, and his best move would be to follow the HOA’s lead and settle the civil claims brought against him. But here’s to hoping that he doesn’t take the easy way out — and he’s forced to take the stand.

-Susan

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63 thoughts on “Zimmerman’s Acquittal, and the Coming Civil Suit

  1. “And, although it should go without saying, Zimmerman being found “not guilty” does nothing to imply, not even in the tiniest amount, that Trayvon was guilty of any criminal acts.”

    So he was self-defending against someone entirely else?

    It’s going to be interesting to see in what and which civil suits he’s a defendant, and in what and which he’s the plaintiff.

    • To my knowledge, none of the jurors have stated they found Zimmerman not guilty because he was acting in self-defense, and if they did, that would not imply that they believed Trayvon attacked Zimmerman. It would mean they were not beyond all reasonable doubt that Zimmerman acted unlawfully in starting the altercation — not that they have any belief Trayvon did.

      Again, there is no evidence, beyond Zimmerman’s word, that Trayvon acted unlawfully. There is significant evidence he did not — Jeantel’s testimony, and the evidence of Zimmerman’s untruthfulness.

      And if we’re going to go by character and tendency evidence, the idea that the Neighborhood Watch captain with a hero complex tried to detain a suspected criminal is miles away more believable than a 17 year old talking on the phone with a friend made a decision to kill a stranger with his bare hands because he felt “disrespected.”

      Zimmerman being not guilty does not, in any fashion, imply that Trayvon deserved to die.

      • I never said anything about anyone deserving to die.

        And I don’t think the jurors have said anything to anybody yet.

        • My point was that, based on the verdict, you can’t assume the jury had any belief in Trayvon attacking Zimmerman. Or that they believed Zimmerman’s decision to kill him was warranted, intelligent, or deserved. Just that they didn’t believe it was criminal beyond a reasonable doubt.

      • Ms. Smpson:

        Your anger is understandable – but it seems to have rendered you misinformed.
        No one Trayvon’s age “deserves” to die. That basic value does not require your denial of the circumstantial evidence that tended to undermine the finding of guilt beyond a reasonable.

  2. Its my understanding that in Florida, because the verdict is not guilty. He is immune from civil suits. I could be wrong but I remember reading that somewhere.

  3. Just what I would expect from you. Nothing about the Crump/Julison/Sharpton/Jackson threats of violence unless Zimmerman was charged, something that would not have happened in a usual Florida case like this. The prosecutors and state of Florida should have to make a big payment to Zimmerman for their outrageous conduct; the interview of Jeantel with a weeping Sybrina Fulton present is enough to get de la Rionda’s law license taken away from him. If Crump could extort over $7 million from the state in the Martin Lee Anderson case, if justice prevails, the state should pay out as much to Zimmerman.

    • No one actually involved in the case or familiar with the relevant legal procedures believes anything remotely like that could happen.

      There was no conspiracy. There was no outrageous conduct. Being investigated and tried for killing someone is how things are supposed to work.

  4. They were already seeking sanctions on a Brady violation for the actions of the prosecution, this could go into a Malicious Prosecution charge against Corey’s office.

    As far as immunity goes again I have to go to the written law:

    —–

    776.032 Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action for justifiable use of force.—

    (1) A person who uses force as permitted in s. 776.012, s. 776.013, or s. 776.031 is justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force, unless the person against whom force was used is a law enforcement officer, as defined in s. 943.10(14), who was acting in the performance of his or her official duties and the officer identified himself or herself in accordance with any applicable law or the person using force knew or reasonably should have known that the person was a law enforcement officer. As used in this subsection, the term “criminal prosecution” includes arresting, detaining in custody, and charging or prosecuting the defendant.

    (2) A law enforcement agency may use standard procedures for investigating the use of force as described in subsection (1), but the agency may not arrest the person for using force unless it determines that there is probable cause that the force that was used was unlawful.

    (3) The court shall award reasonable attorney’s fees, court costs, compensation for loss of income, and all expenses incurred by the defendant in defense of any civil action brought by a plaintiff if the court finds that the defendant is immune from prosecution as provided in subsection (1).

    —-

    From my Non-Lawyerin understanding of (3) if someone does try to bring a Civil Suit the Martin Family will have to pay all fees for all of the lawyers and the court for the time it takes for the layers to walk in tell the Judge he is immune under State V Zimmerman with the Judge ruling on behalf of Zimmerman. If it comes to a actual case about Immunity they can cite the Original DA’s decision not to prosecute under (1) and after and investigation under (2), Corey bringing charges and being shot down by a jury would only help prove that the original immunity was valid.. From what I understand from FL Lawyers the only way they could have a Civil Suit is if this jury came back with a guilty verdict. The HOA could have waited until after this verdict and not settled, they probably settled for Reputation more than legal reasons.

    • The HOA didn’t settle, their insurance carrier did, and the HOA had no control over that decision one way or the other.

    • Prosecutors have absolutely immunity under Fl. Law. 100%. Investigators, detectives are not but prosecutors are.

      • 776.032 is part of Florida’s Justifiable Use of Force law and is about immunity for persons who might otherwise be defendents for having used force against another.

        It has nothing to do with whatever immunity state employees enjoy against charges of wrongful or malicious prosecution or stuff like that.

        • Unitron is correct, the immunity I am referencing is about GZ’s immunity from Civil prosecution. IANAL so I like to start with what the law actually says before discussing the results. I was referencing two questions one about Corey’s office, the other about Immunity. I went to a separate post about what Sanford PD is allowed to tell someone about when not to carry.

  5. I am posting this separately about the HOA due to the change of subject. The Neighborhood Watch Program is run by Sanford PD and the HOA, City and County could not tell him not to be armed. While the manual from the National level does reference not being armed while on Neighborhood Watch, it is aimed at local officials so they may look at local laws to delete the portions that are not applicable, FS 790.33 is much longer so I am posting a link with the fill Statute and the Subsections (1) and (3) I am referencing here.

    http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0700-0799/0790/Sections/0790.33.html

    790.33 Field of regulation of firearms and ammunition preempted.—

    (1) PREEMPTION.—Except as expressly provided by the State Constitution or general law, the Legislature hereby declares that it is occupying the whole field of regulation of firearms and ammunition, including the purchase, sale, transfer, taxation, manufacture, ownership, possession, storage, and transportation thereof, to the exclusion of all existing and future county, city, town, or municipal ordinances or any administrative regulations or rules adopted by local or state government relating thereto. Any such existing ordinances, rules, or regulations are hereby declared null and void.

    (3) PROHIBITIONS; PENALTIES.—

    (a) Any person, county, agency, municipality, district, or other entity that violates the Legislature’s occupation of the whole field of regulation of firearms and ammunition, as declared in subsection (1), by enacting or causing to be enforced any local ordinance or administrative rule or regulation impinging upon such exclusive occupation of the field shall be liable as set forth herein.

    (b) If any county, city, town, or other local government violates this section, the court shall declare the improper ordinance, regulation, or rule invalid and issue a permanent injunction against the local government prohibiting it from enforcing such ordinance, regulation, or rule. It is no defense that in enacting the ordinance, regulation, or rule the local government was acting in good faith or upon advice of counsel.

    (c) If the court determines that a violation was knowing and willful, the court shall assess a civil fine of up to $5,000 against the elected or appointed local government official or officials or administrative agency head under whose jurisdiction the violation occurred.

    (d) Except as required by applicable law, public funds may not be used to defend or reimburse the unlawful conduct of any person found to have knowingly and willfully violated this section.

    (e) A knowing and willful violation of any provision of this section by a person acting in an official capacity for any entity enacting or causing to be enforced a local ordinance or administrative rule or regulation prohibited under paragraph (a) or otherwise under color of law shall be cause for termination of employment or contract or removal from office by the Governor.

  6. When I think of why the jury acquitted Zimmerman, the answer that comes to mind might be slanderous; I can only hope that all six women, anonymously or not, speak to the media about their individual verdicts. I can say that the prosecution was, for the most part, absolutely terrible.

    I know that Zimmerman repeatedly lied, from beginning to end. O’Mara can say that Zimmerman “exaggerated” the number of punches and head bashes he experienced – but that’s just another way to say he lied. But, Zimmerman never said he pulled out his gun in response to this ‘battering;’ he pulled it out when he ‘believed’ Trayvon had “felt or saw” the gun – which, unless Zimmerman had showed it to him, he could not possibly have either seen or felt a gun holstered inside the waistband in the small of Zimmerman’s back.

    Zimmerman lied.

    And the only reason to explain Zimmerman’s continuous stream of lies is that he knew he was in the wrong, and that he knew it wasn’t necessary to kill – that, in fact, he chose to do so. And the man has never evidenced any remorse, any regret – any emotional response to the taking of a human life. Like Arnold, he’ll be back.

  7. As for Zimmerman’s immunity from civil litigation, I can’t discern from this opinion (warning: pdf) that he has any immunity. He never sought a pre-trial hearing to argue against prosecution and trial. Thus, he can’t claim that the judge erred in not granting any motion to dismiss against prosecution and trial. He might be able to claim that the judge erred in not granting the motion to dismiss submitted during the trial after the prosecution rested, but that really is a longshot. As is any claim of prosecutorial misconduct; the material that would have to be submitted in such a hearing would probably backfire on Zimmerman.

    I might add that Zimmerman’s immunity from civil litigation is somewhat hampered by:

    776.013 Home protection; use of deadly force; presumption of fear of death or great bodily harm.— (pdf)

    (3) A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force 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.

    Trayvon Martin’s right.

    • I have argued before that I can justify a self defense claim for either party that survived the fight. If Trayvon had gotten the gun and shot Zimmerman 776.036 would also apply.

  8. You wrote:

    But while the not guilty verdict is disappointing, it’s not outrageous. And Zimmerman’s legal defense is not yet over, because of the fact that Zimmerman has received hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations — money that he is unlikely to prove, with probable cause, that he should be able to keep. While I don’t find the result of the criminal case particularly upsetting, I would be outraged if Zimmerman is able to financially benefit from his decision to kill a kid. Luckily, I don’t expect that to happen. There should be a civil suit here, and all of Zimmerman’s blood money should go to Trayvon Martin’s estate.

    Hundreds of thousands of dollars? Really? How much money do you think George owes in legal fees? How much for security and the increases in his cost of living? I suspect that O’Mara will ask for immunity and go after the state for some of the money this failure has cost him.

    I doubt seriously that any civil suits will be filed against George, but I would bet that George will be filing more than one.

    I would really like to know your source about the hundreds of thousands he has received and how much he has now. And why wouldn’t he be able to keep money that was donated to him?

      • Susan’s comments made it sound to me like a LOT more money and that he had somehow how access to it. George has no legal entitlement to any of that money, IF there is any left. George has had to request every cent that he has needed to live.

        O’Mara has had total control since shortly after he took the case, but, even if George did have control, why wouldn’t he be able to keep money that was donated to him?

        O’Mara has not kept his word. When is the last time you saw any of the official audited accounting statements that he promised?

  9. “Zimmerman won’t go to jail [I think you mean prison], because he was able to claim — with no supporting evidence from anything outside of his own police statements — that a kid walking home from the store tried to commit murder, for no better reason than the kid had his feelings hurt by Zimmerman’s decision to follow him in his car. ”

    So John Good and Dr. DiMaio were lying?

    George Zimmerman did society a favor by blasting the “no limit nigga” into eternity.

  10. As far as I can tell all of this revolves around 1 point, the PC Affidavit from Gilbreath and O’Steen signed off on by Corey. Until that point GZ’s had immunity under 776.032, Corey claimed that she had enough Probable Cause to arrest and overcome immunity. Corey had a Grand Jury ready but decided not to use them, she said they had so much evidence to convict GZ that they did not need a Grand Jury. MOM said that he is proceeding with the Brady Violations against Corey’s office, part of this will most likely be the PC Affidavit. If MOM can show the PC Affidavit was not valid in the first place then he is back at his original Immunity since Corey did not have probable cause to arrest in the first place. Gilbreath’s statements on the stand at the original Bond Hearing will be used against them.

    —–
    On Sunday 2/26/12, Trayvon Martin was temporarily living at the Retreat at Twin Lakes, a gated community in Sanford, Seminole County, Florida. That evening Martin walked to a nearby 7-11 store where he purchased a can of iced tea and a bag of skittles. Martin then walked back to and entered the gated community and was on his way back to the townhouse where he was living when he was profiled by George Zimmerman. Martin was unarmed and was not committing a crime.

    Zimmerman who also lived in the gated community, and was driving his vehicle — observed Martin and assumed Martin was a criminal. Zimmerman felt Martin did not belong in the gated community and called the police. Zimmerman spoke to the dispatcher and asked for an officer to respond because Zimmerman perceived that Martin was acting suspicious. The police dispatcher informed Zimmerman that an officer was on the way and to wait for the officer.

    (# 1:30 PD: “Yeah we’ve got someone on the way, just let me know if this guy does anything else.” This is the first mention of Officers on the way, this is in no way “Wait for the Officer” it is in fact a general request for information. The next reference to Officers is at # 2:53 PD: “Alright George we do have them on the way, do you want to meet with the officer when they get out there?” The next part of the conversation is where GZ does not know the address where to meet them but will find out.)

    During the recorded call Zimmerman made reference to people he felt had committed and gotten away with break-ins in his neighborhood. Later while talking about Martin, Zimmerman stated “these a-holes, they always get away” and also said “these f-ing punks”.

    During this time, Martin was on the phone with a friend and described to her what was happening. The witness advised that Martin was scared because he was being followed through the complex by an unknown male and didn’t know why. Martin attempted to run home but was followed by Zimmerman who didn’t want the person he falsely assumed was going to commit a crime to get away before the police arrived.

    (This statement was made to BDLR with Sybrina Fulton sitting next to Racheal Jeanteal this influenced her to modify what she said, According to Racheal Jeateal he made it home, in order for the fight to take place he had to return to the north end of the T, either that or he never left the north end of the T in the first place.)

    Zimmerman got out of his vehicle and followed Martin. When the police dispatcher realized Zimmerman was pursuing Martin, he instructed Zimmerman not to do that and that the responding officer would meet him. Zimmerman disregarded the police dispatcher and continued to follow Martin who was trying to return to his home.

    (# 2:23 PD: “Are you following him?” # 2:25 GZ: “Yeah” # 2:26 PD: “Ok, we don’t need you to do that.” # 2:29 GZ: “Ok”. The next reference to police being on the way is # 2:53 PD: “Alright George we do have them on the way, do you want to meet with the officer when they get out there?” The next part of the conversation is where GZ does not know the address where to meet them but will find out. )

    Zimmerman confronted Martin and a struggle ensued. Witnesses heard people arguing and what sounded like a struggle. During this time period witnesses heard numerous calls for help and some of these were recorded in 911 calls to police. Trayvon Martin’s mother has reviewed the 911 calls and identified the voice crying for help as Trayvon Martin’s voice.

    (Ms Fulton reviewed the tapes in the Mayor’s office in the presence of other family mambers with no police presence. Presenting the tape to the mother should either have been done differently or should have been noted in the PC Affidavit that it was done by the Mayor outside of police presence. According to Det Gilbreath’s testimony Gilbreath is basing Zimmerman starting the confrontation solely on the fact that there was a confrontation with no evidence or witness statements to contradict who started the fight. He also admitted that he had not asked the Mother to verify that it was her son’s voice. When the father was asked he said it was not his son’s voice yet Gilbreath claimed no knowledge of it, the statement about the Father Identifying the voice was in evidence at that time even though the father denied it on the stand during the trial. There was no official analysis at that time or now that can determine whose voice it is, even though it was given to FBI crime labs.)

    Zimmerman shot Martin in the chest. When police arrived Zimmerman admitted shooting Martin. Officers recovered a gun from a holster inside Zimmerman’s waistband. A fired casing that was recovered at the scene was determined to have been fired from the firearm.

    ——

    O’MARA: Witnesses heard people arguing, sounded like a struggle. During this time, witnesses heard numerous calls for help. Some of this was recorded. Trayvon’s mom reviewed the 911 calls and identified the cry for help and Trayvon Martin’s voice. Did you do any forensic analysis on that voice tape?

    GILBREATH: Did I?

    O’MARA: Did you or are you aware of anything?

    GILBREATH: The “Orlando Sentinel” had someone do it and the FBI has had someone do it.

    O’MARA: Is that part of your investigation?

    GILBREATH: Yes.

    O’MARA: Has that given any insight as to the voice?

    GILBREATH: No.

    O’MARA: Did Trayvon Martin’s mom identify that voice as soon as she heard it or were there concerns as to the identity of that voice?

    GILBREATH: I did not speak with her.

    O’MARA: How about the dad’s ability to identify whether or not that was Trayvon’s voice?

    GILBREATH: No.

    O’MARA: You’re not aware of any inquiries made to Trayvon’s dad as to whether or not he could identify that voice as being his son’s?

    GILBREATH: No.

  11. Just read, juror B37, of the Zimmerman Trial told Anderson Cooper she was influenced by the fact that Lead Investigator Serino testified that he believed Zimmerman.
    Didn’t the judge order the jury to disregard Serino’s statement during cross That He Believed Zimmerman?
    Had Zimmerman been convicted, would this be grounds for appeal?
    The juror also said Rachel Jeantel’s testimony didn’t seem very credible, yet I guess she did believe the Tale of George Zimmerman.

    • I thought it was an excellent interview but I wonder if she realizes that she is not supposed to discuss what other jurors thought or said.

      Mr. Holder: Did you hear her say that no one said they thought was race was an issue? Were you listening, Al and Jesse? They all want to stir up trouble.

      • Sorry, but imo, you’re wrong about it not being about race. Would Zimmerman have followed Martin if he was Caucasian and wearing a hoodie? I think not. O’Mara and others can say that it’s because some burglary suspects were African-American, but that in itself is racial profiling, because it presumes that being part of the same demographic means you’re a criminal. Legitimate profiling is about behavior, not physical characteristics (and I don’t feel for a second that Martin did what O’Mara said he did, because that was just another noxious stereotype). You are in denial if you think stereotypes are dead; they’re absolutely not. I just heard what juror B37 said. Apparently, they disregarded all of Zimmerman’s lies. Personally, I think that’s intellectual laziness.

          • I am deadly serious, because this stereotyping keeps getting people killed or injured. When do we start seeing each other as people? This isn’t Pollyanna nonsense and I’m not talking about “not seeing color.” I mean when do we see each other as 100% human beings and not as the other.

          • Your position and mine are proof that constructive change may not be possible in our life time. I do not mean this to be racist but there may be something to the old saying that birds of a feather flock together.

            That does not mean that races cannot coexist in harmony. In my 66 years here, I have known and respected many black people, most of whom were intelligent, educated and ambitious,

            I came out of extreme poverty…….. sharecropper family where I had nothing but black friends,, and then on to a white ghetto.

            My honest observation is that there is a certain segment of blacks who, for whatever reasons, refuse to assimilate into a predominately white society. I will not go into “whatever reasons” because you can probably figure that out. We may not agree about all of those reasons, but I bet would be fairly close and could have an honest conversation about them. That is what we need…….honest conversations that are not politically motivated but methinks we are much too polarized for that as you can see for now.

            😀

  12. Interesting and I mean no insult. I think, though, that your feeling that black people should “assimilate” is part of the problem; I think I know what you mean, but it’s disturbing just the same, because black folks have been pulling their freight and then some. There are just as many bad actors who are white, Asian, Hispanic, whatever; black folks just see to get more press. Think of it this way: there have always been sub-cultures in every community, but somehow, for blacks and I think because the unique circumstance surrounding black folks in this country, some people think that black folks are sub-human. I’m not trying to be argumentative, but I grew up poor and then not so poor, and I’ve seen it and I’m 50. So much of the conversation surrounding this trial came from people who put Trayvon Martin on trial and refused to see him as just a teenage boy, who behaved like a teenage boy. There were ugly, horrible stereotypes about him and his family, who btw, seem to be great people. Anyway, thanks for being honest. I’m just tired and frustrated.

    • For the record, I realize that there are members of all races who act badly. Maybe we could figure it all out over a couple of drinks.

      • I’ll raise a virtual glass and hope for more compassion and empathy. Listening to today’s commentary has been difficult.

  13. If we are talking about DOJ getting involved lets actually look at the Statutes Title 18 Sec 242 Color of law and Sec 249 Hate Crimes. The FBI has cleared Zimmerman of any violation of Sec 249, a portion of that investigation was brought in evidence. However Manipulating videos, audio recordings and pictures to cause a public outcry due to his Perceived Race “White” even though he is Hispanic to cause deprivation of the right to liberty you can possibly charge NBC with being an accessory to a violation of Sec 242. You have a clearer case against Angela Corey’s office for the prosecution itself against George Zimmerman since it was brought due to the outcry about his perceived race “White” even though he is Hispanic driven by media outlets using the manipulated audio of the NEN call, and outcry of people saying “No Justice, No Peace”. This may have been where the Civil Rights case actually ended up going when DOJ suspended the investigation. Deprivation of George Zimmerman’s Rights and Immunities due to his Perceived Race “White”.

    TITLE 18 – CRIMES AND CRIMINAL PROCEDURE
    PART I – CRIMES
    CHAPTER 13 – CIVIL RIGHTS
    Sec. 249. Hate crime acts

    -STATUTE-
    (a) In General. –
    (1) Offenses involving actual or perceived race, color, religion, or national origin. – Whoever, whether or not acting under color of law, willfully causes bodily injury to any person or, through the use of fire, a firearm, a dangerous weapon, or an explosive or incendiary device, attempts to cause bodily injury to any person, because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, or national origin of any person –
    (A) shall be imprisoned not more than 10 years, fined in accordance with this title, or both; and
    (B) shall be imprisoned for any term of years or for life, fined in accordance with this title, or both, if –
    (i) death results from the offense; or
    (ii) the offense includes kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill.

    —-
    TITLE 18 – CRIMES AND CRIMINAL PROCEDURE
    PART I – CRIMES
    CHAPTER 13 – CIVIL RIGHTS
    Sec. 242. Deprivation of rights under color of law

    -STATUTE-
    Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or to different punishments, pains, or penalties, on account of such person being an alien, or by reason of his color, or race, than are prescribed for the punishment of citizens, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if bodily injury results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include the use, attempted use, or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.

  14. I’m not sure what this case is supposed to prove, or what has people all worked up. In terms of the actual events there are only two possibilities.

    1) Zimmerman pursued Martin because he thought he might be a crook (with good reason). Then Martin attacked by at some point because he felt “dissed”. Having lost the fight Martin was on top of him wailing on him (for serious damage whatever you consider the extent) and then GZ shot him to end it.

    2) Zimmerman pursued Martin because he thought he might be a crook (with good reason). He attempted to detain Martin physically until the cops for a variety of possible reasons*. This started a fight, and having lost the fight Martin was on top of him wailing on him (for serious damage whatever you consider the extent) and then GZ shot him to end it.

    So what’s the outrage really. If #1 is true I’m not sure why anyone is pissed off. If #2 is true it then it seems to come down to *those reasons*. We can dismiss out of hand the idea that GZ was some sort of KKK racist who was just itching to track down and ice a black “child”. The most we can charge GZ with is being “an overzealous cop wannabe”, but that doesn’t mean he wanted to kill TM. If TM cooperates GZ isn’t going to shoot him. Hell, if GZ is successful in restraining him and doesn’t end up losing the fight and being in danger he’s not going to shoot him. The idea that GZ was looking to gun TM down is laughable. Even if we assume #2 is true, the worst we can accuse GZ of is putting his own safety at risk to protect his community after the police had been unable to do so in multiple instances, and in that process getting into a situation that got out of hand (perhaps because of bad decisions on his part, but certainly not because he was looking to kill someone) and left him killing another person to protect himself after he lost the fight (whether he stated it or not).

    Legally, the most you could charge in the situation is manslaughter. And I think that would probably (and did) fail reasonable doubt because it could have been #1.

    Morally, I’m just not very moved by this. Tragedy maybe, but why the hate? Obviously a lot of it comes back to the biased reporting that constantly showed old pictures of TM as a child instead of as the 17 year old he was couple with reports that GZ was some sort of white KKK member that chased him down (reality: he’s a Hispanic with a black grandparent that seems to have actually gone out of his way to help disadvantaged blacks in his community). So I get the popular ignorant outrage, and I get black tribalism to rally around “your team”, but I don’t get why people without a personal stake and with the facts care. Absent race baiting it strikes me as a rather mundane case.

    I guess the best explanation I can come up with is this idea that it is “indicative of our racist society” and that the incidence should call for “reforms”. This all seems to hinge on the idea that the real “crime” here was GZ “profiling” TM. I will cite another on this:

    —————————

    However, the latest round of Zimmerman punditry deserves comment.

    Matthew Yglesias, who is, if possible, an even whiter Spaniard than I am, writes the following in a post entitled “Bayes’ Theorem for Dummies”:


    I think what Cohen really means to be arguing isn’t so much that neither he nor Zimmerman are racists, but that racism is the correct social and political posture. That white people have good reason to fear black men, and that therefore all black men should be put in a subordinate position. But as a logical argument, Cohen here is falling afoul of very poor statistical inference . . .

    . . . the fact that young black men are disproportionately likely to be involved in violent crime in no way licenses the inference that you should stop random black men on the street and begin treating them like criminals.

    For example, since moving to a majority black city 10 years ago, it is the case that 100 percent of the people who randomly assaulted me on the street were African-American. And yet that was a single incident on one day out of thousands. The overwhelming preponderance of black men I walk past on the street on a day-to-day basis—even the young ones, even the ones wearing hoodies—aren’t committing any violent crimes. If I were to start questioning every single black male teenager I come across as a criminal suspect, I would very much be engaged in unreasonable behavior.

    The critique is elementary. Formally, we may say that Zimmerman confused Pr(A|B) with Pr(B|A). Colloquially, we can summarize Yglesias’s critique thusly: “Even if most criminals are black, it doesn’t follow that most blacks are criminals. So it’s simply not logical to profile every black person you meet as being a criminal threat.”

    Yglesias probably thinks his point is unanswerable. I’ll give him credit for at least attempting to return an element of logos to the seething pathos of this turgid affair. However, like the young college girl who first discovers that American settlers didn’t treat the natives too kindly, Yglesias is satisfied with setting his feet into the cement of his first rational step and not moving anywhere else.

    From my perspective, his point is entirely answerable, and on purely rational grounds. It’s all a matter of returning logic to its context and filling in the priors.

    First, Zimmerman was not following “all black men,” as Yglesias implies later in his post. Zimmerman was following a singular young black male, dressed in ill-fitting clothes, wandering a suburban neighborhood at night after a recent streak of burglaries committed by young black males in his neighborhood. 100% of recent burglaries had been committed by a marked population that constituted only a small percentage of the community’s whole population. Trayvon Martin, at various points of description, fit the marked “profile” of recent burglars.

    As commenter writes:


    I’m writing a Bayesian spam filter (based on Paul Graham’s Plan for Spam), and “profiling” is exactly what it does. There’s no one word that guarantees that a message is spam. But if a message contains 10 words that appear frequently in spam, and it doesn’t contain any words that appear exclusively in non-spam, the probability that the message is spam will be very close to 1.

    That’s what profiling means. It doesn’t mean, “Stop all blacks because blacks are more dangerous than other groups”; that’s what liberals like Bloomberg do because they’re trying to avoid profiling. Profiling would have a cop say (pulling percentages out of my hat for the example), “Ok, there’s a young black man walking down the street in this neighborhood, so historical data says there’s a 5% chance that he’s up to no good. That’s not nearly enough to suspect anything. But he’s also wearing a hoodie, which adds another 5% (whether he’s black or white), and he’s hiding his face (another 3%), and keeping his hands shoved down deep in his pockets (another 10%), and his sneakers look brand new, which we’ve been told to look out for because a store was knocked over last night (another 20%). Let’s pull over and ask him where he’s headed …. Okay, he doesn’t seem to know this neighborhood (another 20%) so let’s chat with him a bit more…. Ok, he showed us what he was holding in his pockets, and it was liniment and denture cream that he said he’s taking to his grandma whom he’s staying with a few blocks from here (-30%), and he seemed friendly and relaxed while we talked to him (-10%), and offered to show us the receipt for his shoes (-30%). Seems okay, tell him to have a nice day.”

    My limited knowledge of Bayesian statistics is, indeed, that it provides a framework for working with multiple priors for coming up with an averaged statistical probability. In other words, its entire point is to move away from the kind of decontextualized logic that Yglesias invokes, a logic that would make sense as a critique if Zimmerman (or anyone) had indeed been following every black male he met on a daily basis. But no one does that, so Yglesias’s invoked logic is really just a shot at a strawman.

    Second, until the fight itself, Zimmerman’s actions were quite modest. The act of “profiling” or “being suspicious” is an act of personal caution, not a willful attack on someone else’s personal rights. (My crossing to the other side of the road while being approached by a group of young black males does not in any meaningful way affect the young black males. Zimmerman’s following Trayvon did not affect Trayvon.) Without his strawman (stop every black on the street!), Yglesias, I imagine, might modestly modify his claim: Zimmerman’s decision to follow Trayvon, or my decision to cross the street, remains illogical because, well, the same old same: “just because criminals are often young black males, most young black males aren’t criminals!”

    The comments provide many obvious rejoinders, which I paraphrase here:


    The vast majority of grizzly bears don’t attack hikers, so it’s irrational for hikers to carry bear spray in the wilderness!

    80% of lumps aren’t cancerous, so my mom was being irrational when she got hers checked out by a doctor!

    The odds of my house burning down are at least as miniscule as the odds of any random young black male being a criminal, so I guess I’m stupid for having fire insurance. I’ll cancel it right away, Matt!

    So on and so forth. One might also invoke the common airline policy of not allowing adult males to sit next to unaccompanied minors. Not all adult males are pedophiles, but most pedophiles are adult males. Betting that a given adult male is not a pedophile isn’t worth the risk, and is certainly worth the minor inconvenience of asking all adult males to switch seats in the event they are seated beside a young girl traveling alone. Liability issues, you know.

    And that’s what this second point is really about: the logic of damages. In a purely decontextualized way, I know that Pr(A|B) is not the same as Pr(B|A). Given certain context and content, however, betting on Pr(B|not A) may carry serious consequences if, however unlikely, I turned out to be wrong. In other words, taking minor measures to avoid the risk of certain events or probabilities, however unlikely, is not at all illogical. In fact, in many contexts, we commend people who take these measures. We call it “planning ahead” or “preparing for all possible outcomes” or “erring on the side of caution.”

    This all seems to me a perfectly rational rejoinder to Yglesias’s over-simplified evocation of Bayes and its implications for how Zimmerman acted. Zimmerman’s neighborhood had recently been burgled by young black males, a small percentage of the community’s population. Trayvon Martin was a young black male, which, of course, did not mean he was a burglar. However, the possibility that he was a burglar, however unlikely, was nevertheless, given demographic reality, modest enough to warrant a few minutes of Zimmerman’s time to check him out, because not checking him out (i.e., assuming that Martin was not a burglar) might incur greater damages to the neighborhood.

    Are you not rationally persuaded?!??!!?!

    Nope. Not [name], progressive troll:


    the fact that young black men are disproportionately likely to be involved in violent crime in no way licenses the inference that you should stop random black men on the street….

    That’s absolutely correct. There may be other facts that imply it, but the facts that Cohen cites do not support it in any way. And it’s obvious that Cohen did get his conditional probabilities backwards, just as Yglesias pointed out. Cohen was talking about P(black|criminal), where a more relevant probability is P(criminal|black).

    I haven’t read all the comments here, but from the ones I’ve read it seems that as usual, [blog] readers endorse the stupid, unsound argument over the intelligent, sound argument because the former supposedly leads to the desired conclusion.

    Now, there may be a purely rational case against the one I’ve presented against Yglesias, another round in a logical tête-à-tête. However, [name]’s ostrich response is the most common one I’ve seen from the Left.

    What am I to do with that? The “stupid” comments to which [name] refers lay out the same argument against Yglesias that I’ve provided here. To me, it seems like a perfectly reasonable counter-statement to Yglesias. To [name], however, it’s the usual, unsound stupidity of biased proles grasping for rationalizations.

    We’ve now reached the reason I brought this whole thing up: the incommensurable gap between me and [name] demonstrates that logic and reasoning are, in the end, absolutely worthless when it comes to arguing about social and political issues. It seems we cannot even decide on what constitutes “sound” versus “unsound” argument—on what constitutes rationality versus stupidity.

    —————————

    That clears things up. I don’t have much of a problem with “profiling”. Profiling is done because it works, its a perfectly sound practice. It works because young black men commit lots of crimes. If young black men want to stop being profiled they should stop committing crimes.

    So exactly what are we going to learn and change from all this?

    1) There aren’t any legal changes that need to be made. People make a big deal about SYG laws, but they aren’t that different then regular self defense laws, and I doubt the legal particulars were going through either mans head in that dark alley. If anything the prosecutors actions deserve the most scrutiny.

    2) We aren’t going to change any social policies. If the only way to end “profiling” is for young black men to stop committing crimes then I can see where people would want to use this for whatever their pet project to turn around the black community is. However, the merits or demerits of these programs haven’t changed at all because of some random unrelated tragedy down in Florida. What are we going to do? Pass Reparations because a Hispanic dude and a black dude down in Florida got into a fight that got out of hand?

    So what does it all come down to? Outside of those with a specific personal interest (including the race baiters and politicians that will use it to gain money and power) why do people care? The answer to me is cheap moral superiority. Upper middle class white people who pay lots of money to live in places physically isolated from criminal dysfunction and frequently patrolled want to feel some cheap moral superiority because some Hispanic dude that couldn’t afford those things tried to do something to stop crime in his community. He should have just sat there and took it. That’s what proles are supposed to do.

    Another question that seems to come up is the issue of what was TM supposed to do? As if there is no way for him not to get shot that night. Here are a few possibilities.

    1) If #1 is true, don’t start a fight.
    2) Don’t go back to confront GZ, walk away.
    3) If #2 is true, just accept it. The cops have been called. They will be here shortly. If you’ve done nothing wrong nothing bad will happen to you. You can probably even charge GZ with assault.

    Or in the words of the boondocks, don’t do this:

  15. You lost me at 1 and 2, because there was no good reason for Zimmerman to follow Martin. First, Martin was walking and doing nothing wrong and though too many seem to feel it’s a-ok to profile based on their bigotry, the police had already been called.

    • “there was no good reason for Zimmerman to follow Martin”

      There were several really obvious ones, as outlined above.

      Though you do simultaneously prove the two points of the post I cited:

      1) GZ real crime that has people riled up isn’t that he shot TM, but that he “profiled” him. Had TM been white, or had GZ been dark enough to not have his ethnicity changed to white by the media, nobody outside those directly involved would be upset.

      2) That logical arguments about profiling, as laid out above, are not what people are interested. It is merely a tool for moral posturing in which any understanding or agreement over this issue is impossible.

      • Observe and report. That’s the role of Neighborhood Watch and it was clearly articulated for George Zimmerman. If Martin had been doing something wrong, there might have been cause for suspicion, but he wasn’t; the police corroborated that. Your position is based on bigotry and is frankly stupid, so I won’t be responding to you again. I don’t have time for bigots who indulge in sophistry.

        • “Observe and report.”

          And we have every reason to believe that is what he did. Unless you believe he chased Martin down and started a fight for the shits and giggles.

          “If Martin had been doing something wrong, there might have been cause for suspicion, but he wasn’t”

          Based on the context of the situation, there was reason to believe Martin was doing something wrong. And, while it doesn’t affect this situation, clearly Martin was doing lots of wrong things in his life at the time (like so many other people that fit his “profile”).

          “Your position is based on bigotry and is frankly stupid”

          False, for reasons clearly articulated above. Unless of course you are using “bigot” to mean person I don’t like (ironic, huh) which is basically how words like that and racism are used today. The new slang used to demean, the modern day “nigger”.

          “I won’t be responding to you again”

          No loss.

  16. asdf:

    1) Zimmerman pursued Martin because he thought he might be a crook (with good reason). Then Martin attacked by at some point because he felt “dissed”. Having lost the fight Martin was on top of him wailing on him (for serious damage whatever you consider the extent) and then GZ shot him to end it.

    So much to unpack from just those three sentences.

    Zimmerman had no reason to find Martin suspicious except for Martin being a black male. Walking along a consistent route and doing so leisurely is not suspicious. Looking around and at the houses while walking is not suspicious. If they were, God help all those who enjoy strolling their neighborhood, walking their dogs, walking to and from nearby stores, or people patrolling their neighborhood with flashlights. If walking leisurely in the rain is suspicious, then God help all pedestrians living in areas where rain is rather commonplace in winter and/or summer. If walking at 6:30-7:00 in the evening is suspicious, God help and protect us from all paranoiacs.

    You might note that, judging from your and Zimmerman’s criteria, Zimmerman walking, jogging and standing in the rain, getting wet, is suspicious. Talking on the phone while walking, jogging and standing in the rain is suspicious. Using a flashlight while walking, jogging, and standing in the rain is suspicious.

    Your theory of Martin attacking Zimmerman at all, and doing so because he felt ‘dissed,’ are ludicrous creations of your own bigotry. In Zimmerman’s own words, Martin had run away. In Zimmerman’s own words, Martin had disappeared. So, how could Martin know that Zimmerman had gotten out of his truck to follow him? How could Martin know that Zimmerman would be at the T – according to Zimmerman – at that precise time, some some four minutes after he ran away (7:11:41 “Shit, he’s running” to 7:15:44 when call with Rachel Jeantel ends)? Why would Martin accost Zimmerman while still on the phone with Rachel?

    We know that Zimmerman jumped out of his truck to follow Martin. We know that Zimmerman remained in the area after agreeing with the dispatcher to not follow Martin (see Zimmerman’s written statement and his interview with Serino and Singleton on 02.29.12). We know that Zimmerman remained in the area after noting that Martin had disappeared (“He ran” at 7:12:11). We know that Zimmerman failed to return to his truck either during or immediately after his NEN call ended (7:13:40).

    People like you focus on what Martin was doing all that time. Martin had the lawful right to walk wherever and for however amount of time he wished. After running away and believing that the man following him was not around, he could stand still anywhere he wanted, walk leisurely around the block if he wanted, walk home and decide to hang around outside if he wanted, hop on one foot, and pick his nose for hours if he wanted. He was not committing, nor had committed, any crime whatsoever.

    Zimmerman, on the other hand, repeatedly lied. He omitted telling the dispatcher about moving from the clubhouse, about driving behind Martin to near the cut-through on Twin Trees Lane, and he repeatedly sought to elide over doing these things to the investigator, although Singleton caught him out during his first interview. He lied about getting an address to hide the fact that he was intent on finding Martin. He lied about returning immediately to this truck – in fact, evidence shows that he never sought to return to his truck even after finding Martin.

    Why did Zimmerman repeatedly seek to deceive law enforcement through omissions, misrepresentations, and outright lies? What could have been his reason for doing so? Could it possibly have been, being familiar with Florida statutes regarding using force, he knew that being an aggressor that initiated the series of acts that led to the struggle with and killing of Martin would be used against him?

    • “Zimmerman had no reason to find Martin suspicious except for Martin being a black male.”

      The reasons are outlined very well in my post.

      “Your theory of Martin attacking Zimmerman at all, and doing so because he felt ‘dissed,’ are ludicrous creations of your own bigotry.”

      Not really, this happens all the time. Try interacting with some ghetto blacks. Even black people know that black people act in such a manner. It’s why things like this exist:

      “In Zimmerman’s own words, Martin had run away.”

      Yes, Martin ran away because he thought GZ was a “creepy ass cracker” and he was already in lots of trouble because of his thug activities (including being caught with a bag full of likely stolen jewelry and burglary tools). So he ran away because GZ was probably calling the cops and he didn’t want any trouble (whether he was doing something wrong or not). This was the smart move, but then having time to think about how he had been “dissed” and not wanting to look or feel weak he doubled back.

      “Any parent would laugh in scorn that such injuries called for killing someone.”

      http://statelymcdanielmanor.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/zimmerman-f-b.jpg?w=529&h=269

      They sure look like real injuries to me. I’m not going to sit here and judge how long he should have let Martin beat the shit out of him before he was justified in doing what he did. That is utterly absurd.

      “That, in fact, that Zimmerman had physical control of the situation, thus permitting him to move his arm and body to retrieve his gun while controlling Martin, able to “aim and fire” his gun while Martin was unable to escape? ”

      Is this essentially the charge? That GZ had control over TM and then just shot him for the hell of it? What is the motive here? GZ called the police. GZ knew they were coming. What is he going to gain? People don’t shoot strangers for no reason. The only reason people can come up with is that GZ was some crazy racist out for blood, but strangely enough decided to call the cops and kill a guy in a populated area he lives in. Isn’t the far more likely situation that he was in physical danger and defended himself. These conspiracy theories that he somehow assaulted TM unprovoked and then killed him with potential witnesses all round and the cops he called on the way to cover it up is absurd.

      Also, witnesses put TM on top of GZ, so I don’t buy the GZ had control of the situation story. If GZ was in control, I don’t but that he shot a TM just because with no motivation.

      “Zimmerman had no legal authority to detain Martin physically; it’s called unlawful restraint. He didn’t have the legal authority to demand from or do anything to Martin.”

      I agree that he has no authority. Which would make him guilty of assault if #2 is true (which we don’t know). It might even make him guilty of manslaughter, though I doubt it was ever his intention to kill this kid and it probably happened as a result of his losing the fight when he felt he didn’t have a choice. If he initiated the fight then its manslaughter, but we will never know and it is hardly a teaching moment in race relations.

      “He knew.”

      Of course he knew. And he was correct to profile Martin. Profiling is simple statistics and it works. People should be profiling more. Mayor Bloomberg thinks so.

      ———-
      Bloomberg added that “one newspaper and one news service, they just keep saying, ‘Oh it’s a disproportionate percentage of a particular ethnic group’” being targeted by the city’s stop-and-frisk policies.

      “That may be, but it’s not a disproportionate percentage of those who witnesses and victims describe as committing the murder,” he said. “In that case, incidentally, I think we disproportionately stop whites too much and minorities too little.”
      ———–

      I’ve got no problem with GZ profiling TM in those circumstances. Nor if the cops did. If that makes someone “racist” that makes anyone who can notice statistical patterns and probabilities is a racist. All the “Pr(A|B) is not the same as Pr(B|A)” complaints are addressed above.

      There was a comment elsewhere I felt pretty much sums up the odds that someone like GZ chased down a gunned a black man just because he hated black people so much.

      ———
      I wonder how many whites are going to conclude “don’t even bother to try” from the Zimmerman / Martin episode. You might have thought that Zimmerman’s history with blacks would have given him some credit: black business partner, black prom date, tutoring black kids, helping a frail black lady in the neighborhood, 1/4 black himself. Yet it didn’t seem to temper blacks’ immediate assessment of him as a hateful racist in the slightest. Very few whites would be able to point to that level of interracial relations in their history. Whites may very well conclude that they will be judged as racist no matter what they do, and so reaching out is pointless.
      ——–

      “And, again, Zimmerman had no right to detain Martin; it’s an assault, it’s unlawful restraint – it’s a crime.”

      Yes, if #2 is true its a crime. Martin should have responded by not resisting and waiting for the police to arrive. He should have followed the instructions in that Chris Rock video above. That’s what I would have done. I also wouldn’t have been involved in fight clubs, stolen jewelry, done drugs, or anything else. And I would have walked out of that incident alive, and the guy who assaulted me would be in jail, and the whole thing would have been over in a few minutes.

      If #2 is true he’s guilty of manslaughter (but certainly not murder). And since there is plenty enough reasonable doubt to conclude #1 is true its not a surprise he got off.

      But again, what does this teach us? Whether #1 or #2 is true, what exactly do we want to change. The justice system did what the justice system should do in this situation. Individuals and law enforcement will continue to “profile” young black men because it works, as outlined in the entire discussion above. It won’t stop working until young black men stop committing crimes. If TM wanted to avoid his fate all he had to do was follow the Chris Rock instructions, which white people already know to do.

      So again, what are we supposed to learn about the Hispanic non-racist dude who did more for black people then most anyone there getting into a fight and having a tragedy with a young black man? An incident either could have avoided with simply common sense and self control.

      The answer of course is nothing. But race baiters got to get rich, and you got to be sure to make sure young black men get really pissed off when people “profile” them so they don’t calm down and do the things to make sure they don’t end up like TM did. And it goes without saying you won’t actually do anything to fix the problems with crime and dysfunction in the black community that cause these tensions to be so high.

      • “Yes, if #2 is true its a crime. Martin should have responded by not resisting and waiting for the police to arrive”

        Are fucking kidding, Martin is supposed to wait there with this creepy ass cracka who is not a police officer or law enforcement of any kind. IN addition he refused to identify who he was or why he was following him.

        • “creepy ass cracka”

          I’m aware that Travon was a racist and used racial slurs like this. It’s clear his racial hate coupled with media personalities telling him he shouldn’t allow himself to “get dissed” and how real “niggas” cop an attitude and punch first all contributed both to his being in that place and his tragic end.

          My guess is that if Travon handled it differently he could have gotten that information from GZ and that a physical altercation could have been avoided. The same is true for GZ. I’ve been confronted by far more unstable men then GZ who weren’t even doing something noble like trying to protect their communities and found ways to diffuse the situation. It wasn’t always fair, and some of them hurt my pride, but I didn’t end up in a fight and usually got the last word in the long run.

      • What the…? asdf, that must be the most lucid deconstruction of Matty’s argument I’ve seen yet (though there were plenty of good ones)

      • You raise a good point about how Zimmerman’s history didn’t afford him any protection against the accusation of being a racist. The whole thing seems like a deliberately miscast, over-the-top surrealistic movie, best forgotten as a bad nightmare. Yet people seem to think it’s a good candidate to illustrate the problems of racism, Stand Your Ground, gun violence, the lack of justice for young black men.

        • There’s nothing lucid about this commentary, because Zimmerman is an unconscious racist. Having a black friend or whatever doesn’t change the fact that all Zimmerman saw was a black teenager walking (a person he didn’t know from Adam) and decided he was a criminal. He said it himself; he continued to label Martin a criminal in his statements to police. For the record, Martin didn’t have a record. This case has gotten so much press because for all the post-racial claptrap people want to spin, a black kid can get still get killed just for being black and living, and jerks who want to justify their bias think that’s ok because in their diseased hearts they believe black people are subhuman.

          • If Zimmerman was racist, consciously or otherwise, he would have pinged Mrs. Dillagard’s KKK-dar in a quinstant.

        • The truth is that it is sad. A person died over a misunderstanding. And there is a lot of blame to go around even if nobody is “guilty”. Because people trying to take advantage of it have turned it into a circus that simple truth will never be acknowledged. Perhaps there is no greater meaning or “thing to be done”, but its still a tragedy.

    • “So much to unpack from just those three sentences.

      Zimmerman had no reason to find Martin suspicious except for Martin being a black male. Walking along a consistent route and doing so leisurely is not suspicious. Looking around and at the houses while walking is not suspicious. If they were, God help all those who enjoy strolling their neighborhood, walking their dogs, walking to and from nearby stores, or people patrolling their neighborhood with flashlights. If walking leisurely in the rain is suspicious, then God help all pedestrians living in areas where rain is rather commonplace in winter and/or summer. If walking at 6:30-7:00 in the evening is suspicious, God help and protect us from all paranoiacs.

      You might note that, judging from your and Zimmerman’s criteria, Zimmerman walking, jogging and standing in the rain, getting wet, is suspicious. Talking on the phone while walking, jogging and standing in the rain is suspicious. Using a flashlight while walking, jogging, and standing in the rain is suspicious.”

      How do YOU know? You act like you were there. Zimmerman says Martin was looking in houses, looked high, had his hand in his waistband, at night, in the rain. I sincerely doubt if Martin had just been walking a dog that Zimmerman would have been suspicious of him, and comparing Martin’s apparent “leisurely” walk to a normal one is another laughable delusion from the Travigilantes. It took him 45 minutes to walk 0.6 miles. In the rain. Something is off here.

      “Your theory of Martin attacking Zimmerman at all, and doing so because he felt ‘dissed,’ are ludicrous creations of your own bigotry. In Zimmerman’s own words, Martin had run away. In Zimmerman’s own words, Martin had disappeared. So, how could Martin know that Zimmerman had gotten out of his truck to follow him? How could Martin know that Zimmerman would be at the T – according to Zimmerman – at that precise time, some some four minutes after he ran away (7:11:41 “Shit, he’s running” to 7:15:44 when call with Rachel Jeantel ends)? Why would Martin accost Zimmerman while still on the phone with Rachel?”

      How could he have known? HE DID. We know he did. Rachel Jenatel mentioned him talking about how “dat creepy azzzz crackah be lookin at me.”

      Why would he accost Zimmerman while still on the phone? Because these days, people don’t put their phones down for the life of them. Almost everyone multitasks with their phones. People play sports while on their freak’n phones.

      How could Martin have known he would be at the T? Because he looked back and saw Zimmerman walking to get an address or whatever and saw him. Maybe he was trying to zig zag around the neighborhood to lose him so he could continue his suspicious wandering and chatting with Jeantel, but at some point, he saw the guy again and planned the confrontation.

      It’s important to set the scene here. Martin most likely didn’t say, “that creepy ass cracker is watching/following me.” He most likely said, “dat creepy azzzzz crackah be watchin me.” Jeantel most likely didn’t say, “maybe he’s a gay rapist.” She most likely said, “maybe he a gay rapist. He wants yo ass, Trayvon! He in love witchu!” And the conversation most likely didn’t end with just that. It most likely continued to something along the lines of, “I think I’ma have to beat his azzzz. Faggot ass crackah!” Then Jeantel most likely said something like, “he big?” And Martin most likely replied, “maannnnn, he look like a weak ass crackah! Nigga dead.”

      Of course, I’m just pulling all of this out of thin air, like the Travigilantes pull all of their theories, but the difference is, mine is actually plausible and realistic. You know, these are the kinds of things you’d expect out of a guy with a twitter account, “no_limit_nigga,” who posted pics of his gun (yeah, Martin had his own gun…he just didn’t have it with him that night…and unlike Zimmerman, he had no license to carry), of weed, tweeted about doing “lean” (coincidentally, he had purchased 2/3rds of the ingredients for “lean” that very night), was into fighting/MMA, wore a hoodie and carried himself like a thug.

      And it’s funny how people justify Martin profiling Zimmerman, calling him “creepy” (azz crackah)…but it’s not OK for Zimmerman to think Martin looked “suspicious/up to no good” in his hoodie, looking in windows, wandering around. It’s OK to just indiscriminately determine someone is “creepy” just by looking at them, but it’s not OK to think a hoodie-wearing black dude who is walking weird is “suspicious.”

      Death to all ze creepiez! He’s creepy, she’s creepy, it’s creepy, that’s creeeeepieeeeee, here a creepy, everywhere a creepy! What a creepy electrostatic condenser.

      Everyone calls everyone and everything creepy these days, and now it’s being used as justification for violence. The word is not only nauseating and overused more than any other word in the English language this side of “amazing,” but it’s apparently turned dangerous. Now it’s turning into the Salem Witch Trials, where people can point the “creepy” finger and that justifies violence/murder of that individual.

      “People like you focus on what Martin was doing all that time. Martin had the lawful right to walk wherever and for however amount of time he wished.”

      So. Did. Zimmerman.

      “After running away and believing that the man following him was not around, he could stand still anywhere he wanted, walk leisurely around the block if he wanted, walk home and decide to hang around outside if he wanted, hop on one foot, and pick his nose for hours if he wanted. He was not committing, nor had committed, any crime whatsoever.”

      Nor was Zimmerman. And yet you think Zimmerman getting out of his vehicle justifies Martin attacking him and beating the crap out of him.

      Even if he DID follow him (of which there is absolutely no evidence – nobody saw him follow, he says he didn’t, Martin is dead, there are no cameras, the evidence suggests the fight started at the T, which was near his vehicle, Zimmerman told the cops he’d lost him, so how could he “follow” someone he’d lost?), so freak’n what? Zimmerman could follow Martin to the end of the earth for all I care, and it wouldn’t justify Martin pummeling him. Following isn’t violence. If you keep walking or running and call the police. This kid had his phone with him, he could have hung up on Jeantel and called the cops if he was so worried. If he hadn’t had his phone, he could have gone to his father’s fiancee’s house. If that had failed, he could have rang the doorbell of someone else’s house and mentioned he was being followed. If all else fails, he can confront the guy non-violently and ask why he’s being followed, and if the guy swings on him or tries to grab him, THEN he’s justified in defending himself.

      There’s, of course, absolutely no evidence of the latter. Martin had no bruises on him aside from his knuckles, and this whole, “I think he tried to detain him” is conjecture pulled out of thin air.

      “Zimmerman, on the other hand, repeatedly lied. He omitted telling the dispatcher about moving from the clubhouse, about driving behind Martin to near the cut-through on Twin Trees Lane, and he repeatedly sought to elide over doing these things to the investigator, although Singleton caught him out during his first interview. He lied about getting an address to hide the fact that he was intent on finding Martin. He lied about returning immediately to this truck – in fact, evidence shows that he never sought to return to his truck even after finding Martin.”

      You’re making stuff up as you go along. You’re just making all these assumptions about him “following Martin” when there is no evidence that he did that. Maybe he’s telling the truth and he was just trying to get an address. He was the defendent, you always give the defendent the benefit of the doubt. It’s innocent until proven guilty in this country. Don’t like it, go somewhere else. Go somewhere else where if someone forgets or mixes up details after a stressful situation like shooting a guy in self-defense on a rainy night, it’s proof of guilt or lying.

      • Martin DID ask Zimmerman why he was following him. Rachel Jeantel testified that he said that and Zimmerman himself corroborated that he and Martin spoke in his police statements, but he added the word “homie” to what he said Trayvon said in his statements. Jeantel said that Zimmerman’s response was “what are you doing here?” For the record, I believe Jeantel because she didn’t sugarcoat what Trayvon said to her; she could have and no one would have known. Zimmerman didn’t bother to identify himself and confirmed it in his police statement–READ IT, because he was asked specifically by the police if he identified himself and he said no; why didn’t Zimmerman do that? Wouldn’t that have been additional cause for Martin to fear him? Geez. I’d be terrified, especially if someone had been following me, first in a vehicle and then on foot. Did Martin speak to him and then haul off and strike Zimmerman? Really?

        If you READ Zimmerman’s statements, he said Martin jumped out from the bushes and attacked him (there were none for Martin to jump out from, btw and that was shown definitely on the walk-through). On the walk-through video, Zimmerman clearly said he was approaching Martin and then he caught himself and said it was Martin who approached him; this is all on video and is not speculation (take a look).

        Would that have been why Martin asked why Zimmerman was following him? Martin had his earpiece in and didn’t click off the call with Jeantel; the call disconnected when she heard Martin say get off, which was about 50 seconds before the gun went off. Are you going to insist that Martin was getting ready to rumble, but didn’t bother to hang up the phone?

        As far as the fight itself, Zimmerman didn’t get the “crap” beaten out of him. His injuries were minor and insignificant and required nothing but soap and water for clean-up; in addition, he only went to a doctor to get a note for work. Zimmerman had no defensive injuries, but somehow was able to get his gun? Where were his hands? If you believe his best buddy who wrote the book about Zimmerman, Zimmerman told him that Trayvon grabbed (not grabbed at) the gun and Zimmerman wrested it away; when Zimmerman spoke to the police, he changed his story and then Martin was just going for the gun. If Zimmerman’s hands were free, why wasn’t he putting up a fight? Despite the so-called ‘ground and pound’ attack (btw, under cross Good acknowledged that he didn’t actually see blows–in his own words, he saw arms flailing), Zimmerman had no injuries on his torso; he did have the two tiny lacerations on his head and a cut on his (slightly) swollen nose. Zimmerman outweighed Martin by 46 lbs and he said Martin was straddling him; Zimmerman was the person with MMA training–couldn’t he have thrown Martin off? Zimmerman says he “shimmied” off the pavement onto the grass; how does he do that with Martin straddling him–without using his hands? How DOES Zimmerman get the gun he had concealed in the small of his back? Please give me a logical answer. The location of the weapon is not speculation; that’s where he showed the detectives he had it holstered–again, it’s on the walk-through. Keep in mind, Zimmerman also said Martin was smothering him and pounding him, but somehow, there’s not a speck of Zimmerman’s DNA/blood on Martin’s hands.

        Nemerinys has taken his/her information from the evidence in record and has logically dissected it. You want Zimmerman to be innocent, but the record (his own statements and the video, plus the objective physical evidence) say he’s a liar, not just a person with a poor memory. If he has such a poor memory, why do you think his account is so credible? A few slight misrepresentations might be believable, but not the number and seriousness of the whoppers he’s told. The proof are his statements, the video, the ear witness and the physical evidence; you can’t explain it all away, unless the police coerced him into making his statements and O’Mara went to great lengths to give Zimmerman a cookie for making those statements. While there is a presumption of innocence for the defendant, how does the defendant tell all these unforced embellishments and lies and still remain believable? Answer: he doesn’t.

  17. Continued…..

    Zimmerman lied about his alleged beating; even O’Mara admitted he had “exaggerated.” He suffered a “likely” broken nose that was so negligible that Dr. DiMaio testified could have been “unintentionally” or “accidentally” fixed by the paramedic or basic EMTs. I, for one, would think a paramedic might have noticed movement in the nose as he was treating Zimmerman. It’s evident that Zimmerman had some kind of injury to the nose, but it was, as the paramedic noted, “minor,” and, as Dr. Rao testified, “insignificant.” He also had one small scratch on the side of his nose, and two tiny scratches on the tip; from the photos, it sure seems the blood came from those and not from the nasal passages; after all, less than 30 minutes after this struggle of “life and death,” his mucuous membranes were clear. He had abrasions and contusions on his scalp, not unexpected during a struggle on the ground where a skinhead would be in contact with cement pavement, utility covers, and sprinkler heads. Lastly, he had two small lacerations on the scalp, the largest measuring 0.78 of an inch, the smallest 0.19 an inch. Neither required sutures, and a treatment only of soap and water. His doctor didn’t put those knuckle-sized butterfly bandages on his head; his wife did.

    Any parent would laugh in scorn that such injuries called for killing someone.

    Remember, too, that Zimmerman never sought medical attention that night, nor did he go to his doctor until late the following morning, after he first went to his workplace, and only because his employer wanted a doctor’s note.

  18. Still continuing…

    But, Zimmerman never said he killed Martin because of being assaulted to the point of thinking he’d be wearing diapers the rest of his life. No, he said he killed Martin because Martin had “seen or felt” his gun and was reaching for it, announcing that Zimmerman was going to die. And, oh Lord, are there ever so many problems with this scenario. And goodness how well Zimmerman was able to hit the bullet points for justifiable use of force.

    First, the language comes out of all those films Zimmerman loved to watch. Four Brothers, Hustle and Flow, Carlito’s Way, Goodfellas… Second, unless he had X-ray vision, Martin could not have seen a dark gun in a dark holster located in the small of Zimmerman’s back while Zimmerman is lying on it – in the dark. Martin could not have felt the gun since the gun was behind Zimmerman. Only a fool would believe Martin reached diagonally across Zimmerman’s body with his left hand while keeping his right hand on Zimmerman’s nose/mouth, leaving not only his body unbalanced leaning to his left and to Zimmerman’s right, but making it all but impossible to keep his right hand on Zimmerman’s face in the process. Only a fool would believe Zimmerman was able to brace Martin’s arm with only his bicep, while somehow able to retrieve his gun from the small of his back without bending his elbow (and, thus, releasing Martin), and then able to rotate his shoulder to bring his gun around and fire it at Martin.

    And, of course, this fool would overlook these facts: The gunshot wound was initially undetectable because a large photo button pinned to Martin’s sweatshirt had covered it. The photo button was undamaged. The holes in both Martin’s sweatshirt and T-shirt aligned with each other, but didn’t align with the gunshot wound. Watch Dr. DiMaio’s testimony. Watch as he leans forward to show how clothing falls away from the body, and watch as he has to pluck his shirt away to prove his point. Highly doubtful that Martin plucked both his shirts forward. Watch as he testifies that it was even more probable that Martin’s wet sweatshirt would fall forward. Frankly, my own experience tells me that wet clothing clings to the body, not fall away from it. Also, the T-shirt underneath would not be as damp. Yet, remember, the holes in both shirts were aligned. Dr. DiMaio also testified that the beverage can in Martin’s sweatshirt would cause it to fall away from the body. Doesn’t explain the aligned hole in the T-shirt, though, does it?

    So, what would explain the aligned holes in the clothing that are not aligned with the gunshot wound, and how the photo button was undamaged while it was discovered pinned on top of the gunshot wound? Could the answer be found in Zimmerman’s statement that he wrist control over Martin, and that he was concerned about hitting his own hand? Could it be, gasp!, that Zimmerman was able to hold and pull onto Martin while he “aimed and fired” his gun directly “straight-on” into Martin’s chest? That it was, in fact, Martin struggling to escape, his clothing pulled away as he struggled against Zimmerman holding onto him?

    That, in fact, that Zimmerman had physical control of the situation, thus permitting him to move his arm and body to retrieve his gun while controlling Martin, able to “aim and fire” his gun while Martin was unable to escape? Otherwise, just what in the hell do you think Martin was doing all that time when Zimmerman rolled over and reached around to get his gun, and when Zimmerman brought his gun around to shoot him? Screaming, perhaps?

    Perhaps you should watch Zimmerman’s interview with Officer William Irwin before taking the silly CVSA exam. It’s a hoot.

  19. asdf:

    2) […] He attempted to detain Martin physically until the cops for a variety of possible reasons*. […]

    Zimmerman had no legal authority to detain Martin physically; it’s called unlawful restraint. He didn’t have the legal authority to demand from or do anything to Martin.

    Zimmerman failed to extend any courtesy or civility towards Martin, including identifying himself, asking whether Martin needed help, asking where Martin was going, or explaining in any manner why he had followed and pursued Martin.

    According to Zimmerman’s own story, Martin approached him by walking forward and asking him a question. According to this story, Zimmerman lied in response; an obvious lie given his prior actions and behavior. According to this story, Martin punched him in the nose after Zimmerman lied and was reaching for what any reasonable person would presume to be his cell phone (sarcasm, in case you didn’t recognize it). If Trayvon did intentionally hit Zimmerman, it was pursuant to his right to stand his ground and defend himself in a reasonable belief that he would suffer imminent grave injury or death. According to Zimmerman, he repeatedly behaved in a manner that would invoke a defensive response in any reasonable person.

    I’ll just add that, according to Zimmerman during the reenactment, he was able to get to his feet after that alleged punch in the nose and subsequent fall, and, since he indicated Martin was behind him, was able to move unimpeded towards the west or the south. He chose the south, which just happened to be the direction Martin would want to take, instead of west – towards his truck. Now, why would he do that?

    We can dismiss out of hand the idea that GZ was some sort of KKK racist who was just itching to track down and ice a black “child”. The most we can charge GZ with is being “an overzealous cop wannabe”, but that doesn’t mean he wanted to kill TM.

    Scott Eric Kaufman:

    From 3 August 2011 forward he’s increasingly — and almost exclusively — concerned with unfamiliar black males in his apartment complex. Maybe confirmation bias is more the problem here than racism, but the fact remains that the bias being confirmed is that young black males are suspects until proven otherwise. You can’t look at the 911 calls in the months immediately prior to the shooting and argue otherwise. (At least not honestly.) He transformed from a harmless nudnik into someone very concerned with the presence of unfamiliar black males, which at the very least means that by 11 August 2011 his worldview contained the category “Unfamiliar Black Male” and that the presence of people belonging to it warranted calling 911. […..]

    Whether he volunteered the race of Trayvon Martin to the 911 dispatcher or responded to a question about it is immaterial. As evidenced by previous calls, this one was triggered by the presence of an “Unfamiliar Black Male.” And as the escalation of 911 calls indicates, he was becoming increasingly frustrated with the presence of people belonging to this category. Because, in his words, “These assholes always get away.” You can argue that he’s simply referring to generic burglars of an undetermined and irrelevant race, but doing so requires ignoring the larger context of Zimmerman’s recent 911 calls in which all the subjects were of a determined and relevant race.

    On the issue of Zimmerman telling the dispatcher of Martin’s race only in response to the dispatcher’s question, I’ll add this: The very next question the dispatcher asked was whether Zimmerman could describe Martin’s clothing. And Zimmerman could, and did pretty well. What long ago struck me was how he described Martin’s hoodie: “Yeah, a dark hoodie, like a gray hoodie […].” He also described it to Investigator Singleton later that night: “The hoodie was gray […].”

    Now, a dark gray hoodie somewhat dampened by the rain would look simply ‘dark’ or ‘black’ in a dark environment. For comparison, look at the 7-11 video; unless you knew in advance what the color was, “gray” would not be the color that comes to mind.

    In other words, Zimmerman was able to discern that particular color because he observed Martin in good lighting. Which would be when Martin was indeed under the lit mailbox kiosk and/or in the glare of Zimmerman’s headlights. Which also means that Zimmerman already knew Martin’s race; he may have told the dispatcher, “He looks black,” but it wasn’t a guess. He knew.

  20. asdf wrote:

    If TM cooperates GZ isn’t going to shoot him. Hell, if GZ is successful in restraining him and doesn’t end up losing the fight and being in danger he’s not going to shoot him.

    Why would Martin want to “cooperate?” Who the hell was Zimmerman to him except someone who sat in his truck and stared at him, followed him by vehicle, pursued him on foot, and obviously sought to restrain him? Are you the kind of person who’d put up with all that, especially not knowing who this person was or why he was doing all this crap?

    And, again, Zimmerman had no right to detain Martin; it’s an assault, it’s unlawful restraint – it’s a crime.

    When someone behaves towards you as Zimmerman did towards Martin, it’s not from mere curiosity, and definitely not with goodwill. When that person is already armed, chambered and ready to go, that person is already in control. If that person subsequently loses control in a fistfight, and then uses his gun to end it, that person is a criminal. And if you or someone you loved were his victim, you damn well would agree.

  21. If this guy has a pathology, its pathological altruism. His desire to help his community got him charged with murder. His helping black people got black people to hate him. I definitely wouldn’t have done something like this after going through what he’s gone through.

    http://gma.yahoo.com/george-zimmerman-emerged-hiding-truck-crash-rescue-163123990–abc-news-topstories.html

    George Zimmerman, who has been in hiding since he was acquitted of murder in the death of Trayvon Martin, emerged to help rescue someone who was trapped in an overturned truck, police said today.

    Sanford Police Department Capt. Jim McAuliffe told ABC News that Zimmerman “pulled an individual from a truck that had rolled over” at the intersection of a Florida highway last week.

    The crash occurred at the intersection of I-4 and route 417, police said. The crash site is less than a mile from where he shot Martin.

    It’s the first known sighting of Zimmerman since he left the courtroom following his acquittal last week on murder charges for the death of Martin. Zimmerman, 29, shot and killed Martin, 17, in Sanford, Fla., on Feb. 26, 2012. The jury determined that Zimmerman shot Martin in self-defense.

    The acquittal prompted dozens of protests across the country this past weekend and his lawyers have said that Zimmerman has been the subject of death threats. His lawyers said Zimmerman has been wearing a bullet-proof vest when he ventures out in public.

    Zimmerman’s parents told ABC News’ Barbara Walters they too have received death threats and have been unable to return to their home.

    Zimmerman’s Parents in Hiding from ‘Enormous Amount of Death Threats’: ABC News
    “We have had an enormous amount of death threats. George’s legal counsel has had death threats, the police chief of Sanford, many people have had death threats,” Zimmerman’s father, Robert Zimmerman said. “‘Everyone with Georgie’s DNA should be killed’ — just every kind of horrible thing you can imagine.”

  22. You will very much enjoy her blog. She is a brilliant international attorney. And can reframe an old computer so it looks like a piece of abstract art.
    Have to go back a month to see this bit of wonder.

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