This event has been coming up a lot lately, and I have to say it’s amusing how vehement people are getting over this issue when they don’t have all the information. So many people are having a visceral reaction to this event, and are quite clearly emotional over it. However, I keep hearing so many assumptions in what people are saying about this that I can’t stay quiet anymore.
First, for everyone who is thinking that George Zimmerman is white, and that this was a race related crime, you should know that Zimmerman is actually a Latino. Does that mean this wasn’t a race/hate crime? No, but it does shed a different light on the situation.
Second, there was an eyewitness account (taken the next day, but not released by the media until 25 days later) stating that Trayvon was on top of Zimmerman and was attacking him while Zimmerman was screaming for help (which can be heard in the background of the various 911 call recordings). Coupled with the initial police report regarding the physical state of Zimmerman when the police arrived (wet and grass on the back of his shirt, with a bloody nose and blood on the back of his head), this seems to support his claim. Note: if you had the chance, wouldn’t you clean yourself up after an incident like that? I find the lack of “evidence” in the police station surveillance not compelling. Seems reasonable to me to assume that before he was cuffed that Z would have cleaned up his face, and that the wetness evaporated and the grass fell off in the police car. Plus the angles in the video are not really useful for verification anyway.
Third, as demonstrated in the police station video, Zimmerman was in fact detained after the incident – he did not “just walk”, the police did in fact do an initial investigation and found no or insufficient evidence to contradict Zimmerman’s claim of self-defense. This is, in my opinion, exactly what should have happened – innocent until proven guilty.
At this point, there are a couple eyewitness reports which are sort of conflicting, but then again they sort of don’t. It’s a little too chaotic for us be making judgments via internet, and the argument over ”Stand your ground” laws shouldn’t really use this case as an example, simply based on Zimmerman following Martin even after the 911 dispatcher told him it was unnecessary. In addition, the treatment of Martin’s body after the incident was appalling as well, but possibly justified – the body was tagged as a John Doe without any attempts to identify the body in the neighborhood.
The public media spectacle that this has become, however, is even more reprehensible. Between celebrities decrying Zimmerman’s freedom (seemingly on insufficient evidence), conservative pundits claiming that “the hoodie” is to blame, and vigilanteeism threats from african-american groups, there appears to be no one with clean hands in this matter. I would like nothing more than for this case to disappear from the radar until a verdict is determined by the investigations.
Can we focus on the things we ought to be paying attention to, please? Things like our continued presence in Afghanistan, the side effects of frakking for natural gas, and what we’re going to do to make this country great again? Let the legal system do what it does, and let the rest of us move on with things that do not yet have a system in place to take care of them.