The high profile case of the killing of young Trayvon Martin has received much attention and evoked much emotion throughout our entire nation. The charge of 2nd Degree Murder is where the prosecution failed Trayvon Martin, the justice system and the nation. This is my case for why the prosecution should have sought a conviction of Manslaughter instead.
I must admit, during the beginning of all this, I wasn’t too concerned or interested. It was just another murder/premature death case that the news media was trying to dramatize. It wasn’t until after the Zimmerman verdict that I started to pay attention. I was drawn into the emotional cataclysm of hatred, racism and injustice. I was aware of my own strong feelings; I began to understand the sorrow and dismay of all the thousands who could relate to this tragic event. My emotions became heavy as I explored the racial implications of such a high profile case. I was compelled to write an article expressing my own opinions and views of how the system is broken and why justice fails. I was ready to lash out at those who had a hand in justifying the death of this young 17 year old child from Sanford Florida. But I couldn’t bring myself to write that article…
Sure, Zimmerman should have been found guilty just on the account that a 17 year old boy is now dead because of his actions. The reports suggest that there was a physical altercation between the two. Zimmerman complains that Trayvon was on top of him, beating him to the point that his head bled and he had no choice but to shoot the kid. BULLSHIT, I say! Zimmerman outweighed Trayvon by at least 30 pounds. If Zimmerman is that much of a weak little man that he could not take a 17 year old kid, then he had no dag-gone right to be the leader of the neighborhood watch! You don’t shoot someone because they kick your ass in a fight. That’s a premeditated crime of passion all day if you ask me (but no one asked me yet).
In the 911 call to the Sanford Police Department, Zimmerman begins by telling the dispatcher that there has been several break-ins (which has yet to be confirmed) in his neighborhood and later is overheard saying, “These assholes always get away.” When the dispatcher asks if Zimmerman is following Trayvon, Zimmerman responds that he is. The dispatcher then says, “Okay, we don’t need you to do that.” This was Zimmerman’s cue to go back to his car and wait for the squad car to arrive. But no, he pursued his target, made contact and initiated a conflict.
The other day, before the verdict came from the jury, I told someone that Zimmerman was as guilty as sin and that there was no way he was going to win this case of manslaughter. My friend says to me, “They charged him with murder, not manslaughter.” I responded that he didn’t know what he was talking about because no prosecutor in his right mind would try to prove murder when manslaughter was a slam dunk. That would be the “stupidest thing that I’d ever seen”, I said. You see, I was certain that Zimmerman was being charged with manslaughter. It made the most sense. In this way one didn’t have to prove premeditation and intent or any special circumstances that might apply. Sure, manslaughter carried a less punitive consequence than murder, but we couldn’t assume this guy had it out for Trayvon and targeted him specifically. I figured a charge of manslaughter was routine for these kinds of cases.
The prosecution got greedy. They thought they could win this case based solely on the emotional and racial premise that it was set on. They lacksidaisically walked through the motions thinking that the jury would be sympathetic and hand over a guilty verdict with no thought about it. They did all of this while the defense used did what any great defense does: they muddied the waters; obscured the truth; questioned the facts and ultimately created a reasonable doubt to secure enough uncertainty to win the acquittal. You see, the defense wasn’t trying for a “not guilty” verdict, the goal was an acquittal…and they succeeded with perverse and obscene contempt for the life of Trayvon Martin.
It’s not fair to make this case about race because let’s be honest; if the roles were reversed, would any of you bat an eye? If it were a black man who had shot a young white teenager, would it have the media hype? Probably not. In fact, I googled for some missed event of this nature and couldn’t even get a hit due to this Trayvon Martin mess. Call me an out of touch black man; call me an Uncle Tom or whatever the new lingo is but I just don’t see the same thing happening if this were the other way around. It’s not fair to make this case about race because Zimmerman was partially Peruvian and for all intents and purposes looks just like a Mexican. It’s not fair to make this case about race because the nation collectively transcended race with the election of not just a black President, but an African black President…twice.
I’m not defending Zimmerman. I’m not defending the actions of a 17 year old minor out at 11 o’clock at night in the rain. However, I am defending the American justice system. I must believe that there just wasn’t enough evidence to convict George Zimmerman of 2nd degree murder.
Final Note: The African American community must hold its own people more accountable. In the wake of the Boston bombings, that community of people came out and declared that the actions of one of its own was not a representation of its people, their culture or their beliefs. We need more of that in our community. We must be better parents to our children and better teachers to our youth. If you must ask me my personal opinion, I would have to say, “I don’t know. I just don’t know.” Without the details of the case, I can’t make a judgment and neither should you. Emotions are high and tensions are great but we must remember that every precaution is taken into account to ensure a fair and unbiased verdict. We must believe in the honor and integrity of our laws and the evolution of our people. We will remember Trayvon Benjamin Martin and we will grieve with his family for the untimely death of a young mind and opportunity. God will deliver true justice…if that is what you believe in.
“I wish I were a better person than that, but I’m not. People come up short all the time, after all. I suppose it’s a good thing I don’t have a gun.” -Adam Weinstein Gawker Contributor
As always, comments are welcome.