Why I am an atheist – Ange »« Why am I not surprised?

Racist goddamned Florida

Trayvon Martin went to a convenience store in his family’s neighborhood to buy some candy. He was 17. He was unarmed. He was black.

George Zimmerman, a self-appointed “neighborhood watch leader”, called the police to report a “suspicious person”; he was told not to confront him, but somehow in the next few minutes Zimmerman got out there and shot and murdered Trayvon Martin. The puffed-up coward Zimmerman grabbed his gun, confronted a teenager carrying nothing but a bag of Skittles, and murdered him. There is no possible excuse, no way that there could be some exculpatory fact to justify his actions: Zimmerman was carrying a loaded gun and on a mission of self-inflated importance to defend his neighborhood (which was also Martin’s neighborhood) from suspicious young black men.

What do you think happened next, when the police arrived on the scene and found Zimmerman with a smoking gun, who immediately admitted to gunning Trayvon Martin down?

Nothing.

Zimmerman is still free. It’s been two weeks; no action is being taken. The Florida district attorney is even dragging his heels about deciding to investigate the murder, and claiming that Zimmerman was a pillar of the community.

Sign the petition. Tell racist goddamned Florida they can’t just ignore a vigilante who murders young black people.


It gets worse. Recordings of 911 calls on the night of the murder are available: Martin was screaming for help and begging for his life when Zimmerman gunned him down. And apparently what sent Zimmerman on his macho crusade to stop a suspicious suspect was that Martin was running away.

Why hasn’t he been arrested?

Comments

  1. ibyea says

    I heard of this a few days ago from The Young Turks. This made me so angry. After this, if I still hear people tell me that racism doesn’t exist in this country, their face might meet my fist.

  2. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    The petition already signed.

    From all that I have read about this, the murderer should have already been arrested.

  3. says

    And apparently what sent Zimmerman on his macho crusade to stop a suspicious suspect was that Martin was running away

    Reminds me of that scene from Full Metal Jacket where the solder manning the machine gun on the helicopter tells Matthew Modine’s character “Anyone who runs is a VC. Anyone who stands still is a well disciplined VC.”

  4. Matt Penfold says

    How can the police have questioned Zimmerman when they have not arrested him ? As a suspect he has rights, and those come into play once he has been arrested.

    Seems to be incredibly sloppy police work. Questioning a suspect without arresting them should not happen.

  5. raven says

    I’ve been told by the local police that we all do have a right to armed self defence.

    But only to defend our lives.

    If someone is running away, it gets hard to claim that you were in immediate fear of getting killed.

    What the police said, was don’t shoot anyone in the back or there will be an inquiry.

  6. microraptor says

    @ Matt Penfold- not if they’re not considering it a crime. They could be considering it “self defense” or some other BS (note, this is purely hypothetical speculation on my part and should not be taken as what they’re actually doing because I haven’t got the slightest clue about it).

  7. says

    See, this is why I still don’t object to capital punishment. Zimmerman took an innocent life and destroyed a family. He should pay with his own.

  8. raven says

    Yeah, this is disgusting.

    The kid was guilty of buying candy while black.

    Even if the DA won’t act, the family may be able to sue Zimmerman for wrongful death or something. Like what happened to OJ Simpson.

    However, if Florida is like what it looks like, good luck getting a jury to agree.

  9. raven says

    I’m wondering if the feds can step in here.

    Part of the federal civil rights act of the 1960′s was enacted to prosecute racist murderers because the local authorities sure weren’t going to bother.

    Sounds like a hate crime.

  10. Matt Penfold says

    @ Matt Penfold- not if they’re not considering it a crime. They could be considering it “self defense” or some other BS (note, this is purely hypothetical speculation on my part and should not be taken as what they’re actually doing because I haven’t got the slightest clue about it).

    They cannot know it is not a crime until they have questioned Zimmerman though.

  11. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    See, this is why I still don’t object to capital punishment. Zimmerman took an innocent life and destroyed a family. He should pay with his own.

    When you pay for something, you pay to someone. So, to whom does the payment of Zimmerman’s life go? Do you think it will magically erase the pain Martin’s family feels more efficiently than his incarceration?

    I want him arrested, prosecuted and found guilty. But not to be killed.

  12. pacal says

    Unless there is a fact which so far we haven’t been told that makes sense of this seemingly senseless gunning down; this has got to be one of the most disgusting things I’ve read about in years. Yeah why the hell has Zimmerman NOT been arrested!!

  13. carlie says

    I’ve read a few articles now explaining the pain of having to teach one’s own child, when he hits puberty, how to start acting nonsuspicious in public, how to act deferential when a cop starts roughing him up, how everyone will see him as a threat and how to best diffuse that before he gets beaten up or killed.

    And there are people who dare to claim we live in a post-racist society.

  14. ibyea says

    @carlie
    The claim that racism is over, it really pisses me off. I can’t believe that there are actually people too stupid, naive, or blind to the fact that this is still a very much racist society.

  15. ikesolem says

    Racism is an ugly example of in-group / out-group behavior in human social groups. The only solution for people who’ve adopted such attitudes is to keep them out of positions of legal authority – they can’t handle that kind of responsibility.

    What’s remarkable in this case is that the police force facilitated this violence by ‘adopting’ the violent vigilante guy as ‘one of their own’ – to the extent of attempting to get witnesses to change their stories:

    Another officer corrected a witness after she told him that she heard the teen cry for help.

    The officer told the witness, a long-time teacher, it was Zimmerman who cried for help, said the witness.

    ABC News has spoken to the teacher and she confirmed that the officer corrected her when she said she heard the teenager shout for help.

    That puts it into the category of major governmental civil rights abuse – its not just some lunatic vigilante on a rampage, that’s aiding and abetting. If that’s the kind of outfit they’re running, than the police chief needs to step down and the entire department needs an overhaul.

  16. A. R says

    Something doesn’t seem right about this story. I’m not sure what, but I feel like there’s some missing facts. Unless I just have way to much faith in humans not to kill other humans with different skin color anymore.

  17. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    Orlando Watch Shooting Probe Reveals Questionable Police Conduct

    Sanford Police Chief Billy Lee said there is no evidence to dispute self-appointed neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman’s assertion that he shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin out of self-defense.

    “Until we can establish probable cause to dispute that, we don’t have the grounds to arrest him,” Lee said.

    What.The.Hell?!
    Since when is following someone in your car, starting a fight with them and shooting them self-defense?

    Lee publically admitted that officers accepted Zimmerman’s word at the scene that he had no police record.

    Two days later during a meeting with Trayvon’s father Tracy Martin, an officer told the father that Zimmerman’s record was “squeaky clean.”

    Yet public records showed that Zimmerman was charged with battery against on officer and resisting arrest in 2005, a charge which was later expunged.

  18. robro says

    Racism is very much alive and well in Florida. Race murder has gone on there for a long time, possibly as often as every few months when I was growing up there. I would wager that most incidents of young Black men being gunned down for just being in the “wrong” place are committed by the police, so they probably aren’t too eager to prosecute such incidents by a fellow “upstanding citizen.” That’s code for older White guy, in case you didn’t know, what might be referred to as a “good ol’ boy.”

    As someone suggested above, a Federal investigation of this and similar incidents seems called for. There are any number of laws that would cover racism and hate crimes.

    The other thing to do is to protest with our pocket books.

  19. says

    See, this is why I still don’t object to capital punishment. Zimmerman took an innocent life and destroyed a family. He should pay with his own.

    Nope. He should spend a good long time in a cage.

    Petition signed, as this is an outrage, to say the least.

  20. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart, purveyor of candy and lies says

    A. R:

    Something doesn’t seem right about this story. I’m not sure what, but I feel like there’s some missing facts.

    Jesus Christ, like what?

    I am so fucking sick and tired of people bending over backwards trying to give scumbags and murderers like this the benefit of the doubt.

    Zimmerman shot and killed an innocent teenager. The police aren’t even disputing that! Why can’t you just accept that this is a horrifying example of the rampant racism inherent in our society?

  21. says

    Audley:

    Why can’t you just accept that this is a horrifying example of the rampant racism inherent in our society?

    Oh, you know, upstandin’ white male, pillar of the community, there just has to be more, I mean, hey, he must of been defending himself, that kid was brandishing a bag of skittles!

  22. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart, purveyor of candy and lies says

    Caine:

    … I mean, hey, he must of been defending himself, that kid was brandishing a bag of skittles!

    And was black.

    I mean, if a white kid had a bag of Skittles, no problem! Black kid? ARMED AND DANGEROUS!

    *spits!*

  23. says

    Audley:

    I mean, if a white kid had a bag of Skittles, no problem! Black kid? ARMED AND DANGEROUS!

    Can’t have people breathing while black, you never know what might happen.

    *spits right along with you*

  24. natalietroxel says

    @ Matt Penfold–First, the police can question anyone they want at anytime. Period. You do not have to be under arrest to be questioned by the police, to be a suspect, to be a person of interest, to be a material witness, to be asked to come in for questioning, etc. They can come talk to you anytime for any reason. So the fact that they questioned Zimmerman without arresting him is a complete non-issue.

    Second, it’s not just suspects that have rights. We all have those rights. And those rights don’t “come into play” once an arrest is made. They’re always in play, it’s just that the police don’t have to inform you of them unless/until you are under arrest. So the cops can talk to Zimmerman all they want without arresting him or informing him of his rights, but he doesn’t have to answer them or give them any information.

    While there may have been sloppy police work here (and it certainly sounds like there was), questioning a suspect without arresting him certainly is not evidence of it.

  25. carlie says

    Can you even imagine what this would have been in the news if it had been a white teenager and a black man with a gun?

  26. Tyrant of Skepsis says

    @Martin Wagner #8

    Yeah, that’ll solve this problem! Because US capital punishment isn’t doing exactly the same thing – killing innocent black defendants with a higher probability that whites. Genius.

  27. chigau (√-1) says

    If Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman lived in the same neighbourhood they may have known each other.
    Maybe Zimmerman’s blood was colder than he claims.

  28. A. R says

    Caine and Audely: That’s why the second part of my comment was there. Apparently I expect too much of people in this regard. BUt yes, there is no situation that I can imagine in which this was not an inherently racist act.

  29. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart, purveyor of candy and lies says

    This:

    Unless I just have way to much faith in humans not to kill other humans with different skin color anymore.

    doesn’t clear anything up*, nor does it conflict with what I said. You’re still trying to give the benefit of the doubt if only for your own piece of mind, even though the facts are pretty clear.

    *Except perhaps to show that you’ve got your head in the sand.

  30. Mr. Fire says

    Can you even imagine what this would have been in the news if it had been a white teenager and a black man with a gun?

    There was a movie about fifteen years ago called White Man’s Burden that had a scene pretty much like that (it’s set in an alternate universe where the black and white populations have switched places).

    It’s been a long time since I saw the movie though, and I can’t say whether or not the movie was any good as a piece of social commentary.

  31. David Marjanović says

    claiming that Zimmerman was a pillar of the community

    I hate this non-sequitur.

    See, this is why I still don’t object to capital punishment. Zimmerman took an innocent life and destroyed a family. He should pay with his own.

    Frankly, I hate this non-sequitur, too. What good would it do to kill the murderer? Would it resurrect the victim?!? I’m with comment 12.

    Hey, what do you do with a murderer who has killed two people? Clearly such murderers deserve to be killed twice!?!

    That puts it into the category of major governmental civil rights abuse – its not just some lunatic vigilante on a rampage, that’s aiding and abetting. If that’s the kind of outfit they’re running, than the police chief needs to step down and the entire department needs an overhaul.

    QFT.

  32. Aquaria says

    I am literally crying about this.

    It’s no different than a lynching, and these racist pieces of shit are just writing it off.

    The Feds needs to step in here.

    Hell, if they can put the entire LAPD under federal court order for being racist slime, this bunch of swamp billies should be easy enough to set straight.

  33. David Marjanović says

    You’re still trying to give the benefit of the doubt if only for your own piece of mind, even though the facts are pretty clear.

    It’s just so fucking incredible.

    Sadly, I can believe it anyway; perhaps that’s because of the case in Seattle last summer where a police officer murdered someone* in public, on the street, for having a knife hanging from their belt, and then the officer’s colleagues came and approached the dead victim like a live terrorist with a huge bomb.

    * Not “someone”. Someone visibly Native American.

  34. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart, purveyor of candy and lies says

    David:

    Sadly, I can believe it anyway; perhaps that’s because of the case in Seattle last summer where a police officer murdered someone* in public, on the street, for having a knife hanging from their belt, and then the officer’s colleagues came and approached the dead victim like a live terrorist with a huge bomb.

    There are so many stories like this though, which is why I can’t understand why anyone would doubt what happened. I mean, how often have we heard news stories about cops shooting African American men on the subway (NYC, BART, etc), or in the street (carrying a wallet, OH NOES!), or good ol’ boys lynching someone who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time?

  35. julian says

    A perfect reminder that you should never trust or tell the police anymore than they need to know. Most cops are thugs in uniforms. The same is true of the military and so long as the types that are attracted to those roles are conservative right wing moralizers, that’ll never change.

    Here we have a civilian gun down another civilian who was carrying a bag skittles a few blocks from his home. Anther civilian heard the young man scream for help and the police told her to stfu, she’s wrong about what she heard. The man who was gunned down was unarmed and going about his business. The man who shot him ignored every rule on how to approach a suspect.

    So clear cut an example of wrong doing and yet the police still get offended when you point out no one has any reason to trust them.

  36. says

    That’s why the second part of my comment was there. Apparently I expect too much of people in this regard. BUt yes, there is no situation that I can imagine in which this was not an inherently racist act.

    What does it tell you where you’re imagination is taxed but you still want to believe the white side of the story?

  37. raven says

    They’ve got probable cause. Dead bodies with bullet holes in them just aren’t all that common. And those bullet holes didn’t put themselves there.

    It doesn’t say where the kid was shot. If he was running away, chances are he was shot in the back. That doesn’t look too good either.

  38. says

    Realistically speaking if he goes to jail he will almost instantly go into protective custody, otherwise he would find out very quickly that race-based attacks go both ways, especially when you’re perceived as having targeted an innocent minority teen.

  39. Agent Smith says

    My blameless monitor owes its current existence to my self control.

    This was a vicious, purely racist attack. If Martin had been elsewhere, and Zimmerman had seen a white teenager visiting the convenience store, that hypothetical youth would be alive and well right now.

    It’s sometimes said that the police are the biggest gang around. The Florida police department truly are a gang, in the worst sense of the word. They’re asking for social unrest, and will richly deserve it if it happens.

  40. says

    Y’know that feeling where you get a knot in the back of your throat and you can’t tell if it’s because you’re about to cry or throw up?

  41. Aquaria says

    Did anyone see the comment from someone named Amber on the petitions, about how she has a degree in chemistry, and she has to worry about putting her hands in her pockets, lest someone think she has a weapon?

    That’s clearly a black woman and she’s treated that contemptibly, in this day and age.

    This has got to stop.

  42. DLC says

    for the local news on the issue : http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/os-trayvon-martin-shooting-zimmerman-letter-20120315,0,1716605.story

    Note: I do not make any claims of veracity, nor do I claim to support the views therein. I add a link just to add information. You’ll note they describe a letter from Zimmerman’s father, claiming he is an Hispanic and has black relatives.

    On the face of it, this looks like an unjustifiable shooting,which, as it resulted in death, makes it arguably 2nd degree murder or 1st degree manslaughter. The penalty for either in Florida is not pretty.
    While at two weeks in, I would have expected more action, even from a podunk town like this.

  43. basketcase says

    I am a white guy who has lived in central Florida my entire life. I am also someone who regularly carries a concealed firearm (legally of course).

    I am just as angry about this as you are. The police here just plain can’t seem to get it right. They flip-flop between extremes on how they deal with the public. Sometimes they prosecute everything no matter how justified and other times they act like they are powerless. I don’t think it is all racism but that certainly appears to be part of it.

  44. saltmoon says

    Instead of “Racist goddamned Florida”, why don’t we go with “Racist Fucking White People”? Because it’s not like shit like this doesn’t happen to us every day in our communities all over this country.

    Being a POC in this country is like walking through a minefield with your family and your job and your education and everything else in your life in tow. Now, it’s not like every square inch of the place is mined, but if you put one foot in the wrong place, it’ll kill you or destroy your work or kill one of your kids or get you locked up. That keeping your voice down and your eyes down and your “yes, Sir” o the tip of your tongue may get you safely through one part of the field and blow your leg off in another. What would the ratio of safe ground to mined ground have to be before you could actually relax, before you could feel safe… before you could be safe, in practical terms?

    Every day we have to get up and take ourselves (and our families, and our livelihoods) through this fucking minefield. We can’t take the same route every day. We can’t cross hand in hand with or mom or our little brother; we have to watch them navigate it from a distance too far to help.

    And some days while we’re in the middle if this insane arbitrary hellhole, we say “I HATE THIS WHOLE FUCKING PLACE, EVERY LAST INCH OF IT.”

    And then some asshole, who’s never bothered to even look down at you before, strolls over your head on their magic bridge over the minefield that they get to walk every day, and shouts down, “You know,that’s not fair. Sure, some of the minefield will kill you if you step on it, but it isn’t all like that.”

    Every day of our lives.

  45. V says

    So terrible! Based on everything I’ve read, there’s just no way this killing was done in self defense.

  46. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart, purveyor of candy and lies says

    From DLC’s link:

    “He would be the last to discriminate for any reason whatsoever …,” the letter says. “The media portrayal of George as a racist could not be further from the truth.”

    Maybe– and I’m just spit balling here– if you don’t want to be perceived as a racist, you should probably refrain from shooting black people.

  47. janine says

    Killed at the hands of person known.

    A play on what was written on the death certificate of lynching victim: At the hands of persons unknown.

  48. janine says

    “This guy looks like he’s up to no good, or he’s on drugs or something,” Zimmerman tells the 911 operator. “He’s just staring, looking at all the houses. Now he’s coming toward me. He’s got his hand in his waistband. Something’s wrong with him.”

    Zimmerman described Martin as wearing a hoodie and sweatpants or jeans. He continues: “He’s coming to check me out. He’s got something in his hands. I don’t know what his deal is. Can we get an officer over here?”

    “These assholes always get away,” he says to the operator. Zimmerman is then heard giving directions to the dispatcher. “Shit, he’s running,” Zimmerman says.

    “Are you following him?” the dispatcher asks.

    “Yes,” Zimmerman responds.

    “We don’t need you to do that,” the dispatcher says.

    A young black male wearing jeans and a hoodie with something in his hand? You means that the thousands of time I have seen this, each time my life was in danger?

    One other sad aside, the dispatcher has more sense than the police on the case; the dispatcher told the murderer that he did not need to be involved after Zimmerman called 911.

  49. Randomfactor says

    If I recall correctly, Florida recently relaxed its laws regarding the use of deadly force (in certain circumstances) to make it EASIER to kill someone you “feel” is threatening you or trying to force his way into your house*. It applies to vehicles.

    It’s not a bug, it’s a feature.

    *(Especially if that person is black, I assume.)

  50. Loqi says

    I nearly threw up at work when I first heard this story a few days ago. I can’t bring myself to listen to the video for fear that I’ll be successful this time.

  51. says

    See, this is why I still don’t object to capital punishment. Zimmerman took an innocent life and destroyed a family. He should pay with his own.

    and if a bunch of innocent poor/black guys get murdered by the state as a side-effect, well that’s ok [/sarc]

    Unless I just have way to much faith in humans not to kill other humans with different skin color anymore.

    you do.

  52. basketcase says

    If I recall correctly, Florida recently relaxed its laws regarding the use of deadly force (in certain circumstances) to make it EASIER to kill someone you “feel” is threatening you or trying to force his way into your house*. It applies to vehicles.

    It’s not a bug, it’s a feature.

    The change in FL law you are referring to essentially removed the duty to attempt to flee from danger before acting in self defense.

    IOW, in the old law if you defended yourself you had to prove that you reasonably believed yourself to be in danger and that it was impossible for you to escape. But under the current law you still have to reasonably fear for your life (or the life of another person) in order claim self defense by lethal force.

    I don’t know all the details of this case but from just the 911 recording I think there is enough reason to doubt the legitimacy of self defense. Certainly enough that a jury should be making that determination.

  53. saltmoon says

    Aquaria @ 45

    I’m glad you noticed; but please tell me you’ve noticed this before now.

    I cannot count the number of times a white bus driver has decided to roll past my stop without opening the doors to avoid being alone with a woman of color on the bus.

    This has got to stop.

  54. Aquaria says

    I’m glad you noticed; but please tell me you’ve noticed this before now.

    I cannot count the number of times a white bus driver has decided to roll past my stop without opening the doors to avoid being alone with a woman of color on the bus.

    This has got to stop.

    I’m from East Texas originally.

    I have noticed it before, which is why I mentioned this day and age. That it’s still going on pisses me off.

  55. says

    My understanding of Florida Concealed Carry classes is that they teach how to avoid getting arrested, not how to avoid getting into conflict in the first place. It seems like the cops helped that along by coaching Zimmerman and the witnesses about what “really” happened. It seems to me that even if you’re not planning on charging a shooter with anything, the police should at the minimum take a person into custody and administer a drug and alcohol test. Just sort of saying hi to them and letting them leave gives the appearance of incompetence and/or corruption right off the bat.

    Of course, Martin was black and wasn’t carrying ID, so I’m guessing that the cops figured he was a drug addict/dealer vagrant of some sort and no one would care if he lived or died either way.

    I carry a handgun on a regular basis, and I consider it a mandate to avoid conflict and de-escalate those situations that can’t be avoided, and I would love to see a time come where I felt that I could lock my gun away and never think about it again. Too many gun owners see it as a licence to start conflict and escalate to shooting someone, almost as the ultimate fulfillment of their 2nd Amendment rights. It makes me sick.

  56. robro says

    The Miami Herald reports that Zimmerman was actually cuffed and put in the patrol car but then released. At least the police confiscated his gun.

    Imagine this scenario: Black “crime watch” guy (there’s crime in Black neighborhoods, you know) confronts a suspicious White Hispanic kid buying candy at a neighborhood store, gets in a fight with him, and shoots him. Police arrive, cuff Black guy, put him in the patrol car…and then release him? Nah, they take him in for questioning…and if he’s lucky he makes it all the way to the station alive. You see, he might try to escape and the police have to shoot him. These things have happened in Florida.

    Zimmerman’s father offers his heritage as if it’s proof that this wasn’t a racial attack. Needless to say around here that racism comes in all stripes. In any case, it took some hunting to find a photo of Zimmerman. He may be Hispanic, he may have a multi-racial family, but his appearance is quite Caucasian. Trayvon Martin is probably also from a multi-racial family, many Black Americans are, but his appearance is clearly Black. These ridiculous distinctions of appearance, even subtle ones, can matter a great deal in a race-based society.

  57. Aquaria says

    When I lived in Biloxi, one of my fellow airmen at tech school had his house broken into while he was sleeping. He heard a noise, went out to see what it was up, with his gun, and surprised the burglar. Got fired at (missed) and he shot back. His shot hit the burglar, just enough to wound him, not kill him. Then he called the cops.

    When the cops came, they asked my classmate if they should leave, let him finish the job. He was horrified at what they were suggesting, and said no, he didn’t want to kill the guy. He just wanted to defend himself and he knew the guy wouldn’t be causing any trouble until the cops and ambulance could get there, what what he writhing in pain on the ground.

    The cops asked if he was sure, and then sighed about the paperwork they were going to have to do ’cause the guy wasn’t dead.

    Welcome to how scumbag Southern cops operate.

  58. Mr. Fire says

    When the cops came, they asked my classmate if they should leave, let him finish the job.

    the FUCK?

  59. says

    I am so freakin’ disgusted by this.

    So much wrong, on so many levels, and the deeper we delve, the worse it gets. It’s not just that a kid was killed by an “overzealous” Neighbourhood Watch-man, it’s that this particular person on watch should not have had a gun with him (both as an individual, and as a watch-person). This person went OUT OF HIS WAY to confront the kid. And then pushed the confrontation, and shot the kid.

    Each of those things, alone, is reason enough to be outraged.

    Taken as a whole, it’s leading to a fair bit of despair and disillusionment.

    Then, when you throw the race card on top of that — and I believe this is a time when it is, indeed, appropriate — it just. No. It’s so clear, man. It’s so obvious that this guy saw a black kid and decided to go after him.

    Why?

    I don’t know. I don’t know if Zimmerman was, like, on drugs and paranoid, or has some kind of mental illness, or is just plain racist.

    And I’m finding the answer doesn’t matter much — this fuckknuckle still shot and killed a child. For nothing more than walking home with a bag of Skittles.

    Prosecute him to the fullest extent possible.

    Oh, fire and prosecute the piggies that are tampering with witnesses and helping this guy out, too.

  60. Aquaria says

    Mr. Fire:

    It happens a lot. You’d be surprised. If you could stop puking long enough.

  61. Azkyroth says

    Something doesn’t seem right about this story. I’m not sure what, but I feel like there’s some missing facts. Unless I just have way to much faith in humans not to kill other humans with different skin color anymore.

    You stupid sack of shit.

  62. saltmoon says

    WMDKitty @ 64:

    Then, when you throw the race card on top of that — and I believe this is a time when it is, indeed, appropriate — it just. No. It’s so clear, man. It’s so obvious that this guy saw a black kid and decided to go after him.

    Why?

    I don’t know. I don’t know if Zimmerman was, like, on drugs and paranoid, or has some kind of mental illness, or is just plain racist.

    And I’m finding the answer doesn’t matter much — this fuckknuckle still shot and killed a child. For nothing more than walking home with a bag of Skittles.

    A couple of things here: first of all, how about you not take it upon yourself to opine on when “the race card” is and isn’t appropriate? Also, you answered your own question. This fuckknuckle didn’t kill a child for walking home with a bag of Skittles. Zimmerman killed a child for walking in a place that he felt this kid didn’t belong. He killed him for being a vulnerable black kid, because he could get away with it.

  63. says

    @saltmoon — I said, “I believe”. I’m not the High and Mighty Final Arbiter of Deciding What’s Appropriate. I was giving my opinion.

    Now, if you want to tell me how and why I’m wrong to believe that race played a factor in this shooting, go right ahead.

    Also, dude, I’m not downplaying or ignoring the racial component, I’m saying that regardless of race, regardless of motive, it really fucking sucks that a child is now dead because some wannabe-cop (who is potentially racist*) decided he posed a threat.

    When you throw the racial component on top of that, it just becomes that much more horrible, because apparently some humans are too dumb to realize that a human is a human is a human. Change the color scheme all you want, it’s still a human. And just because that human over there has a different color to you doesn’t mean he’s a threat.

    *By my judgement, Zimmerman is definitely racist, but I’m leaving that statement as open as possible because I’m not inside his head and can’t tell you what goes on in there.

  64. cultureclash says

    Petition signed… I’m in the UK so I don’t know if I’ll count at all but after reading the story I couldn’t not sign…

  65. says

    @Ing — And what the hell does that have to do with anything?

    The fact is, NONE OF US can know for sure exactly what motivated Zimmerman, until he, himself, tells us. We can speculate, yes, we can look at the event and the circumstances, and the evidence, and make educated guesses.

    The evidence here all points to a racial motivation, bolstered by Tough Guy Syndrome (a common affliction of gun nuts).

  66. ibelieveindog says

    “Racist goddamned Florida”?

    It’s rather closed-minded to generalize this way, and I didn’t expect that from you, PZ, unless you’re just trying to stir up shit.

    I’m aware that Florida’s been the butt of jokes ever since we had an outbreak of hanging chads. I’m cool with that; jokes are fun. And some of the laws in this state are practically medieval.

    I like being a Floridian, and I’m doing the little bit that I can to try to stop some of the stupidity that goes on here. Don’t tar us all with the same racist brush.

  67. ibelieveindog says

    Oh. And I’m doing more than just signing the petition. I’ll be at the Sanford Police Department on Monday. With my family.

  68. Cassandra Caligaria (Cipher), OM says

    It’s rather closed-minded to generalize this way, and I didn’t expect that from you, PZ, unless you’re just trying to stir up shit.

    Good thing he didn’t say “racist goddamned everybody in Florida.”

  69. Cassandra Caligaria (Cipher), OM says

    But! My snarky irritation aside, yay for you showing up at the police department. I hope there’s a big demonstration. Assholes.

  70. saltmoon says

    ibelieveindog@76,

    Holy crap, would it be possible for us to talk about a racially-motivated crime for ONCE without someone coming in and getting butthurt because they’re supposedly not racist and why is everyone making generalizations about meeee and my feeling me me me. Stop. This isn’t about you, O Offended Floridian. It’s about a kid getting killed for Walking While Black. You have failed to contribute in any meaningful way.

    If there’s anything to be said about referring to this as a Floridian problem, it’s that it’s too narrow. This is a problem everywhere.

  71. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Reminds me of the ’60′s. This crap went on and on, until the Feds stepped in, and on, local law enforcement. I imagine some of those laws are still on the books. Amazing what happens when the civil rights trial changes from your local cozy racist courthouse to a city with a large minority population where the Federal Courts are. And what the Feds can to do to racist local law enforcers when they take over the organization and bring in outside experts to clean up the local system. Starting with demanding resignations be tendered by everybody, then firing those for insubordination who don’t tender said resignations…It’s surprising how little this has to happen to get the attention of even the most racist department about mending their ways.

  72. gworroll says

    I tried to give Zimmerman the benefit of the doubt, hoping that there was some key piece of information missing, something Martin did that might have appeared threatening.

    I need to stop bothering to do that. I’m disappointed more often than not. If there was something to justify this, or at least something where I could understand why Zimmerman thought he was justified, it would be public knowledge by now. Hell, they haven’t even bothered to make up a story that Martin suddenly reached in his pocket or anything like that. If it’s so clearly self defense, they wouldn’t withhold anything that supported that claim.

    There’s really no plausible explanation other than Zimmerman being a racist murderer. This makes me sad, and it probably shouldn’t surprise me so much.

  73. gregorypropf says

    I’ve been to Sanford. It’s a strange place by Florida standards. The first thing you notice is that it’s actually a *town* not just a random collection of McMansions and big box stores. By that I mean the streets are on a grid pattern, the houses are small and old, though stylish, and there’s little sprawl. In spite of being a small town there are even a few 10+ story high rises in “downtown”. It’s in a “beauty spot” too on the shore of Lake Monroe which provides views and cooling breezes in summer. What all this means is that the city is OLD FLORIDA and thus the OLD SOUTH. It dates to the snowbird era when rich northeastern white people started building out the older Florida towns. This means it almost certainly has a lot of that “old southern charm” meaning racist cops whose job it is to keep the darkies out of town by sundown. There’s also a lot of official respect given to middle aged white male assholes “pillars of the community” (Neighborhood Watchenfuhrer in this case) in traditional southern culture that probably goes back to the south’s essentially feudal culture. Zimmerman was a lord who murdered a peasant in other words. He won’t be prosecuted. Hopefully the feds have other ideas.

  74. unclefrogy says

    I suspect that this “little incident” has gotten just a little too much publicity for it to just go away and be forgotten. I may be just dreaming but time will tell regardless.
    one of the most dangerous things on earth is an insignificant powerless angry man with a gun. I hope that some higher authorities than the local chief of police and the patrolman feel the need to step in and find out just how things went down.
    I hope the parents of the boy sue the shooter and he is forced to leave the gated community and move into a trailer park.
    This is Florida maybe the relaxed self defense law’s flaws are now becoming apparent and he can not be prosecuted. I would bet that even if the shooter gets off this time he will do it again.
    I hope the story does not just fade away either way.
    uncle frogy

  75. Aquaria says

    It’s rather closed-minded to generalize this way, and I didn’t expect that from you, PZ, unless you’re just trying to stir up shit.

    You’re not your state, dumbass, and your state has far more than its share of racist dumbasses.

    Don’t make everything all about you based on something so stupidly arbitrary as sharing a chunk of land with a bunch of idiots. The land isn’t you; you’re not the land.

    Honestly, try being from Texas, and you get over associating a bunch of land with yourself.

  76. Aquaria says

    Something doesn’t seem right about this story. I’m not sure what, but I feel like there’s some missing facts. Unless I just have way to much faith in humans not to kill other humans with different skin color anymore.

    The part that isn’t right is that the cops didn’t charge this fuckface with assault and unlawful use of a dangerous device to throw his ass in jail while they built the case for murder. It’ll be murder two, most likely, but it could be booted up to murder one, if the state can lay unlawful use of a dangerous device on Zimmerman. Death resulting from that felony ratchets up to murder one.

  77. SallyStrange: bottom-feeding, work-shy peasant says

    And it literally could have been any black man in this country, any black man at all. Which is why social desegregation is so important in the struggle against racism. If you don’t personally know and care about any people of color, that fact by itself doesn’t strike you with bone-chilling fear. Fellow white folks, pause for a moment and imagine how it feels to be thinking to yourself, “That could have been my brother. My son. My best friend, my cousin, my boyfriend.” Now imagine thinking that on a regular basis throughout your entire life.

    Keep that in mind. It’s a more worthy and fruitful exercise than trying to put yourself in Zimmerman’s shoes.

  78. chigau (√-1) says

    SallyStrange

    It’s a more worthy and fruitful exercise than trying to put yourself in Zimmerman’s shoes.

    OK….
    No.
    I cannot.

  79. Matt Penfold says

    @ Matt Penfold–First, the police can question anyone they want at anytime. Period. You do not have to be under arrest to be questioned by the police, to be a suspect, to be a person of interest, to be a material witness, to be asked to come in for questioning, etc. They can come talk to you anytime for any reason. So the fact that they questioned Zimmerman without arresting him is a complete non-issue.

    No, it is not a complete non-issue if and when it comes to a prosecution. Unless the laws of evidence in Florida are lax to the point of recklessness, anything he said when not under arrest is not admissible since it is clear from the start he should reasonable be treated as a suspect.

    Second, it’s not just suspects that have rights. We all have those rights. And those rights don’t “come into play” once an arrest is made. They’re always in play, it’s just that the police don’t have to inform you of them unless/until you are under arrest. So the cops can talk to Zimmerman all they want without arresting him or informing him of his rights, but he doesn’t have to answer them or give them any information.

    See above.

    While there may have been sloppy police work here (and it certainly sounds like there was), questioning a suspect without arresting him certainly is not evidence of it.

    And again see above.

    How could write three paragraphs so full of crap ?

  80. Matt Penfold says

    Petition signed… I’m in the UK so I don’t know if I’ll count at all but after reading the story I couldn’t not sign…

    Florida gets a lot of tourism income from British visitors. The last thing they will want is for it to become accepted in the UK that the state allows its citizens to run around shooting people dead and face no consequences as a result.

  81. Ogvorbis: Now With 98% Less Intellectual Curiousity! says

    Don’t tar us all with the same racist brush.

    Some of the citizens of Florida are racist. The local, county, and state governments are, by both legislation and operation, racist. You want to remove the racist stigma? Do something about the police, the schools, the welfare system, and the elected and appointed officials who use their public office to discriminate.

    It’s a more worthy and fruitful exercise than trying to put yourself in Zimmerman’s shoes.

    Unfortunately, my FL BiL can. I have seen him jump in his car and follow a black or hispanic driver through the development in which he lives.

    ====

    Petition will be signed when I am at home.

  82. says

    I’d like to see the police and anyone in their chain of command who has failed to act going to jail as accomplices after the fact.

  83. says

    Oh, and a pillar of the community is someone who actually has a number of notable good acts on their record, not someone with a clean slate and some expunged crimes.

  84. StevoR says

    Petition signed.

    Why This Is Important

    On February 26, our son Trayvon Martin was shot and killed as he walked to a family member’s home from a convenience store where he had just bought some candy. He was only 17 years-old.

    Trayvon’s killer, George Zimmerman, admitted to police that he shot Trayvon in the chest. Zimmerman, the community’s self appointed “neighborhood watch leader,” called the police to report a suspicious person when he saw Travyon, a young black man, walking from the store. But Zimmerman still hasn’t been charged for murdering our son.

    Trayvon was our hero. At the age 9, Trayvon pulled his father from a burning kitchen, saving his life. He loved sports and horseback riding. At only 17 he had a bright future ahead of him with dreams of attending college and becoming an aviation mechanic. Now that’s all gone.

    When Zimmerman reported Trayvon to the police, they told him not to confront him. But he did anyway. All we know about what happened next is that our 17 year-old son, who was completely unarmed, was shot and killed.

    It’s been nearly two weeks and the Sanford Police have refused to arrest George Zimmerman. In their public statements, they even go so far as to stand up for the killer – saying he’s “a college grad” who took a class in criminal justice.

    Please join us in calling on Norman Wolfinger, Florida’s 18th District State’s Attorney, to investigate my son’s murder and prosecute George Zimmerman for the shooting and killing of Trayvon Martin.

    Emphasis added.

    ***

    (Emphaiss becase whilst I’ve reda of this on Gregladen’s blogmong others, its first I’ve heard of that part and it just … whoah! This young boy save shis father’s life and had so much potential and then just gets gunned down by a racist sackl of shit scumbag like that. Just whoah.)

    What a disgrace that Zimmerman has, it seems, so far quite literally been able to get away with murder – race hate murder at that! Inexcusable and I hope we see an arrest and the appropriate murder charges pressed against the murderer Zimmerman, ASAP.

  85. StevoR says

    Hope they count Aussie signatures. Wonder if the fact that this campaign is global might wake them up and cause something to happen and hopefully, better, change?

    Sorry about the typos.

  86. StevoR says

    Latest figures :

    ***
    Signatures -328,017 out of 500,000

    Petitioning Florida’s 18th District State’s Attorney (+ 2 others)

    ***

    Any chance of Obama or the federal authorities getting involved & would that be helpful or counter-productive?

    Honestly, I cannot really imagine what it would be be like to be African-American in that sort of culture and place – even my feeblest attempts are pretty scary and enough to create some empathy and horror. Things shouldn’t be like this. In this age in (most of) your nation for this sorty of thing to happen .. whoah. (I know duh but ..my reaction for whatever little its worth.)

  87. says

    You liberals never see things from the other side; it’s always racist racist racist. You close-minded skeptics never consider other possibilities. For example, has it occurred to you that maybe Trayvon had the power to kill people with his mind? Hello?

    Seriously, this is disgusting beyond words. The double standard has rarely been so blatent. If you shoot someone and claim self-defense, you get the complete benefit of the doubt. You’re a “pillar of the community” because surely you’ve done good things, like for example, you once took a criminal justice class. We’ll coach you through your account of the incident, correct contrary witnesses, and you won’t even have to be arrested or anything.

    Meanwhile, if you carry a bag of Skittles and look at the buildings in town, then we are obliged to give you the full detriment of the doubt. You’re sufficiently suspicious that it would not be unreasonable for someone to shoot you. I mean, we might not shoot you, but we can’t blame someone who does.

    The worst bit is knowing that the police department is not going to get a genuine investigation resulting in the firing of every cop who abetted the killer. I mean, it would be great if that happened, but I’m not holding my breath.

    Zimmerman was definitely right about one thing, word for word: These assholes always get away.

  88. says

    Reagan was wrong.

    “I’m from the neighbodhood watch and I’m here to help” is a hell of a lot scarier.

    Vigilantes have even less restraint or oversight than the cops, and to cap it off, half of them think they’re action heroes…

  89. Ogvorbis: Now With 98% Less Intellectual Curiousity! says

    Neighborhood Watch, Committee of Concerned Citizens, what’s the difference, right?

  90. supernova says

    Can’t someone try a private prosecution if the DA won’t charge? I don’t know how it works in the United States, but with high profile cases in the UK if the CPS decides not to charge then a private citizen or organization can (the CPS can stop the private prosecution, but they don’t have to).

  91. Ogvorbis: Now With 98% Less Intellectual Curiousity! says

    Can’t someone try a private prosecution if the DA won’t charge?

    I am not a lawyer, but I think that would be along the lines of a civil wrongful-death suit.

  92. A. R says

    Did some more reading into the case. There appears to be no reason whatsoever for this shooting to have occurred, other than the victim being BIP. (Black In Public).

  93. Childermass says

    You can kill a lot of people with Skittles and Arizona tea. Right?

    Signed with my real name.

    I don’t know if the shooter was a racist or merely some mindless vigilante. But it is fairly clear that law enforcement was acting racist here as I see no reason whatsoever for the shooter not to be arrested. They certainly have probable cause on a capital offense. Nothing less than life in prison without the possibility of parole is called for.

  94. Matt Penfold says

    I am not a lawyer, but I think that would be along the lines of a civil wrongful-death suit.

    Not really, since a private prosecution involves the criminal law, rather than civil law. It is quite possible for someone found guilty following a private prosecution to go to prison.

    They do not happen very often. The last case I can recall actually involved a racist murder. Stephen Lawrence was a black teenager who was murder by a gang of white men. The Police investigation was inept, being hampered by the racist attitudes of the investigating officers and the friendship of a senior investigating officer with the father of one of the suspects. As a result evidence was not gathered promptly, and when the suspects were arrested it proved impossible to bring charges.

    Later his family took out a private prosecution, which collapsed due to lack of evidence.

    However their actions, and continued campaigning has had an effect. A public enquiry made it clear that the police in the UK have ingrained racists attitudes, even if individual officers cannot be considered racist. The term used was “institutional racism”. It has made a difference to how the police, and other bodies both public and private, operate.

    His family also helped bring about a change in the law, so that it is possible to prosecute a person for a second time following an aquittal if there is new evidence that was not available at the time of the first trial. Earlier this year two of those whom the Lawrence family privately prosecuted were put on trial for the murder again when DNA tests on minute quantities of blood on the clothing of the suspects found traces of Stephen’s DNA. The two were found guilty and are now serving length prison sentences. Has they not been under 18 at the time they killed Stephen they would be looking at spending the next 20 years in prison. As things are they must serve at least 11 years.

  95. says

    17 (AR) – “Something doesn’t seem right about this story. I’m not sure what, but I feel like there’s some missing facts.”

    Oh, I’m sure there probably is more to the story. Such as ‘how many of these cops have had complaints against them due to their bigotry’, ‘which of these cops is buddies with the murderer’, ‘how often does bigoted language show up at Zimmerman family gatherings’, ‘how many times has this murder confronted black teens (and not just teens) in the past’, etc…

    Because these things don’t happen in a ‘vacuum’. People don’t just happen to decide to shot some kid walking home. This is a pattern of behavior, and it’s a pattern too many people are horribly familiar with. I’m willing to bet that had someone gone into the neighborhood before the news broke and said ‘somebody on the block shot an unarmed black kid’, half of the folks would have immediately put forth Zimmerman’s name and the other half wouldn’t have been surprised in the least.

    That’s the rest of the story. But even those who treat it as murder will pretend it’s some kind of random act of violence.

  96. says

    David M:

    claiming that Zimmerman was a pillar of the community

    I hate this non-sequitur.

    So do I. It translates to “person with a lot of power, prestige, and privilege in the community.” All of which can easily be abused. Which happens all the time.

    Audley:

    There are so many stories like this though, which is why I can’t understand why anyone would doubt what happened.

    Same reason so many people, mostly but not all men, “doubt” all those copious anecdotes about sexism and find “alternative reasons” for them.

    Anyway – signed.

  97. triamacleod says

    Signed.

    Kudos to his family for keeping up the pressure and making sure people are aware of what happened. The more noise and fuss they cause the better their chances of getting justice for their son.

    It’s so sad that they need to resort to what amounts to public shaming to get the police to do their jobs. But I agree with many commentors that it is going to take the Feds stepping in to see any true justice being done.

    I wasn’t raised in the USA, but when I came over in my mid-teens our class went to Inner Harbour in Maryland for a class trip. I didn’t understand why people were staring at Charlene and I eating lunch together. She had to explain to me about racism* and the Mason-Dixon Line. To this day I still don’t always ‘get it’ when racist things are happening and I am grateful to her for being able to explain things to me in a calm manner.

    * I assume I had never been exposed to racism due to the very small village I was raised in. We didn’t have minorities of colour, just religion. A bit less conspicuous but every bit as horribly ridiculous. I keep hoping Humanity will out grow this preoccupation with skin tone, genitals and gender but every time I see the news I know it is more and more unlikely to happen in my lifetime.

  98. jonathansilver says

    Here is video of two witnesses, saying essentially they do not believe it was self-defense and that they’ve tried contacting the police department but nobody will return their calls.

  99. Pteryxx says

    ‘how many times has this murder confronted black teens (and not just teens) in the past’, etc…

    Because these things don’t happen in a ‘vacuum’. People don’t just happen to decide to shot some kid walking home. This is a pattern of behavior, and it’s a pattern too many people are horribly familiar with.

    This may interest you…

    Interviews with neighbors reveal a pleasant young man passionate about neighborhood security who took it upon himself to do nightly patrols while he walked his dog.

    Licensed to carry a firearm and a student of criminal justice, Zimmerman went door-to-door asking residents to be on the lookout, specifically referring to young black men who appeared to be outsiders, and warned that some were caught lurking, neighbors said. The self-appointed captain of the neighborhood watch program is credited with cracking some crimes, and thwarting others.

    But the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin left the boy’s family and attorneys convinced that the volunteer developed a twisted sense of entitlement, one that gave him a false sense of authority to enforce the rule of law in his tiny gated community. Trayvon’s family’s attorneys believe that led to racial profiling and murder.

    “He would circle the block and circle it; it was weird,” said Teontae Amie, 17. “If he had spotted me, he’d probably ask me if I lived here. He was known for being really strict.”

    Zimmerman called police 46 times since Jan. 1, 2011 to report disturbances, break-ins, windows left open and other incidents. Nine of those times, he saw someone or something suspicious.

    “Hey, we’ve had some break-ins in my neighborhood, and there’s a real suspicious guy at Retreat View Circle. This guy looks like he’s up to no good,” Zimmerman told a dispatcher on Feb. 26, the night of Trayvon’s death.

    According to 911 recordings released late Friday by Sanford police, Zimmerman said the person was walking slowly, looked drugged and appeared to be looking at people’s houses. Police would later learn that Trayvon had gone to 7-Eleven during the NBA All Star game halftime to get Skittles and Arizona iced tea.

    “These a–holes always get away,” Zimmerman complained.

    http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/03/17/v-fullstory/2700249/shooter-of-trayvon-martin-a-habitual.html

  100. Azkyroth says

    Did some more reading into the case. There appears to be no reason whatsoever for this shooting to have occurred, other than the victim being BIP. (Black In Public).

    YA THINK?

    Why would you have expected otherwise? Don’t you think it would have fucking come up already if there were exculpatory circumstances? You know damn well how the fucking media loves a Scary Black Man story; you think they wouldn’t be all over it if there was any material lying around from which one could be fabricated?

    How can you be that fucking stupid?

  101. A. R says

    Azkyroth: What I know is that this was the first place I saw the story. I didn’t see it in the media. This is a very liberal blog, and I wanted more information. How can you be that fucking blind?

  102. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    (from the article Pteryxx linked)
    Zimmerman’s Father:

    He said the family prays for Trayvon and his parents every day.

    Grrrrrrrrr.

    Police Chief Bill Lee:

    “We are taking a beating over this,” said Lee, who defends the investigation. “This is all very unsettling. I’m sure if George Zimmerman had the opportunity to relive Sunday, Feb. 26, he’d probably do things differently. I’m sure Trayvon would, too.”

    What, pray tell, was Trayvon supposed to do differently? Yeah, if he’d had known that he would be murdered, he probably wouldn’t have taken that route. Obviously. But when you put it in the same paragraph as Zimmerman doing something differently if he had an opportunity to relive the day, it implies Trayvon had done something wrong.
    Grrrrrrrr…

  103. Gen Fury, Still Desolate and Deviant #1 says

    Signed. Horrifying all the more because this, while at least getting some media attention, is far from being an isolated incident.

    “We are taking a beating over this,” said Lee, who defends the investigation.

    And a well-deserved beating, too. Except, of course, it’s not actually a beating, is it? But it sure is fun to use hyperbole to make it seem like you are being physically abused by random members of the public! Asshat.

    This is all very unsettling.

    A young man’s life is ended, just because he dared to be BiP, and you say it’s “unsettling”? How about “atrocious”? “Horrendous”? “Fucking deplorable”?

    But “unsettling”? Seriously? And i’m sure he means that the media attention is unsettling for HIM, not that it is unsettling that something like this actually happened in the first place.

    What is that, i don’t even

    What, pray tell, was Trayvon supposed to do differently? Yeah, if he’d had known that he would be murdered, he probably wouldn’t have taken that route. Obviously. But when you put it in the same paragraph as Zimmerman doing something differently if he had an opportunity to relive the day, it implies Trayvon had done something wrong.

    Exactly. Out of some deeply-ingrained something or another (seriously, what the hell IS that?), BOTH parties MUST have been guilty somehow, right?

    Par delictum etc. etc.

    Except, that’s not even remotely close to approaching reality.

  104. truthspeaker says

    Matt Penfold says:
    18 March 2012 at 8:06 am

    No, it is not a complete non-issue if and when it comes to a prosecution. Unless the laws of evidence in Florida are lax to the point of recklessness, anything he said when not under arrest is not admissible since it is clear from the start he should reasonable be treated as a suspect

    That’s not how US law works, Matt.

    And to the other UK poster, US criminal law doesn’t allow private prosecutions.

  105. truthspeaker says

    The takeaway here is, if you want to murder someone in Sanford, just make sure there are no witnesses, call the police yourself, and claim self defense.*

    *This tactic will only work for white people

  106. Brownian says

    I carry a handgun on a regular basis, and I consider it a mandate to avoid conflict and de-escalate those situations that can’t be avoided, and I would love to see a time come where I felt that I could lock my gun away and never think about it again. Too many gun owners see it as a licence to start conflict and escalate to shooting someone, almost as the ultimate fulfillment of their 2nd Amendment rights. It makes me sick.

    Yes, it’s those other gun owners who are always the problem, aren’t they? I’ve never met a handgun carrier who doesn’t vehemently protest having no choice but to carry one, always assuring that it would only ever be drawn in the direst of circumstances.

    I wonder if George Zimmerman would have said the same thing, back in January.

    Why would you have expected otherwise? Don’t you think it would have fucking come up already if there were exculpatory circumstances? You know damn well how the fucking media loves a Scary Black Man story; you think they wouldn’t be all over it if there was any material lying around from which one could be fabricated?

    Mmm-hmm. Pillar of the community like Zimmerman was?

    Here’s an article from across the fucking ocean:

    The neighbourhood watch captain who shot dead an unarmed black teenager last month wanted to be a police officer and called 911 nearly 50 times within the last year, according to new reports.

    Licensed to carry a concealed firearm and a student of criminal justice, neighbours told the newspaper Zimmerman took nightly patrols while walking his dog, and was passionate about his duty.

    Records acquired by the Herald show his self-appointment led to a series of calls to police. From January 1, 2011 to February 26, 2012, Zimmerman reportedly phoned authorities 46 times – to ‘report disturbances, break-ins, windows left open and other incidents’.

    His calls account for some of the 402 made to police from the 260-unit complex, according to the Herald.
    Cynthia Wibker, secretary of the homeowners association, credits him with solving crime in the area.
    ‘He once caught a thief and an arrest was made,’ she said, adding that he helped to solve ‘a lot’ of crimes.

    But Trayvon’s family attorney, Natalie Jackson, told the newspaper Zimmerman took his new position too seriously.
    ‘Zimmerman felt he was one of them; he felt he was a cop,’ she said.
    Sanford police officials, who have not charged Zimmerman after accepting his claim that his actions were in self-defense, released eight 911 calls on Friday after mounting pressure.

    Geez, if it weren’t for that nosy family attorney, the thing would read like the speech they’ll give when they award Zimmerman his Honorary Cop of the Year medal.

    She’s right, though: fatally shoot somebody and have the police take it at face value that your decision was justified? He might as well be a cop.

  107. johnhunter says

    In a statement delivered to the Orlando Sentinel, his father, Robert Zimmerman, defended his son, who he said was a “Spanish-speaking minority with many black family members and friends.”

    “He would be the last to discriminate for any reason whatsoever,” Robert Zimmerman wrote. “One black neighbor recently interviewed said she knew everything in the media was untrue and that she would trust George with her life. Another black neighbor said that George was the only one, black or white, who came and welcomed her to the community, offering any assistance he could provide. Recently, I met two black children George invited to a social event. I asked where they met George. They responded that he was their mentor.”

    This is tragic and probably criminal but not racist. Need to keep objective here and leave emotions out.

    http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/crime/shooter-of-trayvon-martin-a-habitual-caller-to-2247073.html?page=2

  108. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    Oh, his father said he isn’t a racist. He even has some black relatives. And black lurkers neighbors support him.

    Well, that proves it. It couldn’t have possibly been a racially motivated attack and murder. Because the murderer’s father says so. Right.

  109. Brownian says

    Need to keep objective here and leave emotions out.

    People who insist that keeping objective = always denying discrimination based on the weakest of evidence can go fuck themselves (and frankly, I don’t give a shit how emotionlessly they do so.)

    But before we assign Robert Zimmerman the title of Grand Purveyor of Unassailable Perspective on the Character of His Son, let’s consider George Zimmerman’s own words before deciding to end Trayvon Martin’s life for walking ‘suspiciously’: “These assholes always get away”.

    Those words sound consistent with someone who “would be the last to discriminate for any reason whatsoever”?

    Fuck off, asshole. Lecture people on ‘objective’ when you’ve stopped being an idiot.

  110. Pteryxx says

    This is tragic and probably criminal but not racist. Need to keep objective here and leave emotions out.

    Uh huh. This is also from the article I linked:

    Ibrahim Rashada, a 25-year-old African American who works at U.S. Airways, once spotted young men cutting through the woods entering the complex on foot, and later learned items were stolen those days.

    “It’s a gated community, but you can walk in and steal whatever you want,” Rashada’s wife, Quianna, said.

    They discussed the topic with Zimmerman when the watch captain knocked on their door late last year. Zimmerman seemed friendly, helpful, and a “pretty cool dude,” Ibrahim Rashada said.

    “He came by here and talked about carrying guns and getting my wife more involved with guns,” he said. “He said I should have a weapon and that his wife took classes to learn how to use one.

    “I do have a weapon, but I don’t walk around the neighborhood with mine!”

    Actually, he does not walk around the neighborhood at all.

    “I fit the stereotype he emailed around,” he said. “Listen, you even hear me say it: ‘A black guy did this. A black guy did that.’ So I thought, ‘Let me sit in the house. I don’t want anyone chasing me.’ ”

    For walks, he goes downtown. A pregnant Quianna listened to her husband’s rationale, dropped her head, and cried.

    “That’s so sad,” she said. “I hope our child doesn’t have to go through that.”

    (emphasis mine)

    And that’s how someone can be racist and directly contribute to race-based intimidation, and even physical danger, of his own neighbors while being friendly and helpful to them.

  111. carlie says

    Do you at least get your gun license taken away if you kill someone with it? No, of course not.

  112. johnhunter says

    @Ing

    I have nothing emotionally invested in this story. Just looking at the evidence. Zimmerman is Hispanic on his mothers side and mentored at least two black kids. Hardly a candidate for a racist.

    He also claims that he was the one shouting on the 9-11 tapes and when the police arrived on scene he had a bloody nose and a cut on his head.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/17/us/justice-department-investigation-is-sought-in-florida-teenagers-shooting-death.html?_r=1

  113. Don Quijote says

    I know people who are Spanish on their mother and farther’s side, but they are still racist.

  114. Pteryxx says

    @johnhunter:

    Just looking at the evidence. Zimmerman is Hispanic on his mothers side and mentored at least two black kids. Hardly a candidate for a racist.

    You’re assuming that minority bloodline or contact with black people makes a person a poor candidate to be racist. You’re wrong. Minorities can most certainly be racist and so can great white saviors.

    I even quoted an example for you just now, from Zimmerman’s own black neighbor. Did you read this?

    Ibrahim Rashada, a 25-year-old African American who works at U.S. Airways,

    [...]

    Actually, he does not walk around the neighborhood at all.

    “I fit the stereotype he emailed around,” he said. “Listen, you even hear me say it: ‘A black guy did this. A black guy did that.’ So I thought, ‘Let me sit in the house. I don’t want anyone chasing me.’ ”

    There’s a black person being racist against black people. QED.

  115. says

    johnhunter:

    Zimmerman is Hispanic on his mothers side and mentored at least two black kids. Hardly a candidate for a racist.

    My sister-in-law married a guy from Sri Lanka. He was pleasant to most folks, no matter their skin color. He was also racist. My wife about split his skull open when he made a joke that was predicated on the racist connotations of the word “coon.”

    Zimmerman’s heritage and the fact he mentored some kids doesn’t stop him from being racist. It just means he isn’t your stereotypical KKK racist.

  116. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    This is tragic and probably criminal but not racist. Need to keep objective here and leave emotions out.

    There are very big, two obvious problems with these statements. Wait, three.

    1) Without emotion, most preferences cannot exist. So if I were to evaluate “probably criminal” without emotion, I would conclude that nothing need be done about it. I have no logical and purely unemotional preference for the laws in Florida to be enforced. I’m not even sure I can muster a logical and purely unemotional preference for the laws where I live to be enforced, nor even to not be murdered myself. I like the idea of not dying today, but that’s an emotional preference.

    2) What does “it’s racist” have to do with emotion? Again, it’s something that can be evaluated objectively. I can, without emotion, determine that the behavior of the police looks more like racism than not-racism. (Without emotion, I’d still have no preference for not-racism over racism, but I can certainly tell the difference between the two.)

    3) What does objectivity have to do with emotion? It is possible to be emotional and objective at the same time. I hate Piers Morgan; I recognize that not everyone hates Piers Morgan. Tada!

  117. Brownian says

    @life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ

    Along those lines, there’s nothing unemotional about referring to an event as ‘tragic’, either.

  118. truthspeaker says

    We’re not just alleging that Zimmerman was motivated by racism, but that the cops who responded, and their chief, are too.

  119. Cassandra Caligaria (Cipher), OM says

    Really? You’re arguing that this guy is, on the grounds of his Hispanic origin, unlikely to be racist against black people.
    Really?

  120. A. R says

    carlie: If you are judged to have committed a crime with a firearm, you cannot own a firearm. But shooting someone, and not getting convicted will never result in revocation, for obvious reasons. Of course in this case, since the DA is too racist or privileged blinded to bring up charges, the criminal gets to keep his gun.

  121. Brownian says

    Really? You’re arguing that this guy is, on the grounds of his Hispanic origin, unlikely to be racist against black people.

    No, on the grounds that he let black people use his bathroom mentored black teens.

  122. says

    anyway, since no one mentioned it here yet, AFAICT: there is a thing going on where people mail skittles to police chief Bill Lee, to “unsettle” the poor poor dude some more:

    Sanford Police Station.
    815 West 13th Street.
    Sanford, Fl 32771

  123. SallyStrange: bottom-feeding, work-shy peasant says

    We’re not just alleging that Zimmerman was motivated by racism, but that the cops who responded, and their chief, are too.

    Not to mention the goons who wrote, voted for, and signed into law that stupid “Stand Your Ground” legislation.

  124. NitricAcid says

    I’m always amazed at the idea that people of one minority can’t be prejudiced against another. A few months ago, I was in a college cafeteria, and overheard one person telling another, “How can Japanese people be racist? They’re practically black themselves!”

    I didn’t interrupt because I didn’t hear the whole thing, and wasn’t sure if the person was giving her opinion, or quoting someone else.

  125. Matrim says

    @123

    Yes, it’s those other gun owners who are always the problem, aren’t they?

    So I assume you blame responsible drivers for the actions of reckless ones? And responsible campers for the forest fires caused by irresponsible ones? Or people who are trained in hand to hand combat for the actions of someone who randomly beat the shit out of someone else? You’re welcome to believe that guns are evil and that owning one, however responsible the owner may be, contributes to a culture you disagree with; but it’s silly to snipe at people who didn’t do anything wrong.

  126. says

    So I assume you blame responsible drivers for the actions of reckless ones?

    unless it’s your hunting rifle you carry around with it, a gun doesn’t have another purpose other than shooting people. especially not outside a target range.

    also, yes, the heavier the car-traffic, the more likely accidents are; switching to public transport would cut down on car accidents, and is one good reason to do it in fact.

    but it’s silly to snipe at people who didn’t do anything wrong.

    because individuals exist in a vaccuum, and each individual’s action has absolutely no effect on the wider culture and vice versa.

    or, if this sarcasm is too difficult for you: the gun culture is largely responsible for this, and gun-lovers contribute to gun culture and are shaped by it in turn to accept the idea of a vigilante strolling around with a gun as normal enough not to react until after someone gets shot.

  127. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    You’re welcome to believe that guns are evil and that owning one, however responsible the owner may be, contributes to a culture you disagree with; but it’s silly to snipe at people who didn’t do anything wrong.

    I can think of several things Zimmerman did wrong, including follow the victim when warned off by police. I suspect Z may have initiated a confrontation so he could feel threatened and use his weapon. Not a very hard scenario to see, given his aggressive actions in the past, and his paranoia about minorities.

  128. Tualha says

    Some good news: I heard on NPR today that a grand jury investigation has been called and the Attorney General’s office is investigating too.

    Now if only someone would investigate why the town clowns brushed this off…

  129. says

    Some, I think, new information for the thread:

    In a cell phone call moments before his death, Trayvon Martin told a teenage girl he “was being hounded by a strange man on a cellphone who ran after him, cornered him and confronted him.” The girl recounted the call, which is confirmed by phone logs, to ABC News:
    “He said this man was watching him, so he put his hoodie on. He said he lost the man,” Martin’s friend said. “I asked Trayvon to run, and he said he was going to walk fast. I told him to run but he said he was not going to run.”
    Eventually he would run, said the girl, thinking that he’d managed to escape. But suddenly the strange man was back, cornering Martin.
    “Trayvon said, ‘What, are you following me for,’ and the man said, ‘What are you doing here.’ Next thing I hear is somebody pushing, and somebody pushed Trayvon because the head set just fell.
    The new information about the phone call casts further doubt on the account George Zimmerman, Martin’s killer, told the police. The Miami Herald reported Zimmerman told the police “he had stepped out of his truck to check the name of the street he was on when Trayvon attacked him from behind as he walked back to his truck.”

    via ThinkProgress: http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/03/20/448092/trayvon-martins-last-phone-call-moments-before-tragic-death-undermines-account-killer-gave-to-police/#comment_link

    Looks to me like Zimmerman’s “attacked me from behind” is utter bullshit.

    This whole thing is fucking disgusting.

    I seriously need to move to Norway or something.

  130. Cassandra Caligaria (Cipher), OM says

    Uh, a poorly written opinion article reeking of conspiracy-theory shit about how the mainstream media makes up racism? That’s… your source?

  131. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Not only was this not racist, its looking more and more like it was self defense.

    Funny, how one goes from aggressively following minorities to show them who is boss to being on the ground, where he probably deserved to be by trying to intimidate the kid. That is self defense on the part of the kid. Following is an aggressive act by Zimmerman, and you know it troll. All Zimmerman had to do if true is let the kid walk away and nothing hurt but his pride. Still an aggressive act by Zimmerman…

  132. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart, purveyor of candy and lies says

    Self defense against a bag of Skittles?

    Oh yes, let’s forget that Tayvon scremed for help or was on the phone shortly before the attack and he was scared. I mean, he was young and black, so of course Zimmerman needed to defend himself, especially since he chased after a 17 year old kid. That would scare any big manly man!

  133. A. R says

    From what I’ve been reading, and I’m not sure if that has already been posted here, he was not a member of a neighborhood watch (though he claimed to the 911 operator that he was), the police told him not to chase Martin, but he did. Apparently he was defending his gated community from the horrors of black male teenagers with iced tea and skittles.

  134. johnhunter says

    The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that police sources say Martin was the aggressor on Feb. 26, knocking Zimmerman to the ground with a single punch and then climbing on top of the 28-year-old neighborhood watch captain and slamming the back of his head into the ground. Police say this account, given by Zimmerman, is supported by eyewitnesses, according to the Sentinel’s report.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/la-na-nn-trayvon-martin-case-20120326,0,3121664.story

    This is why I said keep emotions out of it. As more facts come out they continually support Zimmerman’s story.

  135. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    “Not racist” Zimmerman called Martin a “fucking coon” on the 911 tape.

    But no, totally not racist.

  136. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    The only thing supporting Zimmerman’s story is Zimmerman’s story. Unfortunately, police has decided to consider that hard evidence.

  137. johnhunter says

    @Beatrice

    Did you read the links(The one I posted and the links within that article)? They completely contradict what you say. They have the eyewitness account from the person who called 911. Plus the physical evidence on the scene. They questioned him for five hours after the shooting and then did a reenactment the day after.*

    All of the evidence that has come out supports his story.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505263_162-57403069/growing-outcry-over-trayvon-martins-death/

  138. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    The witness… Is that the same witness who said that Martin was shouting for help, but the police officer on the scene corrected her and claimed it was Zimmerman?

  139. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    Oh, and he passed a voice stress test. That seems to be even less reliable than polygraph so I see no reason to even consider that an evidence of anything.

  140. johnhunter says

    @Beatrice

    The witness who said Martin was shouting for help was not an eyewitness. She just overheard the shouts. I don’t have that link handy but I’m sure its not hard to find.

    Martin’s father listened to the tape and said that was not his son on it as well.

  141. julian says

    The witness who said Martin was shouting for help was not an eyewitness. She just overheard the shouts.

    And was promptly told by the police she heard wrong and that it had been Zimmerman that had screamed for help.

    Which makes me wonder, since when is it standard police practice to tell witnesses what they heard or saw?

  142. johnhunter says

    George Zimmerman had a broken nose, two black eyes and lacerations on the back of his head the day after his fatal confrontation with 17-year-old Trayvon Martin

    WFTV-Channel 9 reported that an autopsy shows Trayvon had broken skin on his knuckles.

    http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2012-05-15/news/os-trayvon-martin-zimmerman-injuries-20120515_1_sanford-police-station-medical-report-abc-news-reports

    So far everything Zimmerman said has been true. Maybe when Spike Lee tweets his current address again you guys can send him an apology for jumping to conclusions.