The sacrifices I made for the Reason Rally »« Episode CCCXII: WRONG!

Can America get any more racist?

My flight home yesterday wasn’t great. I was generally feeling exhausted, and then in the airport, I made the mistake of watching the giant televisions they mount all over the waiting areas. You know, the giant televisions that apparently represent American political thought to every person on the planet who happens to travel through one of our airports. And the news was all about Trayvon Martin. Not about the injustice of a young black man being killed in the prime of his life; not about ghastly gun laws that justify murder; not about the bigotry of the police, who saw a dead black man and a vigilante standing over him, and shrugged their shoulders and let the vigilante walk away; no, different concerns engaged our brilliant news media.

Trayvon Martin had been discovered with an empty baggie that once contained marijuana. Uh, what? Does that matter? Are we now going to declare that past trivial legal offenses justify the death penalty now? If I gunned down that odious racist Dan Riehl, I think I could trust that a little digging would discover that perhaps he had a parking ticket somewhere in his sordid past, or perhaps he shaved the truth on his tax returns. I don’t know of any such crimes, but I’m confident that we could find something ex post facto to slime his reputation and rationalize anything I might do to him. That is, if I thought I was commissioned to act as an executioner for crimes that have not been tried, with the right to deliver the Maximum Penalty for even the pettiest of crimes.

It’s all very Judge Dredd.

And that’s not all! Maybe you’ve seen the usual photo of Trayvon Martin as a smiling young kid in a t-shirt; that’s a sneaky effort used by “hysterical race baiters” to portray him as a normal human being, which he isn’t, because he’s black. So they’ve ginned up photos of random black teenagers (they all look the same, you know) in sagging pants and posturing rudely, all to show how the real Martin conforms to their stereotypes. Or they show other photos of Martin when he’s wearing a hoodie and not smiling…because the sullen black man is dangerous. He better be smiling, and even prancing and singing, or apparently he deserves to be shot.

This seems to be the new strategy of the racist right: if they can show that Trayvon Martin wasn’t like Beaver Cleaver, then they can justify the murder. Trayvon Martin’s crime was not being white enough. They’re going to use this incident to put the whole of black culture — every bit of that diverse group that doesn’t conform to the mandatory Dick and Jane universe — on trial. Black Americans, you better practice smiling real big; you better put away that Wu-Tang Clan stuff and learn to love 1001 Strings and Pat Boone.

That was my ten minutes of outrage in the airport. It made me wonder whether black people might feel a little bit estranged when they step into a giant building like that with huge screens everywhere blaring racist apologetics.

I tuned it out before I ripped the armrest off my chair and started smashing expensive electronics everywhere, and turned to my iPad and the soothing rationality of the internet.

Then I read Jezebel.

Oh, fuck.


OK, people, did you really think pointing me to Crommunist’s post would make me feel better?

Comments

  1. Muse says

    Not made better by Crommunist’s latest post about getting the rug pulled out from under him.

  2. says

    Yep, our media fuels this nonsense, still.

    Sometimes people feel so inadequate about themselves and their lives, that they have to prejudge people as less than themselves to prop up their egos. Us versus them, by color, gender, whatever.

    And parents who feel this way will pass it on to their offspring.

  3. fredmim says

    Trayvon Martin’s crime was not being white enough.

    If Trayvon had been wearing a business suit and singing Perry Como, he would still be dead.

  4. jjgdenisrobert says

    I find it shocking that no one is mentioning that it was Trayvon who would have been justified under the “Stand Your Ground” law in using deadly force, since Zimmerman was actually stalking him. Zimmerman had no justification for following Martin, as is clearly shown by the 911 call. But let’s say that Fox is right, and that Trayvon punched Zimmerman in the nose. Trayvon would be completely justified under Florida law to do so in self-defense.

  5. jjgdenisrobert says

    The other thing is that now I feel that completely justified, if I were to meet them on the street in Florida, in shooting down both Bill O’Reilly and Geraldo Rivera, since I’ve seen them wearing those extremely threatening hoodies at a ball game…

  6. Heliantus says

    It’s not limited to Americans, I’m afraid.

    In my country, we have what we call “le délit de sale gueule” (roughly “ugly mug offense”). A bit of dark humor to characterize the rationalization our racist compatriots go to after an event like this one, saying things like “But you know, he was really looking scary”.
    Digging through the past of the victim to dig out anything looking criminal is part of the routine, too.

  7. says

    @jjgdenisrobert, I was thinking that very thing this morning on the drive in–if it turn out that Trayvon did strike Zimmerman, this is going to all get turned into “See, he was a thug.” not “How scared and angry must that 17 year old CHILD have been to attack a man?” or “How long to do our black youth have to get harassed before we cut this shit out?”

    No, he’ll be the bad guy, that child that the neighborhood watch should have been protecting as he returned home from the store, even if he did experiment with a little pot like so many kids do because they think they are immortal.

  8. says

    I saw an article on yahoo yesterday (I cant seem to find it now) that said he was suspended for having “an empty bag of marijuana”.

    Which struck me as absurd, although I understood what was meant. After all, how is an “empty bag of marijuana” any different from “an empty bag”???

    If only I had an “empty bag of million dollar bills”…oh wait, I do!

  9. hypatiasdaughter says

    I guess it your point of view depends on who you identify with.
    When I read the story, I pictured myself walking home through my subdivision, and being accosted by some self-appointed yahoo, armed with a gun, who thought he had some right to stop me and make me justify my existence to him. Fuck that!
    But, being a white, waspy, middle-aged female, that would not likely happen. And if I as shot, the vigilante would be charged with homicide so fast, his head would spin. NOBODY would swallow his claim that he had a right to stop me, let alone execute me. (If you were looking for an example of age, sex and race privilege, there it is.)

    So, this pinko, knee-jerk liberal accepts that the right to bear arms is in the Constitution, but where does it say that it includes the right to be judge, jury and executioner of your fellow citizens?

    I really hate when the stupidest assholes claim that they arm themselves to “protect other people”. Who the hell asked you to?

  10. says

    RE: Title
    Yes it can. Keep watching.

    I find it shocking that no one is mentioning that it was Trayvon who would have been justified under the “Stand Your Ground” law in using deadly force, since Zimmerman was actually stalking him. Zimmerman had no justification for following Martin, as is clearly shown by the 911 call. But let’s say that Fox is right, and that Trayvon punched Zimmerman in the nose. Trayvon would be completely justified under Florida law to do so in self-defense.

    Self defense laws only protect white people. When black people do the same thing as white people, it is always interpreted differently. Gun Control in california was signed because the Black Panthers were walking around with guns just like white people were permitted to, because unlike white people they could reasonably expect to be the targets of police violence if anyone attacked them for being, you know, black revolutionaries, the police weren’t going to save them.

    Obviously, they were violent thugs seeking to harm innocent white people, for doing the same thing as white people, for nearly the exact same reason as white people. When society interprets everything you do in the most racist way possible, you aren’t going to be given the benefit of the doubt and when a jury of ‘your peers’ is convened, it will be determined that you were a violent thug and criminal.

  11. unbound says

    On top of the attempts to dehumanize Trayvon, the media is already hard at work portraying Zimmerman as the poor victim in hiding. The last story I saw was already “balanced” in omitting several key pieces of information such as Zimmerman being instructed to not follow Trayvon and actually stalking the boy instead.

    So, apparently, I can harass a young minority until they punch me, then I’m perfectly free to shoot the kid if I live in the right state. The facts are still overwhelmingly against Zimmerman.

  12. says

    Should have had a semicolon. Dang.

    And profoundly racist origins or not, all you’re doing is escalating violence by leaving the damn things available for purchase.

  13. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    “Stand Your Ground” seems more like “Follow a person until you antagonizing them to the point of them feeling threatened enough to respond so that you can then shoot them in self defense”.

  14. says

    This pushes buttons in all sorts of directions. Maybe if we had some actual diversity in the media, the “all black people are thugs” image would be softened a bit.

    It starts with that, combined with the white privilege of “I’m not racist, I have a black friend and I never use The N Word!” And then instead of questioning the assumption that a young black kid is a thug because he’s black, you blame it on the hoodie: “if he didn’t look like a thug, he wouldn’t need to be treated like a thug.” If that isn’t satisfying enough to maintain your non-racist self-image, they look for other excuses. Maybe he isn’t a nice kid, because if he’s not a nice kid then it is OK to think of him as a thug. Maybe he’s committed a crime in the past?

    You’ll notice that none of this has anything to do with the fact that an unarmed child was shot in the street by an armed adult who first stalked and confronted him for no reason and with no authority. One of the nice things about being white is that you can shift straight from the minor issue of a dead child to the more important issue of how you feel about it, and how you think it makes you look when you identify more with the shooter than the victim.

  15. says

    Mentioned on TET (in relation to the Jezebel article) that I’m seriously angry about that whole Hunger Games racism thing. As an author myself, I write characters who are minorities (whether it’s race, ability, sexual orientation, or age) and it frustrates me to think people will be less enjoying of one of my stories cause the main character is black, or those two characters are obviously gay lovers, or that the middle-aged house retainers are just now getting engaged to each other.

  16. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    The way Zimmerman has now spun his story, it’s nearly impossible to assume self-defense on grounds of SYG on Trayvon’s part because there apparently wasn’t anything to defend himself from.
    Just a friendly neighborhood watch guy having a ride through the street, unfairly attacked by a hoodie-wearing thug.

    I still don’t believe a word that asshole is saying. Way too convenient how this whole new story is emerging now that he has had time to come up with it.

  17. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    If wearing a hoodie makes one a thug, then when I do yard work in jacket weather, I am a thug as I wear a hoodie. But somehow a fat, bald, pale old fart in hoodie doing yard work isn’t considered dangerous, never mind the hedge clippers.

  18. says

    (Please do NOT take this as an invitation to derail – it is just an observation I cannot shake.)

    To be a murder victim Trayvon Martin had to be Beaver Cleaver, in the same way that to be a rape victim one must be June Cleaver.

    Racism and sexism are not the same things, but they come from the same ugly place.

  19. janine says

    So md, Zimmerman started following Trayvon Martin because he knew that Trayvon Martin would assault him?

  20. m.brndt says

    I just wanted to defend the actual responding officers who did not make an arrest. You said that they “shrugged their shoulders and let the vigilante walk away”. If you had said the police in general showed a pattern of bigotry, I would agree with you. Especially because somebody in the police appears to be leaking little details and massaging the story to make Martin look like a criminal.

    However, the actual responding officers? Maybe they were bigoted, and maybe they were not. It is plausible that this stand your ground law actually, legitimately forced them to hesitate before arresting Zimmerman. Like it or not, all t’s must be crossed. I think it was not unreasonable (given the limited information they were sure to have) to let Zimmerman go temporarily free, and to request a grand jury examine the case before making an arrest. But, we have to come back to the police in general showing a pattern of bigotry in the delays and shady dealings that appear to be going on.

    I just wanted to point out that one of the real problems in this case is the stand your ground law that takes a certain amount of judgement out of officer’s hands. It encourages both unbalanced individuals to act on their fear, and police to hesitate to make an immediate arrest, lest it backfire on them.

  21. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    This isn’t just GZ’s story, there is a witness who says TM was on top of GZ, bashing his head into the ground. TM also broke GZ’s nose.

    That is standing one’s ground after being stalked fuckwit. Zimmerman was the agressor until he gave ground. And he never did.

  22. says

    If it makes you feel any better, some of those pictures are of Trayvon Martin, just not the Trayvon Martin that got shot. They are of some Trayvon in Kentucky.

    I don’t know why I listen to it, but there is a conservative talk radio station. I can only listen to about twenty seconds at a time. They were trying to dismiss Trayvon’s non-gangster past. One of them said:

    “Everyone is squeaky clean until their first arrest. Trayvon is not any different.”

  23. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    “Everyone is squeaky clean until their first arrest. Trayvon is not any different.”

    *being sick all over the floor*

    Sorry everyone, couldn’t help it.
    ———
    Except he wasn’t arrested… he headed straight for the execution without his murderer knowing anything more than “he’s black” about him.

  24. says

    I just wanted to point out that one of the real problems in this case is the stand your ground law that takes a certain amount of judgement out of officer’s hands.

    No it puts an inordinate amount into their hands.

    The police should fuckign arrest or bring anyone in for questioning after a death till they can sort out what happened. Buying a story at face value like that shows amazing bias.

    This isn’t just GZ’s story, there is a witness who says TM was on top of GZ, bashing his head into the ground. TM also broke GZ’s nose.

    The pure racism of this law. From what we know GZ went after TM, TM stopped and confronted GZ. TM is dead and GZ is injured…yet despite this GZ for standing his ground is a hero, TM for standing his ground deserved to die.

  25. says

    Dear Pharyngula readers: do NOT go to md’s link @ 18 if you do not want to wallow in a cesspool of racist conservative feces. Gems in the comments include:

    As evidence is mounting that Tray-Vonn is just another black male predator, not a poor victim, people are going to notice what the Demos do with it. If the race hustlers and guilt manipulators keep pushing this non-story, it could blow up in their faces.

    What a great fucking country we have here.

  26. says

    So…

    If someone tries to mug md, and md gets the upper hand on the mugger, the mugger is allowed to use the “stand your ground” law to shoot md?

    Nice to know.

  27. janine says

    Everyone is squeaky clean until their first arrest. Trayvon is not any different.

    THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS AN INNOCENT VICTIM!

  28. says

    “Everyone is squeaky clean until their first arrest. Trayvon is not any different.”

    From the start, some of the gun nuts were referring to Martin as “the perp” as though Zimmerman was a police officer confronting a criminal in the act. Sick, sad stuff.

  29. megs226 says

    My (Catholic Republican) father looked at the picture of Zimmerman and said “But he’s black too! What’s the big deal?” I just… I can’t… no.

    With a father like that, I’m not sure how I turned out OK. Thank goodness for my mother. Too bad she waited 20 to divorce his ass.

  30. md says

    GZ isn’t a hero in my book. Vigilantism isn’t to be admired or encouraged in society and I think we can say for certain GZ thought of himself and acted that way. Protect your own home and family for sure, beyond that, call 911 and leave it to the police. GZ was looking for trouble and may well have committed a crime. If he did, I hope he’s brought to justice.

    All that said, if the events went down as GZ presents them, and there is a witness corroborating them, its not hard to see why the police didnt charge GZ with a crime the way SYG is written.

    The SYG laws is definitely problematic. Its intention is to avoid charging victims of crime who fight back and win, with homicide. Yet, determining who was the victim, when there is only one witness (the person claiming victimhood), is tough to do.

  31. abbietreis says

    “This isn’t just GZ’s story, there is a witness who says TM was on top of GZ, bashing his head into the ground. TM also broke GZ’s nose.”

    There’s no doubt a scuffle ensued. There is no doubt Zimmerman provoked it by stalking Martin.

    The big question, which is unknown because THERE HAS BEEN NO POLICE INVESTIGATION, is the exact details of the confrontation between Zimmerman and Trayvon. Was Zimmerman jumped from behind and used his gun in self-defense? Honestly, I concede that’s a possibility. (Maybe Zimmerman is overweight and slow?) It’s also a possibility that Zimmerman had chances to de-escalate the situation he started. We just don’t know what happened and if shooting Trayvon was absolutely necessary. Because there was no investigation. Because of the stupid law.

    Just the basic crime scene details are murky- where did the shooting take place? How far from Zimmerman’s SUV? What exact injuries did both parties have? How close were the witnesses? None of this is clear because THERE WAS NO INVESTIGATION.

  32. says

    Yes so sad there is only one witness…and the witnesses who disagree…and the 911 call.

    Its intention is to avoid charging victims of crime who fight back and win, with homicide.

    No it’s intention is a sign of surrender from the police that they can actually do their fucking job.

    md you are a racist and a failure as a human being. I want you gone. You’re not wanted. If you have any decency you will simply stop posting rather than making a scene.

  33. m.brndt says

    I just wanted to point out that one of the real problems in this case is the stand your ground law that takes a certain amount of judgement out of officer’s hands.

    No it puts an inordinate amount into their hands.

    The police should fuckign arrest or bring anyone in for questioning after a death till they can sort out what happened. Buying a story at face value like that shows amazing bias.

    What police should do and can do are sometimes two different things. This law is sort of unique in what it does to probable cause. If on examination at the scene, there is no physical evidence and no eyewitnesses to contradict a self-defense claim by Zimmerman, then this law removes probable cause to make an arrest. They can question him, but they cannot arrest him.

    Many police officers are very upset by this law and the similar laws around the country. They regard them as redundant in the cases they were meant to apply to, and dangerous in cases like this one. I’m just trying to point out that the situation might not be as simple as the racist police officers not caring about a black kid who was killed. That might also be true, but it is entirely possible that it is not, and we shouldn’t make unwarranted assumptions.

  34. says

    We just don’t know what happened and if shooting Trayvon was absolutely necessary.

    No. Stop this. You’re not helping.

    We KNOW that the 911 dispatch told him NOT to do anything, NOT to follow, that he should NOT take this into his hands. He said “these people always get away” and ignored that. He reported it to the proper authorities, he was told that it wasn’t his problem anymore, he had the opportunity to ethically and legally walk away and he did it anyway.

    He put himself in danger when he was specifically told NOT to, and is using that danger as justification.

    That is all we need to know. Even if his life was in danger you do not get to stick your hand in the fucking wheat thresher, while on phone with John Deer tech support telling you NOT to put your hand in there, and then sue John Deer for the accident.

  35. Gregory in Seattle says

    Can America get any more racist?

    Some questions should be left unasked, lest they get answered.

  36. says

    I have little to add to PZ’s rant, save that I get a chuckle whenever anyone brings up 1001 strings. I have a ton of that stuff on vinyl. My dad used them as backing music for radio spots back in the 70’s. It’s actually really relaxing elevator music… ;)

  37. says

    I’m just trying to point out that the situation might not be as simple as the racist police officers not caring about a black kid who was killed. That might also be true, but it is entirely possible that it is not, and we shouldn’t make unwarranted assumptions.

    Out of curiosity how many bodies do we need before the assumption isn’t ‘unwarranted’?

    In fact, given the absurd amount of biased reporting and skewing and ignoring facts we see in this fuckign thread, much less the news and the rest of the country, why the fucking hell should we see the police taking one side of a story against a black kid who is DEAD and somehow give them the benefit of the doubt that they and THEY ALONE remain untainted by racial bias?

    Give me a break.

  38. janine says

    And yet you link to an article that makes a bad pun of the victim’s name, makes fun of the idea that people involved in stripping just might care for social justice while at the same time, smears activists and points out the his parents trademarked some line. Sorry, I can understand why the parents did that, it is to keep predators from profiting from the situation.

    Md, please, let us know where you are at so that we can send an armed man stalking you. If you dare to fight back, we can blame you for any injury you receive.

    To paraphrase something that some conservatives like to say, if it slimes like an assclam and talks like an assclam, it’s an assclam.

  39. says

    I’m just trying to point out that the situation might not be as simple as the racist police officers not caring about a black kid who was killed. That might also be true, but it is entirely possible that it is not, and we shouldn’t make unwarranted assumptions.

    Oh for fuck’s sake. People get arrested for self defense all the fucking time. You don’t just say it and get to walk away. It’s a defense in court – and you have to go to court and demonstrate that it applies. Given also that the department in question has a history of ignoring crimes against black people, it’s well within the bounds of probability that the cops on the street were fucking racist. In fact, I don’ give a shit if they weren’t ‘motivated by racial bias’ or what have you, because their actions further racist bullshit *ANYWAY*.

  40. says

    Hell… and the right-wingers/racists win again.

    One of the genius things about right-wing framing is that to argue against the small points helps give validity to the larger point to a wider audience. By shifting the efforts of their opponents to defending Martin from accusations that he was a bad kid, it takes all the attention away from the larger issue which is that Zimmerman and other vigilantes shouldn’t be allowed to play judge, jury, and executioner on our streets. To the majority of people who aren’t following this situation closely, the argument becomes “well, maybe Trayvon was a good kid, so the problem is that shooters need to be more careful in selecting their targets” instead of “neighborhood watch members don’t get to select people for harassment let alone execution even if they are actively engaged in non-violent crimes.”

    Trayvon Martin could have been walking down the street with a baseball bat breaking car windows and then dropping baggies of weed and terrorist recruitment pamphlets into the passenger seats, and that wouldn’t have justified Zimmerman killing him.

  41. m.brndt says

    I’m just trying to point out that the situation might not be as simple as the racist police officers not caring about a black kid who was killed. That might also be true, but it is entirely possible that it is not, and we shouldn’t make unwarranted assumptions.

    Out of curiosity how many bodies do we need before the assumption isn’t ‘unwarranted’?

    In fact, given the absurd amount of biased reporting and skewing and ignoring facts we see in this fuckign thread, much less the news and the rest of the country, why the fucking hell should we see the police taking one side of a story against a black kid who is DEAD and somehow give them the benefit of the doubt that they and THEY ALONE remain untainted by racial bias?

    Give me a break.

    If you had read my posts, then you would realize that I neither said that police were not bigoted, nor that bigotry was necessarily not involved in the decision to not arrest Zimmerman.

    What I have said is that it is possible that the decision to not arrest him was made purely because of the stupidity of a law that makes these situations legally murky. Possible, just possible. The officers at the scene may have been racist, but they also may not have been. Some officers in the police force investigating are certainly racist as they have been leaking details about Martin to the press in an attempt to smear him as a criminal and appear to be delaying the legal process.

    Please, direct your anger towards the real problems in this case, and don’t paint everyone and everything with the same brush. Things are rarely that simple. Like I said, in general there is racism in this case, but that doesn’t mean that everyone involved is racist. It just doesn’t.

  42. Billy Clyde Tuggle says

    “On top of the attempts to dehumanize Trayvon, the media is already hard at work portraying Zimmerman as the poor victim in hiding. The last story I saw was already “balanced” in omitting several key pieces of information such as Zimmerman being instructed to not follow Trayvon and actually stalking the boy instead.”

    The Miami Herald ran a piece (on the 7th I believe) that seemed fairly balanced. It made it very clear that the 911 operator instructed Zimmerman not to follow Martin. It also made it clear that Zimmerman was profiling Martin. On the other hand it did state that complex was racially mixed and that there were black people in the complex who thought highly of Zimmerman because he had either been the only one to welcome them to the neighborhood when they moved in or because he had helped thwart a property crime where they were the intended victim. Far from portraying Zimmerman as the poor victim, I read another article which brought up his past run ins with the law including domestic violence with his ex-wife.

    The accounts of witness testimony that I’ve read are conflicting. Everything from Zimmerman shot Martin in the back while he was running away to Zimmerman pinned on the ground crying for help as Martin beat him.

    IMO, think the only thing that is fairly certain at this point is that this whole thing would not have transpired if Zimmerman would have listened to the 911 operator. As to what actually transpired during the encounter between Zimmerman and Martin, I think is anybody’s guess at this point.

  43. says

    It is plausible that this stand your ground law actually, legitimately forced them to hesitate before arresting Zimmerman.

    Bullshit. The police are not judges. If they have reasonable grounds to believe that a crime has been committed—like, oh I dunno… a dead child lying on the pavement and a man with a gun in his hand—they arrest the man on suspicion of having committed a crime. It is up to a court to decide whether he committed a crime or not. Whether or not, in this case, his actions were justified under ‘stand your ground’ and therefore not criminal. That decision is not for the police to make.

  44. says

    After discussing his location with the dispatcher, Zimmerman exclaimed, “Shit he’s running,” and the following sounds suggest he left his vehicle to run after Martin.

    “Are you following him?” the dispatcher asked. Zimmerman replied: “Yep.”

    “Okay, we don’t need you to do that,” the dispatcher warned.

    http://motherjones.com/politics/2012/03/what-happened-trayvon-martin-explained

    DONE. STORY. OVER.

    The courts’ interpretation of the stand-your-ground law has been extremely broad—so broad that, to win an acquittal, a defendant doesn’t even have to prove self-defense, only argue for it, while to win a conviction the prosecution has to prove that self-defense was impossible.

    “Trayvon’s body was bagged and taken to the morgue, where he was tagged as a John Doe,” writes African American affairs blogger Sandra Rose. “No one contacted Trayvon’s family even though police had Trayvon’s cell phone in their possession.”

    They just bagged him and iced him like a slab of beef and didn’t even bother to try to contact a family.

    How howhowhowhowhwohwohowhowhow HOW can you still give them benefit of the doubt?

  45. says

    Please, direct your anger towards the real problems in this case, and don’t paint everyone and everything with the same brush. Things are rarely that simple. Like I said, in general there is racism in this case, but that doesn’t mean that everyone involved is racist. It just doesn’t.,

    Actually, yes assholes like you who look for any reason to excuse the police ARE the problem in this case. So my iron sights are properly calibrated.

    You are WRONG on the police procedure, as has been pointed out and you don’t care enough about that to actually look up the facts. no no no the important thing for you is protecting the Poypoy.

  46. m.brndt says

    I’m just trying to point out that the situation might not be as simple as the racist police officers not caring about a black kid who was killed. That might also be true, but it is entirely possible that it is not, and we shouldn’t make unwarranted assumptions.

    Oh for fuck’s sake. People get arrested for self defense all the fucking time. You don’t just say it and get to walk away. It’s a defense in court – and you have to go to court and demonstrate that it applies. Given also that the department in question has a history of ignoring crimes against black people, it’s well within the bounds of probability that the cops on the street were fucking racist. In fact, I don’ give a shit if they weren’t ‘motivated by racial bias’ or what have you, because their actions further racist bullshit *ANYWAY*.

    You didn’t get to just say it and walk away, before this law. The basis of this law has been legal precedent forever, but it was enforced in court. Now, with this law, police may not have probable cause once self defence is claimed.

    I agree that the cops may have been racist. If you like, I might even admit that they probably were. However, once you just start painting everything with the racist brush, you miss the very important need to address this law and the harm it does. Immediately after the shooting this law is what caused the problem. Later, when police started smearing Martin, that is when racism became the problem.

  47. says

    IMO, think the only thing that is fairly certain at this point is that this whole thing would not have transpired if Zimmerman would have listened to the 911 operator. As to what actually transpired during the encounter between Zimmerman and Martin, I think is anybody’s guess at this point.

    The first part is all that is relevant. The second part is bullshit.

    Seriously, this is true of every fucking crime, yet is there a goddamn soul alive who will HONESTLY say they don’t think OJ did it?

  48. says

    Please, direct your anger towards the real problems in this case
    Actually, rushing to defend white people from their racist decisions is one of those real problems.

    Like I said, in general there is racism in this case, but that doesn’t mean that everyone involved is racist. It just doesn’t.

    Um, the guys who released a dude without an investigation, despite clear reason for one, may not have overtly thought “Eh, that kid was just a thug”, but they have contributed to the problem of racial violence. They were fucking racist there, period. They could truly want racial equality and donate money to the NAACP and SPLC, they would *Still* have been fucking racist to have just released this jackass.

  49. says

    I agree that the cops may have been racist. If you like, I might even admit that they probably were. However, once you just start painting everything with the racist brush, you miss the very important need to address this law and the harm it does. Immediately after the shooting this law is what caused the problem. Later, when police started smearing Martin, that is when racism became the problem.

    Bullshit. How can you even determine if the law comes into play before you figure out what happened? the 911 call IMO shows that the law doesnt’ qualify here. This is bullshit excuse making.

  50. says

    You didn’t get to just say it and walk away, before this law.

    AFAIK, SYG only expands what qualifies as valid self defense. It doesn’t say claiming to act in self defense obviates any need for a trial.

  51. says

    Seriously, under that reading of SYG anyone can just say “they came at me with a knife” and not be taken in for questioning. Hell, any murderer is just released now because of their claim and even if the police do come back that’s more than enough item for the person to leave town. How the fuck do you think that works?

    And if it’s only defenses they find plausible HMMM We’re right back to that racism thing now where they believe the lighter skinned guy over other people’s stories!

  52. m.brndt says

    Actually, yes assholes like you who look for any reason to excuse the police ARE the problem in this case. So my iron sights are properly calibrated.

    You are WRONG on the police procedure, as has been pointed out and you don’t care enough about that to actually look up the facts. no no no the important thing for you is protecting the Poypoy.

    First, go read what I wrote. You obviously haven’t. I have not defended the police from the charges of racism. Some of them certainly are racist, and some of them probably are, and some of them might not be. My point was that it doesn’t matter as regards this law. There’s a real problem with racism in this case, and that needs to be addressed. There is a also a real problem with the law in this case, and that has been somewhat lost. I was just trying to highlight that problem because others have been doing an excellent job talking about the racism.

    You are wrong on police procedure. What you seem to think is the way that things work, is actually the way that things used to work before this law. Now everything is fucked up. We need to chuck this law because it is doing more harm than good.

  53. tbp1 says

    I went to high school in the early 70s. Although I didn’t smoke pot, I knew lots of kids of who did. And I, along with virtually everyone I knew, drank illegally, to some extent or other; it was simply a rite of passage. The pot smokers are now doctors, lawyers, engineers, college professors, accountants, restaurant owners, social workers, truck drivers, car salesmen, janitors, teachers, preachers (there are always a few bad apples), retired, unemployed and in some cases, dead. In other words, distributed pretty normally across the socio-economic ladder. If any of them are criminals I haven’t heard about it, although perhaps I wouldn’t. Ditto the drinkers. This should be a total non-issue, but as soon as it surfaced I knew what was going to happen.

  54. says

    You are wrong on police procedure. What you seem to think is the way that things work, is actually the way that things used to work before this law. Now everything is fucked up. We need to chuck this law because it is doing more harm than good.

    No you are just fucking wrong. Go back and fine one fucking example that shows that your delusion is how things are done. I will gladly apologize if you can. You’ve just come in speculating that agency was removed from the officers ignoring common sense and other data.

    Btw, did SYG stop them from checking the cell phone so as to ID the body? Is that why they seemed to just label a dead black kid with fucking ID on him as John Doe?

  55. dano says

    Has there been any news from the Justice Department on the case? I am hoping that they will conduct a full investigation to put this case to rest no matter what the outcome.

    On one hand we have early news that seems to point towards GZ as being in the wrong regarding the death of TM & now we are hearing new information that may shed some light on what happened from an eye witness that may contradict earlier claims. I do believe GZ should have been brought in for questioning and second you are innocent until proven guilty.

    As I have stated in an earlier post on another blog if GZ is guilty then he should be given the punishment as seen fit by the courts whether that be life in prison or worse. I do not ever condone the taking of another’s life unless there is no other option to save your own life or the life of another.

  56. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    You didn’t get to just say it and walk away, before this law. The basis of this law has been legal precedent forever, but it was enforced in court. Now, with this law, police may not have probable cause once self defence is claimed.

    As far as the police is concerned, they had a guy with a gun and a dead kid. He could have said easter bunny made him do it, they were still supposed to question him and the court should evaluate his claim about the easter bunny.

  57. says

    Shut up dano.

    I do not ever condone the taking of another’s life unless there is no other option to save your own life or the life of another.

    Well you should it’s in your bible.

    I am hoping that they will conduct a full investigation to put this case to rest no matter what the outcome.

    I guess getting you to care about the procedure is the best we can hope for. Asking you to care about people making the right decision is clearly too much.

  58. says

    If SYG actually does obviate the need for a trial when self defense, florida’s prison population is going to drop some as all the murderers walk (Because new defenses and changes to laws that would cause someone to be released can be applied retroactively.) So I guess a little good might come of it.

    Seriously though. Just cleanse the planet with orbital fire.

  59. No One says

    I heard the phrase “mean and dumb” the other day. That just about sums it up.

  60. m.brndt says

    Seriously, under that reading of SYG anyone can just say “they came at me with a knife” and not be taken in for questioning. Hell, any murderer is just released now because of their claim and even if the police do come back that’s more than enough item for the person to leave town. How the fuck do you think that works?

    And if it’s only defenses they find plausible HMMM We’re right back to that racism thing now where they believe the lighter skinned guy over other people’s stories!

    How it works is that police don’t just get to arrest anyone they want to. They have to have a thing called probable cause. They have to have evidence that a crime was commited. With the SYG law, they need to have some evidence that self-defense is not a valid defense. If the evidence is murky and inconclusive, they still don’t get to just up an arrest a US citizen. First they must let a grand jury examine the evidence to see if it is enough to make an arrest. The law in Florida specifically states this.

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

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

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

  61. jimnorth says

    I blame comic books. Specifically the Batman. If he hadn’t started all this vigilante business, we wouldn’t be such a screwed up country. Therefore, burn all the comic books you see. Let’s end this stupidity now.

    SYG laws fit snugly within RWA thinking. I am going to make sure that my local and state representatives get an earful concerning civil rights and individual liberties that must be preserved in order to prevent awful outcomes such as this.

  62. m.brndt says

    The police can bring you in for questioning and detain you without arresting you.

    That’s covered in the law too.

    is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force

    As used in this subsection, the term “criminal prosecution” includes arresting, detaining in custody, and charging or prosecuting the defendant.

  63. m.brndt says

    So every single fucking murder ever?

    Seriously, anyone caught with a knife in their hand can now claim SYG?

    Yes, potentially, if there isn’t contradictory evidence. That’s why this law is so stupid and dangerous. It was already covered in the sensible circumstances by legal precedent, but this law expanded that ridiculously.

  64. FilthyHuman says

    @m.brndt
    #74
    … Wow…

    Okay, I’ll give m.brndt credit here for digging that up. That was REALLY fucked up.

  65. abbietreis says

    “No. Stop this. You’re not helping.”

    Sorry. Definitely not trying to defend Zimmerman- there was a *big* “if” in my statement. I don’t believe Zimmerman’s story. But we simply don’t know exactly what happened after he went after Trayvon on foot. A scuffle broke out. Who threw the first punch almost doesn’t matter, since Zimmerman was the instigator. (Trayvon would be acting in self-defence against a stalker.) The worst case scenario is that Zimmerman was jumped from behind and used his gun in what *he considered* self-defence. I find it highly unlikely it got to that point without Zimmerman having a chance to de-escalate. And of course since he ultimately started it, he’s entirely to blame. But this wasn’t first degree murder.

    Zimmerman needs to be arrested and an impartial investigation needs to take place. Don’t worry I am in no way denying the racism inherent in Zimmerman’s suspicions and the application of the idiotic ALEC/NRA spawned law.

  66. m.brndt says

    WTF? How on earthy are they actually supposed to investigate ANY case? Can you demonstrate that they actually have been using this standard in prior cases or is this a selective following of the law?

    They can investigate, just not arrest or detain. They can gather physical evidence, they can question other people. They can politely ask you to submit to questioning, but they don’t get to force you. Like I said, this law is just stupid.

  67. says

    A person who uses force as permitted in s. 776.012, s. 776.013, or s. 776.031 is justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force,

    In practice, that means “You can’t be sued in a civil court”, when the victim is white. The determination that the person was justified is a matter that has to be determined in a court of law, as it always was (Self defense is a defense of justification; “What I did was normally wrong, but under these circumstances, I was justified”). Yes, I’m aware of what it says further, but it specifies the use of force has to be justified, which isn’t a matter of fact until the investigation.

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

    Which changes nothing (Hint: Probable Cause was always required, and even if you say they had none then, they have it now). You don’t know what you’re talking about.

  68. says

    They can investigate, just not arrest or detain.

    Did you fail high school civics? They always needed probable cause, but dead people have traditionally been held as it.

  69. StevoR says

    More on (or should that be moron?) Bolt here :

    http://sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Andrew_Bolt

    & here :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Bolt

    Incl. (scroll down)

    In September 2010, nine individuals commenced legal proceedings in the Federal Court against Bolt and the Herald Sun over two separate posts on Bolt’s blog. The nine are suing over posts titled “It’s so hip to be black”/”White is the New Black” and “White Fellas in the Black”. The articles suggested it was fashionable for “fair-skinned people” of diverse ancestry to choose Aboriginal racial identity for the purposes of political and career clout …(snip) .. On 28 September 2011 Bolt was found to have contravened section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.

    in case its of any help / interest.

    Ashamed to say he’s not only Aussie but Adelaide born.

  70. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    So… It really is enough for someone to claim they just stood their ground and, unless they accidentally left their murder plan on the table beside the body, police can’t even take them in for questioning?
    That is seriously fucked up.

  71. says

    @Beatrice

    I still don’t believe it, like Rutee says a body typically is probable cause.

    now if it turned out the other way, where they arrested or questioned him and now face a suit because they violated his rights under the law I would believe it. As it stands it seems like cops saw dead black guy and claim of self defense means the case is closed.

  72. StevoR says

    @77.Ing: I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream So I Comment Instead

    @StevoR – At least we won’t have these problems on the moon

    Yup. Wish I was there. Get me off this planet!

    Oh & its always worse on Jupiter too!

  73. says

    So… It really is enough for someone to claim they just stood their ground and, unless they accidentally left their murder plan on the table beside the body, police can’t even take them in for questioning?

    IANAL, but neither is this idiot, and I wouldn’t say that.

    For instance, if this situation were hypothetically inverted, Martin being black is probable cause that the force wasn’t justified, in the eyes of the law.

  74. FilthyHuman says

    @Ing
    #85

    I’m going to need to see another case at least where they did this to believe that this is what the law says they have to do.

    I think the wording is very clear.
    Statue 776.032

    Additionally, there’s this little gem.
    “… but the agency may not arrest the person for using force unless it determines that there is probable cause that the force that was used was unlawful.”

    In short, It looks like that once you claim self-defense and the responding officer can’t find a probably cause in that moment to arrest him, they can’t touch him.

    WTF indeed…

  75. says

    Uh, guys “Probable cause” isn’t that high a standard for an arrest; it’s the normal standard for an arrest. For reals, yo, according to that statute you prosecute an alleged self defense case the same you always do.

  76. Billy Clyde Tuggle says

    The first part is all that is relevant. The second part is bullshit.

    Seriously, this is true of every fucking crime, yet is there a goddamn soul alive who will HONESTLY say they don’t think OJ did it?

    I disagree. If we had HD video footage of the shooting, then we would know if TM was shot in the back while running away or if he was on top of GZ beating him and GZ pulled his gun and shot him in self-defense. At this point, all I’ve read are different second hand “accounts” of eyewitness testimony. I can’t honestly say that I know one way or another, whereas with OJ it’s crystal clear what went down.

    Also, just because GZ was foolish and ignored the 911 operators advice, doesn’t make the events that followed irrelevant. If GZ walked toward TM pulled his gun out and shot him execution style, then that is far different compared to TM getting spooked by GZ’s approach and opting for a physical attack of GZ instead of running away. The former is a heinous crime while the latter is a horrible tragedy aggravated by very poor judgement.

  77. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    Ing & ruteekatreya,

    I hope you are both right.

    The law as explained by m.brndt sounds too ridiculous to exist, but nothing surprises me anymore.

  78. FilthyHuman says

    @Billy Clyde Tuggle
    #93

    Also, just because GZ was foolish and ignored the 911 operators advice, doesn’t make the events that followed irrelevant. If GZ walked toward TM pulled his gun out and shot him execution style, then that is far different compared to TM getting spooked by GZ’s approach and opting for a physical attack of GZ instead of running away. The former is a heinous crime while the latter is a horrible tragedy aggravated by very poor judgement.

    The former is the heinous crime.
    The latter is… STILL a heinous crime!
    Why does TM have to be the one who run away? Why can’t GZ run away? TM don’t even HAVE a gun!

  79. says

    Also, just because GZ was foolish and ignored the 911 operators advice, doesn’t make the events that followed irrelevant.

    If you provoke a fight, you don’t typically have the right to claim self defense in it, actually.

    Granted, no court would say that in *this* case, because this is obviously just a well meaning white man. If Trayvon was nervous, it’s because he had something to hide. *Retch*

    The law as explained by m.brndt sounds too ridiculous to exist, but nothing surprises me anymore.

    Well, they have to make sure they can still arrest black or poor people who kill people, so they can’t write such massive, easily exploitable loopholes directly into the law. As I’ve intimated, ‘probable cause’ can be used to do what the law doesn’t, in a deeply racist society such as our’s.

  80. m.brndt says

    Did you fail high school civics? They always needed probable cause, but dead people have traditionally been held as it.

    No, I did just fine in civics, thanks.

    Unfortunately, this law specifically states that self-defense isn’t a crime, and that you cannot be arrested for it, so no a dead body isn’t evidence. It’s evidence that someone has been killed, not why they were killed.

    Don’t blame the messenger. This law is seriously fucked up, and the way this case is playing out is an excellent example of exacly why. Like it or not, the police are on solid legal ground by not arresting Zimmerman, however they got there. That’s why this law needs to go.

  81. FilthyHuman says

    @Beatrice
    #94

    The law as explained by m.brndt sounds too ridiculous to exist, but nothing surprises me anymore.

    I’m sorry Beatrice.
    Statue 776.032
    That is the exact wording of the relevant law.

  82. says

    Christopher Bair, #2: It’s not just our media. It’s all of our institutions.

    And, because not all racists are overt like the people defaming Trayvon Martin or whining on Twitter are, plenty of racists do not feel inadequate about themselves. They simply have grown up in an environment of white supremacy and they base their assumptions on what they have been taught, both deliberately and through osmosis.

    Iris, #27: Too late. I should have known better, because I know what Rod Dreher is, but I clicked anyway. My gorge rose. To md: If you find him “thoughtful,” as you said yesterday, you are a scum-sucking racist idiot independent of anything you have said on this blog.

    Ing, #30: It’s also why they latch onto people such as Terri Schiavo.

    m.brndt, #47:

    Please, direct your anger towards the real problems in this case, and don’t paint everyone and everything with the same brush.

    Scroll up and read my response to Christopher Bair. Racism is not just people in white hoods burning crosses on lawns. And I have no patience for people like you who complain more about “false accusations of racism” than about ACTUAL racism.

    I’d suggest that both you and Mr. Bair, but especially you, read some Tim Wise. There are plenty of writers of color who address the subject excellently, too, but maybe a white man will be more palatable for you to start with.

  83. says

    That is the exact wording of the relevant law.

    The standard for an arrest in an investigation, as specified in SYG, is “Probable cause”. Do you know what the normal standard of arrest is in an investigation? I’ll give you a hint. It rhymes with “Mobbable Claws”.

    Frankly I can’t imagine a self defense killing, even a real one, that wouldn’t have probable cause.

    If you could get a thousand eyewitnesses to unanimously agree on one version of events that didn’t involve you being at fault, that might do it.

  84. consciousness razor says

    m.brndt

    Here’s the very next subsection after the part you quoted:

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

    The way I read this (not a lawyer), the police can arrest them but can be sued if the court decides the person shouldn’t have been arrested, because a court still decides whether or not the person is immune under this law.

    But of course, that risks a lot of paperwork and costing the department some money. They’d have way more fund spending that on some shiny new tasers.

  85. Ogvorbis: shameless AND impudent! says

    If GZ walked toward TM pulled his gun out and shot him execution style, then that is far different compared to TM getting spooked by GZ’s approach and opting for a physical attack of GZ instead of running away. The former is a heinous crime while the latter is a horrible tragedy aggravated by very poor judgement.

    Yes, the former is a crime — murder. The second is the child defender himself from what he percieved as a dangerous attacker. In other words, he stood his ground.

    If you provoke a fight, you don’t typically have the right to claim self defense in it, actually.

    Unless you are white and the victim is a black male.

    The law itself may not be racist. Actually, I don’t think it is racist. The way that the law is being implemented in Sanford is racist. And the way the law is implemented anywhere that SYG exists will probably be racist. White man kills a black man? Self defense. Black man kills a white man? Murder.

  86. says

    No, Consciousness Razor, that just means that if it’s found that your defense was justified, the court will pay your civil action fees (to a degree). It doesn’t entitle the defendant to sue the police for being brought in – at least not moreso than already might be present (If the arrest was actually illegal because of a lack of probable cause).

    Really, guys, the standards to be arrested, pending an investigation, in SYG are bog-standard. That the defense in court is broader doesn’t mean it’s ‘supposed’ to be easier to avoid going to court, only that you’re ‘supposed’ to be let off easier after you get there.

  87. FilthyHuman says

    @rutee
    #101

    The standard for an arrest in an investigation, as specified in SYG, is “Probable cause”. Do you know what the normal standard of arrest is in an investigation? I’ll give you a hint. It rhymes with “Mobbable Claws”.

    Except, in this case, the Florida law CHANGED the criteria for it to be considered probably cause.

    Florida statues 776.032
    “but the agency may not arrest the person for using force unless it determines that there is probable cause that the force that was used was unlawful.
    The probably cause here wasn’t that someone’s dead, the probably cause was that the deadly force used was unlawful.

  88. Emrysmyrddin says

    Dear fucking fuck, I’ve only just hit Winterwind’s ‘Calling Out Racism on the RDF Site’ guest post on Black Skeptics. The level of less-than-the-LEAST-of-a-clue from a select few posters is over-fucking-whelming. Fuck. One of the special rare occasions when I do actually need a fainting couch.

  89. says

    I’m not sure the link will work, but here’s a damn good question from the Jezebel thread:

    White people, I have a earnest (albeit ranty) question for you.

    Why are so many of you always so utterly amazed and horrified when presented with direct evidence of overt racism? Black people have been saying that we experience this stuff on a daily basis since forever. And yet, every post like this has people reacting as if racism is some kind of shocking aberration or an unforeseeable act of God or something. It’s not – it is the norm, and not at all surprising. Why won’t you stop staring with your mouths agape and acknowledge this? Better yet, do something about it?

    I also read in the thread that one author of racist tweets, joe_longley, has taken down his Twitter account and is threatening legal action against Jezebel. Yeah, good luck with that, you stupid asshole.

  90. says

    Unfortunately, this law specifically states that self-defense isn’t a crime.

    Self defense was never a crime. That’s why it’s an absolute defense in court. It’s also an affirmative defense, which means you still have to prove that it is the case in court. That doesn’t change that you go to court, you lackwit. That self defense is expanded doesn’t change these facts.

    and that you cannot be arrested for i

    Probable Cause has always been required to be arrested, you fucking nitwit.

    Don’t blame the messenger.

    You’re either stupid or a liar, not a messenger. Everything you have said is false. I will blame you for that.

  91. FilthyHuman says

    @Ing
    #102

    Again, I would agree the law and not racism is the problem…if it turned out the other way and they got in trouble for arresting/questioning him.

    I can’t, 100%, claim whether racism of the responding officer (or police force) is or isn’t a problem here.

    But the law does allow racists ass-hat a lot of leeway to practice their racism.

  92. w00dview says

    Seriously I think the worst damage the KKK has done is that it’s convinced well meaning idiots (like above) that racists have a fucking uniform they wear in the line of duty and that anyone not wearing one is given the benefit of the doubt.

    QFFT

    Many people think that the KKK are some ridiculous cartoon villains that seem to hold these horrid viewpoints completely independent of the social setting and culture at the time. It is why subtle bigotry such as saying racist shit and then immediately following it with “I have (insert minority) friends so I can’t be racist!” is giving such leeway in society.

  93. says

    “but the agency may not arrest the person for using force unless it determines that there is probable cause that the force that was used was unlawful.”
    The probably cause here wasn’t that someone’s dead, the probably cause was that the deadly force used was unlawful.

    A body is typically taken as probable cause that the force was unlawful – even when deadly force turns out to be completely justified, there is good cause to believe it wasn’t and this needs to be investigated. SYG isn’t the first self defense law to permit deadly force. The problem is, this body isn’t white.

    And suddenly, people are falling over themselves to learn something about the law so they can try to justify what’s happening when a non-white body isn’t cause to arrest the guy who was holding the gun. Despite this being the norm – even in self defense – when it’s two white people or two black people.

  94. Billy Clyde Tuggle says

    If you provoke a fight, you don’t typically have the right to claim self defense in it, actually.

    Yes, but what qualifies as a “provoking” action? If I approach you and say “hey, what are you doing here?” and you respond by physically attacking me, am I not legally justified in claiming self-defense if I defend myself from your physical attack?

    Granted, no court would say that in *this* case, because this is obviously just a well meaning white man. If Trayvon was nervous, it’s because he had something to hide. *Retch*

    Perhaps, but I think nature of the “provoking action” would matter.

  95. FilthyHuman says

    @Ing
    #115

    Again…they left his body as John Doe. Despite it having a cell phone on it.

    Wait… what?

    Okay, while one could chalk that up to incompetence… odds are pretty good that there are a lot of racists ass-hat in that police department.

  96. says

    Yes, but what qualifies as a “provoking” action? If I approach you and say “hey, what are you doing here?” and you respond by physically attacking me, am I not legally justified in claiming self-defense if I defend myself from your physical attack?

    What is your point? I honestly can’t be bothered to point out that you lack enough context for any judgment to be made, so really what’s the point? In this case this was a provoking action, especially since authorities told him not to follow.

  97. m.brndt says

    Probable Cause has always been required to be arrested, you fucking nitwit.

    Yes, have you actually been reading what I’ve written? You seem to arguing with a strawman.

    This law does not add the requirement of probable cause. No one ever said that it did. It changes what probable cause is. If you can be arrested for any shooting, then probable cause is a dead body. This is exactly what I think the law should be. It is also what the law was.. If you cannot be arrested for self-defense, which this law explicitly states, then probable cause is much more nebulous. If you are really commited to fighting bigotry, then you should be outraged by this easily misapplied law, not defending it.

  98. says

    Wait… what?

    Okay, while one could chalk that up to incompetence… odds are pretty good that there are a lot of racists ass-hat in that police department.

    GEE YEAH! IT’S LIKE PEOPLE ARE EITHER IGNORING OR NOT BOTHERING TO GET THE FULL RANGE OF CONTEXT BEFORE ARGUING THAT IT WASN’T RACISM NOW ISN’T IT!? JUST LIKE EVERY SINGLE OTHER FUCKING TIME

    Sorry not exactly directed at you just my frustration that I linked to a list of facts about it and pointed that fact out multiple times.

    By societal standards

    FOr white people to be a threat they have to be wearing a white hood and wielding a fucking chainsaw before people consider not giving them BoD

    In order to be a threat black people have to wear a hoodie

  99. consciousness razor says

    It doesn’t entitle the defendant to sue the police for being brought in – at least not moreso than already might be present (If the arrest was actually illegal because of a lack of probable cause).

    Ah, sorry, that’s basically what I meant, but it wouldn’t be there if the law forbids police arresting them in the first place, unless they have joggable gauze, which is standard just like you’ve been saying.

  100. says

    If you cannot be arrested for self-defense, which this law explicitly states, then probable cause is much more nebulous. If you are really commited to fighting bigotry, then you should be outraged by this easily misapplied law, not defending it.

    FFS no one is defending this law. It’s horrible.

    They’re pointing out that it seems unlikely you’re reading is correct as self-defense has to be established in court so this law is basically requiring retrocausation.

  101. FilthyHuman says

    @Billy
    #117

    Yes, but what qualifies as a “provoking” action? If I approach you and say “hey, what are you doing here?” and you respond by physically attacking me, am I not legally justified in claiming self-defense if I defend myself from your physical attack?

    If it’s a simple approach (as in, you saw someone standing there, and you walk up and ask a question), then it would be likely, under the rule of law, that you would by justified in claiming self-defense.

    However, in TM’s case. The action here is NOT approaching, but pursuing or stalking by GZ, which mean that under any sane rule of law, he shouldn’t be able to claim defense since he’s the one who was first to pose a threat.

  102. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Yes, but what qualifies as a “provoking” action? If I approach you and say “hey, what are you doing here?” and you respond by physically attacking me, am I not legally justified in claiming self-defense if I defend myself from your physical attack?

    Stalking for blocks isn’t provoking in its own right? Stalking is illegal. Zimmerman was stalking by following for blocks. Get your mind around that fact.

  103. says

    Even if it turned out all right Zimemrman is a fucking idiot who should be stopped. 911 told him not to get involved, this is the sort of jackass who plays hero and makes dangerous situations worse. This is why firefighters tell you not to run back into the building when they’re there. Imagine if they showed up early and found a white guy with a gun pulled on a black guy? He wasn’t helping on any fractal level.

  104. FilthyHuman says

    @Daisy Cutter
    #125

    Yep. And they gave his father the runaround when he was trying to find his son.

    … FUCK!

  105. sundiver says

    What’s stupid about all this is if a fucking cop shoots someone there is all kinds of shit s/he has to deal with in the way of an investigation. To sound a bit like Stanley Kowalski, I got an acquaintance who knows about this stuff. He’s a lieutenant with the Milwaukee PD and his stance is the Sanford PD fucked up big time. No investigation, no questioning of eyewitnesses; they should at least have taken GZ to the station and given the DA’s office a look the case and see if charges should have been brought. The chief deserved to be canned and the two cops on the scene were morons in my friend’s opinion. The hicks screwed the pooch on this and it’s gonna be bitch getting it straightened out, assuming it CAN be straightened out.

  106. FilthyHuman says

    @Ing
    #128

    Out of curiosity, what does the law say they should do in the case of a fight where both sides claim self defense? Let them both go?

    Let the whites go, “detain” the black ones.

  107. Billy Clyde Tuggle says

    What is your point? I honestly can’t be bothered to point out that you lack enough context for any judgment to be made, so really what’s the point? In this case this was a provoking action, especially since authorities told him not to follow.

    I agree, I don’t have enough context to make a judgement as to whether or not GZ has a legitimate claim to self-defense. I was posing a hypothetical scenario under which GZ could IMO have a legitimate claim to self-defense even though he made the initial approach toward TM.

  108. Matt Penfold says

    How it works is that police don’t just get to arrest anyone they want to. They have to have a thing called probable cause. They have to have evidence that a crime was commited. With the SYG law, they need to have some evidence that self-defense is not a valid defense. If the evidence is murky and inconclusive, they still don’t get to just up an arrest a US citizen. First they must let a grand jury examine the evidence to see if it is enough to make an arrest.

    The evidence is a dead person and some admitting to having killed them. A determination that a claim of self-defence is justified cannot be made until a thorough investigation has taken place, and such an investigation cannot take place without arresting and interviewing under caution the person who did the killing.

  109. sundiver says

    Personally, I think GZ got all uppity and in Martin’s face, provoked a fight and after getting his fat ass beat to shit shot Martin in humiliation. My cop friend has NO sympathy for Zimmerman at all and has a low opinion of SYG bullshit as well.

  110. Matt Penfold says

    Presumably under this law m.brndt and others would consider anyone who see Zimmerman out in public shooting him dead on the grounds he is known to carry a firearm and known to kill unarmed teenagers. Therefore he can legitimately be seen as a threat, and thus executed without due process.

  111. says

    Yes, have you actually been reading what I’ve written? You seem to arguing with a strawman.

    What the shit? You’ve been saying that this is somehow new and a novel set of circumstances and SYG has changed everything. No, it hasn’t. Nothing changed except that self defense is easier to claim once you get to court. Zimmerman should have been fucking arrested.

    If you cannot be arrested for self-defense, which this law explicitly states, then probable cause is much more nebulous.

    *Begins head desking* No, this changes nothing from other states. A body is probable cause when it’s not a white shooter and a black body. It should be now too.

    If you are really commited to fighting bigotry, then you should be outraged by this easily misapplied law, not defending it.

    WHAT THE SHIT IS THIS!? I am not defending it, you fucking cretin. I am telling you to take your damn apologies for the police and shove it; they had no fucking excuse not to bring Zimmerman in.

    As an additional point, this law really isn’t more easily misapplied than other self defense laws. That isn’t a ringing endorsement of a law that removes the qualification to flee; I’m saying self defense laws are easy to misapply as an aggregate. If Zimmermann had been the one shot because Trayvon had a gun, even if the facts of the case besides that were the same, Trayvon would be brought in and probably found guilty of 2nd degree murder.

  112. sundiver says

    Ing, my cop friend said much the same thing as your #127, and to slightly rerail the thread, hates concealed carry bullshit. Says it puts firearms in the hands of people who should not be given anything sharper than a rubber ball.

  113. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I was posing a hypothetical scenario under which GZ could IMO have a legitimate claim to self-defense even though he made the initial approach toward TM.

    IMO, Zimmerman must first back off in some manner, otherwise he is the total agressor. And by back off, I mean literally. Attempt to distance himself by leaving. Only if followed, could he legitimately claim self defense. Those provoking incidents, like Zimmerman did, can’t morally claim self-defense.

  114. sundiver says

    Nerd, that’s the crux of the biscuit, GZ picked a fight and, as I said, got more than he bargained for and took the coward’s way out.

  115. StevoR says

    This is probably over stating the bleedin’ly obvious but this to me looks like yet another case of the far right wing confronted with an act of extreme unwarranted, horrendous brutality choosing not to acknowledge reality but preferring instead to try and change the “narrative” by blaming the victim and making it somehow all Trayvon Martin’s fault that some racist Klown murdered him.

    So much for Zimmerman’s “personal responsibility” for his actions eh?

  116. tbp1 says

    #115 (and others):

    To me, the grotesque police indifference/misconduct/incompetence is almost as disturbing as the killing itself. Especially, as you mention, the fact that they had his cell phone and didn’t make any effort to use it to identify him. I think there’s a good chance he would have had “Mom” and “Dad” in it. Maybe he was even smart enough enough to have programmed an “in case of emergency” number. Not to mention that anyone who has ever seen Law and Order would know to call the last few people he talked to simply as a matter of course.

    I would say they botched the investigation, but that would imply they actually conducted one. And honestly it’s difficult to imagine that racism wasn’t a big part of the reason why they didn’t bother.

    As I’ve asked elsewhere, if a black adult stalked and killed a white teenager, do you think the cops would simply have taken his word for everything, conducted no forensic tests of any kind, and just let him go home, still in possession of the lethal weapon?

  117. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    Meanwhile, reports are quickly turning into piles of this:
    Trayvon Martin Dogged By Disciplinary Problems at School

    Martin may have cut a more imposing figure than previously known. Recent pictures on the web and social media show him with gold dental grill and making obscene gestures to the camera.

    In addition, Martin’s Miami school records show that he has been suspended three times.

    I don’t even…

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

    The authors of the “Stand Your Ground” law don’t agree with the police that the law prevented them from arresting Zimmerman:

    It is the fact that Zimmerman ignored the 911 operator’s advice not to follow Martin that former Sen. Peaden says disqualifies him from claiming self-defense under the law.

    “The guy lost his defense right then,” Peaden told the Miami Herald. “When he said ‘I’m following him,’ he lost his defense.”

    Rep. Dennis Baxley, Peaden’s co-sponsor in the Florida House, agrees with his former colleague, telling the newspaper that the law does not license neighborhood watch or others who feel “like they have the authority to pursue and confront people. That is aggravating an incident right there.”

    So there’s that.

    Wow, 2012 is turning into the year that it became impossible to deny that racism and sexism are still HUGE problems in our society without looking like a complete asshole. Um… good?

  119. sundiver says

    Ing: One thing I love to point out to the gun nuts is that Wyatt Earp BANNED firearms in Tombstone when he took over, trying to civilise the Wild West.

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

    Sally,
    Jeb Bush (who signed the bill into law) has also publically stated that “stand your ground” doesn’t apply to Zimmerman.

    http://www.dallasnews.com/news/community-news/arlington/headlines/20120323-in-arlington-jeb-bush-says-stand-your-ground-invalid-in-trayvon-martin-case.ece

    The cynical part of me thinks that these lawmakers are commenting on this case to appease the gun lobby, who are probably worried about tighter gun control laws in Florida because of this.

  121. says

    So…

    I’ve been reading about the involvement of ALEC(American Legislative Exchange Council) and the NRA in drafting the Florida law in question, and then lobbying politicians to pass it. Now, a month after the shooting, we’re all at once seeing what appears to be a concerted media effort to defend this law and Zimmerman’s exploitation of the law to commit a crime without any repercussions. There’s all sorts of re-writing of the events of the day in contradiction to previous witness statements of what happened, all of which exonerate Zimmerman and none of which contradict him… very convenient. There’s also all at once a bunch of conjecture and flat assertion that Trayvon Martin was not only a bad kid up to no good, but was an out-and-out criminal who most likely ambushed Zimmerman(for no apparent or logical reason) with some sort of weapon that has not been mentioned by ANYONE.

    It all seems so very organized and focused. Am I becoming a conspiracy theorist?

  122. Pteryxx says

    It all seems so very organized and focused. Am I becoming a conspiracy theorist?

    I get the feeling that bigotry’s a very well-engrained, easily exploitable cognitive fallacy in humans. The SYG laws were definitely pushed by ALEC and the NRA, but I think the biased media coverage doesn’t need hands-on intervention to explain, any more than there needs to be an actual MRA-batsignal behind the flood of MRAs that show up in every feminism discussion. They’re just primed with a steady diet of unchallenged, biased assumptions, combined with kicking out any viewpoint that’s too “controversial”.

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

    Yeah, I’m not saying that post-facto declarations that this isn’t the proper application of the law are convincing arguments for not getting rid of the law. If the law wasn’t meant to be interpreted this way, then why was it interpreted this way? Either the police were maliciously racist and deliberately ignored the law (which, md has been making a credible argument for this not being the case), or they were slightly less racist, and the law is a terrible law that should be changed immediately. Either way Florida has a lot of work to do to make things right.

  124. Emrysmyrddin says

    It all seems so very organized and focused. Am I becoming a conspiracy theorist?

    Idiotological Convergence.

  125. says

    I know that the things being said would have been said eventually. I know that a lot of it was already being reflexively spouted by the usual idiots. But on the other hand, it seemed like we got a week or so of bumbling nonsense comments from the police chief, then he quit and there was a moment of silence, and now it feels like there’s an organized PR campaign imposing discipline over the media presentation of the case.

  126. says

    It still amuses me that a PD with a history of racial problems and selective enforcement of law can pull this shit up to not bothering to ID an easily IDable body and people STILL give BOD and insist we lack enough context. Why the fuck do white people get treated with such kiddie gloves. Black politicans losse their jobs for talking about overcoming racism because people trust the white guy who lies…entire charities are shut down based on lies. Individuals and the media extend not a single fuck about the BOD to them.

  127. consciousness razor says

    But on the other hand, it seemed like we got a week or so of bumbling nonsense comments from the police chief, then he quit and there was a moment of silence, and now it feels like there’s an organized PR campaign imposing discipline over the media presentation of the case.

    Well it took a long time for the (lack of a) case to get significant national exposure of any kind in the media. Once it did, it’s not surprising that more bigots, gun freaks and police apologists came out of the woodwork. They just weren’t paying any attention before, or didn’t care, or didn’t want to draw attention to it. It doesn’t take any coordination to make that happen, except to the extent some of these fuckers are pushing an organization’s propaganda or being given a platform by the media.

  128. says

    One of my black community-community college students was beaten to death last year by the local police. He was a very eccentric fellow, wandering out of and into the room during class without any warning–pretty odd in some other ways, too.

    I don’t know this for certain–but I suspect the police may have killed him for the heinous offense of annoying them.

    America can always get more racist, Myers.

  129. Ogvorbis: shameless AND impudent! says

    In addition, Martin’s Miami school records show that he has been suspended three times.

    I can’t imagine what they would think of me. In junior high, I was suspended at least five times.

    Jeb Bush (who signed the bill into law) has also publically stated that “stand your ground” doesn’t apply to Zimmerman.

    Why is the press trumpeting Trayvon’s suspension while ignoring this?

    Oh. Nevermind. Black man.

    who most likely ambushed Zimmerman(for no apparent or logical reason) with some sort of weapon that has not been mentioned by ANYONE.

    Skittles are deadly.

  130. Woo_Monster says

    Just want to reiterate what Rutee was saying above. Any officer who is not grossly incompetent can articulate probable cause here. It is an extremely low bar to meet. There is a body and a person with a gun. That is fucking plenty to meet the probable cause requirements.

    Wisconsin recently passed a new Castle Law statute. PZ posted a little while ago about a similar statute in MN. These statutes provide immunities from civil (and in some, criminal) liability. But, they function as an affirmative defense, which means essentially that you can be immune from liability even though a prima facie case for a crime has been presented. There was probable cause for a crime here, and though it is possible that the defendant could raise the defense afforded in the new statute later, it doesn’t coe into play at the moment of arrest.

  131. says

    Ogvorbis, I’ve been hit by Skittles. They can but your eye out, but you can hardly break someone’s nose with them. Magical

    too how Zimmerman’s nose was “broken” and nobody heard about it for almost a month? I’m also pretty sure that the cops would have called an ambulance for Zimmerman if he was really injured, to cover their own asses.

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

    Improbable Joe,
    Remember, George Zimmerman also claimed that his head was bashed into the pavement repeatedly. But, you know, no one has been aware of this fact ‘cos he’s been in hiding ‘cos OMG these allegations that he’s a racist are simply ruining his life!

    *spits!* When I heard Zimmerman’s latest “defense”, I had to wonder when he’s finally just going to snap and call Trayvon Martin a “savage”.

  133. says

    (…) THERE WAS NO INVESTIGATION.

    That is the part I don’t understand. Even if Zimmerman’s account were true (to the ever changing letter — but I digress), the officers responding found a dead man and a man with a gun in his hand. How on this god forsaken earth could they not arrest that man?

  134. starstuff says

    Not sure if it was mentioned but did anyone notice GZ shouldn’t have had the gun in first place? He has a felony assault on a police officer, which means you don’t get a gun. So they’ve charged him for having the gun but not shooting it. OH! And since he got in trouble with the law as a violent offender in the past, does that mean I can go shoot him? My record is spotless.

  135. FilthyHuman says

    @SQB
    #162
    White man with gun – Hero
    Black man with gun – Gangster

    White man w/o gun – Idealistic Dumb-ass
    Black man w/o gun – Rapist/Thug

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

    Starstuff,
    I thought those charges were dropped?

  137. says

    Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart,

    Maybe hit from behind, or slammed against the pavement, or possibly faced with Hokuto Shinken strike to the elbow that caused the front and back of his head to very mildly explode. And in a secret undisclosed location funded by ALEC, the NRA, and Darth Cheney, Zimmerman sits and waits and memorizes each new draft of his exculpatory tale. In other rooms, paid actors and bloggers and media chumps are churning out the same story in order to create multiple “sources” so that the mainstream media will pretend that their stenography of ALEC talking points are “journalism.”

    The whole thing stinks.

  138. Part-Time Insomniac, Zombie Porcupine Nox Arcana Fan says

    1. Fuck Zimmer, his cronies, and anyone who thinks he’s still the victim in this case. Just . . . screw off, and go cry in a corner, preferably while banging your heads against a broken-glass-covered piece of pavement.

    2. Racist Hunger Games fans – Fuck them all, I hope the more sane of them realize the lesson to be learned, and the rest can disappear off the face of the earth for all I care.

  139. jamesevans says

    Having been caught with a baggie in the past somehow magically exempts your murderer from the law now? Wow, I guess that means given the serious drug crimes Rush Limbaugh was up to not so long ago, someone could totally aim a tank turret at him, and we’d all have to shrug and walk away after he was atomized.

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

    @Jamesevans

    Rush lives in Florida too, so all you’d have to do is claim that he looked rather deranged, probably from all the drugs, and that he made a sudden move towards you, putting you in fear for your life.

    Hypothetically, of course.

  141. NoVaRunner says

    Trayvon Martin Investigator Wanted Manslaughter Charge

    The lead homicide investigator in the shooting of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin recommended that neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman be charged with manslaughter the night of the shooting, multiple sources told ABC News.

    But Sanford, Fla., Investigator Chris Serino was instructed to not press charges against Zimmerman because the state attorney’s office headed by Norman Wolfinger determined there wasn’t enough evidence to lead to a conviction, the sources told ABC News.

    Police brought Zimmerman into the station for questioning for a few hours on the night of the shooting, said Zimmerman’s attorney, despite his request for medical attention first. Ultimately they had to accept Zimmerman’s claim of self defense. He was never charged with a crime.

    Serino filed an affidavit on Feb. 26, the night that Martin was shot and killed by Zimmerman, that stated he was unconvinced Zimmerman’s version of events.

  142. Pteryxx says

    similarly, via MoJo:

    The ABC report also recounted a new detail about Zimmerman’s account of that night, concerning Zimmerman’s gun: “Martin knocked him down with a punch to his nose, jumped on him, repeatedly banged his head on the ground, then tried to grab Zimmerman’s gun,” the report states. “In a struggle for Zimmerman’s gun, the watchman shot the teenager, Zimmerman told police.”

    This account raises the question: How did Trayvon Martin know Zimmerman was armed with a handgun? Under Florida law, Zimmerman was licensed only to carry it concealed; the state’s permit guidelines also instruct licensees not to brandish their weapons as a deterrent. But in claiming that there was a struggle for his gun, Zimmerman’s account suggests he had the weapon out, or visible on his person. It’s possible that this inconsistency could have contributed to the investigator Serino’s suspicions about Zimmerman’s story.

    Source

  143. NoVaRunner says

    @171 Pteryxx

    I didn’t realize that–very interesting. I think the question of when Zimmerman’s weapon was revealed could be very significant.

  144. says

    Filthy Human, I saw it on a thread to a Ta-Nehisi Coates’ post.

    It’s not really correct to say the parents were notified the next day. The father called the police to report his son as missing. After getting a bit of a runaround, someone put the description together with the kid in the morgue and sent the cops to visit the father.

    But it was the dad who was responsible for the ID, not the police.

    Sundiver, #134:

    after getting his fat ass beat to shit

    Yeah, because Zimmerman’s weight is totally relevant in this discussion. Shut the fuck up.

    Improbable Joe, #149:

    It all seems so very organized and focused. Am I becoming a conspiracy theorist?

    It’s not always easy figuring out where widely held blinders leave off and intentional conspiracy begins. Or, what Pteryxx and Ing said.

  145. says

    The word around the honkisphere is that this isn’t a big deal and no one would care if a white kid got shot. Here’s a Facebook argument I had on the subject. (Private convo, so I copied to my blog.)

  146. Pteryxx says

    Via Shakes: Democratic Senator Schumer is asking the Justice Department to investigate Stand Your Ground laws as well as the killing of Trayvon Martin.

    From his letter to the Justice Department:

    Dear Attorney General Holder:

    I write to request that the Department of Justice investigate whether “stand your ground laws,” such as Florida Statutes Section 776.012, are contributing to excessive and unnecessary use of deadly force. As you know, Section 776.012 has recently been cited in the unfortunate shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, who was killed while walking back to the house of his father’s fiancée after a trip to a convenience store.

    I am aware that the Civil Rights Division, the FBI, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida are specifically investigating the Martin case. I am, however, asking that a broader investigation be conducted as to whether: 1) these laws are creating more violence than they are preventing; and 2) whether potential murders/manslaughters are going unprosecuted because these laws place unintended additional burdens on local police and prosecutors that encourage dismissals of otherwise problematic cases. There are approximately 23 states with laws that lessen the common law duty to retreat when a person is outside of their home.

    Source

  147. RahXephon, Giant Feminist Mecha Robot says

    I’m trying really, really hard to not just Hulk out over this whole thing. I have to commend people in this thread who are willing to argue with racists, because I’m not. My reaction is intense and visceral just like PZ’s; I feel like smashing more than a few offending TV screens, too.

    I’ve seen it happen a few times in this thread, but I am so. TIRED. Of the impulse people seem to have to give everyone “the benefit of the doubt”, to the point that they have to dig out and argue over the fine specifics of the statutes and formulate all these hypothetical scenarios about how Trayvon must’ve attacked Zimmerman to justify this. To that I say: FUCK YOU.

    The facts in this case are simple: an older racist man stalked and murdered an unarmed black teen, and he admits to it. The racist PD wouldn’t arrest him and even pressured witnesses to change their story. And now we have the news going “Look! Turns out Trayvon wasn’t a Magical Negro like we all hoped! Guess he deserved it!

    OMG RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGE! *breathes fire*

  148. Louis says

    RahXephon, #177,

    Rage seconded in toto.

    In the immortal words of the Prophet Mohammed: Fuck this noise.*

    Louis

    * It’s just possible he didn’t actually say that.

  149. sundiver says

    Ms Daisy Cutter @ 174: Quite right. Using the expression I used was a tired, lazy mind trying express itself forcefully. Need to watch that more closely when posting and sleepy. Still, it doesn’t make Zimmerman any less an asshole. He picked a fight and wound up murdering someone, someone who’d be enjoying life today had GZ not tried to play hero.

  150. FilthyHuman says

    @DaisyCutter
    #174

    But it was the dad who was responsible for the ID, not the police.


    And shit just got… well, shittier.

  151. sundiver says

    Unfortunately, the answer to PZ’s question is ” Yes, America can get more racist “. My co-workers have been absolutely disgusting in their defense of GZ, makes me damn glad I work 3rd shift and don’t have to see them all day. I’ve got to give this subject a rest cuz I know it just as easily happen here in WI, with the new concealed carry law here. Scary to think that people with 4 hours of lecture and no live fire test can carry a pistol. Got find another thread but before I go I’d like to apologize again to Ms Daisy Cutter, calling GZ a “fat ass” was inappropriate, espcially when his real problem was delusions of adequacy.

  152. says

    It’s not really correct to say the parents were notified the next day. The father called the police to report his son as missing. After getting a bit of a runaround, someone put the description together with the kid in the morgue and sent the cops to visit the father.

    But it was the dad who was responsible for the ID, not the police.

    Bullshit. You honestly expect me to believe that police do not check dead bodies for ID? The “we were too lazy to bother” excuse? WTF?

  153. FilthyHuman says

    @Ing
    #182

    Bullshit. You honestly expect me to believe that police do not check dead bodies for ID? The “we were too lazy to bother” excuse? WTF?

    Wikipedia search gave 2 sources.
    New York Times
    Digitriad

    Apparently… yes, you should believe it.

  154. says

    I see you missed this

    “in most states there are laws against that. You have to remember that at least the way that we first got the story reported, that Trayvon was actually the suspect,” Russell said. “If the police were to pick up that telephone and go into that telephone and find incriminating evidence against him, then they would say that that was not a good search.”

    They presumed Trayvon was the suspect despite being the corpse. It’s still due to fucking racism because the reason they didn’t check the phone is because they just bought Z’s story.

  155. says

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/alstefanelli/2012/03/27/why-zimmerman-hasnt-been-arrested-yet/#comment-31526

    Jaw dropped.

    WTF is wrong with people?

    My comment is in moderation so here it is incase it gets eat-ed

    If that were the case, he’d have been arrested already. I know this is a tough pill for everyone, including myself, to swallow. The law needs to be either repealed or modified to read more explicitly. Zimmerman remaining in position or tracking and aggresivly pursuing Treyvon is an issue, indeed. But without corroboration to the latter, Zimmerman cannot be held without probable cause. Until proven otherwise, he did not break any laws and there is not enough evidence to hold him on probabla cause. Morally, yeah, he should be locked up. Legally, though, no. This is why the law needs to be changed, so that murderers don’t get to walk free…

    The police did not tell Zimmerman to leave Treyvon alone. The police dispatcher said, “Okay, we don’t need you to do that,” when Zimmerman was asked if he was following him. Under Florida law, the police had no jurisdiction to tell Zimmerman not to approcach Treyvon. They couldn’t order him to leave the boy alone even if they wanted to. You see the problem here? It’s the law that allows for murder, and it’s bigotry that justifies it. You cannot pass a law telling someone not to be a bigot, but allowing for a pre-emptive assault is a recipe for this kind of disaster.

    Unfortunately, and as horrible an egregious as it is, it is very likely nothing will happen to Zimmerman, no matter how many people wish it to…

    “If that were the case, he’d have been arrested already. I know this is a tough pill for everyone, including myself, to swallow.”

    Sorry Al but this is the definition of begging the question.

    You’re presuming that the right outcome occurred because it was the outcome. You’re just dead wrong and honestly incredibly racial blind on this one.

  156. RahXephon, Giant Feminist Mecha Robot says

    @185

    Ing, I’ve never read this guy Al’s blog before, but you can include my earlier bolded “fuck you” for him, too. Telling us that “Zimmerman will get away with it cuz the law just ain’t on your side, them’s the breaks!” is a waste of fucking time and energy.

    I also noticed he’s another one of those “benefit of the doubt”-ers, or at least in this current form he’s a “what you can prove”-er with unreasonably high requirements for evidence. He says the fact that Zimmerman was stalking Trayvon is “conjecture” when we have the call he made to the dispatcher in which he describes following Trayvon for some time, that it’s “conjecture” that Zimmerman confronted Trayvon when Zimmerman told the dispatcher he was gonna do so. We also have witness testimonies and incidences of actual or potential evidence tampering by the police. There’s a cover-up of some kind going on but they’ve seriously botched the job.

    So, yeah, sorry we didn’t get three different angles from HD security cams along with Zimmerman recording a pre-murder confession into a dashboard cam, but if that’s your standard then pretty much no one should ever be convicted of a goddamn crime.*

    *Posted here because I don’t feel like posting on his blog. I’d probably just get pissed and he’d ban me.

  157. says

    Does anyone with criminal law experience know what’s the norm here? So police brought Zimmerman in for questioning without formally arresting him. How slam-dunk does your case normally need to be before the DA will decide to press charges? The police definitely fucked up here as they didn’t ID the body, do a sobriety test or check the gun. It’s unclear if the DA or the detective knew about the 911 call at this time.

    The law is definitely a big part of the problem as that’s almost certainly why the prosecutor thought a case would not likely result in a conviction. It seems pretty evident that isn’t the whole problem, though. Ta-Nehisi Coates has a great write-up for a former Florida prosecutor here.

  158. says

    How slam-dunk does your case normally need to be before the DA will decide to press charges?

    Normally? Pretty fucking darn; most trials result in conviction because DAs drop all but the most solid (Trials are fucking expensive, and it affects their statistics to have an acquittal). But if a crime got enough attention, DAs will generally prosecute without the same standard of evidence they usually have, because the political risk of not prosecuting at all is worse than losing (Similarly, they may overcharge in these circumstances, as with Casey Anthony).

    Does anyone with criminal law experience know what’s the norm here

    If there is a body, you are getting brought in and kept there. Well, if that body is white, anyway.

    Zimmermann will get away with it; it’s irrelevant whether the law is on his side, because a jury of his peers will be, as it almost always is in a case involving a black victim. Because America is a fucking racist place.

  159. says

    Al is showing all sort of massive privilege-based ignorance. Mainly, in ignoring that his entire post is based on the idea that evaluating a crime scene is an objective exercise, and once it is completed it cannot be questioned. We all know that if the victim had been a 17 year old white youth, the shooter’s claim of self-defense would have been held to a different standard of scrutiny. In a gated community in a decent neighborhood, the police would have busted their ass to find that kid’s parents as fast as possible.

    And if the shooter had been black, we know how the criminal justice system would have treated him… FFS, Ed Brayton just did a multi-part thing on how the law treats black and white suspects differently from the second a cop arrives on the scene. They would have charged a black shooter with everything in the book, and AT BEST they would have convinced him to plead out to 1st Degree manslaughter and 10 years.

  160. says

    If there is a body, you are getting brought in and kept there. Well, if that body is white, anyway.

    Right, but they did bring him in and only let him go when the DA decided not to press charges. Is this normal, or would they normally do a formal arrest, then let him go in 24 hours if there still wasn’t enough evidence to convince the DA. There certainly was a lot more investigating they could have done.

  161. says

    I’m pretty sure you usually go to jail and wait for an investigation, absent powerful and immediate evidence to exonerate you (Remember, innocent until proven guilty is only the fact of the matter in court itself.) Murder is not something taken likely, and if self defense doesn’t apply, this would be murder.

    Now, a DA can choose to drop a guilty suspect for any of a number of reasons; as I said, a case generally needs to be rock solid. But you won’t generally see that *this fucking early*.

  162. NoVaRunner says

    Now, a DA can choose to drop a guilty suspect for any of a number of reasons; as I said, a case generally needs to be rock solid. But you won’t generally see that *this fucking early*.

    I’m mystified as to why it happened that early.

    The initial police report lists probable charges: negligent homicide and manslaughter. So the cops on scene thought the evidence at least supported one or both of those.

    One of the homicide detectives who questioned Zimmerman the night of the shooting didn’t buy his story and wanted to arrest him.

    Does Florida law really make it so difficult to get a conviction in a case like this that the State’s Attorney didn’t think it was worth pursuing, even considering the above factors? If so, it’s ridiculous.

  163. gravityisjustatheory says

    tbp1
    27 March 2012 at 11:35 am

    #115 (and others):

    To me, the grotesque police indifference/misconduct/incompetence is almost as disturbing as the killing itself.

    Agreed. It’s like the RRC’s respons to child abuse.

    The individual crimes are tragedies for the victims, but the institutional coverups and enablings by the organisations that ought to be opposing them because its a betrayal of trust by people who ought to know better, and who in doing so ensure the crimes keep happening.

  164. RahXephon, Giant Feminist Mecha Robot says

    The police station surveillance footage has been released, showing Zimmerman without a scratch on him. No fucking “defensive wounds”. There was no fight; it happened exactly the way we all knew, he stalked Trayvon, got out of the car and shot him. The broken nose and the head wound were a fucking lie, the police report has been falsified, the police force is corrupt. If Obama is watching this, call in the DOJ, the National Guard, hell, call in Bozo the Clown at this rate to investigate these fucks. Zimmerman shouldn’t be the only one in jail.

  165. Pteryxx says

    Confirming what RahXephon said:

    http://motherjones.com/politics/2012/03/what-happened-trayvon-martin-explained#policevideo

    Also:

    As we reported yesterday, Zimmerman claims he shot Trayvon after there was a struggle for the gun. But if Zimmerman had his weapon in a waistband holster (the gun, after all, was required by Zimmerman’s license to be concealed), it begs the question of how Trayvon could have known the gun was present, much less grabbed for it, unless Zimmerman had already drawn it out of his pants.

    http://motherjones.com/politics/2012/03/what-happened-trayvon-martin-explained#documenttrove

  166. StevoR says

    “Can America get any more racist?”

    I don’t know if it makes it better or worse to know that America *used* to be much worse – back in the days of slavery and pre-Rosa Parks & Martin Luther King.

    Because at least America has come a long way since then but, OTOH, it seems headed back in that direction again and stillhas so far to go.

    Yes, it was worse racism~wise and so can be again if that’s allowed to happen.

    Maybe this will be a horrible wake-up call that help change the direction the USA is drifting in?

  167. StevoR says

    @195. RahXephon, Giant Feminist Mecha Robot says:

    If Obama is watching this, call in the DOJ, the National Guard, hell, call in Bozo the Clown at this rate to investigate these fucks. Zimmerman shouldn’t be the only one in jail.

    Agreed.

    Isn’t perverting the course of justice & interfering with witnesses and neglgance illegal?

    Not sure whether it’s Obama’s call specifically but *somebody* needs to step in and see the Sanford police involved face serious charges & consequences for this – and that we make sure nothing like it ever happens again.

  168. Pteryxx says

    The DOJ has begun an investigation, and the official in charge seems good. We all still need to keep the pressure going though. This is from last Friday:

    http://motherjones.com/politics/2012/03/tom-perez-justice-department-trayvon-martin

    The inquiry being conducted by Perez’s division and the FBI is focused on the actual shooting, in part to determine whether it was a hate crime. But as questions continue to emerge about the Sanford police department’s handling of this and other racially-charged cases, civil rights leaders have urged the feds to broaden the inquiry to include a civil investigation into possible police wrongdoing. And this is an area Perez knows well. During his two-year tenure at the civil rights division, he has quietly led a federal crusade against police misconduct, pursuing 19 investigations of local police departments—the most in the division’s history.

    “During the Bush administration [police misconduct] was not a high priority,” says Richard Jerome, a former Justice Department attorney who now runs the Public Safety Performance Project at the Pew Center on the States. “There certainly were not only fewer cases but the end result of the cases were different.”

    Using its authority to compel institutional changes in local law enforcement agencies that have engaged in systemic violations of Americans’ constitutional rights, Perez’s office has helped to overhaul the police department of Puerto Rico and New Orleans police force. (New Orleans police officers shot several civilians in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.) It has scrutinized the Miami and Seattle police departments and exposed the civil rights abuses of Arizona’s notorious anti-immigrant Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

    But the inquiry into Trayvon Martin’s death will likely be one of the most high-profile cases of Perez’s tenure, spotlighting a division that just a few years ago was considered among the most politicized sections of the Justice Department.

  169. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    Must have been some really good medical attention, one could call it miraculous, if bleeding from the back of his head and a broken nose have been patched up so well no trace of either can be seen.

  170. RahXephon, Giant Feminist Mecha Robot says

    Beatrice @200

    Yeah, including there being no sign of the presumably copious amounts of blood that the broken nose, gash on the back of his head, and other wounds would’ve produced, or dirt or grass stains on his clothes. He almost looks like someone who got out of their car, followed someone and then shot them!

    Another damning bit of evidence against this “Trayvon attacked me!” bullshit: the funeral director that did Trayvon’s funeral said his body also had no defensive wounds or signs of a fight.

    Zimmerman’s also disgustingly chummy with the cops in that video; they almost act like they know each other while chit-chatting in the garage and at one point Zimmerman walks on the other side of a motorcycle away from the cops which I would think most cops with a murder suspect in custody might assume is some kind of escape attempt, yet they have no reaction.

    There’s something seriously wrong in the Sanford PD.

  171. Marcus Hill says

    PZ, I think you’re being unfair on Joe Dredd. If he’d responded to that call, he’d probably have frisked TM and given him a couple of years for the drugs bag and whatever other minor crap he could spot, but not before shooting GZ for being a vigilante. Mega City 1 Judges take a very dim view of vigilantism.

  172. Marcus Hill says

    Nope, they just put you in the cubes. You might be thinking of the penal colony on Titan, but that’s only used for Judges who break the Law.

  173. Pteryxx says

    Link to the funeral director’s story:

    http://nancygrace.blogs.cnn.com/2012/03/28/funeral-director-saw-no-signs-of-fight-on-trayvons-hands/?hpt=ng_mid

    Richard Kurtz of Roy Mizell and Kurtz Funeral Home in Fort Lauderdale said there appeared to be a gunshot wound in Martin’s upper chest area, but he received the body after the autopsy was completed so it was difficult to tell whether he had other injuries. He also could not determine the bullet’s entry or exit point.

    “As for his hands and knuckles, I didn’t see any evidence he had been fighting anybody,” Kurtz said.

    […]

    While Kurtz is not a forensics expert, the funeral director said he has handled the bodies of many homicide victims in his career. This case in particular affected him as he learned more about what happened to Trayvon Martin and how the case was handled.

    “I think the police investigation was the most unprofessional one I’ve ever seen in my lifetime,” Kurtz said.

    (emphasis mine)

    Here in my town in east Texas, there is (informally) a black funeral home in the black part of town, and a white funeral home in the white part of town. Given how frequently young black men get gunned down, often by police, and their cases completely ignored… I think Kurtz’s claim of experience is credible, and it’s likely he was very brave to come forward.

  174. Pteryxx says

    O_o I know nothing about this Nancy Grace person on CNN’s blog network, who interviewed Trayvon’s funeral director above; but she also interviewed a friend of Zimmerman, Frank Taaffe, and pressed him on his claim that Zimmerman was injured in self-defense.

    I made this partial transcript to the best of my ability with my bad connection:

    Taaffe: I believe that Trayvon had him on the ground and that he was slamming his head against the concrete.

    Grace: Have you seen the injuries?

    Taaffe: No I haven’t seen the injuries. I only heard the police report that was corroborated by the Orlando Sentinel and the Sanford police.

    Grace: Back to you Mr. Taaffe, again, thank you for being with me. Mr. Taaffe, you stated that, George Zimmerman’s, your friend’s injuries are consistent with a beating; having his head slammed into the sidewalk and that he did have a broken nose. But as we were going to break, they were playing the music so loud in my ear I couldn’t hear. Did you say you have not seen the injuries?

    Taaffe: I only read in the Orlando Sentinel that [obscured] was corroborated by the Sanford police department. Nancy, I just want to share this with you. You’re a criminal lawyer, and there’s two words: due process. I think we need to let due process work here.

    Source: Nancy Grace clip

    The clip goes on for five more minutes of debate before Nancy Grace cuts the mic. I haven’t listened to all of it yet (slow internet) but this is Worth. Seeing.

  175. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    I haven’t listened to all of it yet (slow internet) but this is Worth. Seeing.

    Thanks, I’m watching it. Just stopped for a moment to say that this woman rocks.

  176. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Gee, the carefully orchestrated victim ploy by Zimmerman’s defenders is falling apart with real evidence. Not surprising. And with the Feds looking on, maybe the state/locality will finally get its act together.

  177. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    Update:

    George Zimmerman, Trayvon martin’s shooter, was fired from a 2005 job as a security guard for excessive aggression, a former co-worker told the New York Daily News Thursday. The paper reports that Zimmerman had worked on and off for several firms that “provided security to illegal house parties.”

    “Usually he was just a cool guy. He liked to drink and hang with the women like the rest of us,” the paper’s source said. “But it was like Jekyll and Hyde. When the dude snapped, he snapped.” The report continues:

    “He had a temper and he became a liability,” the man said. “One time this woman was acting a little out of control. She was drunk. George lost his cool and totally overreacted,” he said. “It was weird, because he was such a cool guy, but he got all nuts. He picked her up and threw her. It was pure rage. She twisted her ankle. Everyone was flipping out…

    “He definitely loved being in charge. He loved the power. Still, I could never see him killing someone. Never,” he said.

    Meanwhile, an anonymous man who claims he witnessed Trayvon’s shooting told Anderson Cooper last night that Zimmerman’s account of the killing was wrong. Zimmerman and Trayvon were struggling on the grass, he said, not the pavement, as Zimmerman claims. Contrary to Zimmerman’s claims that he suffered cuts and a broken nose, the witness said, “He didn’t appear hurt or anything else”:

    “I saw two men on the ground, one on top of the other. I felt they were scuffling and I heard gunshots which to me were more like pops…

    “I don’t know if was an echo but it definitely made more than one pop.

    “After the larger man got off there was a boy, obviously now dead, on the ground facing down.”

    In light of the new eyewitness testimony and more recent leaks relating to the case, Martin family attorney Daryl Parks renewed his calls today for the shooter to be arrested. “I think Mr. Zimmerman will be arrested very, very soon,” he said.

    source

  178. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    Oh, and George Zimmerman’s brother says George “showed tremendous restraint”. WTF?! If following and shooting an unarmed kid is restrained behavior for him, I really don’t want to know what would have been left of Trayvon Martin’s body if he hadn’t shown restraint.

    But Zimmerman’s brother, Robert Zimmerman Jr., told CNN’s Piers Morgan that George acted within the law to save himself. “George showed tremendous restraint,” Zimmerman said. “He prevented his firearm from being taken from him and used against him. And that’s called saving your life…

    “George was out of breath. He was barely conscious. The last thing he remembers doing was moving his head from the concrete to the grass. So that if he was banged one more time, he wouldn’t be, you know, wearing diapers for the rest of his life and being spoon-fed by his brother.”

    Apparently, bullshitting runs in the family.

  179. Pteryxx says

    I just came across the Nancy Grace show on actual TV (I know, so 80’s, right?) and she’s sticking with the latest on the Trayvon case. This ep, she’s covering whether the video of Zimmerman in police custody shows wounds or not, and the voice analysts who say it’s not Zimmerman screaming on the 911 tapes. She also just said that Zimmerman has made a statement that if charges are laid, he will turn himself in peacefully.

    I don’t have links for this show but I bet it’ll be on the Nancy Grace site shortly.

    Source for the voice analysis: (linky)