In February 2012 George Zimmerman, a security operative, shot dead Trayvon Martin. Trayvon was 17-years-old and George 28. In Florida, where the killing took place, a law on shooting in events deemed self-defense meant that George Zimmerman did not initially face any criminal charges for killing Trayvon Martin. The local police did not want to act and were taken to task.
The wrongful murder of Trayvon raised issues and became a cause. In the end police arrested George, released him on bail and a court case is finally on the horizon.
Friday there was news that next week Zimmerman's defense team will attend a hearing in the hope that texts and email messages belonging to Martin will be admissable as evidence in the trial. The defense want to use the items to prove that Martin was not the `angel` nor law-abiding young man many have painted him. Opinion:
As already stated this case raises many issues. As a British writer it actually baffles me. Why has this case taken so long to come to court and how come so much evidence is in the public domain?
The fact that a murder victim is facing a character assassination before the trial of his killer is odd to say the least. In the UK if details of the texts and messages of a victim were already described in the media that would make them inadmissable evidence.
Whether or not they are allowed as evidence, the jury will know of their existence and their nature. According to Sky News: They include conversations with a friend about fighting, smoking pot and being forced to move out of his mother’s house because of trouble at school, as well as images of a gun and what looks to be a potted marijuana plant.
Mark O'Mara one of George's lawyers argues that: If they had suggested that Trayvon is non-violent and that George is the aggressor, I think that makes evidence of the fighting he has been involved with in the past relevant.
The sky report includes some details of the texts, messages and photos showing: Trayvon blowing smoke and extending his middle finger to the camera. In the text messages, the teenager tells a friend that his mother has told him he needs to move in with his father after "da police caught me outta skool". "So you just turning into a lil hoodlum," his friend tells him. "Naw, I'm a gangsta," he replies. He also talks with a friend about smoking weed and guns. "U wanna share a .380 w/ (blacked out)," another text message reads
Shocking or part of many teenagers lives in 2013? My 63-year-old law-abiding husband has been known to stick his middle finger up at the world, so what?
Mr O'Mara omits vital facts such as, it was George chasing a young man, after law enforcement officers advised him not to. It was George brandishing a gun which would make any person run scared and overreact when cornered. Trayvon may or may not have lashed out but wouldn't you? It was George who pulled the trigger.
Whilst the above slurs against Trayvon may not paint a picture of every teenager it is not an unusual view. In teenage conversations there are always elements of bravado as they bow to peer pressure. All of the accusations above are not illegal, except for those relating to marijuana but that may depend on the US State.
All that they prove is that Trayvon was a rebellious teenager at times, especially when he sent and received those texts and messages. Was he going through one of those testing teenage times or was he a `wrong 'un` deserving to be written off as a bad apple?
George was no angel either and, much as his defense may want to carry out a character assassination of Trayvon, none of those accusations justify the young man's murder.
Is the punishment of death for a rebellious teenager, a pot smoker, one who may have robbed in the past, appropriate? Any criminal offences committed by Trayvon, if they exist, would have been as a child. The USA may choose to try some children as young as 12 as adults but the legal age in the US remains 21.
Should the texts and messages be allowed as evidence? If they are do they make any difference to the fact that George murdered Trayvon? Do gun and drug texts and emails show Trayvon Martin deserved to die? No.
Justice for Trayvon is long overdue. RIP
Sources and resources: Sky News
Related reading by this writer: George Zimmerman re-enacts Trayvon Martin murder Florida Unlawful killing Trayvon Martin George Zimmerman, Trayvon shooter, gets bail Wrongful murder of Trayvon Martin becomes a cause Trayvon Martin killer to face second degree murder charges
The USA is busy with their 2012 election. So much so that many other issues are being sidelined. Neither Obama nor Romney want to alienate potential voters. Sooner or later though the problems created by varying State laws regarding guns will have to be addressed
.Today as two of this year's most reported US gun crimes hit media reports again American's Right to bear Arms is under the microscope once more.In February 2012 a young black man was shot and killed by one George Zimmerman. There is no question that Zimmerman was responsible for the death of Trayvon Martin but he has yet to stand trial. Since February those who stand on opposing sides of this murder have tried to discredit either Zimmerman or Martin.
Trayvon was initially portrayed as a relatively innocent man by the media. After his death supporters of the man who shot him, George Zimmerman
, ttried to portray him as a rogue and no stranger to wrong doing.However they paint it though his killing was wrong. Even if he had been "up to no good" did he deserve to be shot and killed by a "volunteer security guard".
Zimmerman was told by police to back off but he chose confrontation actually following Trayvon. No amount of wriggling as far as we are concerned let's him off the hook. Had the incident not happened in Florida and Trayon not been black the fall out from the killing would have been very different.Zimmerman is due in court in October. It is hard to believe that almost 8 months after a shooting incident of this nature it is still not resolved.
The family of Zimmerman have been showing up online and in the media attempting to clear Gerorge's name. Some have probably made matters worse.
Through it all Zimmerman and his supporters have appeaedr to see nothing wrong with the murder of this 17-year-old man. Many claim to be god fearing individuals which is farcical.Also in the news today is the July 2012 Aurora Cinema killings. In both of these cases the person who carried out the murders seems to be certain. It is the circumstances that appear to be cause for debate.
A preliminary hearing for the man accused of killing 12 people and wounding 24 others in an Aurora cinema looks set to be postponed. iIt is currently scheduled for mid November. James Holmes walked into a late night cinema showing of the latest Batman film, armed and dangerous. His actions and demeanour had all the trappings of a madman on the rampage.The preliminary hearing will be held to decide if Holmes should stand trial for the murders. In other words is he sane or not.
It now looks like this hearing will be put back till at the earliest January 2013. The delay is due to the amount of evidence lawyers are still wading through.Both these killers left innocent dead people. In the USA many however do not view it that way. Some excuse Zimmerman saying that Trayvon was intent on robbery and terefore not an innconet party. That is far from proved and probably far from the truth. Even if it were true though, since when has the punishment for thinking about committing a robbery been death at the hand of a member of the public? Note: In America also today a man convicted of the murder of a 12-year-old girl was executed by lethal injection. He was black. CBS reporting on the case have this statement, "Supreme Court guidance says mental illness can't disqualify someone from execution if they understand the sentence and reasons for the punishment, the state lawyers argued."
On February 26, 2012, George Zimmermen shot and killed Trayvon Martin. Trayvon was 17-years-old and visiting the area. He had been to the store and had in his possession a bag of skittles. George Zimmerman was a voluntary security guard aged 28 and he had in his possession a gun.
Trayvon Martin ended up dead from a single gunshot wound after meeting with Mr Zimmerman. What exactly happened appears to be the crux of this case in Florida in the US.
The pro gun lobby support Zimmerman who it is claimed simply followed the "stand your ground" law of the State. Supporters of Zimmerman have been quick to ask for time to assess the case and did not want a rush to convict Zimmerman. That is fine and dandy but as June draws to a close the case is no further along.
You can claim that both sides have tried to discredit the other but on the whole it has been Zimmerman and his supporters attempting to paint Trayvon as the villain of the piece. Right minded individuals though must be able to see that it was George who was at fault. He was the person carrying the gun. If he had not been the scenario would have been different. Both or either could have ended up with physical injuries but probably neither would have died.
If Zimmerman had not laid chase to a young black man the outcome would have been so different. Mentioning that Trayvon was black has to be done as that plays a crucial part in this case. That will probably be one reason why he was followed. It is also probably one reason why initially the police involved with this crime failed to act. If he had been a white skinned boy there is no doubt that much to do with this case would have been done differently.
The latest news on the case is that Mr Zimmerman has been re-enacting the events of that tragic night in February 2012.
The footage was allegedly from the day following the murder. It was released on Thursday June 21, 2012. Zimmerman is shown with "two large plasters on the back of his head and with a black eye and cuts to his nose." These injuries he claims were from his altercation with Trayon. That does not however mean that they necessarily were, just that is what Mr Zimmerman claims. Unless there is hard medical evidence plasters on his head prove nothing. Neither do his injuries without firm proof of who was responsible. Even if they were from the night in question could it not have been Trayvon acting in self defence as he was followed by Zimmerman.? Is it only Zimmerman who can claim he acted in self defence?
Zimmerman's version of events portrays Mr Martin as a thug. He claims that Martin began the events which led to his death. The Guardian has a full report on the video released yesterday and Zimmerman's police interviews. His evidence is consistent with his supporters stance.
The problem is that there are no witnesses. There is the initial recording of the police call when Zimmerman was told not to follow Martin. There are his statements that a black suspect was thought to have been responsible for unsolved burglaries in the area and that Martin could have been the suspect. There is his conflicting statements which are more than a little suspicious.
Opinion: Reading the latest reports online has not changed our view. Zimmerman was the antagonist in this murder. He was wearing a gun and prepared to use it. Had Trayvon Martin been any old black kid from the wrong side of the tracks by now Zimmerman would be home free. What a sorry justice system.
However he was not. He was a kid with prospects and a loving family. He lost his life for being in the wrong place and at the wrong time. You may believe that this young man was the aggressor that Zimmerman paints but even then what right had he to murder him? None.
Till there is a fair trial there will be no justice for the Martin family. There remain questions to be answered and answered they must be. RIP
28-year-old George Zimmerman has been released on bail. The man accused of killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was released on $150,000 (£93,000) bail.
As a neighbourhood watch volunteer Mr Zimmerman was patrolling a gated area in Florida when he came across Trayvon. The teenager was not a local resident but visiting from Miami. Trayvon was unarmed and carrying only a bag of Skittles purchased at the store. Mr Zimmerman made a rash judgement that Trayvon was acting suspiciously. As Zimmerman was a stranger to Trayvon that is hardly surprising. A man following you is after all unsettling.
George chased the young man when Trayon decided to leg it. If he had not it could have been a totally different story and Trayvon would be alive today. In the event an alleged altercation took place and Trayvon was shot dead. Under a misguided Florida "stand your ground" law Mr Zimmerman was not charged nor the crime investigated.
Whilst some, mainly the US right, have tried to defend this case and condemn the media coverage it has been that which has ultimately led to justice beginning for Trayvon and his family. In court on Friday April 20, 2012, Mr Zimmerman apologised directly to Trayvon's parents. He went on to say that he had "not known Trayvon, who was visiting from Miami, was unarmed on the night he killed him and did not realise how young he was".
There has been a lot of supposition regarding this case and opinion. The US gun lobby and Right have taken a foolish carte blanche stance which belittles the intelligence of others. The fact is that Mr Zimmerman should not have chased Trayvon in the first place. He had no good cause. The chain of events that followed are up for debate but there is no escaping that Race played a part.
From the moment Trayvon was pursued it was a matter of Race. The subsequent refusal to charge Mr Zimmerman and the stance posed by right wing media compounded the race card. Some may condemn President Obama for weighing in and as they saw it jumping on the race bandwagon but it had been set in motion by many others.
Following the shooting ion February 26 of this year Mr Zimmerman went into hiding. When six weeks later charges of second degree murder were brought against him he handed himself in. His bail conditions are that he cannot have any guns and must observe a 7pm to 6am curfew. He has also surrendered his passport and his location is unknown.
The bail money was in part raised by his family but a website set up to raise funds for him presumably contributed.
Tags: Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman, Florida stand your ground law, Miami, Justice for Trayvon, Zimmerman gets bail
It has been announced that George Zimmerman, the killer of Trayvon Martin is to stand trial charged with second degree murder. The death of 17-year-old Mr Martin has caused outrage in the US and further afield. Killed in Februaruy 2012, this case barely made a headline especailly outside of the US, for some time. It seemed as if some simply wanted to sweep the death under the carpet. In doing so it was as if they were sweeping away Trayvon Martin.
As has been said and written so many times in the past few weeks, with reference to this case, there are two sides to any story. Whilst the "race card" should not be brought into the matter it is inevitable that it will be. People will of course wonder what would have happened had the skin colours been reversed. That is what if the killer was black and the deceased white. Sadly that is perhaps too easy to answer or even guess.
Mr Zimmerman claims that he felt threatened by Trayvon and responded accordingly. There are reports that he was physically attacked by Trayvon and so he claims he acted in self defence. Under Florida's "stand your ground law" this could mean his reaction was satisfactory. Of course it was not.
Mr Zimmerman may have been a voluntary security guard but what does that mean? A hired vigilante, a helper or what? US gun laws also presumably make it acceptable for such a man to carry a weapon.
We should of course remember that George Zimmerman chased Trayvon after he thought he was acting suspiciously. If iin the event he became injured many would say "so what?" Perhaps he should have followed police instructions not to give chase.
The reports that George Zimmerman was physically injured and left mentally shattered following the death of Trayvon may be true. Pleas to stop a media trial and witch hunt of George were understandable but so was the public's reaction. In the face of what seems to be a cover up people will make up their own minds. They will assume that all is not well if the police feel a need to hide the facts and shy away from an investigation.
Now at least the facts may be revealed. As the family of Trayvon have said, there is still a long way to go. Charging Mr Zimmerman and bringing him to trial are the first few steps. Mr Zimmerman was in hiding for weeks following the killing and has now handed himself into police. According to his attorneys he will enter a plea of not guilty to second degree murder. If convicted he could face a life sentence in jail.
Whether or not he is found guilty will depend on if it is proven that he acted with "malice". Justice should now take its course. Hopefully he will get the fair trial which Mr Martin never received. Trayvon was accused of acting in a suspicious way and for that he lost his life. RIP
Tags: Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman, second degree murder charge, Florida law, stand your ground
In what has ended up an unresolved case, the death of Trayvon Martin has been bandied about the media.The 17-year-old was shot in Florida by an armed security guard come hired vigilante It has been politically used by all parties.
In the middle of all the media attention though is the death of a young man about to start his adult life. Those who have busied themselves supporting the killer Mr Zimmerman appear to have lost sight of this.
There have been allegations levied against Trayvon and the man who shot and killed him, George Zimmerman. Trayvon has of course no way of defending himself or his reputation. He has to rely on others to do this for him. The media has been accused of trying Mr Zimmerman but of course he in effect was judge, jury and executioner of Trayvon. However it is not up to the media to try Mr Zimmerman but it should be up to the justice system, shouldn't it?
The one positive to come out of the excessive media attention is that hopefully the truth will sooner or later come out. Did Trayvon assault Zimmerman? Did he lash out at Mr Zimmerman in fear after he had chased him? One thing is for sure and that is this case must not be simply swept away and under the carpet.
It could be used to address ridiculous gun laws in Florida and more. It could also be used to ensure that such a "murder" does not happen again in similar circumstances. Today April 9, 2012, Angela Corey, prosecutor has said she will "not hold a hearing to determine if Mr Zimmerman should be tried for shooting dead unarmed black teenage,r Trayvon Martin". Corey has maintained the investigation is continuing and charges could be made or the case dropped. Trayvon was shot dead on February 26, 2012. As the killer is known and it is the circumstances which need to be investigatd it does seem rather long and drawn out affair..
The facts to date appear to be, according to the BBC,
""George Zimmerman gunned down the 17-year-old during a confrontation at a gated community in Sanford, Florida. Mr Zimmerman, 28, claims the shooting in February was a case of self-defence. Police in Sanford have refused to arrest Mr Zimmerman, saying they found no evidence to contradict his account. Florida's self-defence law, known as "stand your ground" grants individuals scope to use deadly force if they feel they are in danger."
Let's hope that Florida citizens do not decide to follow the letter of the law then. If all armed themselves and decided to confront any potential threat with a bullet imagine what would happen.
Th media trial of Mr Zimmerman is not constructive nor should it be necessary. A police investigation would normally` be the order of the day, surely?
Tags: George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin, Florida gun law, media trial, Angela Corey, no Grand jury
17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot dead in February 2012, in Florida in the US. Hye was allegedly shot dead by a Security Guard as he took a short cut across a gated residential community area.
George Zimmerman is said to have thought that Trayon looked suspicious. When Zimmerman approached Trayvon the young man ran and Mr Zimmerman gave chase. Much of the incident was recorded as Zimmerman spoke to police on his phone.
Advised not to give chase George for whatever reason ignored the advice. Trayvon was shot dead in suspicious circumstances. A loophole in Florida law seemed to mean that Zimmerman would face no criminal charges and no investigation into the incident.That is set to change.it seems unbelievable that as yet this case has not been reviewed or investigated. As public interest in the case has grown many people around the world have offered support. Rallies have taken place
and the family have publicly said how the current public reaction has supported them.Many of the rallies and gestures of support have involved people wearing hoodies. As a young black man wearing a "hoodie" it seems that Trayvon was deemed undesirable. Yet this is the regular mode of dress these days for teenagers in the West. It is even the dress of older people at times.Yesterday March 23, 2012, US President Obama weighed into the ar
gument. In a moving speech he remarked how if he had a son he would probably look like Trayvon. The President said that the US needed to do some soul searching as far as its gun culture goes. Whilst for some Obama's words will seem more electioneering he appeared genuinely moved. Let's face it he would have been damned either way.Others have joined in the demand for justice for Trayvon. Miami Heat stars showed support for the family of Trayvon.
Hampton University students rallied in support. Users of Facebook and Twitter have ensured that the name Trayvon Martin stays in hearts and minds. That is until justice is finally served.Today March 24, 2012 CBS News reported that the case of Trayvon Martin has now become a cause.
If that is what it takes so be it. Once you read the details of this case it would be impossible not to be moved. Not to hear warning bells. Whilst George Zimmerman must not face trial by media the family of Trayvon deserve justice. The loss of their son will be terrible to bear but without justice their pain will never end.
17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by a local vigilante. The killing happened in February 2012 but only now is this story making headlines world wide. Why? It appears that this tragic story is not as simple as it was initially made out to be.
In Florida where the killing took place a law of shooting in the case of self defense has meant that
28-year-old George Zimmerman, the perpetrator, has not faced any criminal charges for this shooting.
Mr Zimmerman's supporters in the gated area where the incident happened believe that Trayvon attacked George.In their eyes this means that the young man's death is acceptable.
On the opposing side Trayvon's family and supporters believe that the young man was simply taking a shortcut across a residential area. The shortcut is used regularly it seems.
Inevitably Trayvon's death has raised the racism card once more. Understandably the black community are asking "what would have happened had the killer been black and the young man white?" I think we all know the answer to that one.
The shooting was recorded as Zimmerman chased Martin. His call to local police records the whole terrible affair. However without the benefit of CCTV or images it is hard to know exactly what happened. According to reports Mr Zimmerman began to chase Trayvon as he "looked suspicious" Currently that simply seems to be that he was black and wore a hoodie.
The chase is heard on the phone recording. Mr Zimmerman is clearly told by the receiving officers not to continue with the chase of the young man. He chose to ignore this. Whether Trayvon launched an attack on Zimmerman is disputed. However would it not be normal to do that if you were innocent and chased by an older man?
According to SkyNews, "Professor Patricia Broussard, constituion law profession at FAMU in Orlando, told Sky News that Zimmerman "acted as prosecutor, judge, jury and executioner for Trayvon Martin". She said: "Mr Martin received the death penalty from Zimmerman, the same person who is now being protected by those who say that he is being 'tried' in the media. "Trayvon Martin was not been granted the same compassion that Zimmerman's defenders advocate for him. "This situation defies logic and places local government in an unflattering light which reflects around the world."
Opinion: Currently there are concerns that Mr Zimmerman is facing a trial by the media. Of course if he had faced a criminal trial that would not be the case. Even if he was proved to have acted correctly how such an incident cannot be investigated thoroughly, escapes this blogger. However on the surface it seems to be murder pure and simple. Trayvon was not caught breaking and entering. He was not caught in the act so to speak. His crime was taking a shortcut and looking suspicious. Don't most teenagers look suspicious to the next generation?
Yesterday, March 22, 2012, protest marches against the killing of Trayvon have taken place in the US. It has taken this to at least bring the case to light around the world. It has also resulted in some movement on the case. "Police chief Bill Lee, the head of police in Sanford, Florida, has said that he has become a distraction from the investigation into the killing of Trayvon. He said, "I have come to the decision that I must temporarily remove myself from the position of police chief for the city of Sanford"
Daniel Maree who organised a New York protest yesterday, by way of a Facebook page said, "I spent some time in Florida and as a young black man I experienced being stopped by the police for no other reason than I was black in a predominantly white neighbourhood. "This rally is about supporting Trayvon's parents, for them to know that they have national support over this terrible tragedy, and that we will campaign for justice for their son." Daniel has no affiliation to any person involved in this case but acted as a concerned citizen.Good for him.
People power could at least impact on this case, help the truth be revealed and justice be served.
Read the comments on these youtube videos and you see a sad side to the USA. Hate is evident. Assumption of who is guilty and who is innocent is plain to see. Blaming the left is also easy to such people it seems.