By Walter Smith
If you can imagine a scene in Sanford Florida on the rainy night of February 26, 2012 when the Sanford police was called to a scene where a young Black man was standing with his hands up with a holstered gun and a young white man lay dead on the ground, do you think the immediate outcome would have been the same? Could the young black man have told police that he shot the young white boy in self defense? Could he have invoked the "Stand your ground" law to be released without any charges? Certainly not! He would have been arrested and charged with murder on the spot.
George Zimmerman first saw Trayvon Martin walking home from a local 7-11 after buying candy, and iced tea for his little brother. Zimmerman evidently had a racial mindset that only Blacks that he was familiar with belonged in this gated community. He didn’t know Trayvon, so he assumed he was an intruder. He reported his findings to the local police and was instructed not to follow him. Contrary to his instructions, he did follow him and as a result got involved in a scuffle, pulled a gun and shot him dead.
There were no immediate legal consequences to this shooting because Zimmerman - who according to America’s ethnic designations is "White" - had just shot and killed a Black intruder.
The police and investigators readily accepted Zimmerman’s account of the incident and therefore didn’t bother to do a full house to house inquiry about the dead child on the ground because Zimmerman had already described him as an intruder. Instead they took him to the morgue and labeled him a "John Doe". The police discovered the next day that Trayvon was a guest in the apartment complex when his father, Tracy Martin, filed a missing persons report.
A detective visited Trayvon’s father at his girlfriend’s house. "He asked me to sit down," Martin recalls. "I sat down. He pulled out a picture of a young gentleman on the ground, dead, and asked me if that was my son. And I confirmed that it was Trayvon. And since that confirmation, it’s been a nightmare." Martin called his ex-wife with the news of their son’s death. "I didn’t actually believe what his dad told me," Sabrina Fulton says. "I just didn’t believe it. That’s absolutely the worst call that a mother can receive. That her baby has been shot and killed."
A young lady from Miami Florida who said she had known Trayvon since kindergarten, talked on the phone with him on the night of Feb. 26. The 16-year-old said Trayvon described a man who was "crazy and creepy" and on the phone, watching him from a vehicle before he started to follow him on foot. She implored Trayvon, who said he put his sweatshirt hood up because of the rain, to run to the town house where he was staying with his father, his father’s girlfriend and her 14-year-old son. Earlier, Trayvon had temporarily sought cover from the rain by one of the buildings. "I could hear the wind blowing" and "he said he lost him." "He was breathing hard," she said, and "his voice kind of changed. I know he was scared. His voice was getting kind of low." The girl said that Trayvon, after evading Mr. Zimmerman for a while, noticed that he was being pursued again and mentioned this to her. A sense of urgency grew. Trayvon alerted the girl to the fact that Zimmerman "was getting close to him." She strongly urged him to run, but she could tell he did not because he was out of breath and tired, and kept saying he was close to the town house where he was a guest. She then heard Trayvon ask, "Why are you following me for?" She heard the other man ask, "What are you doing around here?" After calling out "Trayvon" several times over the phone, and getting no response, she heard somebody bump Trayvon. She said that she heard rising fear in Trayvon’s voice that peaked with words like "get off, get off," right before she lost contact with him and he was shot to death.
One police document contained in the discovery concluded, "The encounter between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin was ultimately avoidable by Zimmerman, if Zimmerman had remained in his vehicle and awaited the arrival of law enforcement, or conversely if he had identified himself to Martin as a concerned citizen and initiated dialogue in an effort to dispel each party’s concerns." It added, "There is no indication that Trayvon Martin was involved in any criminal activity at the time of the encounter."
The filing of the missing persons report by Trayvon’s father triggered a myriad of defense mechanisms employed by the SPD. Here’s what probably happened - a mix of facts and personal analysis:
While in his vehicle on a personal errand, Zimmerman noticed Martin walking inside the community. Zimmerman called the Sanford Police Department. At this point Zimmerman, seeing that Trayvon had run, decided to find him and detain him for the Sanford police. Meanwhile Trayvon was on his cell phone talking to his friend in Miami and telling her he was being followed. Zimmerman finally caught up to Trayvon and confronted him.
Trayvon asked him why he was following him and Zimmerman followed with What are you doing around here? Zimmerman made the holstered gun visible in an attempt to intimidate Trayvon. Trayvon started to run away again and Zimmerman tackled him grabbing him by the arm. Trayvon, seeing the holstered gun, feared for his life and began screaming for help hoping his father or someone would come to his rescue. In desperation during the scuffle, Trayvon took a swing at Zimmerman with his cell phone and scored a punch to Zimmerman’s face knocking him to the ground. Zimmerman had such a grip on Trayvon’s arm that he pulled him to the ground with him. Trayvon managed to punch himself free while Zimmerman was reaching for his gun. As Trayvon rose to get up and run again, Zimmerman had gotten the gun free from its holster and fired point blank into Trayvon’s chest. Trayvon fell face down on the ground. He was in that position when the Sanford police arrived. After a brief questioning of Zimmerman at the scene, Sanford police shipped Trayvon Martin off to the City Morgue as a "John Doe" while his father, Tracy Martin, was in a nearby apartment awaiting his return from the 7-11.
Zimmerman’s assumption that Trayvon was an intruder, up to no good and on drugs, clearly points to racism as his motivation in this incident. Trayvon was doing nothing more than walking home from a convenience store. Zimmerman made these assumptions based on the fact that Trayvon was a black male whom he did not know.
According to a cousin, members of Zimmerman’s family were boastfully proud racists. She said that Zimmerman’s Peruvian mother, Gladys Zimmerman, was among the more boastfully racist of the clan. "His mother protested it very loud," the cousin said. During one incident, the woman said that Gladys Zimmerman had come to her workplace, and during a discussion about President Obama, made it clear how she felt about him and his ethnicity. "I don’t like Obama," the woman claimed Zimmerman’s mother stated. "She said, ‘because he is black and I am a racist.’"
Now Mark O’Mara, defense attorney for George Zimmerman, wants to put Trayvon Martin on trial under the assumption that Trayvon was a violent pot smoking, gun toting teenager.
Pictures released by Zimmerman’s defense attorney have been floating around the internet. The assumption the defense seems to be making is if Trayvon Martin smoked weed, and or had a fascination with guns, Zimmerman is justified in killing him while assuming he was somewhere where he did not belong. Funny thing is, in America, those assumptions could stand up. Those assumptions have been supported by nearly one half million dollars in contributions to Zimmerman’s defense fund.
According to a records search on George Zimmerman, he was previously arrested for domestic violence, resisting an officer without violence and most shockingly, resisting an officer with violence - a felony charge that surely should have landed him in prison. A cousin accused him of sexually molesting her for over a decade starting when she was only six years old. Conversely, Trayvon Martin ran into a burning house to save his father’s life when he was just nine.
So what if the pictures circulated by the defense attorney are accurate? Did Trayvon provoke Zimmerman by lighting up a joint and blowing smoke in Zimmerman’s face? Did Trayvon Martin pull a gun on Zimmerman? Did Trayvon Martin commit any crime in Zimmerman’s presence? Trayvon’s only crime was being black in Zimmerman’s neighborhood. Zimmerman felt empowered to kill the black intruder.
There is no basis for a "self defense" nor "Stand your ground" defense for George Zimmerman because he was clearly the aggressor in this incident and shot Trayvon Martin down in cold blood.
Two lawmakers who crafted the Stand Your Ground Law say the measure doesn’t apply to the shooter of Trayvon Martin, and he should face charges. "He has no protection under my law," said Former Sen. Durell Peaden, one of the law’s authors, The Miami Herald reported. "They got the goods on him. They need to prosecute whoever shot the kid."