Tag Archives: Trayvon Martin

Treyvan Martin Case Update: Zimmerman No Longer Seeks Immunity Under “Stand Your Ground” Law Prepares For Trial

George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin case update: Why Zimmerman’s lawyers abandoned the immunity hearing

Pre-trial immunity hearing
In shocking move, Zimmerman elects to skip immunity hearing that could have ended trial if ti found him to have acted according to Stand Your Ground law….Elects to go to trial instead.

ZIMMERMAN DEFENSE TEAM BACKS OUT OF IMMUNITY HEARING: IS THIS A SIGN?

Zimmerman’s defense team was due to have a pre-trial hearing where they argued there case that he should be immune from prosecution under Florida’s  stand your ground law next month.  His defense team has scrapped those plans in effort to better prepare for the actual trial which begins in June.  Zimmerman’s defense team would still be able to pursue the stand your ground defense if they chose to do so, it just won’t offer the immunity it would have if his defense team had been prepared.   Zimmerman has still plead “not guilty” and maintains that he shot Treyvan Martin in self defense for fear of his life.

Treyvan Martin would have turned 18 in February had he not been tragically killed a year ago.

WILL THEY BE PREPARED NEXT TIME?

lt will be interesting to see what happens by June, to me his defense teams failure to have been fully prepared and then canceling the pre-trial hearing which would have established his immunity from the actual trial based on the “Stand Your Ground” law in Florida.  What little we have seen or heard from him or about the trial in general hasn’t come across as being very appealing in the way it presents him to the public.

Defense Team May Have Caught Break With Witness:

If this weren’t enough excitement, Zimmerman’s defense team will finally be able to question the girl who was on the phone with Martin, following her statement that she did not attend his service due to being hospitalized for trauma proven to be false.  This dishonesty could discredit any testimony she would give and potentially will disqualify her as a witness.

 

THE PASSING OF RODNEY KING & What it Made Me Think:

Screenshot of footage of King beaten by LAPD o...
Screenshot of footage of King beaten by LAPD officers on March 3, 1991 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 THE PASSING OF RODNEY KING

Heres What it Made Me Think:

With the passing of Rodney King, and the death of Trayvon Martin both happening the same year as the 20th anniversary of the LA Riots, I took time to pause and think, are we really willing to continue obliviously repeating history?  Has our country truly made significant gains in racial equality?  Or is it possible that the real problem lies somewhere underneath it all, in implicitly racist ideologies, both in practice and in preach?  These incidents of racial tensions, and public outcry are not mere outliers, they’re statistical probabilities.  America remains separate and unequal, where wage and race increasingly determine your ability to successfully compete, for that shrinking piece of the pie.

Wealth Inequality
This is a chart created by Stanford University, visualizing the distribution of wealth within the United States
Income & Wealth by Race
This graph details the income and wealth distribution factoring in race as well.

For those of you not already acquainted, Mr. King was pulled over for a DUI by LAPD, and after a tussle, left brutalized by police. Rodney King’s beating was so severe it required hospitalization for the injuries sustained.  A spectator captured much of the encounter on video camera, eventually leading to the indictment of all officers (they were acquitted), and later settlement for Mr. King.  I am not going to even touch on that event too much, or attempt to argue one way or the other,- just giving a very brief, brief. –

Rodney Kings face following his beating at the hands of LAPD.

The important part is the rioting caused by the acquittal, was the result of years of racial tension left untreated, a plain another case of history repeats…  There is something truly wrong when citizens feel they have no recourse other than violence to turn to in order to gain some sense of relief to their feelings oppression.  Following the acquittal of the officers, at the hands of a mostly white jury in Simi Valley, outside Los Angeles County, these tensions finally came to a head, the City of Los Angeles burned for days afterwards, as citizens turned to violence for relief.

-AS the city was being burned and looted, rioters battling with police; Mr. King offered the famous quote, “Can’t we all just get along”, despite his beating from police.

The question we all still need to ask ourselves, is;

yeah, Can We?

Despite what our high school history courses may have taught us (or not taught), nothing was  completely overcome at the end of Ken Burns documentary.  When the teacher turned back on the lights, inequality still exists.  This nation is still grossly separate and unequal, and yes the word racism still applies.  We sweep this stain under the carpet, away from prying eyes, where it seeps and it bleeds deep into the hearts of those for whom it is the cold hard truth of reality.

Why the history lesson you might ask?

I lead with a small history lesson, because the tension surrounding Trayvon Martin’s case is rooted firmly in the past.  Racism and its existence, the United States personal boogeyman, is an unexplainable, indefensible and inexcusable blemish on a career supposedly built upon such lofty beliefs.

` Freedom and Equality, Democracy for all. `

The nation at large has hoodwinked itself into the greatly mistaken belief that civil rights was an issue of the past, when it gets brought up they act as if someone decided to be dealer of imaginary cards.

They must just be playing that almighty  RACE CARD, as if it were an Ace upon their sleeve.

African-American and Latino youth are daily witnesses that all men are NOT created equal in the eyes of the law, as they suffer humiliation through racial profiling by a largely white police force which doesn’t share the hardships of their lives.  Young men especially, live in constant reminder of the fact, regardless of crime, they are already criminalized in the eyes of many, law enforcement most of all.

Impirsonment Rates factoring in Race
This is a graph showing imprisonment rates per 100,000 residents

Without fanfare, or much media attention, the United States has created a prison population more than double that of China’s, a nation more than thrice our size.   Those who populate this new form of slavery just so happen to be predominantly Black and Hispanic, most for non-violent crimes.

-Oh Surprise, Surprise!-

According to the same Stanford study the upper right hand graph is from,

This graph shows staggering incarceration rates within the United States.

The incarceration rate in the United States has grown so dramatically since the 1970s that the U.S. now has one of the highest rates in the world. The rise in incarceration has been especially prominent among young Black males and high school dropouts. As shown in this graph, a full 37% of those who are both young black men and high school dropouts are now in prison or jail, a rate that’s more than three times higher than what prevailed in 1980.

Percent of 20-34 year old men in prison or jail, by race, ethnicity, and educational attainment, 1980 and 2008

Source: Western, Bruce & Becky Pettit (2010). Incarceration and Social Inequality. Daedalus, 139(3), 8-19

We have fallen back into a trap, losing touch and losing focus of a pure and simple fact.  The people who founded our nation upon those hallowed principles, did it upon Black and Latino backs.

Without thanks, and without praise, the system repays them by still trying to hold their progress back.  We all need to ask ourselves why we can’t be more like the late Mr. Rodney King?  Instead of violence he turned to peace for relief.

Not only that;

Do we wish to go forward; or do we wish to go back?

Do we wish to see what form the next incarnation will take?

Who the next  Rodney King, or Trayvon Martin will inevitably be; suffering death or bodily injury at the hands of needless harassment?

Most importantly, if we do, will the next time be as peaceful and as bloodless as the last (except the blood of Trayvon Martin, whose breaths that night proved to be his last.)?

POSTSCRIPT:

Unfortunately there is a wealth of information out there to give credit to what I have said.  I have provided some links below if you would like to learn more or would in some way like to get involved in reversing the blatantly racist justice system’s current path. Here is a contact list by state as well.  Stanford University has also provided a list of proposals which are looked upon as pragmatic means of combatting the gross inequality existent today.

For those of you interested in rehashing the 1992 LA Riots;

Also, here is a really great article by Peter Wagner, complete with visual aid’s, debunking theStand your Ground as being anything other than targeted at minorities.    http://www.prisonpolicy.org/articles/trayvon.html

More from me on the Trayvon Martin tragedy;

Please Comment if you know about any other initiatives or going on as well!

The Trayvon Martin Killing, Explained | Mother Jones

Trayvon Martin
Trayvon Martin (Photo credit: G Laury Photography)

Mother Jones, consistently one of my favorite and most respected indpendant news sources came out with this article last month explaining the Trayvon Martin case according to the evidence available to the public now.  I know that MoJo said they would be updating the article regularly as new evidence becomes available.

This is a great resource for anyone unfamiliar with the case to become acquainted as well as bringing back up to date those of us who have allowed the increased clamor leading up to the General Election this novermber to push the case back onto the sideburner.  I still believe that the Trayvon Martin case and how it is handled is going to continue to prove a damning guidestick regarding the racist nature of our society and our legal system.  In regards to the source

Trayvon Martin is the new Emmett Till

The Trayvon Martin Killing, Explained | Mother Jones.

Judge Checks Zimmerman: Bail Revoked & Ordered Back To Jail!

George Zimmerman Ordered Back to Jail in Travyon Martin Case.

A judge recently ordered George Zimmerman to turn himself in to authorities after revoking his bail.  It appears that this came as a result of the large sum of money that Zimmerman had raised via the internet for his defense.  According to authorities they have a recording between Zimmerman and his wife discussing moving this sum of money from a PayPal account to a different account.  Zimmerman is now at trial for 2nd degree murder, for the tragic incident that resulted in the death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin.  The circumstances surrounding this case caught the nation by storm, captivating audiences from coast to coast, especially the long gap between the incident and Zimmerman’s arrest.

Personally, I look at his bail being revoked as karma finally working its way back into the universe.  His free pass of over a month, before even being arrested, seems more than enough.  This whole case from start to finish has taken on the subtle overtones of a Ringling production, I keep waiting for the bearded lady to make her cameo, or shake hands with those who smell of cabbage.  Zimmerman was in hiding for an undisclosed length of time prior to being arrested under the auspices of it being for his own safety.  Strangely enough, he appears to have gone into hiding so well that his original lawyers lost contact with him.  Regardless of whether it was for his own safety or not, I would imagine that Zimmerman’s innate ability to channel Houdini would be cause enough to make the judge feel sketchy regarding his flight risk.  Combine his inner ninja with a very successful internet campaign to raise money for his defense, (the sum of which is uncertain to the best of my knowledge), and it would be a safe bet, he in fact does pose a flight risk.

Im going to go ahead and be honest about the fact it is extremely hard for me to stay unbiased on this case.  Many of the issues which I see to be central to the case, such as racism, beaurocratic incompetence and injustice, in addition to combatting them are very central to my beliefs.  Despite my first urge to demonize Zimmerman like a Jehova Witness going door to door during football season, without at least attempting to look at all the facts.  Even when looking at everything as objectively as possible, from a different point of view, I cant help but reach the same conclusion.

Regardless of all the media hype, or intense rhetoric surrounding the case from both sides, my belief is that he should have been tried for a lesser crime.  I feel that he 100% is responsible for what happened that night and needs to be held accountable.  If he would have followed the directions of law enforcement, he never could have come into harms way, even if harms way is a 17 yr old skittle toting madman.  His life and his property were not in jeapordy as the situation was described to police, he fulfilled his duty by notifying the proper authorities of “suspicious” activity.  By his desire to be there when the police arrived and “busted” the bad guy (again, 17 yr old skittle toting mad-man), he exhibited something more than someone just trying to do their civic duty.  George Zimmerman wanted to be a hero that night, but like many a man who set out to be a hero; things didn’t go his way (*allegedly).

George Zimmerman’s quest to be a hero, appears to have followed much the same path as his predecessor, Don Quixote, nothing but mishap.  Whether the loss of life included any sense of malice or pre-meditation, is for a jury to decide, but I think that there is at bare minimum a solid case for a variety of manslaughter charges to successfully be prosecuted.  Even if the death was purely accidental, he is still responsible for pulling out the gun and pulling the trigger.  Unfortunately, after the Johannes Mehserle case in Oakland, I don’t have very much faith in the justice system working out in favor of its namesake; especially when young African-American males are concerned.

Also, I really can’t stand the current treatment given the young victim by the media in all this.  After becoming a martyr through the early reports of the crime, things have come full circle.  Currently, it is much more likely to hear young Martin’s character be dragged through the mud, than to hear him spoken of as an innocent victim.  I remember hearing recently that Trayvon Martin’s toxicology screening was made public…Not only do I see this as being pointless, I feel like it has become character assassination upon someone who has absolutely no opportunity to defend themselves.  For all I’m concerned (for all anyone should be for that matter)  this kid could have smoked like he was on tour with Ice T. or Cypress Hill.  What he does on his free time holds absolutely zero relevance on the events that followed.  He could have lit up directly in front of the neighborhood watch and it wouldn’t matter.  Zimmerman was not designated, or trained to follow him, nor does he hold any official title which would require him to do so.  He was somebody attempting to be a good Samaritan, and things went wrong, good intentions do NOT excuse what followed.

It just makes me really sad that there are people out there who for whatever reason will never be able to look at this young man as a victim, regardless of the evidence.  Trayvon Martin’s right to stand HIS ground is rarely spoken of, the NRA isn’t spinning it as if he would have lived if he had been packing.  No its Zimmerman and HIS right to stand his ground….even if the ground hes standing is moving apparently…  Are we really scared of black youth to such a degree these days?  To where peoples first reaction is to shoot first and ask questions later? (even the police)  Each and every negative aspect about his character will be more than enough for bigotry to hammer another nail into the coffin.  This whole spin that perhaps Martin was a drug dealer is so ludicrous I mean seriously people; how many scary pot dealers or smokers do you know?  Allowing the report that the 17 year old kid had marijuana in his system to dominate or taint the conversation, provides only a temporary distraction to the real issues;

Having been 17 once, I can assure you, the people who did not have THC in their system at one point or another at my school were the exception and not the rule.  Does that mean that any one of my classmates deserved to be shot and killed as they walked home from a 7-11 by a self-appointed neighborhood vigilante?  I should hope not.  I’m not making any judgements about Zimmerman’s character or intentions, he just exercised poor judgement, resulting in the death of an innocent kid and he’s gonna have to pay the piper sooner or later.  It appears the judge agrees with me about the sooner part…

Heres some more of my commentary on this sad soap opera;

Trayvon Marin/ Emmitt Till:

Breaking News:

Prequel: