Posted by: mutantpoodle | March 14, 2012

Walking while black

If ever you’re looking for Exhibit A for why giving everyone a gun doesn’t necessarily make for a safer society, here it is:

A case involving the fatal shooting of an unarmed Florida teen, which has sparked outrage and calls for justice, is in the hands of the state attorney’s office.

Police say Trayvon Martin, 17, was returning from the convenience store to the home of his father’s fiancee in a gated community in Sanford, Florida, around sunset on February 26.

A neighborhood watch captain, George Zimmerman, 28, saw the teen and called 911 to report a suspicious man, authorities said.

The 911 dispatcher told Zimmerman not to confront Martin, but by the time police arrived, the teenager lay dead with a gunshot wound in the chest, said Bill Lee, the Sanford police chief. He was carrying a small amount of cash, some candy and an iced tea.

Zimmerman told police he shot Martin in self defense, authorities said.

There’s so much wrong with this case I don’t know where to start.

First, Martin’s family has lost their son for the crime of walking in a neighborhood where some yahoo thought he didn’t belong.

Second, the Sanford police didn’t charge Zimmerman with anything.

Apparently, Zimmerman decided to get all macho and confront Martin, who must have wondered why this idiot was hassling him for walking to his father’s fiancee’s house. Zimmerman provokes a fight, and Martin – outweighed by 100 pounds – does well enough that Zimmerman decides to shoot him.

From there, the Sanford, Florida police department goes down one long path of fail.

…after the shooting, a source inside the police department told ABC News that a narcotics detective and not a homicide detective first approached Zimmerman. The detective pepppered Zimmerman with questions, the source said, rather than allow Zimmerman to tell his story. Questions can lead a witness, the source said.

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

The officer told the witness, a long-time teacher, it was Zimmerman who cried for help, said the witness. ABC News has spoken to the teacher and she confirmed that the officer corrected her when she said she heard the teenager shout for help.

The Sanford Police Department refused to release 911 calls by witnesses and neighbors.

Several of the calls, ABC News has learned, contain the sound of the single gunshot.

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

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

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

Many years ago, I drove with a good friend to Florida, where he’d gotten a new job. His car broke down outside Ocala, and we got towed to the local garage, which was guarded by a large, menacing dog whose breed, from a distance, escaped me.

“Does he bite?” I asked the guy who ran the place.

“Not if you’re white,” came the reply.

If you’re still wondering if this is a complete travesty of justice, just imagine that Zimmerman is a 28-year old black man with a record of resisting arrest and battery on a police officer, and Martin was a blond, blue-eyed local high school student, and tell me that the Sanford police wouldn’t be able to figure out if Zimmerman had committed a crime.

I certainly hope something happens to Zimmerman, although this being Florida, having his gun taken away is probably the least likely option.



  1. Eurgh. Completely disgusting…

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