By L&T publisher Earl Watt
Some of the protest signs after Geroge Zimmerman was found not guilty of second degree murder or manslaughter charges Saturday read, “The System is Broken,” and “The Whole System is Guilty.”
Others demanded “Justice for Trayvon.”
Not only was George Zimmerman on trial for this tragic shooting that ended with the death of Trayvon Martin, but the entire judicial system was being placed on the stand to see if it was acceptable to the people.
Opinions varied greatly on the not guilty verdict reached by a panel of six jurors, all women, but most judicial experts said that there was no way to reach a guilty verdict.
Many of the protesters are calling this a racial attack, and yet none of the evidence spoke to that point at all.
The two men involved were of different races. Zimmeran identifies himself as Hispanic while Martin was an African American.
Other than that fact, there was no evidence presented by the State of Florida that indicated race played a part in the altercation.
They did make the case that Zimmerman profiled Martin for wearing a hoodie and walking in a suspicious manner in the rain. He did not seem to be in a hurry to get somewhere dry, and he was, according to the call to the police, walking from “house to house.”
So far, I have not seen how the system has failed.
Those protesting said Zimmerman pursued Martin, but again, the evidence did not support the claim.
Zimmerman was following Martin. Should he have let Martin go?
But Martin knew he was being followed, and instead of calling the police he called a friend, and he made racial comments about Zimmerman, calling the Hispanic a “white a-- cracker.”
All of this evidence was presented in court to a jury selected by the prosecution and the defense.
For those who believed the system is guilty, I would ask, guilty of what?
Is the system guilty of being racist?
Most experts questioned why the trial even took place based on the evidence. The evidence supported Zimmerman’s claims of self defense. The prosecutor’s office and law enforcement officials saw no reason to charge Zimmerman with a crime.
That’s how the system works.
But the political winds blew into Florida, and they demanded Zimmerman be arrested.
The Chief of Police refused, and he was fired.
Despite what law enforcement and the prosecutor’s office determined to be a lack of evidence, state officials opted to have Zimmerman arrested, and without a grand jury to determine if there was sufficient evidence, Zimmerman was arrested and they charged him with second degree murder.
Is this how charges are brought?
Just having the trial was the equivalent of a legalized lynch mob.
The Zimmerman defense team was also prevented from seeing all the evidence the state had collected, another violation of the process.
A whistleblower who examined Trayvon Martin’s cell phone found photos of Martin brandishing a gun and with a gun on his bed.
But the prosecution did not readily present that evidence.
The police photos of Zimmerman’s injuries were photocopied and presented in black and white, minimizing the appearance of red blood and cuts.
Sanctions are expected to be filed against the prosecution for their suppression of evidence.
With the prosecution believing they had no chance at a second degree murder conviction, they attempted to throw in death by child abuse in the closing moments of the trial and the possibility of manslaughter.
The child abuse charge was not allowed, but the manslaughter was.
While the jury deliberated, they asked for clarification on the manslaughter charge. Still, they determined that no crime had been committed.
If the system was at fault, it was for abusing its power in bringing charges against a man involved in a tragedy, but it was not short in its defense of Trayvon Martin’s role.
Beyond the facts, the prosecution maliciously portrayed Zimmerman as a “wannabe cop” who stepped over the line. It never once questioned the behavior of Martin or why he chose to attack Zimmerman.
Despite the objections of the police and local prosecutors, the state insisted they needed to try Zimmerman, and they used their position of authority to do just that.
But the state could not overcome the six fair-minded jurors.
Even when the state tries to manipulate the facts to an outcome it desires, the American system still requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt by a jury of our peers.
That right is guaranteed to all of us.
Those who say the system is guilty, I would still say, guilty of what?
Of maintinaing the premise of innoncent until proven guilty?
Is the system of having an impartial jury at fault for those who disagree with the verdict?
What would these critics offer to replace these principles? Trial by mob? Or any time two different races have an altercation is automatically a hate crime?
No, the system is not guilty.
Both sides made their case, a jury heard every word, and they all said not guilty. There is no better system of justice in the world.