A Look at the Zimmerman Verdict
By Brandon Williams
Informer Media Group
#IfIEverSeeZimmerman. That was the hashtag atop Twitter’s trending topics for a couple of hours following George Zimmerman’s verdict of not guilty.
Then came the mostly peaceful protests in Oakland, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Atlanta, D.C. and Sanford.
“What do we want?”
“When do we want it?”
Those chants were heard in Times Square as the disappointment spread from twitter to the streets. Many black mothers and fathers held their children a little closer with a sense of hopelessness for some, resentment for more, and a question of “Why?” for most. Supporters of Trayvon Martin aren’t at a point of resignation though. Protests around the country are still happening at this hour of me writing this. The protests in Los Angeles have become somewhat restless (specifically the ones happening on Crenshaw Blvd.), and groups have reported to have broken off and caused some trouble, but the question remains; are these protests even necessary?
There were six women on the jury for the Zimmerman case, and only one of them was a minority (Black, Hispanic, or a mixture of the two).
The prosecution could have played on the emotions of the six women and had them envision themselves as Trayvon’s mother, but that never really came up in court.
State attorneys Bernie de la Rionda and John Guy decided not to bring up the fact that Trayvon was black specifically. Their strategy was to present the facts as best as they could and hope that the jury would find Zimmerman guilty of second degree murder, or manslaughter. Perhaps they saw that 83% of the jury were white females from a conservative area in Florida and thought it best not to bring up the issues of racism as it might have backfired.
The comments from juror B37 lay credence to that line of thinking by de la Rionda and Guy that perhaps the jury wasn’t the best to begin with.
According to B37, the original vote among the six jurors was three votes for not guilty, two votes for manslaughter, and one vote for second degree murder. She described the protests in Sanford leading up to the trial as “riots” when they were clearly not. She said that she wasn’t a fan of the news saying it is all “skewed” one way or another and that you never get all the information. She claimed not to read newspapers or articles online. However, her husband is an attorney, and one would think that someone whose spouse is an attorney would at least follow the news in some capacity, a husband who follows the news enough to arrange for a book deal less than 2 days after the verdict of the sequestered jury.
According to Buzz Feed, juror B37 will no longer pursue that book deal with Martin Literary Management.
Much speculation has been made as to whether or not the Martin family will file a civil suit, or a civil rights suit against Zimmerman. The difference between a civil suit and a civil rights suit is that a civil suit against Zimmerman would mean that the family is seeking a monetary outcome based on a wrongful death claim (Zimmerman would still remain acquitted, but it would mean that he was found guilty of negligence on that rainy night in February). A civil rights suit would mean that the Justice Department would claim that Zimmerman racially profiled Trayvon Martin, which then ultimately led to the teenager’s death.
Reverend Jesse Jackson had this to say on the matter, “There’s a Trayvon in every town,” he said. “That’s why the Department of Justice has a role to play, to look at this pattern, because equal protection under the law remains elusive.”
The civil rights suit would be more of an uphill battle than a civil suit. Family attorney for the Martin family Benjamin Crump said this when asked if the family was thinking of filing a civil suit, “They are certainly going to look at that as an option,” Crump said. “They deeply want a sense of justice. They deeply don’t want their son’s death to be in vain.”
And yesterday, President Obama made some remarks on what the country should do now that this high profile case has come to a close, “I now ask every American to respect the call for calm reflection from two parents who lost their young son.”
“And as we do, we should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to widen the circle of compassion and understanding in our own communities. We should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to stem the tide of gun violence that claims too many lives across this country on a daily basis. We should ask ourselves, as individuals and as a society, how we can prevent future tragedies like this. As citizens, that’s a job for all of us. That’s the way to honor Trayvon Martin,” stated Obama.
I’m a student, a golfer and a writer, but I’m still figuring out what order those should apply to me. I provide a unique prospective from my survival and escape as a liberal in the state of Kansas. You could call me a sports junkie, but only when it comes to the Jayhawks, Royals, Chiefs or Thunder. Overall I’m outspoken, but conservative with my letter bombs. I’m chasing the American dream… at least what it use to be.
The world has turned and left me here.