The George Zimmerman Case
The fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman took place on the night of February 26, 2012 in Florida. Martin was a 17 year old African American. Zimmerman was a 28 year old mixed race Hispanic.
The trial for 2nd degree murder and manslaughter began June 10, 2013, and on July 13, 2013, Zimmerman was found not guilty of both charges.
For those of you who didn’t follow the case, let’s back up a little and get more background into this case:
At the time of the incident, Zimmerman was living in The Retreat at Twin Lakes in Sanford, Florida. Trayvon was visiting and staying with his father’s fiancee, also living in The Retreat. In the 18 months prior to the shooting, Zimmerman had called the police 7 times, reporting suspicious men in the area. There had also been plenty of burglaries, thefts and 1 shooting in the area in the year before the shooting, creating an extremely tense environment within the community.
In September 2011, Twin Lake residents created a neighbourhood watch, and appointed Zimmerman to be the coordinator. He’d been licensed to carry firearms since 2009.
February 26, 2012
On the day of the shooting, Zimmerman had observed Trayvon wandering around the community, and called the Sanford Police. “We’ve had some breakins in the neighbourhood, and there’s a real suspicious guy”, he’d said.
2 minutes into the call, Zimmerman said “He’s running.” Police then heard a car door chime, and asked if Zimmerman was on pursuit. Zimmerman replied in the positive, and the police told him “We don’t need you to do that.” He replied “OK”, and told the police to call him when they arrive, so he could provide his location.
He ended the call at 7.15pm. When police arrived at the scene at 7.17pm, there’d already been what looked to be a struggle between Zimmerman and Trayvon, and Trayvon had been fatally shot in the chest.
Witness accounts of the incident were contradicting, with some saying that Trayvon was straddling Zimmerman and punching him, while others told of the opposite. Some of the calls recorded background screams of “help”, which could not be positively identified to belong to either Trayvon or Zimmerman.
Zimmerman was accused of having racially profiled Trayvor Martin, and assumed he was up to no good because he was black.
At the end of the day, the jury handed over a verdict of Not Guilty to 2nd degree murder and manslaughter as the prosecution did not surface enough evidence to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that Zimmerman did not act in self-defense.
Do you think there’s something wrong in the Florida justice system, when a man is allowed to carry arms, follow an unarmed teenager against the advice of police, admit that he’d shot and killed him, and acquitted with a self-defense plea?
John Oliver at The Daily Show certainly thought so.