Zimmerman Trial - A Post-Script

by Paul Siciliano

Now, what will I do now that the Zimmerman trial is over.  And, ending in a verdict that I believe was incorrect and unjust.  Zimmerman was not justified in using deadly force for a situation he created.  I believe the evidence showed beyond a doubt that he did not have a reasonable fear of imminent harm or death.

The jury thought differently.  And, that is the beauty and tragedy of jury trials in this country.  Unlike civil law countries, where experts in the field determine innocence or guilt - we ask ordinary citizens to do that.  And since ordinary citizens make that determination, it is a reflection of our values - well at least of the values for those in the particular area where the court is located.  Sometimes, unfortunately, those values are ugly. 

We can argue about reasonable doubt, lack of evidence and connecting the dots and all, but in the end - these women thought Zimmerman's fear was reasonable, reasonable enough that he was justified in killing an un-armed 17 year old black teenager that he had been following in his neighborhood.  Make no mistake, this was a series of events put into motion by Zimmerman, not Martin.  What does that say of the people of Sanford, Florida?  What is the value of these people?   

It tells me that, regardless of the circumstances, young African-American males are dangerous.  It tells me they are prone to violence and that any person should reasonably fear imminent grave harm or death when encountering one.  It does not matter that he has no gun - he will use whatever is at his disposal to do you great harm.  It does not matter that he was minding his own business.  Once engaged, the threat is real and reasonable.  It does not matter he feared for his own safety.  All that matters is that he was a young black man and the only way they can be controlled is through violence.   

A very sad indeed, and proof of the institutional racism that dominates our criminal justice system.  Zimmerman lied about what happened.  The police accepted his story because the victim was a young black man with no identification (because he was 17).  So where is the reasonable doubt that it was self defense?  The reasonable doubt is that he was engaged in a fight with a black man, a fight he prompted.  Very sad indeed.