“Nobody knew exactly what happened,” Juror B-37 told CNN Monday, referring to the dark and rainy night of February 26, 2012, when George Zimmerman pulled the trigger that killed Trayvon Martin whose head was hooded perhaps to protect himself from the rain.
Juror B-37, so identified in order to shield her privacy, was one of the jurors on the six jury panel that acquitted George Zimmerman of all charges in the case. Juror B-37 was also the juror’s official court designation during the trial. She was talking to Anderson Cooper on CNN.
Throughout the interview, the juror’s identity remained shrouded in darkness at her request. She said she did not want her face shown and wanted to remain “cautious.”
In the interview Juror B-37 told Cooper that when the jury members in the Zimmerman trial began their deliberations, there was no unanimity among them. She said nobody knew exactly what happened on that fateful night.
She said that three of the members on the jury panel wanted to acquit Zimmerman, one was for second-degree murder and two wanted to find him guilty of the manslaughter charge. However, after reviewing the evidence, Juror B-37 said, all the jurors felt that Zimmerman truly feared for his life when he pulled the trigger.
She also told Cooper that the laws they had to deliberate about were “very confusing.” She added the jurors took their time to think through the information carefully.
When asked if she would feel comfortable with having Zimmerman on neighborhood watch in her community, Juror B-37 hesitated at first. She then replied it would be ok “if he didn’t go too far.” She later added, “I would feel comfortable having George (as a neighborhood watch volunteer)…I think he’s learned a good lesson.”
She also said Zimmerman’s heart was in the right place and the only thing he is guilty of is “not using good judgment.”
“I think George Zimmerman is a man whose heart was in the right place, but just got distracted by the vandalism in the neighborhoods and wanting to catch these people so badly, that he went above and beyond what he really should have done. But I think his heart was in the right place. It just went terribly wrong.”
That juror said she didn’t think the shooting was racially motivated and that Zimmerman would have reacted the same way to someone of any race.
Zimmerman, 29, a white Hispanic neighborhood watch volunteer at a gated townhouse community in Sanford, Florida, shot and killed Trayvon, a 17-year-old black youth. Zimmerman claimed he shot the unarmed African-American teenager in self-defense.
Juror B-37, who told CNN “nobody knew exactly what happened” on the night Zimmerman shot Trayvon, has signed a contract to write a book about her experience on the panel, reports say.
Zimmerman’s acquittal continues to echo around the nation. Fierce debate has ensued about race, crime, and the American justice system. The race issue has again divided America.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder called for national dialogue to address issues of race that polarize the nation. He called Trayvon’s death a “tragic, unnecessary shooting,” during a July 15, 2013 speech at the Delta Sigma Theta sorority, the nation’s largest African-American women’s organization. This week the organization celebrated its 100th anniversary since its founding.
“I believe that this tragedy provides yet another opportunity for our nation to speak about the complicated and emotionally-charged issues that this case has raised,” he told the audience.
He also said the Justice Department had already launched an investigation into whether federal civil rights charges should be brought against Zimmerman.
By Perviz Walji