Jury selection has begun in what will be one of the most important criminal trials in modern American history.
The outcome, be it conviction, acquittal, or mistrial – which would be the only just result – will have a profound impact on race relations in the United States. Neither O.J. Simpson nor Rodney King had such an impact on the fabric of American society as will a dead 17-year-old boy by the name of Trayvon Martin. There were no human eye-witnesses to the actual moment when George Zimmerman – now on trial for second-degree murder – shot and killed Trayvon Martin, but the key witness in these proceedings will be racism.
The various versions of what happened the night of February 26th, 2012 are still opaque and contradictory. The nation is now well-versed in those accounts. The question du jour has changed a number of times, since that night. The favorites have been; “which one of the two was heard screaming for help?”, “Did Martin attack Zimmerman or Zimmerman attack Martin?” and “Did Zimmerman disobey the 911 dispatcher by giving chase, and did the dispatcher have the authority to order Zimmerman to do anything, in the first place?”
So it seems that the George Zimmerman case will upon largely circumstantial evidence. With regard to the question of who was heard screaming, moments before the shot that killed Martin was fired, the jury – no pun intended – is still out. The screams were caught on an audio recording of 911 calls placed at the time of the deadly confrontation. According to a report in the Orlando Sentinel, two state audio experts have testified that it was Trayvon Martin, and not Zimmerman, whose voice was caught on the tapes. ABC News reports that one of the experts, Alan Reich, testified that Martin can be heard screaming “I’m begging you!” and “Stop!”. The very idea of a tough, 17-year-old black kid – as Trayvon Martin was – using the phrase “I’m begging you” is, it has to be said, totally incredulous. Adding to the doubt that it was, indeed, Martin who can be heard screaming is the George Zimmerman had, clearly, been the victim of a physical assault; as evidenced by his head-wounds and broken nose. An examination of Martin’s body revealed that, other than the gunshot wound, he had sustained injuries to his knuckles.
Further doubt is cast on the testimony of the state’s audio experts in two ways; firstly, that they are state experts and – by definition, therefore – virtual witnesses for the prosecution. Secondly, both experts admitted that they could not be certain about who was doing the screaming. If guilt – or innocence – for the Trayvon Martin shooting rests upon these audio tapes, then justice will, surely, have not been done.
As for who attacked whom, the physical injuries, once again, tell us a lot – although, in truth, the mere fact that Zimmerman clearly came off worse than Martin during the physical struggle does not prove that Martin was the initial aggressor. However, a study of the 911 call placed by self-appointed neighborhood watchman Zimmerman when he first spotted Martin clearly shows that he ceased giving chase to Martin when he lost sight of him. The transcript of the call demonstrates this point. In the following exerpt, Zimmerman has spotted Martin on the housing estate that he is patrolling. After stopping to stare a Zimmerman for a moment, Martin starts running:
911 dispatcher: Are you following him?
911 dispatcher: OK. We don’t need you to do that.
911 dispatcher: Alright, sir, what is your name?
Zimmerman: George. He ran.
At this point, Zimmerman and the dispatcher exchange information, including a location at which Zimmerman will meet with police officers, now on the way. A later segment of the conversation, once again, demonstrates that Martin was no longer giving chase and did not know where Trayvon Martin was:
911 dispatcher: OK, do you live in the area?
Zimmerman: Yeah, yeah, I live here.
911 dispatcher: OK, what’s your apartment number?
Zimmerman: It’s a home. It’s 1950 – oh, crap, I don’t want to give it out – I don’t know where this kid is [inaudible].
Turning to the question of the 911 dispatcher instructing Zimmerman discontinue his pursuit of Martin; A police dispatcher is, in almost all cases, a civilian employee and not a sworn law enforcement officer. As such – whilst it is best to follow the directions given by a dispatcher and furnish them with the information they request – a dispatcher has no authority to order a person to do anything. In this case, the dispatcher was clearly right to tell Zimmerman to break off the chase and Zimmerman complied.
In the Affidavit of Probable Cause, filed by State Attorney Angela Corey, it is stated that:
Zimmerman got out of his vehicle and followed Martin. When the police dispatcher realized Zimmerman was pursuing Martin, he instructed Zimmerman not to do that and that the responding officer would meet him. Zimmerman disregarded the police dispatcher and continued to follow Martin who was trying to return to his home…
As with numerous other statements contained in the affidavit, this is, at best, pure conjecture and, at worst, demonstrably incorrect.
The entire affidavit is, in fact, no sound, legal basis for any type of criminal charge – much less, second-degree murder. Following the announcement of the affidavit, Harvard University law professor Alan Dershowitz told MSNBC “Most affidavits of probable cause are very thin. This is so thin that it won’t make it past a judge on a second degree murder charge…There’s simply nothing in there that would justify second degree murder.” Dershowitz described the affidavit as “irresponsible.” and said of the politically ambitious Angela Corey “I think what you have here is an elected public official who made a campaign speech last night for reelection when she gave her presentation and overcharged. This case will not – if the evidence is no stronger than what appears in the probable cause affidavit – this case will result in an acquittal.”
There can be no question that the star witness in the trial of George Zimmerman will be race. The mainstream media – with the predictable exception of Fox News – had condemned Zimmerman even before the affidavit was released; even going so far as to edit the audio from Zimmerman’s 911 call to make it appear that he was acting on a racially-motivated grudge against the black teenager.
The usual race baiters, such as Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and President Obama himself immediately jumped into the fray, where they had no business being, and proceeded to aggravate the situation. The President – displaying his usual poor judgement – even went as far as to publicly remark that, had he had a son, that son might have looked like Trayvon Martin. Neither the mainstream media, nor the aforementioned racists, have ever displayed the least amount of concern for any one of the young, black males who are gunned down every year in this country – usually by other young, black males. Were George Zimmerman black, this story would have received no national coverage at all. Were Trayvon Martin white, none of us would know his name. Further evidence of the inherent racism behind this entire episode is that Zimmerman, who is a light-skinned Hispanic man, has been labelled ‘white’ to fit the racist narrative. It seems that black homicide victims are only important if they are killed by white people and white people who commit homicide are only truly evil if their victim was black.
The most important witness that the prosecution in this case has is a concocted tale of racism. This trial should never have taken place, on the grounds of a highly improper affidavit and total lack of any credible evidence against George Zimmerman. Political ambitions and fear of reprisals from the black community are what drive this legal circus forward. Zimmerman may well go to prison for a very long time, in order to satisfy ambitious attorneys and racist hypocrites. Jury trials are the jewel in the rusty crown of American justice; let us all hope that the jury that emerges from the selection process that began today will make a decision based upon solid evidence and not on the whims of the media or divisive individuals.
Written by Graham J Noble