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Witnesses in Trayvon Martin Homicide Speak: “It Was Not Self-Defense”

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I figured it would be a matter of time before more information as to what happened just before Trayvon Martin was killed by George Zimmerman would come out. As said information is released, one has to wonder yet and still just exactly what transpired on the night in question. At this point I think we all know the obvious: Martin was shot dead by Zimmerman.

But, the question still remains: was pulling the trigger indeed an act of self-defense? At this time, the fact that Zimmerman hasn’t been arrested indicates that per Florida’s self-defense immunity statute, investigators are yet to have found sufficient evidence to establish probable cause to believe that Zimmerman acted unlawfully.

Now we can have a debate as to whether you believe he did or not, but the fact remains: popular opinion in the public sphere means very little in a court of law. Heck, if it did, Casey Anthony, George W. Bush, and R. Kelly would be sitting in prison doing time for their crimes. But be that as it may, even the words of at least two sworn witnesses as the following video report shows, is yet more of the same: just another opinion from someone who didn’t actually see what transpired:

Now speaking about not actually seeing what transpired. At this point, the closest person to have come forward would be the last known person Martin was known to be on the phone with just minutes before being shot. Her being a 16-year-old minor, her name was not released by ABC News. However, her story from her viewpoint — that of being on the phone and not physically there — to me, paints a more vivid picture of how this played out. And, in some ways, her story jives with the audio of ZSimmerman’s 911 call before attempting to confront, Martin:

A 16-year-old girl said she was on the phone with the Florida teen shot by a neighborhod watch volunteer moments before he was killed, and that he feared he was being stalked.

Trayvon Martin tried to shake the man following him just minutes before the fatal confrontation that left the unarmed high schooler dead, the unidentified femalesaid, according to ABC News.

The 16-year-old told Martin’s family attorney she was on the phone with Martin on the night of Feb. 26, ABC News reported, and they talked just moments before he was shot to death by George Zimmerman.

The pair’s phone logs, obtained by ABC News, show they spoke just five minutes before police responded to reports of a shooting at the gated community in Sanford, Fla.

Recounting her conversation with Martin, the teen girl said, “He said this man was watching him, so he put his hoodie on. He said he lost the man.”

“I asked Trayvon to run, and he said he was going to walk fast. I told him to run but he said he was not going to run,” she said.

After a few minutes, the girl said, Martin thought he was safe. But eventually the man appeared again.

“Trayvon said, ‘What are you following me for?'” the girl said. “And the man said, ‘What are you doing here?’ Next thing I hear is somebody pushing, and somebody pushed Trayvon because the [phone’s] headset just fell.”

The line went dead, the girl said.

“I called him again and he didn’t answer the phone,” she said.

Martin’s parents, Tracey Martin and Sybrina Fulton, told ABC News that the logs and the girl’s story showed their son wasn’t looking for trouble.

Now I realize I have yet to offer my opinion on the case on this site other than the fact that in death, Trayvon Martin deserves justice. Trayvon Martin’s family as any grieving family needs to know and see that justice is served. But having read the actual self-defense immunity statute in the state of Florida myself, I certainly can understand why the hands of the police are tied at this point. Until more evidence surfaces, I’m afraid George Zimmerman will never see a day in prison for the tragic death of an unarmed 17-year-old teen, who wasn’t looking for trouble. Now I’m not sure if you’ve read Florida’s statute as it applied to Zimmerman’s self-defense claim; but, it’s really as clear as day:

(1)  A person who uses force as permitted in s. 776.012, s. 776.013, or s. 776.031 is justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force, unless the person against whom force was used is a law enforcement officer, as defined in s. 943.10(14), who was acting in the performance of his or her official duties and the officer identified himself or herself in accordance with any applicable law or the person using force knew or reasonably should have known that the person was a law enforcement officer. As used in this subsection, the term “criminal prosecution” includes arresting, detaining in custody, and charging or prosecuting the defendant.

(2)  A law enforcement agency may use standard procedures for investigating the use of force as described in subsection (1), but the agency may not arrest the person for using force unless it determines that there is probable cause that the force that was used was unlawful.

(3)  The court shall award reasonable attorney’s fees, court costs, compensation for loss of income, and all expenses incurred by the defendant in defense of any civil action brought by a plaintiff if the court finds that the defendant is immune from prosecution as provided in subsection (1).

Last time I checked, Zimmerman wasn’t a law enforcement officer. And, add to that the fact that there were no laws broken or disregarded when Zimmerman sought to pursue and identify Martin in his capacity as neighborhood watch captain. Zimmerman was in fact “squeaky clean” as police admitted. Yes, he had a run-in with the police in 2005, but those charges were dropped, and he was never convicted of assault on a law enforcement officer. At the end of the day an innocent life was lost, and this has been the source of outrage for many. My concern is that maybe some of this anger is wrongfully directed at the police. After all, aren’t they doing what they’re supposed to do by enforcing the laws that are on our books? Like you, I do believe that Zimmerman should be arrested and have his day in court. But if the law is the law, just who should I be mad at?

More importantly, if Trayvon Martin was white, would there be this uproar and a call for justice?

OK, forget that last question. What’s important to remember is that Reasonable Doubt is more than a classic Jay-Z album. In fact, it’s all any defense attorney has to create in defense of George Zimmerman should be ever be arrested. Like the Oscar Grant trial, I get the feeling that many of “us” are in for yet another let down. But of course this is what we can expect when we rely on opinions devoid of facts and evidence to support them . Finally, it’s easy for any of us to suggest that Zimmerman premeditated the death of Martin who’s only crime was that of being Black. But Skittles and ice tea aside, can we prove that in a court of law? Given the evidence as we know right now, can any prosecutor successfully do so? I’m sorry, but can Zimmerman at least be arrested?

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Published on: March 20, 2012

Filled Under: Justice

Views: 620

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  • A B

    I’m not an American, but what I see here is that American commentators (including you) have oddly low standards as to what constitutes “probable cause”, especially when black males are the ones to suffer.

    I would argue that the facts of the case, including the various recordings and the testimony of eyewitnesses, constitute probable cause.

    They would, if the deceased was a pretty little blond girl.

    • RiPPa

      In this instance, “probable cause” is defined as evidence of acting unlawfully. If there was evidence to support this, Zimmerman would have been arrested by now.

  • Stephen Robinson

    I expect the law as written to be challenged, in light of this situation, especially if it becomes clearer that Zimmerman basically instigated a fight with a minor (who can’t consent to sex with an adult but apparently can consent to a brawl) and then shot him dead.

    What I have found encouraging is one lawyer’s argument that Trayvon himself is also covered under the self-defense statute. It can (and perhaps should) be argued that Trayvon had far more reason to believe his life was in danger and more justification for asserting his right to self defense. Zimmerman, meanwhile, initiated the confrontation — having several opportunities to avoid Trayvon. Ultimately, what is more “suspicious”? A kid walking (even slowly) in the neighborhood? Or someone following a child in an SUV and approaching him in the dark?

    Zimmerman’s claim that Trayvon attacked him (from behind no less) seems less plausible every day. I think if Zimmerman, an adult, started an altercation with a minor or even attempted to hold him until the police came, which I’d view as abduction, then he forfeited his right to protection under the statute.

    Police Chief Lee alluded to a scenario in which Zimmerman merely asked Trayvon if he lived in the neighborhood and Trayvon attacked him. This is highly unstable behavior and there’s no evidence that Trayvon was violent or unstable.

    The 911 call reveals a highly agitated Zimmerman. When he left the car to follow Trayvon,  he says “these assholes always get away,” implying to me that he’s about to start a situation.

    Basically, I think there’s compelling evidence that Zimmerman initiated any altercation between the two. I think legally if you have a situation in which both parties can claim self-defense under stand your ground law, the guilty party would have to be the one who set things in motion.

    • RiPPa

      That’s one point that I’ve been arguing myself: Trayvon did have the right to defend himself as well. I wish that in this instance by both of them having the right to defend themselves, it cancells each other out and Trayvon would come back to life. At the least, Zimmerman should be charged with assaulting a minor as you pointed out.

  • Reggie

    How could it possibly be self defense?!? The murdered youth had a pack of Skittles and the murderer had a gun?!? Maybe I’m missing something?!?

    • RiPPa

      Reggie, if you’re in an altercation with a total stranger, I’d like to think that you’d be fearful for your life to defend it, no?

  • baba

    Given the proven existance of racial profiling in this country, if Trayvon Martin were white, George Zimmerman probably wouldn’t have thought he looked “suspicious” in the first place.

    If there are perceptions in this society that work put our kids in danger, then we need to protect our kids from being murdered based solely on perceptions. Trayvon Martin was an individual, and had the right to be treated as such.

    Don’t focus on whether any laws were broken. Focus on whether a CHILD’S basic human rights were broken, likely, at least in part, because of perceptions about people with that childs skin color

  • Kartoffelbreir

    If Martin was white, he would not have been shot.