Posts Tagged ‘Self defense’

The facts of the Zimmerman case

July 20, 2013

Elizabeth Scalia, blogging as “The Anchoress”, made some sadly uninformed comments about the Zimmerman trial.  I wrote this, and decided to post here so I don’t have to write this up again.  All feedback of a factual nature, either positive or negative, is quite welcome:

I am very disappointed in you, Elizabeth. Because it appears you’ve decided to comment on the Zimmerman case without bothering to actually find out what happened in the Zimmerman case.

So let’s consider some facts you appear to have missed, and see if you can come to a more enlightened opinion:

1: A neighbor of Zimmerman’s was home alone with her infant, when someone tried to break in. 911 told her to grab a weapon and hide. She grabbed a screwdriver, and hid in her room with her baby. Someone jiggled the handle on her bedroom door, robbed her house, and escaped, all before the police arrived.

Zimmerman and his wife befriended the woman, helped her deal with her terror, and bought her a new deadbolt. Then Zimmerman started the Neighborhood Watch program for their area.

2: Relying on police reports about burglary suspects, Zimmerman made multiple calls to the police about teenaged boys engaging in suspicious behavior. The result of those calls was that a black male teenager who lived in the complex was caught with stolen goods from multiple houses in the neighborhood. In one little irony, the kid was convicted in Judge Nelson’s courtroom (and if you don’t know that Judge Nelson was the trier of this case, you’re not qualified to comment on the trial, and should be embarrassed in yourself if you have commented on it).

3: Trayvon Martin was suspended from school twice. Once because he was caught with stolen jewelry in his backpack, the second time (which was why he was in Sanford) because he was caught with a used marijuana pipe in his backpack. The school security officers followed their boss’s policy of rarely reporting criminals, in order to get their boss awards for “cutting the crime rate”. (This came out because of this case.) If they’d actually reported the crimes, instead of just suspending Martin, he probably would not have been in Sanford that night.

4: Trayvon Martin’s cell phone had, hidden in a password protected file, pictures of him with jewelry on his bed, texts about his street fighting, texts from his younger brother asking to be taught how to fight, texts about buying and selling guns, and pictures of naked underage females.

5: The toxicology report on Martin said that he had the active form of THC in hsi bloodstream the night he died.

In short, Trayvon Martin was a thug. He was a crook, and he was a drug user. If Zimmerman had not killed him, the only real question is “would Martin have killed someone else before he got himself killed?” Happily, that answer turns out to be no.

6: George Zimmerman called the cops to say he saw someone wandering around, looking into the windows of a house where he knew the person didn’t live, acting strange, almost as if he was drugged.

If you have a problem with him making that call, your problem is with the whole idea of the Neighborhood Watch, not with George Zimmerman. The behavior he reported SHOULD be reported, it doesn’t matter if the person doing it is white black old or young.

7: Zimmerman tried to keep this suspicious character in sight. Eventually the person disappeared from his view, even when he stopped his car and got out. The person on the other end of his non-emergency police call told Zimmerman they “don’t need him to do that” (try to follow on foot), so Zimmerman went back to his car.

None of the above facts are disputable. You could, I suppose, try to claim that Zimmerman lied in his call, and Martin wasn’t really looking into any windows. But you would have to make that claim with zero supporting evidence.

So, please, tell us where Zimmerman displayed “bad judgment” in any of the above.

8: Zimmerman says he walked around in the area around his car, trying to find a street sign so he could tell the police who were on their way exactly where he was. Neighbors who lived there testified during the trial that it was hard to see street signs in the area, and that the street name had recently changed. In any event, Zimmerman got off the phone with the police.

9: Four minutes after Zimmerman lost sight of Martin, Martin confronted Zimmerman less than 20 yards from where Zimmerman’s car was parked. (Time information taken from phone records entered at the trial. Location taken from where Martin’s dead body was found.) If Martin had been trying to go home, he would have been there, safe and sound. If I understand Jeantel (the girl who was on the phone with Martin), Martin DID get to his dad’s girlfriend’s place, and then turned around and went back. In any event, given the amount of time Martin had to get home, the ONLY reason for him to run into Zimmerman at the place where he did was because he chose to seek out Zimmerman.

10: Martin confronted Zimmerman, Zimmerman responded defensively (rather than going on the offense and saying “why are you looking into windows of other people’s homes?”). We got that from Jeantel’s testimony. Then she claimed the call ended.

11: Zimmerman was struck in the nose, his nose was damaged, and bleeding. The back of his head was damaged from being struck into a concrete sidewalk. The defense’s forensic expert testified that the damage done to Zimmerman was potentially life threatening, that the police should have sent Zimmerman to the ER, and that if Zimmerman had died from his injuries, the police would have been sued, and lost. The prosecution’s witness, John Good, testified that he heard the screaming, went outside, saw Martin on top of Zimmerman, pinning Zimmerman down, and striking down at Zimmerman (he could not testify that he heard the blows hit). Good told Martin to stop. When he didn’t, Good said he was calling 911. Martin’s attack continued.

12: The witness who claimed that Zimmerman was on top said she was sure that the bigger person was on top, and since the only images she’d seen of Martin were the pictures from when Martin was 12, she assumed Zimmerman was bigger. This was false, as the defense demonstrated when they had Zimmerman stand next to a life sized cutout of Martin.

13: Martin was killed by a single shot to the chest. His shirt was in contact with the gun, but the gun was shot from two inches away from Martin’s chest (as determined by the powder burns on Martin’s chest). The hole in the shirt and the hole in Martin’s chest lined up to show that Martin was leaning forward when he was shot.

In short: Trayvon Martin confronted Zimmerman, punched him in the face, tackled him to the ground, and spent 40 seconds beating on him, inflicting potentially deadly damage on him, and giving no indication that he was going to stop until he had killed, or at least crippled, Zimmerman. Zimmerman then got his gun out, and shot his attacker, killing him.

There can be no “duty to retreat” when you’re pinned to the ground. Every state in the nation allows you to use deadly force to defend yourself when you can’t retreat, and are in reasonable fear of death. Zimmerman could not retreat, and was in reasonable fear of death.If you still think Florida has “some laws that should probably be reviewed” because of this case, it’s because you are taking the utterly fringe position that self defense should never be allowed.

I hope you will take some time to get yourself actually informed on this issue before saying anything more. And I hope you will offer George Zimmerman the apology he so richly deserves after your ill-informed and utterly unjustified hostile comments about him.