Why I Support George Zimmerman

“I demand justice for Trayvon Martin! Sanford PD should be ashamed of themselves.”

On March 19, 2012, those were the first words I ever vocalized in regard to the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.  I had been driving home that day from a long day on the road, and while listening to my satellite radio, I heard for the first time the story of this young, 17 year old, unarmed kid who was walking home from the store, minding his own business, carrying nothing but a can of iced tea and some Skittles that he’d bought for his younger brother during a trip to 7-Eleven at halftime of the NBA All-Star game on February 26th.  I was shocked to hear that the white vigilante named George Zimmerman who had shot him had still not been arrested for his crime.  It made my blood boil, and I was determined that I was going to let my thousand-member social media friends list know how upset I was in hopes that it would spur some of them to demand action as well.

In the days that followed, I went onto a message board that I frequent, and I was incensed to find that the conservative cohorts that I so enjoyed discussing life and politics with were jumping to the aid of George Zimmerman.  “How can that be?” I thought – it’s so obvious that Zimmerman was at fault.  It’s important to note that some of you reading this stopped a sentence back and wondered to yourself how I could be surprised that conservatives (or Republicans) would jump to support a white guy who had killed a black kid.  Let me just say right here that if that is your worldview – if you believe conservatives and Republicans are racists who want to see black people dead – you should just move along now.  It’s an old and tired meme, and it’s simply not true.  THAT’s why I was so upset about what I saw as a clear sign that there were a few contributors on that board that appeared to be outright racists.

I argued with those people until I was literally blue in the face.  Trayvon Martin had a voice on that website in those next seven days.  It was my voice speaking for him, and I called some people some nasty names and accused them of having some really ugly thoughts.  They stood their ground, though (my use of that term was not intended to be a pun), and after a week, someone (I honestly don’t remember who it was) convinced me that I should at least explore a couple of websites that might show me that I wasn’t getting all of the information that I needed in order to make an informed decision.

At this point, I don’t remember for sure how I ended up making the connections, but I am pretty sure that I first encountered a timeline at a website called wagist.com.  There was some information there that didn’t quite match up with what I thought I knew based on the reports that were in the media every night.  Seeking more, I found a site called The Conservative Treehouse.  It was there that I encountered update after update after update on this case, most of them authored by someone named “Sundance.”  These posts were extraordinarily well-researched and documented.  It was so shocking to read some of those early updates.  I believe that I arrived at the Treehouse around the time of update 9 or update 10 on this case, and I read all of the previous updates in order.  Back in those days, Sundance was putting out a new update every day or two, and the information presented and the comments that followed were just a complete eye-opener for me.

Don’t get me wrong, I knew all about the Tawana Brawley incident and the Duke Lacrosse case, both examples of race-hustlers manufacturing racially-charged incidents in order to increase their power and enrich their bank accounts, but I just didn’t think that was what was going on here.  Not in Florida.  Not in 2012.

Growing up in the State of Florida in the 1970’s, I was raised to believe in the concepts of right and wrong, and to always see the good in other people.  Sure, I grew up in a “white” neighborhood, but I was always quick to make friends with the black kids I went to school with.  I can remember specific kids, like Antwan, who I’ve known since kindergarten, and who I still occasionally see around town here, and Rod, who I played football with in junior high school.  He used to come home with me before football games so that we could eat dinner and swim in our pool.  I remember having conversations with Rod where he would talk to me about how different the act of swimming was for black people, because their bodies were denser, making it harder for them to float.   I have no idea at all if that is true.  The “adult me” kind of doubts it, although it is possible to find some people who make that claim through a quick Google search.  I don’t mention that to get into a debate about that issue – just as an example of the innocence with which I approached the “racial divide.”  There was no divide to me – Rod and Antwan were just kids that I liked and admired and enjoyed talking to.  I was probably most intrigued when talking about our differences, because other than the obvious fact that they were darker skinned than I was and sometimes maybe talked a little differently, I didn’t really see much that was different.

That was how I approached life until high school.  Unlike most of my friends, I was zoned for the “other” high school, the one with the less affluent population.  That was okay, though, because I could make friends anywhere, and that’s exactly what I did.  My junior year of high school, things began to change a bit and my eyes started to open up to racial differences – not because I wanted to see anything differently about people.  These changes were thrust upon me.

After my tenth grade year, my football coach was forced to resign.  In my entire county, up to that point, there had never been a black head football coach, and so they promoted the defensive coordinator to head coach – to great fanfare about what a defining moment it was for our county.  I didn’t care – he was the same coach who I had played for the year before.  However, little things began to happen.  I remember one coach taking one of the black players aside during our pre-season practices and telling him “you’re black – you have to do better,” and even though that kid didn’t do anything very well, he started every game.  The incident that really opened my eyes, though, happened right before one of our big games.  One of the black players, who always had a chip on his shoulder about something, just didn’t like the way that I would often get the better of him when I would block him in practice.  So, one day, he told me that he was going to “kick my ass” after practice.  I laughed it off because it was the kind of thing he’d say often and honestly, to me, it was all on the field stuff that I didn’t think much of when I left practice every day.

Well, when I left practice that day, and walked to my car, he was waiting for me by the lockers near the parking lot.  He had a menacing look, and it was obvious that he was going to make good on his promise.  As I walked to my car, hoping he’d just forget about it, I told him “I’m not going to fight you.”  This didn’t have the desired effect, and he tackled me into the lockers and began to pummel me.  I literally threw up my hands and said “Henry, I’m not going to fight you.”  I never threw a punch.  After maybe 20-30 seconds, some of the other players pulled us apart, and someone went and got the coach.  The other players all told the coach exactly what I just told you – that I had not thrown a punch and had refused to fight Henry.  The coach told us he’d deal with us later.  The next day, he called me and my parents in for a meeting.  During the meeting, he told us that because he couldn’t be sure of the details of what happened, both Henry and I were to be punished equally – neither of us would start the game that week.  Up until this point, both of us had been starters on that team – me as an offensive lineman, and Henry as a defensive tackle.

I was not happy about this, but coach was the coach, and I had been raised to think that what the coach said was law.  So, the next day, I took my punishment….until I saw what I saw.  Apparently, to this coach, for this player, the word “start” meant that he wouldn’t play the very FIRST play of the game, which is, of course, the kickoff.  However, on the very next play, I was surprised to see Henry run out onto the field to play his normal position.  He played the entire game, and I never got in once.  For the remainder of that year, I was no longer a starter, and Henry played all the time.  It was clear to me that on that team, with that coach, there was no longer any such thing as fairness.  So, at the end of that season (my junior year), I told the coach that I wouldn’t return to play for senior year.  This was a big deal.  I was the only 10th grader who had played on the varsity team my sophomore season.  I was a big kid – with the right coaches, I could have gone a long way and possibly earned a college scholarship, but instead, I joined the swim team and had fun looking at pretty girls in bathing suits that fall.

That was my first real exposure to any kind of unfairness in life (well, there was that time when the coach’s son won the MVP award despite me leading the team in homeruns, RBIs, and pretty much everything else), but there would be another, much bigger example coming down the line for me of how “the system” could fail someone very badly.

I had an interest in attending West Point, but my junior year in high school, during wrestling season, which was the point in time where all of the paperwork and physical exams and everything had to be completed, I separated my shoulder on the wrestling mat at practice one day.  Unable to physically prepare for the tests, I lost interest, and then ultimately ended up following some of my friends to the state university a few hours from home.  However, after my freshman year, my interest in West Point was renewed, and I began the process again.  I was ultimately accepted, and so after two years of college, I withdrew from the university so that I could begin plebe summer at the US Military Academy.

I don’t know why – looking back on it, I know it was the decision of a young and stupid kid – but for some reason, after about a month, I was mentally through with West Point.  I was tired of doing the things I was supposed to do, but then being punished for things that my two roommates would do wrong.  Today, with hindsight, I can look at it and understand that the Army was trying to teach me to take responsibility for other people’s actions, but at the time, it just felt unfair to me, and so that, combined with missing all of the friends I’d made in two years at the university, resulted in me withdrawing from West Point and making plans to go back to the other school and complete my degree.

The trouble was that it was nearing the end of summer, and I simply didn’t know anyone who needed a roommate at that point.  It was two weeks until school started.  All of the roommates were already snatched up.  There was an apartment complex, however, that offered a roommate matching service, so that was where I decided to live.  One of the criteria that they matched you on was smoker vs. non-smoker.  I was a non-smoker, and was glad to know that I would not have to share an apartment with guys who smoked.  I thought it was a disgusting habit and wanted no part of it.  Imagine my surprise when the guy who was assigned to be my roommate (Billy) was a smoker.  I have to say, though, that Billy respected the fact that I was a non-smoker, and he always went outside to smoke.

The two guys who shared the other room, Jon and Kurt, were best friends, and both were non-smokers.  Both were also cocky and arrogant, especially Jon.  About three weeks after we’d all moved in together, Jon and Kurt decided to have a party for Billy, who was moving back to Massachusetts suddenly.  I was out that evening with some friends, but when I returned home, the party was in full swing.  I went in the kitchen and cleaned up a bit, since there were beer bottles and cans all over the place, and I rinsed a 1.75 liter whiskey bottle that was sitting on the counter, since those were the kind of bottles that people liked to keep on their shelves to show off their mastery of the art of drinking liquor.

A few minutes later, I sat down in the other room where Jon was sitting with his girlfriend playing cards with a group of his friends.  I was getting a kick out of watching all of these drunk people, since I was completely sober.  At one point, Billy came walking in, and he had an unlit cigarette stuck between his ear and forehead, the way you’d put a pencil up there to hold onto it so you don’t lose it or drop it.  Jon saw that cigarette and, surprisingly, since he’d claimed to be a non-smoker, told Billy that he wanted it.  Billy handed it to him and then Jon asked for a lighter.  I reminded Jon that our apartment was a non-smoking apartment.  This, of course, was the worst thing I could say to an egotistical narcissist like Jon, whose mission in life at that point became lighting that cigarette in that apartment where I could see him do it.

Of course, I wasn’t going to have that.  I was no longer the bright-eyed kid who had refused to fight Henry that day a few years earlier, so I reiterated that he was not to smoke in the apartment.  Let’s just skip a bunch of the back and forth of a couple of testosterone driven guys and say that eventually, Jon not only lit the cigarette, ignoring an ultimatum that had been set, but when he did, he blew the smoke in my face.  I’d had enough, and so I tackled Jon and we kind of slammed against the sink area.  That was pretty much the extent of the physical confrontation.  I remember he was trying to hit me, but I held on and probably got a couple of blows in to his midsection, before people pulled us away from each other.

When they did, I was shocked to see blood all over the place.  I remembered seeing some knives in the sink as we were fighting, and I was afraid that perhaps Jon had cut me, so I began to check myself to see where.  I didn’t feel anything, but there sure was a lot of blood, all over the floor and on my shirt and Jon’s shirt as well.  There was also a broken 1.75 liter whiskey bottle on the floor, and clearly Jon, who was barefoot, had stepped on a piece of the glass and suffered a cut of some kind.  That didn’t explain the blood on our torsos, though.  Immediately, all of Jon’s friends who were there told me that I should leave and go to a neighbor’s apartment.  She took me to her place and helped me clean up, and then she went back to help clean up the kitchen at my apartment.  When she returned, she told me that from what she could see, Jon had hit his head on the upper cabinet above the sink, and it had opened a cut behind his right ear.  That was where the blood on our torsos came from.  The other blood was from the whiskey bottle which we had knocked on the floor during the fight.

Obviously, I could no longer live there, so the next day, I went by the apartment to pick up my stuff.  Jon was there, and he told me that he’d called the cops and was going to tell them what happened.  That was fine with me.  I felt that it was just a fight between two roommates, and didn’t think too much of it.  However, the next day, I heard from an investigator that Jon had reported that I hit him with the whiskey bottle, causing the cut behind his ear and breaking the bottle, which then resulted in his foot injury.  Jon’s girlfriend backed up his story.

I was scared.  This was not at all what happened.  I immediately called my dad and explained to him what had transpired, and he came up that day to see me and help me get through this situation.  We retained an attorney.  I was charged with Aggravated Battery with a Deadly Weapon, and even I had to admit that if someone who didn’t know the facts looked at the circumstances and evidence, they could think that I had indeed tried to kill Jon with a whiskey bottle.  It seemed so obvious to me that nobody on a jury would believe Jon’s story, because if you hit someone over the head with a 1.75 liter whiskey bottle, it’s going to do much more damage than the little cut that Jon had suffered.  That bottle would have broken his head open and done serious damage if I’d used it as a club, as Jon swore that I did.  Just to be clear, I DID NOT HIT JON WITH THAT BOTTLE.  No matter who he convinced to say that I did, I knew the truth, and the truth was exactly as I describe it above.

None of that mattered, though, my attorney said – what mattered was what the state could prove, which was that I had hit Jon first, and that there was a whiskey bottle there which had somehow been broken and oh, happened to have my fingerprints on it (remember early on I said I’d cleaned up the kitchen and rinsed this bottle out before placing it on the counter).  So, my attorney suggested a plea deal.  The State’s Attorney offered me a chance to plead no contest to simple battery.  In exchange, the felony charge would be dropped, and I’d enter into a one-year probation period and serve 120 hours of community service.  My probation would end as soon as the community service was completed.  I was also required to pay Jon’s medical bills of a little over $400.

This seemed much more “fair” to me than the possibility of serving a number of years in prison if a conviction should occur on the felony charge, and my lawyer assured me that the state would, at a minimum, convict me on the lesser included offense of simple battery since I had technically struck first.  Since a judge would probably sentence me to more than what this deal was requiring, the lawyer thought I should take the deal.  Since I was pleading no contest, I wasn’t admitting guilt, and indeed I didn’t FEEL guilty, so I took the deal.

I completed my community service in just over a month and paid the restitution, so my probation ended after only one visit with the probation officer.  Ultimately, that incident has had no lasting effects on my life.  I have worked as a high school teacher and in many other jobs since then, and it hasn’t kept me from being hired or in any other way caused me problems, though I have had to answer questions about it on more than one occasion.

Despite all of that, I still believed that “the system” was ultimately fair and that it treated everyone equally.  Despite my being falsely accused of this crime, I think that I still tended to believe that most people who get arrested are guilty of the crime they are charged with.  Certainly, when I first heard about this vigilante wannabe cop in Sanford, I pronounced him guilty.  How could I forget my own experience that easily?

As I read those updates at the Treehouse, though, I began to see that Sundance and the commenters like Diwataman and others might just have a point about George Zimmerman.  Maybe he really was acting in self-defense that night in February.  As I studied the case and learned more and more about what really happened that night, it really dawned on me that I’d jumped to a conclusion about George Zimmerman’s guilt that was unfair, and unsupported by the facts of the case.  I had been duped by so-called black “leaders” and national media outlets who had vested interests in seeing this case become a racial powderkeg.  How could I be so unfair to George Zimmerman?  How could I not give him the benefit of the doubt that I wished that State’s Attorney had given me years earlier?

Within 7 days after my initial proclamation on Facebook, I was back on my conservative forum.  This time, I was apologizing to those I’d been arguing with days before.  I explained that I’d jumped to a conclusion, but that I was now seeing the larger picture, and I asked for their forgiveness for the names I’d called them and the motives I’d attributed to them.

However, there was one person who I couldn’t apologize to.  I’d become part of the lynch mob that had chased after George Zimmerman with pitchforks and torches, and apologizing to a bunch of faceless people on a conservative web forum wasn’t going to make up for that.  So, I did little things, like contributing a small amount to George’s defense fund early on, but still, that wasn’t enough to make up for the things I’d unfairly thought and said about George, who deserved none of that kind of treatment from me or anyone else.

I couldn’t apologize to George because, as you know, George was arrested and thrust into the “system” that I always thought was so fair.  I totally see it now, though – I see how a corrupt prosecutor appointed by a corrupt attorney general can take a case before a corrupt judge and eventually (probably) get a corrupted verdict, all to appease those same race hustlers who thrust the Tawana Brawley and Duke Lacrosse incidents upon us.

So, since I couldn’t apologize to George in person, I determined to do whatever I could with the limited abilities that I have to try to spread the word of his innocence, to try to learn as much as I can about the case, so that if anyone asks me a question about it or challenges me on some point of fact, I can rebut with the truth.  I owe that to George Zimmerman.

George, if you read this, please know how sorry I am that I doubted you.  Please know how guilty I felt that I called for your head, when you had done nothing to deserve that.  Please forgive me.

George is a good man.  He and I would probably disagree on a lot of the typical things that divide people.  My understanding is that George is a Democrat who has long supported Democrat causes.  I’m a conservative Republican.  He is a short Hispanic, and I’m a tall white guy.  But, I can see a lot of myself in George.  I think we both placed more trust in the “system” than the system deserved.  I think we both viewed the world as a place where doing the right thing would always turn out well.  I think if I’d been driving in my neighborhood that night and seen Trayvon Martin walking in the rain, apparently on drugs, I might have called police to report him, especially after a series of burglaries in the neighborhood where the perpetrators always seemed to get away. I probably would have wanted to keep this one in sight, so I may very well have gotten out of my vehicle to follow him so that I could keep the dispatcher informed of his position.  Had Trayvon confronted me the way he did George,  and asked if I had a problem, I might have reacted exactly the same way George did.  “No, I don’t have a problem.”  Reach for my cell phone.  Take my attention off of the young man for a split second as I do, not realizing that he was about to hit me.  I might have ended up on my back, with this young man straddling me and attempting to beat me to death, as I screamed for dear life for someone – ANYONE – to come to my aid.

Faced with that, I might have shot Trayvon Martin.

I could BE George Zimmerman.

That’s why I support George Zimmerman.

Won’t you? Donate to the Defense Fund and help George get a fair trial

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Two Fateful Minutes

I was looking back at some background material on this case today, and I came across something that I’d seen before, but I’ve never really examined it in great depth. I was looking for a timeline to show what time George Zimmerman arrived at the Sanford police station after being taken into custody the night of the shooting, and I came across this link to the Orlando Sentinel’s website: Sanford police prepare down-to-the-second George Zimmerman timeline

This is a second by second timeline of events from the evening of February 26, 2012, as reported by the Sanford Police Department. (note that I’ve edited the screenshot to remove the ads, but the information remains unchanged)

NOTE:  This timeline appears to be pretty much bogus.  See the notes below regarding the discrepancy. 

There are a few things of note here. First, this timeline clearly attributes the screams to George Zimmerman. I don’t think this is necessarily Rene Stutzman’s doing – I believe she was just reporting what she was given by Sanford PD, but it is interesting to note that Sanford PD thought this was clear enough that they have it on their official timeline of the night’s events. As related in my earlier posting, common sense dictates that these are George’s screams, George said they were his screams, and absent any reliable evidence to the contrary, we must assume they are George’s screams, so it is good to see that Sanford PD came to this conclusion.

Also, there is a discrepancy in the timing between the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office and the Sanford PD of approximately 1 minute, 38 seconds. See the note there where it says that the first event on the timeline, which SPD says occurred at 7:11:12PM, was reported by the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office as occurring at 7:09:34PM. So, their clocks are off a bit. I believe that this may be the reason that many news outlets report that George hung up with the dispatcher that evening at 7:13PM. If you subtract the 1 minute 38 seconds from the SPD-reported time of 7:15:23 that George hung up the phone, then you would arrive at 7:13:45PM. So, when you see an article like this one on Wikipedia, which reports the time that the call ended “7:13:41 — Zimmerman’s call to Sanford police ends” you should understand that this is probably where the discrepancy between the two times comes from.   I have been told that this discrepancy was due to Sanford Police listing the times that certain notations were made in the logs.  The logs actually say the call connected at 7:09:34.  The first notation made in the log was at 7:11:12.  The police incorrectly listed this as the start time of the call in the list they provided the Orlando Sentinel.  You can see more HERE from a blogger who noticed this and communicated with the Sentinel about it.  At first he got a response, but then they didn’t answer subsequent questions about it.  I can tell you that I emailed Rene Stutzman about this today, and I still await a reply.

That discrepancy is not all that important to me, since I understand how it happened, but there are probably those out there who will try to exploit it by saying that Zimmerman hung up with the police dispatcher at 7:13PM and shot Martin at 7:17PM. It’s simply not accurate to say that four minutes elapsed from the time Zimmerman hung up until the time the shooting occurred. It was 1 minute, 57 seconds (7:15:23 – 7:17:20).    The call lasted for approximately 4 minutes and 12 seconds.  If it connected at 7:09:34, then it would have ended at approximately 7:13:46.  the first 911 call was placed at 7:16:11, so there was approximately a 2 minute, 25 second gap between Zimmerman’s phone call and the first 911 call.

Those are the two minutes that interest me. What happened during that time? Well, if we go back a couple of minutes prior to that, and listen to George as he talks with Sean, the non-emergency dispatcher, we will see that at approximately 2:10 into the recording, George gets out of his truck. At 2:39, George tells Sean “he ran” and then proceeds to talk calmly with Sean for the next 90 seconds. Clearly, during this time, George is not running around trying to find Trayvon Martin as he talks with the dispatcher. That means that Trayvon had at least a 90 second head start on George (not even taking into account that Trayvon had already started running while George was still in his truck), during which he could have calmly walked the short distance to the back of Brandi Green’s condo without George even seeing him, much less chasing him down.

So, with that 90 second head start, what did Trayvon Martin do? Well, that’s unknown, but what is known is that sometime during the next 1 minute, 57 seconds 2 minutes, 25 seconds or so, a violent confrontation occurred. Actually, the confrontation had to have begun sometime during the first two minutes after George hung up with the dispatcher, because I think that it would take someone at least 25 seconds or so to make the decision to call 911 and then place the call.  I think it would probably be more than that, but we’ll stick with 25 seconds. So, in a two-minute time span, the prosecution wants you to believe that George somehow chased Trayvon down, caught him, pulled a gun on him, let him beg for his life, and then shot him, all while somehow sustaining severe injuries to his own head and face. No. Not. A. Chance. There is no way that a slightly overweight adult in hiking boots could, in two minutes, chase down a 17 year old who had a 90 second head start. This is why the only possible conclusion is that Trayvon Martin either doubled back or was lying in wait to attack George Zimmerman, just as George Zimmerman said in his statements to police.

Lying in wait is considered to be evidence of deliberation and premeditation. It shows that Trayvon was the aggressor here, not George. Trayvon’s attack on George was a deliberate, premeditated attack that caught George completely off guard, breaking his nose, and then it escalated into a horrific event, with Trayvon straddling George and banging the back of George’s head into the sidewalk. Was he trying to shut George up, or was he trying to kill George? We will never know for sure, but either way, George Zimmerman was most assuredly in danger of death if the attack were allowed to continue unabated. All of those people calling 911 about this fight they heard going on outside were about to let a man be beaten to death. They would all have tried to tell themselves that they were heroes for being such good citizens and calling 911, as Trayvon was marched away in handcuffs and later charged with murder. They would have tried to tell themselves that, but deep down, they’d have known that if any one of them would have acted to stop Trayvon, George Zimmerman would still be alive.

However, George released them from moral responsibility for their inaction by taking the only action he could in the face of that severe beating and all of those neighbors who failed to come to his aid. He reached for his last lifeline, the gun he had in his waistband, and with one shot, he took back the life that Trayvon Martin was attempting to take from him.

Standing Up for George Zimmerman

On the evening of February 26, 2012, at approximately 7:16PM, a white vigilante named George Zimmerman, fueled by racial animosity, called police to report that he was suspicious of an African-American child based entirely on his skin color and the hoodie sweatshirt he was wearing.  George ignored clear instructions from police and chased down Trayvon Martin, who was unarmed and had been on his way back from a trip to the store to purchase iced tea and Skittles for his younger brother.  Zimmerman held Trayvon at gunpoint and allowed him to scream for help for 42 seconds before Zimmerman pulled the trigger, and then he immediately set about constructing a false story of self-defense to cover for his murderous actions.

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That’s the story that the State of Florida would like for you to believe.  The truth is that almost none of that story is true, and it’s well past time for the State to acknowledge the holes in their narrative and drop the charges against George Zimmerman.

First, there is no evidence that George Zimmerman has a racist bone in his body. When he called the non-emergency dispatcher, he didn’t volunteer information about Trayvon Martin’s skin color, as previously suggested in a recording played over and over again on NBC News that we now know was doctored by NBC staffers to remove the dispatcher’s question to George regarding Trayvon’s race.  The dispatcher asked “Okay, is he white, black, or hispanic?” to which Zimmerman replied “He looks black.”  There were further attempts to paint George as a racist, with claims that he had used a racially incendiary term on his call with the dispatcher.  Those claims were later debunked.

We also know that George Zimmerman had heavily criticized the Sanford police department previously for their failure to arrest the white politically connected son of a Sanford police officer, who had beaten a black homeless man named Sherman Ware.  Zimmerman went door to door in that case handing out flyers urging people to take action to see that justice was done. He was also known to mentor black youths in the community.  

Zimmerman’s very name may have played a part in the construction of the ‘racist white guy’ narrative that is still pervasive today.  In the early days after this incident, there were no pictures of Zimmerman available in the media.  It was easy for people, including reporters, to jump to the conclusion that a man named “Zimmerman” was white.  Later, when they found out that this conclusion was wrong and that George is actually a combination of white, Hispanic, and black (his mother is Peruvian and a grandfather was African-American), reporters coined the term “White-Hispanic” to continue the non-existent link to white racism.

Perhaps the best evidence regarding the lack of racism that can be attributed to George Zimmerman comes from the FBI. Agents descended on Sanford in the wake of the shooting in March and April of 2012 to interview Zimmerman’s coworkers, friends, and others. In all, they interviewed over 30 people, and not one of them stated that George had ever “displayed any bias, prejudice or irrational attitude against any class of citizen, religious, racial, gender or ethnic groups.”

George Zimmerman is no racist, by any stretch of the imagination.

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Another part of the narrative that has been pervasively misreported is the conversation with the dispatcher that evening.  Early in the phone call, after taking the description of the suspect (Trayvon Martin) and hearing from Zimmerman that Martin was coming toward his car and appeared to be on drugs, the dispatcher instructed George Zimmerman to “just let me know if this guy does anything else.”  About 40 seconds later, Zimmerman told the dispatcher that Martin was running, to which the dispatcher replied “Which way is he running?”  Zimmerman, appearing to want to see where Martin was going, simultaneously opened his car door and answered the dispatcher.  After 15 seconds during which it was obvious that Zimmerman had exited his vehicle and was moving, the dispatcher said “Are you following him?”  When Zimmerman answered in the affirmative, the dispatcher said “Okay, we don’t need you to do that.”  Zimmerman answered “okay” and stopped moving a few seconds later.

This exchange has been widely misrepresented and is today often reported as an exchange in which the dispatcher commanded Zimmerman not to follow Martin and to either stay in his car or return to his car.  The dispatcher’s actual words were not a command, and in fact Zimmerman was already following the dispatcher’s earlier directive to keep him informed if Martin did anything else and also attempting to answer the dispatcher’s question about which way Martin ran.  It is also important to note that the dispatcher was not a police officer, and George was under no obligation to follow his instructions that evening. He certainly was not under an obligation to find a hidden meaning in the words “we don’t need you to do that.” The misreporting of this one fact has done more to harm George Zimmerman than any other event from that evening, since today, supporters of the prosecution still make claims like “If George Zimmerman would have stayed in his truck like the police told him to, Trayvon would still be alive.”

Regarding the trip to 7-Eleven, that story was at least partially false.  First, in the early days after the incident, the media continued to report (based on a false claim by the family of Trayvon Martin) that Martin had gone to the store at halftime of the NBA All-Star game (which he was watching with his younger brother, Chad), to retrieve tea and Skittles for Chad.  The truth is that the NBA All-Star game didn’t start that evening until after Trayvon Martin was already dead.  Chad wasn’t his brother (he was Trayvon’s father’s girlfriend’s son), and Trayvon didn’t purchase any iced tea.  The iced tea had its origins in a mistaken notation on the police reports that a can of Arizona Iced Tea was found on or near Trayvon’s body.  In fact, the officer was mistaken, and we now know (based on crime scene photos) that the can was actually a can of Arizona brand Watermelon Fruit Juice Cocktail.  Chad, who was allegedly waiting for his iced tea and Skittles and to watch the remainder of the basketball game with Trayvon, apparently didn’t think anything was odd about the fact that Trayvon didn’t return home. 

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Why is any of this important?  It’s important because Witness 8, the state’s key witness, whose inconsistencies could fill another article, told prosecutors that Trayvon had purchased iced tea at the store that evening, and that Trayvon told her on the phone that he wanted to get home to finish watching the game.  It seems odd that Trayvon would have told her that he purchased iced tea when in fact he had bought watermelon drink, and equally odd that he would have told her that he wanted to get home to finish watching a game that hadn’t started yet.  However, at the time that Witness 8 was interviewed by prosecutors, Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump had already been provided with the police reports that showed officers had (incorrectly) catalogued the can of iced tea, and the Martin family’s false story about the NBA All-Star game was widely reported in the media.  Crump and Martin’s family had already had extensive contact with Witness 8.  The obvious inference?  Witness 8 may have been coached by members of the family or the family’s legal counsel on those issues, since they played right into the false portrayals of that night’s events that were making national news at that time.

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Early reports in this case portrayed Trayvon Martin as an innocent child, a good student who wanted to be an astronaut.  Pictures released by the family included an elementary school graduation picture and a picture of a clean-cut youngster in a Hollister t-shirt.  His parents claimed that the Hollister shirt picture was the most recent picture of Trayvon.  In it, Trayvon appeared to be about 14 years old.  However, interested bloggers immediately began to comb the internet for other photos of Martin, and they found photos of a much older, much more imposing young man, including some of him making obscene gestures to the camera, and others where he was displaying a wad of money reminiscent of something a drug dealer might possess.  More recently, the defense has released photos of Martin that show him holding a gun in his hand, and smoking and growing marijuana.  They have also released text messages that show that Martin had a propensity for violence, and liked to brag of his exploits as an MMA style fighter, telling a friend regarding one incident that his opponent didn’t bleed enough and would, therefore, have to face Trayvon again.  Trayvon was also attempting to purchase a firearm after his arrival in Sanford.

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That much of this information may be withheld from the jury in George Zimmerman’s upcoming trial does not make it irrelevant to the truth about what happened that night.  George Zimmerman encountered a troubled young man, who had recently been suspended from school for the third time in one school year – a young man who was most likely high and certainly in no mood to answer questions from George Zimmerman regarding his activities that evening.  While it’s possible that Zimmerman may have been mistaken in believing that Martin looked suspicious that evening, this mountain of evidence suggests that he nailed his description of Martin and his behavior.

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After Zimmerman hung up with the non-emergency dispatcher, we don’t know a lot about what happened in the next 60 seconds, other than what Zimmerman said in his interviews with police and the 911 calls that were placed during the struggle between Zimmerman and Martin.  One thing is clear – Zimmerman has been consistent from the very outset that Martin attacked him, and that Martin was beating his head against the sidewalk to the point where Zimmerman was afraid that he was going to lose consciousness.  Zimmerman stated emphatically that he screamed for help and nobody helped him.  Zimmerman passed a police-administered voice stress analysis test with no evidence of deception.  Listening to the 911 tape that captured the screams and the shooting, it seems obvious to anyone who listens objectively that the screams are those of a person suffering a horrendous beating who was in fear for his life.  Those screams are surely the screams of George Zimmerman.  Trayvon Martin’s own father even told police that those were not the screams of his son. 

Those claiming that they are Trayvon Martin’s screams beg the question – why would George Zimmerman hold Trayvon Martin at gunpoint for 42 seconds and allow him to scream for help at least 16 times before finally pulling the trigger to shut Martin up just in time for the police to arrive (police that George Zimmerman had called and was expecting)?  That makes no sense, and the physical evidence all supports George Zimmerman’s claims of self-defense.  Martin had no injuries, other than the bullet wound, and Zimmerman was bloodied and had an apparent broken nose.  The witness who was closest to the action that night claimed immediately to police that it was the guy on the bottom in the red sweater (Zimmerman) who was screaming, and that Martin was on top of him hitting him “MMA ground and pound style.”

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The State of Florida, with its unlimited resources and its desire to avoid riots or other troubles that are feared should an acquittal come, has reached out and found a voice “expert” who has concluded that the screams are those of Trayvon Martin.  That “expert” goes beyond that, though, and actually claims to hear things that no other expert in the case who has examined the evidence has heard – including the FBI, who concluded that the recording was of such poor quality that it was not usable for voice identification purposes – things like George Zimmerman yelling “These shall be” in the voice of a carnival barker, and Trayvon Martin saying “I’m begging you” just before Zimmerman pulled the trigger.  It seems that it should be easy to exclude this witness from ever setting foot in front of the jury to offer such confusing and clearly misleading garbage on the stand, but nobody will be surprised at this point if Judge Debra Nelson lets him testify.

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There is much more here to discuss regarding the weakness of the State’s case against George Zimmerman.  Prosecutors know all of the facts outlined above, and they know how little their probable cause affidavit has to do with reality.  Even if some or most of this evidence about Trayvon’s character is inadmissible in a court of law, it is not off limits for a prosecutor’s use in determining the appropriateness of the charges against George Zimmerman.  Perhaps, through the efforts of a corrupt State’s Attorney and the hanging judge who appears determined to railroad Zimmerman to prison and will do so by excluding any discussion of the proclivities of Trayvon Martin toward violence and drugs, the State will win a conviction in this case.  If they do so, however, the real loser won’t be George Zimmerman, whose conviction will almost certainly be overturned on appeal.  The real loser will be our system of justice in the State of Florida.

It’s time for those who care about such things to stand up for George Zimmerman.  Annette Kelly, a blogger who goes by the handle “Nettles18” said it best:

“On February 26th, 2012 George Zimmerman screamed for help.  Together, let’s answer him.”

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