Neighborhood Watch volunteer Zimmerman, a Hispanic-American, had spotted Martin (a 17-year-old African-American teen) walking through his crime-wracked neighborhood in Sanford, Fla., early one evening in 2012 and, not recognizing him, followed him. Zimmerman called 911 and was told not to intervene — advice he unfortunately ignored. An altercation between the two men ensued. The much larger Martin quickly got the best of Zimmerman, banging his head against the sidewalk and pinning him to the ground. Zimmerman, apparently desperate, shot Martin in what he said was self-defense. Prosecutors in Zimmerman’s trial were never able to produce an eyewitness or significant evidence to clearly indicate Zimmerman’s account was exaggerated or untrue.
That’s even though the state of Florida pulled out all the stops to try to convict Zimmerman, and even though the White House and much of the major media did little to hide the fact they hoped Zimmerman would be found guilty.
Pressure was brought from on high to indict Zimmerman: a special prosecutor was brought in from Jacksonville to take the place of local prosecutors; and President Obama injected an additional dose of racial politics in the case, saying that if he had a son, he’d look like Martin. To emphasize the racial angle even more, some of the major media conveniently ignored the fact that Zimmerman’s mother was Peruvian, preferring to refer to him as white and for a while even coining a new ethnic category, that of “white Hispanic.”
Meanwhile, the special prosecutor, Angela Corey, did not turn over to the defense the evidence of photos and text messages recovered from Martin’s cellphone — photos that included underage nude women, marijuana, a pile of jewelry on a bed and a hand holding a semiautomatic weapon in a menacing fashion. (Instead, the only photo made available to the media depicted an angelic pre-pubescent Martin.) Fortunately for justice, Ben Kruidbos, the whistle-blowing IT director for the Florida Attorney General’s office, turned over the cellphone evidence to Zimmerman’s defense team — and was promptly suspended in May, and then fired last Friday, the day the case went to the jury.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Justice sent its “Community Relations Services” team to Florida at taxpayer expense to organize anti-Zimmerman rallies; and the judge often ruled in favor of the prosecution, especially at the end of the trial when, with the prosecution’s case very much in doubt, she allowed the jury to consider convicting Zimmerman on a lesser manslaughter charge in hopes he would be convicted of something.
The six woman (five whites, one black) jury, to its great credit, focused on the evidence and did the only thing it rightfully could do — acquit Zimmerman.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is now said to be looking hard at trying to indict Zimmerman for violating Martin’s civil rights. We suspect he would find that an uphill battle as there is no evidence that has come to light that indicates Zimmerman was motivated by race.
Yes, there is no question that young black men often receive different treatment from police than other people do. But neither is there any question that young black men (and young men in general) are responsible for a disproportionate share of crimes, and sadly, a very high percentage of their victims are other young black men.
To his credit, Obama, apparently learning from his earlier misstep, said little after the verdict aside from, “We are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken.”
The jury has spoken; and it has spoken correctly. Obama and his DOJ should let that verdict stand, and we should all learn from the mistakes and missteps of this tragic case, and go forward from there.