Conflict & Tragedy
Zimmerman charged with 2nd degree murder, finally: a commentary
After 45 days, George Zimmerman is finally in police custody for the killing of Trayvon Martin and is currently being held at a reported secret location. The charge is second-degree murder. Special prosecutor Angela Corey made this announcement during a press conference on Wednesday. We don't know if bail will be granted at this time.
Parents Sybrina and Corey Martin must have wept in relief for now the journey towards justice has started. A collective sigh went up in communities around the nation, I know there was a huge one in mine. Everyone is saying the slow wheels of Florida's justice are now creakingly turning--where it would lead, is another matter entirely.
I am writing this as a mother of a Black, 17-year-old son, not as a reporter or impartial journalist or a "car wreck gawker" as many have treated this tragedy. The media and online news outlets have been vying for top billing, frantically trying to out-rate and out-scoop each other. Some preying on the "race tension" that exists. Even here on Allvoices, writers have fought over top spot and viewership like this was a sporting match. It's not--someone child is dead--life snuffed out when he had barely lived.
My emotions are running too high to give a sterile synopsis of Wednesdays events. My empathy and pain refuse to let me give you just the black and white of it all, I must touch on the greys, blues and other hues in between.
So where are we now? 17-year-old Trayvon isn't here to tell us what happened that fateful night on February 26 as he was walking home around 7:12 p.m., chatting on the phone with his 16-year-old girlfriend, DeeDee, carrying a bag of Skittles and a can of iced tea. 4 minutes later, he was dead, with a gunshot through the heart at close range--blasted by Zimmerman who told the 911 dispatcher that the teen "was acting suspicious--looked like he was up to no good." Just what that suspicious and "no-good" behavior was, he didn't say.
We only have the words of the shooter, 28-year-old George Zimmerman, self-appointed neighborhood watch captain, who walked away alive, was never taken to the hospital though he reportedly had an abrasion on the head and a broken nose. He was released that same night to go sleep in his own bed, yet claimed he killed that child in self-defense.
We also have the witnesses who called 911, ear-witness DeeDee, two eyewitnesses who gave completely different versions of what they say they saw through their windows on the tragic night. DeeDee, a valuable witness, was never interviewed by the Sanford police. Heard in a telephone conversation on CNN, the teen girl said that on the night her boyfriend was killed, he told her a man was following him. She said she told him to walk as fast as he could but he couldn't lose the man. DeeDee said she told Trayvon to run.
Zimmerman's version or the version his father, former judge Robert Zimmerman said his son told him, is he was walking back to his car when Trayvon attacked him from behind and told him, "You are going to die tonight." Is this a logical story to you: that an unarmed boy, alone at night, would jump on a strange man who was stalking him? You be the jury for a minute--is that story plausible to you? Or is DeeDee's?
Hopefully, there is forensic evidence collected but by the nonchalant way the Sanford police seemed to have treated this case, I am not holding my breath.
Zimmerman's new lawyer Mark O'Mara, speaking on CNN, asked for his client not to be pre-judged just as we didn't want Trayvon to be pre-judged. His previous legal team announced in Tuesday's press conference, that they were dropping Zimmerman as a client for he was doing things without consulting them and wasn't returning any phone calls, texts or emails. Sonner and Ulrig claimed he was incommunicado for two days during which he had set up a website and spoken to Fox's Sean Hannity
Back to the charges: Is second-degree murder too high to get a conviction? Should manslaughter also be on the table to avoid a Casey Anthony fiasco? Only time will tell and maybe prosecutor Corey has enough confidence in the evidence to levy that charge.
All eyes are on Florida and D.A. Corey is starring center stage. Tensions are still simmering, for this is only the beginning. We have the trial ahead of us and not to be blunt but in the spirit of keeping it real, most African-Americans do not trust the justice system.
However, most are looking for a conviction, regardless of what some pundits might be saying on evening television about accepting whatever a jury decides without violence.
Parts of America have erupted before when verdicts came back in favor of those who perpetuated the hate or crime. Blood flowed, people died and streets burned. This is the United States of America but the smoldering dynamics of race has rendered us at times the "Divided States" of America.
Social media has helped to diffuse the hysteria and mounting frustration from exploding into violence as it did in the past. People now have a medium to vent, connect, interact. We want a guilty verdict, but what happens if we don't get it?
130 Stand Your Ground killings have reportedly taken place in Florida since the advent of the 2005 law, with only 19 people convicted.
To read some of my articles on theTrayvon/Zimmerman case, click links below: