4 Years Ago, George Zimmerman was Acquitted. I Wrote about It.
I was pissed. I was angry. I was alone in an apartment in Barcelona. There was no one to talk to, so I wrote. I researched and I wrote more. The Greay Area was created that day.
This is what I wrote.
Rest in Peace, Trayvon.
Surprise! George Zimmerman was acquitted of the second-degree murder of Trayvon Martin. I’m going to talk about why he was acquitted and why I think he should NOT have been acquitted. Let’s start with the charge brought against him. In Florida, second-degree murder is defined as, “The unlawful killing of a human being, when perpetrated by any act imminently dangerous to another and evincing a depraved mind regardless of human life, although without any premeditated design to effect the death of any particular individual” (Second Degree Murder in Florida). Basically, it is the unplanned murder of someone by an individual who was morally corrupt in his or her actions. For Zimmerman to be found guilty, the prosecution had to prove that Zimmerman had ill intentions when he followed Martin. I do not think the prosecution thoroughly proved that Zimmerman had ill intent, but I do believe the prosecution provided enough proof for Zimmerman to be convicted of manslaughter, which was an option given to the jury before deliberations.
In the state of Florida, manslaughter is defined as, “The killing of a human being by the act, procurement, or culpable negligence of another, without lawful justification according to the provisions of chapter 776 and in cases in which such killing shall not be excusable homicide or murder” (Manslaughter in Florida). To prove manslaughter, the prosecution had to deconstruct and destroy Zimmerman’s defense of Justifiable Use of Force, or “Stand Your Ground.” From my point of view, all that needed to be proven was that Zimmerman, armed with a gun, actively pursued Martin and killed him. In my opinion, since Zimmerman followed Martin, he waved his right to use “Stand Your Ground.”
He was told not to get out of his car – his only “ground” in the situation, yet he did and followed Martin. If anything, Martin was standing his ground because Zimmerman was pursuing him.
But let’s say Zimmerman, possessing a loaded gun, “held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily harm to himself,” which is the main stance for use of the “Stand Your Ground” defense. That is still not enough to defend its use. If you look at the Florida Justifiable Use of Force statute it later states, “(a) The person against whom the defensive force was used was in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or had unlawfully and forcibly entered, a dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle, or if that person had removed or was attempting to remove another against that person’s will from the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle; and (b) The person who uses defensive force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry or unlawful and forcible act was occurring or had occurred” (Official Florida Legislature).
What unlawful and forcible entry or unlawful and forcible act was Martin committing? Last time I checked, being a black male and wearing a hood weren’t a crime, unless you live in the United States of America. My dad always told me not to wear my hood, and now I understand why. Thanks pop.
Like I said earlier, I do not think the prosecution did a good job, but I also do no think they had much to prove. The relevant evidence of the case was plainly laid out for everyone to see. Zimmerman followed Trayvon, striking down “Stand Your Ground.” They fought in a neighbors yard, so no forcible entry into a dwelling occurred. Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon. A Conviction of manslaughter should have been simple.
Understanding who initiated the fight seemed to be the most important point of the trial. The defense won this part of the trial since it was never clearly determined who initiated the fight and you are innocent until proven guilty in the United States court of law. I believe this is the reason why the jury found Zimmerman not guilty of Second-degree murder.
Florida’s Justifiable Use of Force statute states, “A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony” (Official Florida Legislature). Siting the statute, it could be said that Zimmerman had a right to be where he was since he was a neighborhood watch officer and was simply defending himself when he and Martin fought. Zimmerman being a neighborhood watch officer is the ONLY reason I can rationalize anyone saying that Zimmerman had a “ground” to stand. With it being unclear who initiated the fight, the jury could not say that Trayvon did not initiate the fight. Considering that everyone disregarded the fact that Zimmerman followed Trayvon, the jury chose to find Zimmerman not guilty of manslaughter.
However, I’ll say it again; Zimmerman should have been convicted of manslaughter. I can’t follow someone because I think they look suspicious and then shoot and kill him or her when the other person retaliates to my suspicious behavior. It’s just not right. Maybe I should become a neighborhood watch officer and see if I get off. But the bigger issue at hand is why Martin looked suspicious. I’ll address that in a later post.
And here is an old case people are rekindling in light of Zimmerman’s acquittal. Florida Mom Receives 20 years for Firing Warning Shots
This is the world WE live in.
The GrEAy Area