What George Zimmerman Is Guilty Of

Although I have nev­er blogged on this sub­ject, I have gone on the record else­where that, giv­en the facts as they were being pre­sent­ed, George Zim­mer­man is guilty of the mur­der of Trayvon Mar­tin…prob­a­bly sec­ond degree murder.

I have nev­er argued that he would be found guilty in a court of law. Giv­en the facts that have come out, Mr. Zim­mer­man has the law on his side.

In an arti­cle in today’s Orlan­do Sen­tinel, Zim­mer­man’s lawyer, Mark O’Mara, explains why he expects to get the judge to throw the case out. It will not sur­prise me if he suc­ceeds. It will sur­prise me if the case goes to tri­al and Zim­mer­man is found guilty.

But Zim­mer­man is guilty. How? The con­fronta­tion between the two men was ini­ti­at­ed by Zim­mer­man’s fol­low­ing Mar­tin. Yes, the bet­ter response by Mar­tin to being fol­lowed would have been to call the police. But this is where the con­cept of “white priv­i­lege” affects per­cep­tions of the case.

Yes, I would call the police. Just about every­one I know would have called the police. In my uni­verse, the police present no threat to me. Except­ing one time, when I have been pulled over there was a rea­son for it. The one time there was not a rea­son, the offi­cer, upon real­iz­ing he had pulled over the wrong car, apol­o­gized and sent me on my way with­out even look­ing at my license or registration.

When I was in mid­dle school, I was out in the mid­dle of the night with two friends just goof­ing around and the police showed up. We got a lec­ture (“a neigh­bor might shoot you by mis­take”) and sent home. Not tak­en in, not escort­ed home, sent home.

For many African Amer­i­can males, the police rep­re­sent some­thing very dif­fer­ent. It is not dif­fi­cult to imag­ine that “call­ing the police” is not the first thought that went through Mar­t­in’s head.

To fol­low some­one is to ini­ti­ate a con­fronta­tion. Zim­mer­man fol­lowed Mar­tin. He did so with­out cause or jus­ti­fi­ca­tion. He had already called the police, the dis­patch­er told him they did not need him to follow.

The con­fronta­tion was end­ed with the killing of Mar­tin by Zim­mer­man. Zim­mer­man is guilty of murder.

Zim­mer­man will be exon­er­at­ed by the legal process because the legal process does not rec­og­nize that to fol­low some­one is an aggres­sive threat­en­ing act.

An Indi­ana judge recent­ly demon­strat­ed that being fol­lowed is a fright­en­ing expe­ri­ence.

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