On The Killing Of Trayvon Martin By George Zimmerman – By Ta-Nehisi Coates

Ta-Nehisi Coates, the author of this piece makes a compelling and reasonable argument about the Zimmerman case.   However, is it enough to take away the feeling by many in the African American community that the verdict was a gross miscarriage of justice?  

The Atlantic

By Florida law, in any violent confrontation ending in a disputed act of lethal self-defense, without eye-witnesses, the advantage goes to the living. 

I interrupt your regularly scheduled programming to offer some thoughts on the verdict of innocent for George Zimmerman:

1.) Last year–after Zimmerman was arrested–I wrote something hoping that he would be convicted. A commenter wrote in to object, saying that arguing for his arrest was justifiable. Arguing for his conviction was not. I acknowledged the point at the time. The wisdom of it seems even more appropriate today.
2.) I think the jury basically got it right. The only real eyewitness to the death of Trayvon Martin was the man who killed him. At no point did I think that the state proved second degree murder. I also never thought they proved beyond a reasonable doubt that he acted recklessly. They had no ability to counter his basic narrative, because there were no other eye-witnesses.
3.) The idea that Zimmerman got out the car to check the street signs, was ambushed by 17-year old kid with no violent history who told him he “you’re going to die tonight” strikes me as very implausible.  It strikes me as much more plausible that Martin was being followed by a strange person, that the following resulted in a confrontation, that Martin was getting the best of Zimmerman in the confrontation, and Zimmerman then shot him.  But I didn’t see the confrontation. No one else really saw the confrontation. Except George Zimmerman. I’m not even clear that situation I outlined would result in conviction.
4.) I think Andrew Cohen is right–trials don’t work as strict “moral surrogates.” Everything that is immoral is not illegal–nor should it be. I want to live in a society that presumes innocence. I want to live in that society even when I feel that a person should be punished.
5.) I think you should read everything my friend Jelani Cobb has written about this case.
6.) I think the message of this episode is unfortunate. By Florida law, in any violent confrontation ending in a disputed act of lethal self-defense, without eye-witnesses, the advantage goes to the living.
An intelligent, self-interested observer of this case, who happens to live in Florida, would not be wrong to do as George Zimmerman did–buy a gun, master the finer points of Florida self-defense law and then wait.
7.) Circling back to the first point, it’s worth remembering that caused a national outcry was not the possibility of George Zimmerman being found innocent, but that there would be no trial at all.  This case was really unique because of what happened with the Sanford police. If you doubt this, ask yourself if you know the name “Jordan Davis.” Then ask yourself how many protests and national media reports you’ve seen about him.


George Zimmerman apologizes: 5 takeaways from his bail hearing

The Week"I wanted to say I am sorry for the loss of your son," George Zimmerman told Trayvon Martin's parents at his bail hearing. "I did not know how old he was... I did not know if he was armed or not."

In a dramatic day in court, Trayvon Martin’s killer says he’s sorry — and is granted a $150,000 bail

Nearly two months after he admittedly shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman unexpectedly apologized to Martin’s parents at a bail hearing in Sanford, Fla. on Friday. “I wanted to say I am sorry for the loss of your son,” Zimmerman, 28, said in a “meek” voice. “I did not know how old he was. I thought he was a little bit younger than I am. I did not know if he was armed or not.” (Watch the video below.) Zimmerman faces a charge of second-degree murder, but claims that he acted in self-defense. Judge Kenneth Lester granted him a $150,000 bail, though Zimmerman is still not expected to leave jail for several days. Here, five takeaways from the day’s events:

1. Martin’s parents are outraged
Martin’s parents are quite angry that Zimmerman would “give a self-serving apology to help him get a bond,” said Ben Crump, the Martin family attorney. Hold on, says Zimmerman attorney Mark O’Mara. Zimmerman wanted to apologize, and while “it should have been done in a private setting… that [opportunity] wasn’t afforded to him.” (On Thursday, Martin’s parents rejected Zimmerman’s request for a meeting.)

2. Zimmerman will be tracked
The judge granted bail on the condition that Zimmerman would wear a monitoring bracelet on his ankle. Zimmerman was ordered not to contact Martin’s family, and to abide by a 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew each night. Lester is still weighing whether to allow Zimmerman to leave Florida. Zimmerman’s lawyers say he’s not safe in the Sunshine State, having reportedly received multiple death threats. Zimmerman is still in jail, and his lawyer says it could take some days for his family to come up with the money to post the $150,000 bond.

3. Prosecutors say he has a history of violence
In seeking to deny him bail, prosecutors grilled Zimmerman’s wife, Shellie Zimmerman, about her husband’s past arrest for assaulting an undercover police officer, and another incident in which an injunction was filed against him by a former girlfriend who claimed Zimmerman had hit her. Shellie Zimmerman, testifying by telephone, insisted that Zimmerman had merely acted in self-defense. “He’s absolutely not a violent person or a threat to the community,” she testified.

4. Lawyers are previewing their trial strategies
O’Mara went after Dale Gilbreath, an investigator for the state attorney’s office, when he took his turn on the stand. O’Mara aggressively questioned Gilbreath about an affidavit he had drawn up, in which he said Zimmerman “confronted” Martin. Gilbreath conceded that he did not know who started the fight. Also, when prosecutors asked Gilbreath if there was any evidence to suggest that Zimmerman had made untrue statements to the police, Gilbreath replied, “Yes.”

5. Meanwhile, a new photo of a bloodied Zimmerman emerges
ABC News published a photograph showing the back of Zimmerman’s head covered in blood mere minutes after Trayvon died. “The photo could give credence to Zimmerman’s claim that Martin had bashed his head against the concrete as Zimmerman fought for his life,” says ABC. Investigators had already seen the photo, and Crump said it proved nothing. “How bad could it have been if they didn’t take him to the hospital [and] didn’t stitch him up,” he said. “The special prosecutor has seen all the evidence and still believes George Zimmerman murdered Trayvon Martin.”

Lawrence O’Donnell And Charles Blow Give George Zimmerman Pal Joe Oliver Epic Grilling

I saw Lawrence O’Donnell’s show last night and was absolutely floored by O’Donnell and Charles Blow (NY Times columnist) ability to dissect Joe Oliver’s story methodically and succinctly.


On Tuesday night’s The Last WordGeorge Zimmerman friend and former news anchor Joe Oliver finally ran into an interviewer who has beenwatching the game films, and the result was an epic two segments of television that left Oliver’s premise, that he knows Zimmerman well enough to know he couldn’t have killed Trayvon Martin in cold blood, in tatters.

This interview, with host Lawrence O’Donnell(possibly still steaming from last night’s walkout by Zimmerman’s lawyer) and The New York Times‘ Charles Blow, is amazing on many levels, and covers many of the points I’ve raised about themisleading, nonsensical things Oliver has been saying, and challenging the closeness of his relationship with Zimmerman. By the second segment, when WaPo’s Jonathan Capehart tagged in, Oliver began to actually dispute the characterization of him as a “close friend,” and told all three that “My role in this just doesn’t make sense.”

Some highlights include Oliver’s weird evasion of O’Donnell’s questions about whether Oliver and Zimmerman were ever co-workers. By the end of the second segment, Oliver acknowledged that “we’re co-workers.” He also made several stunning admissions, including volunteering that “George may have been drinking” the night he was arrested in 2005, then quickly adding that he’s never, ever known Zimmerman to drink.

Aside from the blistering barrage of questions, there were a few unrelated, priceless moments, like when O’Donnell is quizzing Oliver about anger management counseling, and looks like he’s about to slug some guy at the bar. Then, toward the end of the first segment, some of the lights go out in Oliver’s studio, leaving him in a sinister half-light. That should have been a clue to Oliver that things were not going to get better.

To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with a friend trying to help out a friend by attesting to his fine character, but what Oliver was doing went well beyond that.

I can’t figure out, for the life of me, why Oliver hung in there for two whole segments of this, but the result was as compelling as anything I’ve seen on cable news. I’ve seen O’Donnell do the pit bull thing before, with varying results, but tonight, he got a subject he could really sink his teeth into.

Here’s the interview, in two parts.

What Was Said on The Trayvon Martin Shooting 911 Tape?

America Blog

There is some controversy over what was said by the shooter in the Trayvon Martin case, George Zimmerman, during his 911 call, especially at the 2 minute and 21 second mark. He seems to say “f–king” and then another word. Some think the second word was a racial epithet, others don’t hear it.

Since there’s a growing discussion over this case, and over the 911 call, we thought we’d post it so you can listen for yourself.

Here’s the Trayvon 911 tape. Listen at 2:21.

What do you think? Some say he said “cold” or “punks”. Some say it’s indecipherable. And some claim he spoke a racial slur. Your thoughts?