Monday, March 19, 2012

To Serve and Protect (with conditions)

The murder of young Mr. Trayvon Martin on February 26th is something I hadn't touched on because my own rage made me incoherent and coherence for any writer is an absolute must. His murder in and of itself is despicable on its own merits: George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch guy, a frustrated, wouldbe cop with a gun, acts as judge, jury and executioner when he sees a black kid who OBVIOUSLY must've been packing something more dangerous than processed sugar. Shoot first (even after being told not to engage the "suspect") and rightly trust the police won't ask any questions later.

But it's also the followup, the Three Stooges version of a police investigation conducted by what is obviously a racist police department. Obviously, if the shooter was black and the victim white and a member of the gated community or one of their own, the Sanford PD would go all Alice's Restaurant on the shooter and bring out the choppers, SWAT and produce dozens of glossy 8 x 10s with circles and arrows showing each shell casing.

This kid could have been one of my own. I have two biracial sons who've just come back into my life. One is about to celebrate his 20th birthday, the other is 17, Trayvon's age. So everything horrible and everything racist that needlessly happens to an African American strikes at my heart because my sons share that heritage. This is worse than Jena, LA, worse than even the Tea Party, John Birch Society and KKK, than virtually anything we've seen in recent years. And those sworn to serve and protect the public interest have made it plain they will protect only certain segments of the population. If you're black and needlessly gunned down, well, you had it coming to you. The Sanford cops, for some bizarre reason, are defending this racist asshole as if their own reputations were on the line, even defending the guy and bringing up one class he took in criminal justice. So, if we all take a class in criminal justice and shoot innocent teenagers, that's our get out of jail free card?

And make no mistake about it, people: This was a lightning fast lynching, plain and simple. At least black people of antiquity were allowed to hear whatever trumped-up, bogus charges for which they were being lynched. Trayvon didn't even get that. He was walking back from a C store holding a bag of Skittles and the next thing he was dead. If you're like me, it's virtually impossible to imagine a more senseless and needless death, a more innocent victim. There's no wiggle room, nothing to plausibly spin. A red bag of Skittles does not look like a gun no matter how bad your eyesight and if your eyes are that bad, you shouldn't have or own a fucking gun.

This kind of shit happens all the time all over the world. We ourselves have done this wholesale in Iraq and, most recently, Afghanistan. But this is not Iraq. This is not Afghanistan. And we are not a nation of 300,000,000 potential criminals and terrorists. We're supposed to be better than this. And law enforcement, which has been brutally and sadistically cracking down on peaceful protesters at Occupy sites from coast to coast since last September yet does nothing about what is obviously a case of murder so Zimmerman can do this again and again, is supposed to be better than this.

Please sign the petition, which has almost reached its goal of 500,000 putting pressure on Norman Wolfinger, the 18th district's state's attorney to prosecute what's shaping up to be more and more of a hate crime.


At March 19, 2012 at 9:50 PM, Anonymous Comrade Rutherford said...

The reason that Zimmerman knew he could get away with this is because of the end of centuries-old common law: Florida's 'Stand Your Ground' law.

It has become standard practice by most police in states with these legalized-homicide laws to not charge perpetrators of gun crimes, but to hand everything over to the prosecutors to decide.

The prosectors ALWAYS side with the 'self-defense' claimant unless solid evidence that can't be ignored is reveals otherwise.

Given that the narc cops (not homicide) asked leading questions of the witnesses and the witnesses have stated that the cops changed their statements, it seems pretty assured that Zimmerman will be allowed to commit murder.

The cops themselves have hopelessly compromised this case, and that will overwhelm the mass of indirect evidence that describes the true events.

Florida law says it's perfectly legal to bring a gun to a fistfight and murder anyone that dares raise a finger to you. So if Trayvon turned to face Zimmerman who was following him in his car, or if Zimmerman grabbed Trayvon, or if Trayvon even shouted at Zimmerman, then Florida law says it's 100% legal for Zimmerman to kill Trayvon, and no prosecutor will dare say otherwise, lest the 27% complain.

Murder is legal in Florida.

At March 20, 2012 at 12:37 PM, Anonymous Dee in NJ said...

I heard this morning on TV that the police are now claiming that if they arrested Zimmerman, well, they could be sued.

Oh, my peas and carrots. Well Gads for fucking bid. There is no police department in this country that doesn't have to face at least one or two lawsuits a year, so why are they pissing themselves over this one?


At March 20, 2012 at 12:48 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

It's just pure spin, Dee, pure spin. Every reason they come up with to justify not arresting this asshat comes off as sounding less and less factual. You're right. Every PD in the nation faces the risk of getting sued, usually for frivolous reasons. They have lawyers that can usually repel those charges and DA's aren't likely to pursue all but the most egregious charges since they depend upon local PDs to help them make their cases and up their conviction rates.

The fact remains: This guy was a one man street gang disguised as a neighborhood watch guy who wasn't actually officially affiliated with a single registered neighborhood watch group. He stalked this kid then shot him when he tried to get away from him. He was charged of assaulting an officer 7 years ago then somehow beat the rap. This guy's very, very well connected and I'd like to know why the Sanford PD is going to such extraordinary lengths to protect him.

At March 20, 2012 at 2:59 PM, Anonymous Dee in NJ said...

I'd like to say I have faith in our Justice Dept that charges will be pressed, but... well we know how that goes, don't we?

At March 20, 2012 at 3:43 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

It'd be by necessity a Civil Rights lawsuit, which still carries very stiff penalties, because the Feds can't try him on a murder charge.

At March 20, 2012 at 6:32 PM, Anonymous Dee in NJ said...

Actually, yes they can. If the state jurisdiction does not charge, the feds have the option. The feds cannot charge you if you have been previously charged and found not guilty. In that instance, they can only bring civil rights charges.

At March 25, 2012 at 9:24 PM, Blogger Stan B. said...

The fact is Zimmerman was following Martin for a considerable period for no apparent reason (I'd be looking over my shoulder too if that was the case), and then purposely got out of his car to accost him. If anyone, it was Trayvon acting in complete self defense. Strange how the Florida law doesn't come down on his side...

At March 25, 2012 at 9:31 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

One other thing to consider: Markos (Kos) recently observed on Twitter (and Digby wrote about this): What you're not hearing from from right wing dialogues is Trayvon Martin's right to carry a firearm. Morons like the NRA are too busy trying to defend Martin's right to carry despite him having a history of violence (against cops) and him not being part of a registered neighborhood watch.


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