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Saturday, March 31, 2012

The 2nd Murder of Trayvon Martin


Ms. Martin said, "They've killed my son, now they want to kill his reputation."

In my previous post on the murder of Trayvon Martin, I briefly outlined the facts of the case and then proceeded to wax on my personal feelings. This time I intend to provide a more detailed review of this case, particularly the recent character assassinations which have occurred in an effort to bolster the minority argument, based on racist language and stereotypes, that George Zimmerman's actions were actually self-defense.

On February 26, 2012, 17 year-old Trayvon Martin left his father's fiance's house in Twin Lakes, Sanford Flordia, to purchase Skittles and Iced Tea from a local 7-11 store. Trayon was wearing a hoodie at the time. Martin's girlfriend came forward with testimony of a phone call she had with Trayvon the night of the murder. This was corroborated by phone records provided by T-Mobile. He reported that a strange man was following him. The girlfriend advised him to run. She overheard Trayvon state, "why are you following me?" followed by a man's voice stating, "what are you doing here?" She says that she heard the sound of pushing, and then the headset went silent. Attempts to call back were unsuccessful.

Concurrently, at 7:00 PM local time, George Zimmerman phone the Sanford Police Department's non-emergency number. Here is a transcription of the call:

Zimmerman: We’ve had some break-ins in my neighborhood and there’s a real suspicious guy. It’s Retreat View Circle. The best address I can give you is 111 Retreat View Circle. This guy looks like he’s up to no good or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around looking about. [00:25]

911 dispatcher: OK, is he White, Black, or Hispanic?

Zimmerman: He looks black.

911 dispatcher: Did you see what he was wearing?

Zimmerman: Yeah, a dark hoodie like a gray hoodie. He wore jeans or sweat pants and white tennis shoes. He’s here now … he’s just staring. [00:42]

911 dispatcher: He’s just walking around the area, the houses? OK.

Zimmerman: Now he’s staring at me. [00:48]

911 dispatcher: OK, you said that’s 1111 Retreat View or 111?

Zimmerman
: That’s the clubhouse.

911 dispatcher: He’s near the clubhouse now?

Zimmerman: Yeah, now he’s coming toward me. He’s got his hands in his waist band. And he’s a black male.[1:03]

911 dispatcher: How old would you say he is?

Zimmerman: He’s got something on his shirt. About like his late teens.

911 dispatcher: Late teens?

Zimmerman: Uh, huh. Something’s wrong with him. Yep, he’s coming to check me out. He’s got something in his hands. I don’t know what his deal is. [01:20]

911 dispatcher: Let me know if he does anything, OK?

Zimmerman: OK.

911 dispatcher: We’ve got him on the wire. Just let me know if this guy does anything else.

Zimmerman: OK. These assholes. They always get away. When you come to the clubhouse, you come straight in and you go left. Actually, you would go past the clubhouse. [1:39]

911 dispatcher: OK, so it’s on the left hand side of the clubhouse?

Zimmerman: Yeah. You go in straight through the entrance and then you would go left. You go straight in, don’t turn and make a left. He’s running. [2:08]

911 dispatcher: He’s running? Which way is he running?

Zimmerman: Down toward the other entrance of the neighborhood. [2:14]

911 dispatcher: OK, which entrance is that he’s headed towards?

Zimmerman: The back entrance. [It sounds like Zimmerman says under his breath, ‘F-ing coons’ at 2:22]

{NOTE:  [Listen here at 1:17 for CNN's edited frame]  [Read CNN Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin's explanation of why the use of a racial slur is critical in this case.] :ENDNOTE}

[The following is a key part of this case.]

911 dispatcher: Are you following him? [2:24]

Zimmerman: Yeah. [2:25]

911 dispatcher: OK. We don’t need you to do that. [2:26]

Zimmerman: OK. [2:28]

911 dispatcher: Alright, sir, what is your name? [2:34]

Zimmerman: George. He ran.

911 dispatcher: Alright, George, what’s your last name?

Zimmerman: Zimmerman.

911 dispatcher: What’s the phone number you’re calling from?

Zimmerman: XXX-XXX-XXXX [I am uncomfortable sharing the identifying information of a murder-suspect.]

911 dispatcher: Alright, George, we do have them on the way. Do you want to meet with the officer when they get out there?

Zimmerman: Yeah.

911 dispatcher: Alright, where are you going to meet with them at?

Zimmerman: Um, if they come in through the gate, tell them to go straight past the clubhouse and, uh, straight past the clubhouse and make a left and then go past the mailboxes you’ll see my truck. [3:10]

911 dispatcher: Alright, what address are you parked in front of? [3:21]

Zimmerman: Um, I don’t know. It’s a cut-through so I don’t know the address. [3:25]

911 dispatcher: OK, do you live in the area?

Zimmerman: Yeah, yeah, I live here.

911 dispatcher: OK, what’s your apartment number?

Zimmerman: It’s a home. It’s XXXX – oh, crap, I don’t want to give it out – I don’t know where this kid is [inaudible] [3:40]

911 dispatcher: OK, do you just want to meet with them at the mailboxes then? [3:42]

Zimmerman: Yeah, that’s fine. [3:43]

911 dispatcher: Alright, George, I’ll let them know you’ll meet them at …

Zimmerman: Could you have them call me and I’ll tell them where I’m at? [3:49]

911 dispatcher: OK, that’s no problem.

Zimmerman: My number … you’ve got it?

911 dispatcher: Yeah, I’ve got it. XXX-XXXX?

Zimmerman: Yeah, you got it.

911 dispatcher: OK, no problem. I’ll let them know to call you when they’re in the area. [4:02]

Zimmerman: Thanks.

911 dispatcher: You’re welcome.

[Call ends 4:07]

At this point Trayvon Martin has run away from George Zimmerman. The dispatcher has clearly instructed Mr. Zimmerman to wait in his car for the officers to arrive. Mr. Zimmerman is not to pursue, engage, or otherwise continue to following Martin.

Between this point and the shooting we don't know what happens. We don't know if Zimmerman stayed by his car, as he has testified, or if he continued following Martin. However, we know that an altercation occurred, and Trayvon Martin was shot with George Zimmerman's gun. Police arrived on the scene, and took Zimmerman into custody as well as attempted to resuscitate Martin. By 7:30 PM, he was dead. While in custody Zimmerman claims Martin attacked him first, and that this was self-defense. Yet the evidence shows otherwise...

When the police arrived on the scene, Martin was face-down in the grass -- not near Zimmerman's car -- unresponsive, and Zimmerman was standing nearby. Initial reports do not state he had a broken nose, or any bloodied head wounds. This was corroborated by security cameras at the police station which show Zimmerman exhibits no obvious wounds.

Eyewitness testimony is inconclusive, as there are reports that witnesses were pressured to change their testimony. Moreover, there is some disagreement as to who was the aggressor. The issue is very much a Rashomon effect.

There are other considerations, such as Zimmerman's history of racial profiling Black youths, which in conjunction with his comments to the 911 dispatcher show that this incident qualifies as a hate-crime if Zimmerman is charged with murder. In addition, Zimmerman has been the subject of numerous complaints of zealotry by neighbors, and even had his own history of battery against a police officer. Moreover, Zimmerman is not a member of a registered Neighborhood Watch group, and violates basic guidelines by carrying a gun.

Meanwhile the Sanford PD have failed in their jobs to conduct a proper investigation: the gun used in the incident was returned to Zimmerman, and he wasn't tested for drugs or alcohol. The officer in charge of the scene is himself the subject of criticism regarding his failure to arrest someone attacking a homeless Black man. This is in addition to the witnesses whose testimony has been changed, the police reports that were amended, and the fact that popular support was needed in order to spur the investigation in the first place.

Now, a lot of people have attempted to put focus on the character of Trayvon Martin, showing Facebook photos of a Trayvon Martin in "thug poses" that are not actually of the Trayvon Martin in question. People have tried to bring up unsubstantiated stories of arrests, suspensions, marijuana use, and other hearsay. Questions have surfaced as to whether Martin was overly concerned with sex and violence that are racist and misandric -- he's a 17 year-old teenager who has a girlfriend and enjoys violent movies. This is not uncommon among boys that age from any race.

The "thuggification of Trayvon Martin" has interjected a lot of racist tropes and stereotypes about Black people that are based more on BET and a history of American racism, than on actual Black people. Geraldo Rivera stated that Trayvon Martin's wearing a hoodie was a primary cause of his death, yet paradoxically hoodies do not kill people. People with guns kill people.

But the racist misandry notwithstanding, the important point about these questions regarding whether Martin was a drug-dealer, or aggressive, or impolite, or a "gangster", or had a history that is at all contrary to the testimony of family, friends, teachers, and acquaintances (who say he was a good kid) is...

None of it is relevant. Let me repeat, any argument that attempts to portray Martin as a potential aggressor and therefore possibly responsible for his own death after the 911 call is immaterial to the case.

From the point where Zimmerman disregards the advice of the 911 dispatcher and follows Trayvon Martin, he went from stalker to aggressor. Martin had no idea if this older, bigger man who had been following him at night with a gun was a kidnapper, pervert, or robber. Any action in the record taken by Martin is self-defense and common sense; yes, even beating the ever-loving shit out of Zimmerman. (This last point is unlikely though, according to the coroner's report. Martin's body exhibited no evidence of a struggle consistent with a physical fight.)

Notably, Zimmerman's attempt to justify his murder of Trayvon Martin under Florida's Stand Your Ground Law has been summarily dismissed by the facts of the case since the evidence shows that he pursued Martin. Even Jeb Bush, signer of the law, states that Zimmerman's actions are not covered by the law. Ironically though, Trayvon Martin would be able to claim immunity under this law -- had he not been murdered.

Now, the reason this case has received so much media attention and is so incredibly explosive is because there is a history of racial profiling and murder of Black people in America, with no consequences for the offenders nor justice for the victims. Failure to recognize this fact is to ignore the lived experienced of millions of people, and the documented history of racism in America.

I am particularly disappointed with the actions of one blogger who had been brought to my attention. That some people's racism is so precious to them as to make it impossible for them to recognize a spade when it's standing right in front of them... I read some of the garbage on his blog, and it made my heart hurt, made me so undeniably angry. This teenager is dead and instead of accepting the facts, he's trying to justify his own political points. To Chuck Ross, and the others who have tried to blame Trayvon Martin for his own murder, please, let go of your bigotry and act like a decent human being. This kid is already dead -- are you really ready to kill his memory?

As shown throughout this post, Zimmerman's actions were a racially-motivated murder, and a cursory search on the web will show that Trayvon Martin's death is but one example of many dating back to the founding of this country. But it needs to stop. We, as a country, need to stop allowing the murder of innocent People of Color.

We have already allowed so many to die, but we can stop ourselves from killing their names by doing something to honor their deaths: refusing to allow what happened to them to happen to anyone else ever again.


Shalom. Chesed. Tikkun Olam.

Cheers

6 footnotes:

Chuck Rudd said...

Read back through what I've written on this subject and tell me that I'm sitting here happy that Martin is dead or arguing that Martin deserved to be killed. You use the word "murder", but obviously we don't have enough facts to determine if a murder took place. That's the point. You're calling it a murder. Maybe it isn't.

But I've question my assumptions on this thing many times. I've considered my own potential biases. Have you?

Zek J Evets said...

Chuck,

I never said you're sitting happy. And I realize for the purposes of due process, it cannot be officially called a murder until Zimmerman has been charged, tried, and convicted.

That said, the facts are overwhelming, and it's incredibly depressing to see so many people in our country "teach the controversy" on something so blatantly clear.

Seriously, I'm not so sure you've questioned your assumptions or biases Chuck. How often have you talked about the inherent criminality of Black people based on race-realism? How often have you fetishized videos of BBB, and ignoring evidence to the contrary? How often have you minimized, dismissed, and outright ignored evidence of severe racism in the world, and in yourself?

I've considered my biases and assumptions for a long, long time, which is why I can see this for what it is. You, however, seem to always find a way to re-frame reality to suit your own metanarrative. And it's sad. Trayvon Martin is dead, and everyone from Toure to the alt-right is fighting over the media-corpse to gain points.

Honestly, I have no stomach for it.

Chuck Rudd said...

Zek,

You clearly didn't read my first couple of posts on the case. I started out believing that Zimmerman was a loon with a power complex. I assumed that because that is what the media was telling me. They were also telling me that Martin was just an innocent kid with Skittles. But that wasn't necessarily true; I made the mistake of not verifying the other possibilities myself. When other possible circumstances became possible, that changed everything. It's not that Zimmerman is innocent or that Martin is purely guilty, it's that there is no proof that this was the case that Martin's family and all of the liberal media said it was: a hate crime and a cold-blooded murder.

And I've certainly questioned by biases at every turn. One bias I found in myself is that the pictures of the young cute Trayvon Martin and the jump suit wearing Zimmerman helped me believe that Zimmerman was the aggressor all the way through. Whether or not that was true, the pushback is against the media for feeding us these particular images. I mean, have you paid attention to how NBC spliced the 911 call? They made it seem as if Zimmerman said that the kid looked suspicious because he was black. That's not the sequence of how the dialogue occurred.

Look, I've made an effort to back off of making group wide conclusions based upon individual blacks' behavior. I'll never not believe that blacks engage in more crime than whites. Whether that's because they are black is the real question. I'll stick to the facts rather than the speculation. And I'll never stop believing that black people have agency and can not commit crime or any of these things if they don't want to. And I'll never stop believing that a lot of the things that young black men buy into is detrimental to their long-term health, well being, and overall life prospects.

But what I don't understand about you and the liberals in this case is that you don't believe for one minute that Martin might have attacked Zimmerman. The reports were that Zimmerman had blood on his nose and the back of his head. A witness says they saw Martin on top of Zimmerman. Was someone lying about that? If so, what evidence do you have?

I'm all for a deeper investigation, but I'm not for jumping to the conclusion that Zimmerman was a murderer or a racist. And that's all this is about; the conclusions drawn by the media and liberals and the veracity with which guys like you are so quick to attribute ulterior motives to guys like me.

Zek J Evets said...

Chuck,

I did read your posts, but I took far more notice of your attempts to question the initial reports than your buying into them.

You mention the 911 call NBC spliced. I agree they should provide context; however notice my complete transcription of the call. Zimmerman states that Martin looked suspicious, that he's on drugs "or something", yet when describing Martin's actions only states that he's walking around staring. This kind of talk fits into Zimmerman's history of racial profiling Black youths, as well as the larger context of racial profiling. At 1:03 the dispatcher is attempting to get more information on the location of Martin, tellingy Zimmerman tacks on that Martin is a "black male" after having already mentioned that to the dispatcher earlier. Why bring it up again, especially as it is irrelevant to the current requests by the dispatcher? Now this alone isn't damning, but notice later he says "these assholes" and how they "always get away", which also hearkens back to Zimmerman's history with racial profiling and his vigilantism. Then at 2:22 comes Zimmerman's use of a racial slur, with obvious emotion and breathlessness that shows he was aggressively chasing Martin. Now, in light of Zimmerman's history as well as his comments on the 911 call, how do you justify the argument that he wasn't the aggressor motivated by racism?

I don't believe Zimmerman committed cold-blooded murder, nor do I rule out the possibility that Martin attacked him. (Notice I said as much in my post.) But neither of those mitigate what's happened. More importantly the evidence does not support the narrative you've been actively creating on your blog that spreads misinformation, and taps into deep racial prejudice among Americans -- especially among the alt-right.

You state you're not about jumping to conclusions or speculation, yet you clearly do so in regards to the criminality of Black people, as evidenced by the posts on your blog which often downplay important context to while highlighting other aspects. Your fetishization of BBB alone is evidence of your own racism. You've utilized confirmation bias via selective reporting and telling word-choice in so doing. So when you try to portray yourself as rationally approaching the subject, it comes off as disingenuous if not straight-up fabricated.

I appreciate that you want to back off making generalizations, but clearly you're still doing so. Understandably it's much harder than we think to let go of our own internal racism, but when you contradict yourself in the same paragraph by making a generalization about Black men that you said you're backing off doing so... well, it just shows how far you still have to go.

But more importantly the facts of this case simply do not fit the conclusions you are trying to create. This is why Morgan is a respected journalist, and Toure is not. You can do better than that too, if you really make the effort. Because right now you are playing into the lowest common denominator of American culture, and for me I am incredibly disappointed that my fellow countrymen can be like this.

Chuck Rudd said...

I'll have to respond more in depth later, but it's insane that you just as fact that Zimmerman made a racial slur. It's very unclear what he said, and the very beginning of the word sounds plosive, like it begins in a 'p'. Also, nowhere on that call or any other call does he reference blacks in any derogatory way, and he only mentions race when asked by dispatchers. As for Trayvon Martin, Zimmerman says "he looks black" with a bit of uncertainty. Listen to that segment again. Somehow this has become an assumption and it is absolutely fascinating that everyone who believes that Martin wasn't the aggressor thinks that Zimmerman said "coon". I'm saying that we don't know for sure, and I'm also realizing that each person's bias is swaying their interpretation of what word they heard. Have you even thought of that? It doesn't seem like you have.

Zek J Evets said...

Chuck,

The recording is of poor quality true, but the CNN playback is rather conclusive, especially in conjunction with Zimmerman's history of racial profiling, which you seem to conveniently forget when analyzing this case.

As for Trayvon Martin, Zimmerman says "he looks black" with a bit of uncertainty." Except he states later that he is black. Do you remember that part of my comment where I mention that he repeated it out of nowhere, with no probable reason? And again, weighing this along with Zimmerman's history of racial profiling Black youths is very telling of his mindset at the time.

I'm also realizing that each person's bias is swaying their interpretation of what word they heard. Have you even thought of that? It doesn't seem like you have.

What's ironic is that a lot of people who want Zimmerman to face justice HAVE thought about their personal biases. For you this is a new thing: seeing conclusive proof of a white-on-black hate crime splashed across the front page of every media source in the country. For those of us who recognize racism in America, this is nothing new.

Because you don't understand or possess the knowledge of this reality, you're at a loss to comprehend the facts and evidence, as well as what they entail. I feel sorry for you; it can't be easy to be confronted with your own bigotry, but nonetheless there it is.

For the purposes of this conversation though, I don't want to continue our dialogue. I am far too upset about this case, based in large part on my personal experience with anti-Semitism, to have the patience to educate you during this painful growing experience.

Hopefully as the case develops you'll change and recognize the truth of what I -- and more importantly a lot of other people -- are saying. Maybe then you won't be so conflicted or devoid of understanding.

Until then, this conversation is over. Thank you.