About 24 hours ago, on July 13, 2013, a six-person jury acquitted 29-year-old George Zimmerman in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. What would normally be a local issue, this case garnered international attention and glued many in the United States to the edge of their seats as they followed the case.
Myself, I did not follow the case intensely because based upon the evidence, it appeared that George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin in self defense. However, from what I’ve read about the case, it was mostly pressure from the family members of Trayvon Martin, city officials, the public, and the media that ultimately led for charges to be filled against George Zimmerman.
Keep in mind, in the United States, a suspect in any crime is innocent until proven guilty. In order to get a second degree murder conviction, the prosecution had to prove their case without reasonable doubt to the jury. The jury found that the prosecution’s case wasn’t strong enough to prove second degree murder nor manslaughter, so George Zimmerman was acquitted on all charges. With double jeopardy in place, Zimmerman can not be retried for the murder case.
Do I think that George Zimmerman should have followed Trayvon Martin if Zimmerman suspected illegal activity? No, I do not. Had George Zimmerman not followed Trayvon Martin, the entire incident could have been avoided. However, Zimmerman was only advised not to follow Martin by the non-emergency dispatcher. Zimmerman was under no legal obligation to follow that advice, and because of ignoring that advice, he deliberately put himself at risk of assault.
All and all, my opinion of the case is that the evidence presented by the prosecution appeared to be largely circumstantial. Due to the fact that it was dark, witness testimony wasn’t 100 percent reliable, and Zimmerman’s injuries were consistent with his claim of self defense.
However, on Sunday, July 14, 2013, it was reported that the Department of Justice will review the George Zimmerman case for possible civil rights violations, so we’ll see how that unfolds.
In the end though, there were no winners in this case. Trayvon Martin is dead, and the lives of Trayvon Martin’s family and George Zimmerman’s family will never be the same again.