Did Trayvon Martin's Shooter George Zimmerman Use a Racial Epithet When Calling 911?

Trayvon Martin is the unarmed 17-year-old youth who died after being shot by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain in Sanford, Florida. Martin was black; Zimmerman is a white Hispanic. The shooting has led to a number of charges of racism and the NAACP is holding a meeting tonight in Orlando with Al Sharpton, the MSNBC host and activist who says:

"For a lot people, this is a Southern town that tried to play by its own set of rules," he said. "It's almost like it goes back to the 'good old boy days' and that is why it's important that citizens learn what has happened. This is outrageous."

Here is a short audio snippet from a 911 call that Zimmerman made before the shooting happened. Does Zimmerman use a racial epithet?

Here is a full transcript of the entire call. And audio.

More via Mother Jones.

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  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    I'm a huge defender of the Second Amendment, I have a concealed carry permit and I firmly believe in the inherent right to armed self-defense. But from what I heard of this story - including the 911 audio - based solely on that, so far, it seems to me highly questionable that this was a clean "self defense" shoot.

    The guy chased the kid. He was doing Neighborhood Watch (which I used to do in my old neighborhood). The kid ran away. His job was done - he ran the kid off. But nope; he has to chase him down to confront him. Big mistake.

    I'm sure there's more to the story, but what I've heard so far, if it is at all to be believed, does not seem to warrant a finding of legitimate self-defense. But let's wait and see what else comes out.

  • Ice Nine||

    Agree; it doesn't sound like a "good shoot" but who knows. I don't think it really matters. I'm telling you right now, this guy is cooked regardless of the circumstances. It's political now and he is done. Sharpton and his drones are going to mau-mau the shit out of this and most everyone else has already decided that he murdered the kid.

  • Jeff||

    He murdered an unarmed kid, his neighbor, while the kid was begging for mercy and you're outraged because people are upset?

    Glad to see you have your priorities straight.

  • Ice Nine||

    Outraged? You're hallucinating again.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    Try reading... The argument goes like this: with Sharpton, the facts don't matter.

    See Twana Brawley if you have doubts.

  • wareagle||

    and that's exactly why no one should EVER listen to Sharpton or pretend to take him seriously. Yet, virtually no one calls him out for the Brawley hoax he perpetrated.

    That aside, it's called Neighborhood Watch, not Neighborhood draw-a-gun-and-pretend-to-be-a-cop.

  • ||

    How opportunistic of Sharpton and his "drones" to demand justice when an unarmed child is shot to death by a paranoid racist. Shame on him for doing that.

  • Ice Nine||

    I appreciate your affirmation of my point.

  • ||

    Yeah in fact they ought to shoot that Sharpton too, teach him a lesson about walking around on white streets.

  • Animal Mother||

    Now you're talking.

  • ||

    The Horror. The Horror.

  • John||

    Aren't you supposed to be dead?

  • ||

    While it would violate the NAP to shoot him myself, if someone else winged the duplicitous race-baiting motherfucker, nary a tear would line my cheek.

  • ||

    It's the "Reverand" part that does it for me.

  • ||

    For me it's the hair. That shit just sets me off.

  • ||

    Yeah, for me it's the fact that he's a race-baiting anti-semite that uses his bully pulpit to line his pockets at the expense of liberty for minorities.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    What sloopy said.

  • ||

    death penalty for using a little relaxer? verily, you are a man of justice.

  • ||

    Also worth noting that the original story Zimmerman told the police, the one they found so incredibly credible that they chose to let him go, has been contradicted by all the evidence. Zimmerman claims he got out of his car to read a street sign and was then attacked without provocation.

    But that's not even consistent with the 911 call, where he told the dispatcher that Martin was running. And, since then, Martin's gf has come forward to recount that Martin was freaked out and trying to get away, thought he had, and then Zimmerman chased him down and demanded to know what he was doing in the neighborhood.

    Why did she have to come forward? Because the police apparently never even checked Martin's cell phone to see who he was (he was brought int the morgue as a John Doe) or if he had called any one around the time of the shooting.

  • Hadouken||

    I do find it odd that all the "self defense" hand-wringing only considers it from Zimmerman's POV, and never from the unarmed black kid's POV.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    I do find it odd that all the "self defense" hand-wringing only considers it from Zimmerman's POV, and never from the unarmed black kid's POV.

    Because that's how the legal standard is determined - whether the person who claims to have acted in self-defense was reasonably justified under the circumstances in using deadly force - i.e., would it have been reasoanble for a person in the same circumstances to have believed his life or safety was in imminent danger such that the use of deadly force was justified?

    It's not hand-wringing; it's looking at what has been reported so far and analyzing whether the fact would seem to warrant that his actions were justified.

  • ||

    The antigunners are starting to spin the wheels about this one. I've seen antigun articles on gizmodo, bloomberg, the guardian and another pub (I forgot).

  • ||

    You know what pro-gunners should do? Call this guy out for being a murderer. Throw the book at him.

    He's a killer. That kid's never getting his life back. His parents will never see their child again. And it's because someone who couldn't even make rent-a-cop turned into a homicidal maniac who decided to hunt a Negro for sport.

    Florida may technically be in the South, but today ain't 1954. And thank goodness for that.

  • Tom||

    I think he should be brought up on bias crimes. It was a hate crime.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Murder is pretty much always a hate crime.

  • Almanian||

    I don't know - I kill for love

  • ||

    I would kill myself for you
    I would kill you for myself

  • ||

    It's all about love.

  • Martin Blank||

    A psychopath kills for no reason! I kill for money! Wait, that didn't come out right.

  • anarch Shakespeare||

    Men have died from time to time, and worms have eaten them, but not for love.

  • ||

    Cut the crap.

    Frist, and this should not even need to be said, it is not even remotely necessary to hate someone in order to murder him.

    Second, the idea that "every murder is a hate crime" is as shallow and pedantic as saying "Since it's terrifying to be murdered, every murder is an act of terrorism".

    Motive matters. I have yet to meet anyone who maintained a consistent position to the contrary.

    If I had a nickel for every white person I know who opposed "hate crime" laws because "murder is murder" but wants murders committed by Islamic extremists to be punished more harshly than other murders .....

  • Killazontherun||

    No, you cut the crap. Murder is murder, and the only justification is self defense, and the only extenuating circumstances where intent comes into play is in accidental homicide and premeditation. We don't need a layer of PC wrapped around legal definitions that were well defined several hundred years before your superficial ass was ever born.

  • Almanian||

    No YOU cut the crap!

    NO - YOU CUT THE CRAP!

  • Killazontherun||

    Whatevah I DO WHAT I WANT! I run with skin heads and we commit HATE CRIMES!

  • ||

    shallow and pedantic!

  • Almanian||

    Shorter dumbass Strawman Assumptive Projector:

    "derp"

  • ||

    Motive matters (for the prosecution) insofar as establishing some sort of reason for the accused to commit the crime. The actual sentencing should fit the severity and scale of the crime.

    If a man murdered my mother to steal her money, why should the court punish him less than they would have had he killed her out of hate? What's the good of quantifying the evil of murder with ideology? An eccentric sadist who murders for his own enjoyment is morbidly fascinating, but racist murderer is morally repugnant without condition?

    Hate crime laws are stupid, and they will theoretically hurt minorities more than whites, since many violent crimes are committed by non whites. If instances of hearsay and racists slurs during altercation can be used to establish your state of bigotry, we'll be looking at more crowded prisons in the future.

  • Douglas Fletcher||

    The advocates of hate crimes only stop there because they haven't figured a way to read people's minds yet. When they do that they'll go after thought crimes too, and won't that be fun.

  • In Time of War||

    I'd argue that whole "Bias Intimidation" bit shows they're not waiting for the actual ability to read people's minds.

  • Mo||

    Premeditation is just thoughts. Aren't we policing thoughtcrimes now?

  • jacob||

    +100

  • jacob||

    +100 @ Mo - sorry for the double post

  • ||

    It's one thing to think that hate crimes make for bad law in practice. But so many of the arguments presented ignore the rationale.

    The rationale is that some crimes are meant to terrorize entire communities of people. In this case, targeting someone for armed pursuit just because they are black is precisely the sort of reason African Americans say they are so fearful of police and certain neighborhoods (where they have every right to be). That has a real and huge social cost.

    You might not like that rationale either, but at least argue against IT instead of the idea that they are simply about criminalizing thoughts. And at least acknowledge that there IS a major social cost to bias crimes that, for pragmatic reasons, you are choosing to let slide because you don't think they can be reliably adjudicated or deterred.

  • ||

    And harassment is harassment, just like murder is murder. It's arguable at best that we need any additional law to cover "lynching one to teach the rest a lesson", especially since the inevitable selective enforcement is as likely as not to exacerbate those kind of tensions (see e.g. Holder's DOJ and the NBP knuckleheads in Philly)

  • Kwanzaa Cake||

    And the child murders in Atlanta back in the 80s terrorized the entire city. That's not subject to special treatment under the law but mugging a gay dude is? Are you saying that some members of the community are more deserving of protection than others?

  • jacob||

    Great point.

    From what I see, the overwhelming majority of people opposed to hate crimes are upset about them because they feel they are used to pick on whites. For example, when the muslim in Seattle was charged with a hate crime law, the anti-hate crime choir was mysteriously quiet.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S.....n_shooting

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    I thought that now that Our Lord and Savior, the Anointed One Barack the Magnificent had caused the rising oceans to reverse themselves and allowed the planet to heal, we were living in a post-racial society?

    Perhaps the humans have not yet received the memo?

  • Peter Griffin||

    I find your mom's meatloaf shallow and pedantic.

  • ||

    Shouldn't have even been rightful for him to "run him off" since he had every much a right to be walking those streets as his murderer.

  • Jeffersonian||

    This. I understand neighborhood watches, but I don't get guys like this accosting people for absolutely no reason at all.

  • The Rev. Al||

    Does Zimmerman use a racial epithet?

    Who cares? Race card for the win!

  • ||

    Where's the racial epithet coming from? Certainly not on the 911 tape. The Zimmerman guy says the kid has something in his waistband. Who knows what happened after that? Not saying whether this was self defense, or the guy was in fear of his life. I don't know. This I do know. I refuse to pay any attention to Mother Jones or Al Sharpton. Anybody who does is retarded.

  • Watoosh||

    How about you do a little more research before spewing this bogus "Well, nobody really knows, and liberal media is sketchy anyway..." bullshit? Zimmerman said (under his breath, but still audibly) "fucking coons" while calling 911. Martin was unarmed. All 911 accounts point to Zimmerman being the chaser and the aggressor.

    The man is a racist wannabe cop and a murderer, and race is absolutely pertinent here. Whether you think hatred warrants extra punishment or not, this right here is a hate crime.

  • ||

    You are all hallucinating. You want to hear the epithet. Again, I'm not saying that he was right in shooting the guy. But you have no fucking idea what happened after the call. And the liberal media isn't "sketchy". It is useless.

  • ||

    I listen to poorly recorded audio for a living. What I hear in this snippet is 'fuckin' punks'.

  • ||

    I don't think it's clear or definitive, but at one point Zimmerman says "f@#ing -----" The second word is garbled, but some have claimed that it sounds like "coon."

    Of course, it just as easily could have been "cops," since Zimmerman might have been angry that the police needed so many directions.

  • ||

    Completely agree, and this is what I thought when I first heard the audio. There is always antagonism between the real police and neighborhood watch cowboys, and, indeed, immediately after this exchange (i.e., "fucking cops"), the operator tells him to cease his pursuit.

  • Sudden||

    I listened. At first, I didn't hear any epithet, but upon cross referencing the transcript and relistening to the portion where he mutters "fucking {unintelligible}" it does sound like he whispers "fucking coons". That said, it's hard to tell if that is indeed what he said (might've sounded as such because I was specifically listening to detect the slightest utterance that could be perceived as racial), but even if you could prove that it was what he said, it sounds much more like a guy calling whomever the suspected criminal is whatever the worst thing he could reasonably think of in that moment.

  • ||

    I thought only Old Guys™ used the word "coons".

  • Animal Mother||

    I believe the currently-accepted, "politically-correct" terms are "jigaboo" or "jungle bunny".

    Therefore, "Coons" = RACIST!

  • ||

    You left out 'moon cricket'.

  • jimmy hat||

    a friend of mine recently used the term moon cricket describing something comepletely different. I told him i thought i recalled it being a racial slur but no one else had ever heard the term. glad im not the only one

  • Michael S. Langston||

    Agreed. I don't think coon is used in the pejorative sense by anyone under 35.....

    But who knows.... It's amazing what one can pickup at home....

  • Animal Mother||

    All fucking niggers must fucking hang.
    Thank God for the sickle cell...

  • ||

    On the contrary - we wouldn't be a cool country without the Bruthas.

  • All of Africa||

    Huh?

  • 8 ball||

    Back off white bread, don't get between a dog and his meat.

  • ||

    jerkin for a section 8

  • ||

    Funny thing about sickle cell ... traditional distribution of the disorder correlates well to traditional areas of endemic malaria

  • GILMORE||

    Sudden|3.20.12 @ 6:03PM|#
    I listened.....it does sound like he whispers "fucking coons".

    I listened twice, and its clear from audio and context that he mutters, "...Fucking punks..." - right after he claims the guy 'is now running'

    I don't think it bears at all on the actual shooting, which I know nothing about, but for people to make it a "racial epithet" is a clear exercise in projection. You can distinctly hear the "Puh"... and Ks"... sounds @ 2:21-2:22. You'd have to imagineer pretty hard to turn a hard consonant "k" into a droning "n". You'd also have to have assumed he became insta-racist, after stating clearly at the very beginning he only 'thought' he was black, then later confirmed. If the guy were some racist, you'd think he'd have used the opportunity to reveal his low opinion of blacks in the two earlier queries.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    The person at the emergency number had to ask Zimmerman if the suspect was white or black.

  • GILMORE||

    z'wat I was saying. If he'd been so racially focused, you'd think he'd have come to the conclusion immediately rather than being prodded twice.

  • Kwanzaa Cake||

    Whether he used an epithet or not is irrelevant to whether this was legit self-defense, so who cares? It is possible to hate bkack people yet legitimately defend yourself against them.

    Not saying this was legit, just that the race issue is not relevant to whther he was defending himself. The surrounding circumstances certainly don't paint a good picture of Zimmerman and suggest that this was not self-defense. But that isn't saying much as not all the facts are in.

  • ||

    You clearly haven't studied the case law. Killing another person can only be justified if:
    1) A reasonable person in your circumstance would fear for his/her life
    and
    2) You aren't racist.

    If a jury were to find 2) to be true of Mr. Zimmerman, they would have no choice but to convict.

  • Government||

    Fortunately using this criteria you are all guilty.

  • ||

    It is unreasonably difficult to rule over innocent men.

  • scaleya||

    Immunity under the stand you ground rule can only be invoked by whites and not minorities. So the main issue in this case will hinder on whether the prosecution can prove beyond a reasonable doubt Zimmerman is in fact hispanic rather than white as according to the police report.

  • Well...||

    "the NAACP is holding a meeting tonight in Orlando "

    Um, why?

    They can't go to Sanford where it happened?

    And by the way, Sanford isn't Orlando. It's not a suburb of Orlando, it's a city. An old one. That isn't Orlando and isn't even really close to it.

  • Scott||

    It's probably for the benefit of the television networks, of course.

  • Mo||

    Population 50K, it's in the Orlando MSA and the airport within it's city borders is the Orlando Sanford airport.

  • Just curious||

    I wonder if Reason will give as much attention to the flash mobs of "youths" attacking whites this summer?

  • Joe M||

    What I really want to hear is the audio of Martin's cell phone conversation with his girlfriend. That would be profoundly enlightening.

  • ||

    Here's a bit on the law in question:
    http://www.hessingerlaw.com/Ar.....d-Law.aspx

    Note that it isn't necessarily just an affirmative defense at trial. While FL courts are still hashing it out, the law itself leans pretty towards it granting immunity from _prosecution_: specifically, the purpose of the law is to ensure that fear of prosecution doesn't deter people from pulling the trigger.

    Of course, legally, that's a bit of a mess, because if there's no prosecution, who and how to do you establish the facts of the crime such that it's clear that the law applies to this situation? Sounds like courts have cobbled together various approaches to try and deal with the problem, but it's not fully clear or settled.

  • ||

    So the defense will surely be that he chased the victim, and then the victim went for what he assumed was a gun, and he shot in self defense. Since the shooter also had a right to be there, this could technically be self defense in Fl, and lead to a manslaughter charge, but he will fry because the victim invokes sympathy, assuming he wasn't actually casing houses at the time. The shooter's early description did make the victim sound like he was acting suspicious.

  • scaleya||

    Grand Jury or preliminary hearing to determine whether probable cause exists to indict. Defendant will have burden will have to prove to to preponderance standard that he was justyfied in shooting the kid.

  • ||

    Tom|3.20.12 @ 5:38PM|#
    I think he should be brought up on bias crimes. It was a hate crime.

    Being a professional griefer should be a bias crime.

  • hk||

    Right the bias crimes people are stupid. The tragedy is that this does NOT look like self-defense, and this fucking idiot should be taken to court. It has nothing to do with bias. Rather it looks like murder or manslaughter.

  • jacob||

    +1

  • Number 2||

    WTF is a "white Hispanic?" Are they less of a minority than "nonwhite Hispanics?" And I thought that all Hispanics were nonwhite by definition.

    Geez, racial politics are tricky...

  • sounds real good||

    A white Hispanic is a person of Hispanic or Latino origin who has no identifiable African (black) ancestry. White Hispanics are the vast majority of Hispanics, especially in the U.S., which could be the only country that even uses the designation. The census asks about race and ethnicity. "Hispanic" is considered an ethnicity, and not a race.

  • Coeus||

    And according to the government, if this is a hate crime, he's white. If he had been a victim of a hate crime, however, he'd be considered Hispanic.

  • ||

    White Hispanic is a hispanic from a background that would be considered "white" if he/she had been born in North America rather than South America. Diego Forlán would be a good example. Lionel Messi another. Most white hispanics come from Southern South America where there were massive concentrations of Italian and German immigrants. The highest profile white Southern Americans are actually the white models from Southern Brazil, who as portuguese speakers are actually "White Latinas" rather than "White Hispanics"- women like Gisele Bündchen, Izabel Goulart, Caroline Trentini, Jeísa Chiminazzo, and Racquel Zimmermann. Southern South America is mostly white. As you go progressively North, the population becomes more mestizo and mulatto and whites are found in smaller numbers.

  • sounds real good||

    Despite all of that, most Hispanics in the U.S. identify as "white Hispanic." They tend not to claim African ancestry unless it obvious in their physical appearance.

  • Killazontherun||

    That what the fuck would be me. I have a little identifiable African in my lips and the kinky hair around my sideburns and hair around the ears. Buried under the straight hair on the rest of my head but so bushy it's impossible to manage, but pretty much white every where else, esp. my extenuating member, Goddamit. An ancestor in the mid nineteenth century was a mulatto who was fifteen at the time she was impregnated by my white Spaniard, an Islanos to be more ethnically precise, great great grandfather.

  • ||

    Fifteen, mid nineteenth century? Spinster.

  • Joe M||

    White Hispanics are basically Hispanics. The white part is being specified because he shot a black person. So obviously his whiteness was involved, not his Hispanicality.

  • Douglas Fletcher||

    The King of Spain is hispanic.

  • ||

    Once I was the King of Spain...

  • Seamus||

    My owner, Mitt Romney, who placed me on top of the family sta-wag, is a white Hispanic. His Dad was an immigrant from Mexico.

  • rather||

    Even Nazis used box cars

  • ||

    So now the "crackers" are "spics"? What's this world coming to?

  • hector||

    This was just the type of scenario smart people envisioned would happen when this "shoot first ask later" law was enacted.

  • ||

    But you don't always get to "ask" later otherwise. If the society is isn’t civil on the whole, what the fucking difference?

  • R||

    Bullshit. This would have happened either way, and the stand your ground laws do NOT remove the possibility of prosecution if it is a bad shoot.

  • hector||

    increases probability of people getting shot

  • R||

    I'm not sure that's a problem if the person deserves to get shot in the first place.

    And I can gauren-damn-tee you that this particular incident would have happened without the law.

  • MNG||

    Could a misunderstanding of a law like this have encouraged this guy to do an unlawful shooting?

    Sure. But that doesn't make the law a bad one. All kinds of good laws with mostly good effects are susceptible to misunderstanding by goofballs who do bad things based on that. Getting rid of the generally good law that works for good people who understand it right because of the few goofballs who misunderstood it and do bad under it is one of the worst types of thinking going today.

  • R||

    That is actually quite possible. There is a LOT of hysterically bad misinformation coming from the anti-gun side about how this is just a carte blanche to murder anyone who you disagree with, which is just bullshit. Those lies were picked up and repeated by a lot of media outlets, too.

    However, I'm not entirely convinced that that is the case in this particular incident. For one, the lack of witnesses we don't know for sure what actually happened. It smells to high heaven, but a rotten stink isn't evidence enough to try and convict someone.

    They are convening a grand jury to look into charging the guy, though, so we will just have to wait and see what they come up with.

  • MNG||

    I'm willing to bet there is misinformation on the pro-gun side too.

    But my point still stands: why get rid of a law that generally helps people and is understood correctly because some nut misunderstood it and possibly did something wrong?

  • R||

    I'm willing to bet there is misinformation on the pro-gun side too.

    Not hardly any that I could see. Pro-gun activists (the ones that actually command a good sized audience, anyway) work hard to get it right and will note when they get it wrong. There are always some dumbshits who get everything wrong, but they generally don't have a very large audience when they do (maybe a few dozen people on a message board).

    On the other hand, the BS that the the anti-gun activists were spreading was getting reprinted by dozens of media outlets, who never bothered to actually research the law and find out if what they were printing was true or not.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    If you cannot see bias on the side of pro-gun rights, you might want to check harder.

    Note, that I likely agree with you that anti-gun folks are more prone to bias, all groups and people have biases, so a group dedicated to any one idea, will be biased by its very nature.

    In this case, I would look at biases in things like defensive uses of handguns where police aren't involved.

    Disclaimer: I firmly believe without the 2nd Amendment and the right to self defense, all other rights are worthless.

  • R||

    An evolutionary biologist is strongly biased in favor of evolution. An astrophysicist is strongly biased towards the theory of gravity. Bias is not the same as being WRONG. It simply means you have an opinion.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    increases probability of people getting shot

    Except that it has not had that effect, asshole. This fucking jackwad would have shot the guy either way, I'd wager, whether that law was in effect or not.

    It's patently obvious you get your talking points from the Brady Campaign, who spouted that stupid "shoot first, ask later" nonsense back when the law was enacted.

    But don't let actual empirical data or facts get in the way of your pantywaist narrative.

  • ||

    They do severely reduce that possibility, and were basically INTENDED to. Stand you ground, as written in Florida, is not merely an affirmative defense you can provide if you are charged. It's immunity from prosecution.

    That basically leads to police and prosecutors not really even bothering to investigate as much or move forward with a case because the law basically allows the charges to be easily thrown out before there's even any real legal proceeding to judge the validity of the defense. When the only other witness is dead, it means the bar for even prosecuting someone is set extremely high.

    This made all the sense in the world for cases in which someone had broken into your house. But for public altercations like this...

  • R||

    This is just wrong. All the law does is make it so that the police have to have probable cause that the shoot was bad in order to make an arrest. That's it, beyond also removing the general duty to retreat.

    If the police get probable cause, such as a contradicting witness statement, then they can arrest.

    Since police generally have to have probable cause to make an arrest in the first place, it doesn't really make the bar any higher.

  • Killazontherun||

    I covered that extensively yesterday, hector. I'm not going to repeat myself, but if you care to go into the archives you can educate yourself on the reason you are wrong in your assumptions.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    Since the law basically says where arrest used to be automatic, the police must now have probable cause, I would really like you to explain to everyone what your major objection to "innocent until proven guilty" is.

  • Mo||

    Uh, "innocent until proven guilty" isn't for arrests, it's for court cases. Loads of innocent people get arrested, they're found guilty/not guilty in court.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    & requiring probable cause is one piece of our justice system's bias towards the defendant.

    Why? Because we believe in innocent until proven guilty.

    & if think it's only meaningful at trial, I hope you don't find or how wrong that is by being arrested on species reasons and spend 3 days in jail awaiting a ball hearing... You know, cause innocent until proven guilty is meaningless until trial.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    Specious that is...

  • Michael S. Langston||

    & bail hearing, though ball was funny.

    Preview. Preview. Preview.

  • Fluffy||

    My objection is that self-defense should be an affirmative defense.

    The police have all the elements of the crime here needed for probable cause: they have Martin's dead body, they have Zimmerman's gun, they can establish Zimmerman was at the scene.

    If Zimmerman wants to assert self-defense, he should do so in live testimony in front of the finder of fact - the jury. And be subject to cross-examination.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    This was just the type of scenario smart people envisioned would happen when this "shoot first ask later" law was enacted.

    The level of ignorance and stupidity displayed by the fact that you reiterate that idiotic mantra a gives me sufficient reason to conclude it is perfectly acceptable to tell you to go fuck yourself.

  • Hugo Longbone||

    GENTLEMEN! I think we are all missing the major fucking point... if this was Police Officer Zimmerman he'd get paid administrative leave, civil immunity, and no indictment from the DA.
    AMERICA! FUCK YEA!

  • sounds real good||

    Don't hear a racial epithet or endorse the concept of hate crime. Don’t see much room for doubt that he murdered that kid. He's probably in denial to himself about it. He's a wanna-be cop who liked to patrol his neighborhood while armed-not the intent of a concealed carry permit. He's made about 50 calls to 911 in a year. He chased the boy down & talked BS about him "reaching in his waistband." He's been reading too many accounts of cops shooting citizens. They always say they reached into their waistbands! Zimmerman has played the scenario again and again in his frustrated imaginings. They always get away...he sounded downright plaintive about it. If they get stats on his prior 911 calls and the races of the people he reported, they'd be overwhelmingly black. Why are y'all so anxious to give him the benefit of the doubt? Just because it's a concealed carry case? Well get over it.

  • Almanian SWAT Recruiter||

    He's a wanna-be cop who liked to patrol his neighborhood while armed

    Sounds like our kind of man. I think we can..."rehabilitate" him.

  • Almanian||

    Watchin' teh nooz. Turns out the kid was carrying, quote, "an iced tea and some Skittles."
    So - probably a justified kill.

    Oh, wait - Zimmerman's not a cop? Well, SHEET, why dincha sayso!
    Guilty. Also, RACIST.

  • sounds real good||

    Fuck yeah.

  • MNG||

    What's come out seems bad, for sure. The guy is going to experience a Bonfire of the Vanities styled experience from hereon out when what we need is a bunch of due process and cool searching of the evidence.

    I'm worried that this is going to be spun by the less savory elements on the left into a general attack on the right to defend yourself advancements that have occurred in recent times. It's already started frankly.

  • Joe||

    I think you're right. From the Left - race, gun control. From the Right - hate crime pushback, gun rights. Very few will see this for what it is. It'll be one of those weird situations where the police dropped the ball with failing to investigate a homicide, yet will be called on to play a greater role in protecting communities so that community watch isn't needed.

  • ||

    There is nothing wrong with the law. This guy is a weirdo and a creep, and probably deserves to be facing a Civil Lawsuit for his behavior, but the criminal issue hinges on whether he or the black kid started the fight. Without any evidence he started the fight, the police only have his story, which if true means no crime took place. Now, obviously this thing has gone far beyond the law, and this guy is likely going to face a Federal Lynching for offending Obama's racial base- but if we are just looking at the law, the police so far seem to have done the right thing.

  • Fluffy||

    the criminal issue hinges on whether he or the black kid started the fight

    No, it doesn't.

    If Zimmerman attempted to detain Martin while he waited for police to arrive (and every last word on the 911 tapes indicates that his intent was to do just that) then Martin was entitled to resist his False Imprisonment attempt with force.

    The only really important question is: Did Zimmerman leave his car to attempt to detain Martin?

  • R||

    Dude, you basically just restated what FatDrunkAndStupid said. Illegally attempting to detain the kid would be
    "starting the fight".

    I also note, that even if Zimmerman started the fight, if he tried to disengage (stop the fight and back off) and couldn't, he'd still be able to claim self defense.

  • Fluffy||

    Strictly speaking, if he even raised his voice to yell at Martin to stop, he committed False Imprisonment under Florida law, which includes detaining someone "by threat".

    I think a lot of people think that to have "started the fight", Zimmerman had to throw the first punch - and that's what I was trying to dispute.

    AFAIAC Zimmerman lost his SYG defense as soon as he left the car, if we infer from his statements on the tape that his intent was to detain Martin.

    You may be correct that Zimmerman could retrieve the situation by now claiming he tried to withdraw - but that would contradict his initial statements.

  • jacob||

    I also note, that even if Zimmerman started the fight, if he tried to disengage (stop the fight and back off) and couldn't, he'd still be able to claim self defense.

    I doubt this. Most states have a primum non nocere requirement, meaning you can't first do harm and expect to claim self-defense.

    http://www.ohioattorneygeneral.....oklet.aspx

  • ||

    I'm as pro-Second Amendment as Ted Nugent, but if it's reveal Zimmerman shot this kid with no provocation or justification, I'll be the first to call for his head in a noose. Regardless of whatever the outcome is legally, this guys life as he knew it is over. He'll be looking over his shoulder the rest of his life.

  • Sevo||

    Brian from Texas|3.20.12 @ 7:56PM|#
    "I'm as pro-Second Amendment as Ted Nugent, but if it's reveal Zimmerman shot this kid with no provocation or justification, I'll be the first to call for his head in a noose."

    To be a bit picky, I can't see an A-2 connection. If the guy stabbed the kid, the questions remain.
    From what I've read (and nothing more), it sounds like a murder, regardless of the weapon.

  • ?||

    Why do we think "armed" as only dealing with guns. couldn't I be armed with a katana?

  • MNG||

    "going to face a Federal Lynching"

    I heard the Justice Dept. is looking in on this. My question about that is, it would seem really terrible for them to get involved before the state and local authorities decide what to do.

    I understand and support having the feds police violations of our federal rights. But since they clearly don't intervene in every one of these and instead leave most such violations to state and local authorities, for them to intervene here IF the local authorities were in good faith looking into this would stink to high heaven imo. Even someone as skeptical of "states rights" as me thinks that such federal intervention should be reserved for cases in which it seems likely that the local authorities are not interested in protecting the individual rights at stake.

  • George Zimmerman||

    Just what I was hoping for...

  • Just a guy||

    Am I the only one who thinks the audio sounds like he said "fucking cops"? Honestly it's really hard to hear and I had to replay that portion, because the first time I totally missed the comment entirely.

  • Alice Bowie||

    Besides the general racist thing (blacks are singled out by law enforcement 10 fold...if not more), I don't think this has anything to do with racism, per se.

    This is not Bull Conner 1962. This is Security Sam probably overstepping his boundaries. They should have brought charges on Zimmerman. Even for the sake of FLA saving its "STAND YOUR GROUND" law, which will probably be challenged (maybe even in this very case) in Supreme Court at some point.

  • MNG||

    "will probably be challenged (maybe even in this very case) in Supreme Court at some point."

    On what possible grounds?

  • Alice Bowie||

    You know, the old "violation of civil rights via denial of life, liberty, and the pursuit of pappyness"

  • cynical||

    What makes you think that his actions were legal under that law to begin with? From what little I know, it sounds like he initiated a confrontation on a public street. It's not like the kid mugged him.

  • sounds real good||

    Exactly.

  • SCOTUS||

    Grounds? We don't need no stinkin' grounds.

  • Fluffy||

    Here's one thing the Sanford PD should do:

    Release every one of the guy's other 49 911 calls.

    Then we can see how many times he called in because he found white Mormon missionaries wearing jackets and ties "suspicious".

    We'll probably see a lot of such calls from him, and then that will prove that he's not racist. Right? Right?

    (Crickets.)

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    White robbers and housebreakers usually aren't dressed in suits and ties. Come to think of it, neither are black housebreakers.

    There are of course many suit-and-tie wearing criminals, but they usually don't specialize in the kinds of crimes which gets Neighborhood Watch groups formed in a neighborhood.

    Maybe find out how often Zimmerman complained about white youths in baseball caps and with easily-visible tatoos on their arms thanks to their wifebeater T-shirts. Now *I'm* profiling.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    But it would be great if burglars started wearing suits and ties.

    "Good evening, my name if Bob and I will be your burglar tonight. I see you have a fine selection of wide-screen TVs..."

  • Bob||

    "Oh, and our policy is to add a 20% gratuity. Thank you for your patronage."

  • sounds real good||

    I don't have the impression he was in a neighborhood watch group. Sounds more like he was a one-man patrol. Actually, it sounds to me like he was a predator, working up the nerve to actually kill his prey.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    If the initial reports are correct, Zimmerman could be a horrible criminal - but I don't rely on the media, they haven't been telling a very coherent narrative.

    The facts sound horrible enough. Yet I expect that the mere facts, however shocking, won't be enough for many in the media. Already we're seeing someone who seems to be Latino - in a state with lots of Latinos - being shoehorned into the white cracker category, just so that white liberals will be able to excite themselves with warmed-over civil-rights narratives - to do metaphorically what the Invisible Children guy did literally.

  • Coeus||

    . Already we're seeing someone who seems to be Latino - in a state with lots of Latinos - being shoehorned into the white cracker category, just so that white liberals will be able to excite themselves with warmed-over civil-rights narratives - to do metaphorically what the Invisible Children guy did literally.

    There's more to it than that. If it actually gets tried as a hate crime, he would be listed in the FBI stats as white. He would only be listed as Hispanic if he were the victim. Check the tables.

    http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cj.....crime/2010

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Stand your ground statute-

    A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place [than a car or home] where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

  • Brian D||

    And if Zimmerman is found to have been trying to Falsely Imprison Martin (a class 3 forcible felony in Florida), that would have justified the use of deadly force -- by Martin.

  • SIV||

    Isn't this what grand juries are for?

  • Paul ||

    If zimmermann was a cop, he'd be getting a medal right now.

  • channeling dunphy||

    Hey fuck off! I support libertarians, no need to pick on us!

  • ||

    This wouldn't even be a news story if Zimmerman was a cop.

    And nothing else happened.

  • jacob||

    It saddens me that the race aspect of this case is being focused on by the media and a select few. This post by Nick also seems to play up the race angle and is completely out of place on Reason.

    The facts and only the facts should be considered in this case. We know that Zimmerman was instructed not to leave his car but left it anyways. We know that he made a comment about Martin running away. We know that Martin was not in possession of a weapon (legal or otherwise), stolen property, or drugs. We know he's dead.

    Whether or not Zimmerman uttered an ephithet is a distraction and irrelevant.

    Did Zimmerman initiate an attack? I don't know. As a previous poster mentioned, isn't this why grand juries exist?

  • Alice Bowie||

    There will not be a grand jury. Laws like the "Stand your ground" gives the state prosecutors the discretion NOT to bring up charges.

    I am also sadden by the fact that this is turning into a RACE thing. This is a COP thing. This is also an example of the wild-west attitude and violent environment that cocktail of loose gun laws and stand-your-ground laws create. And, it's not like Florida is a safe place anyway. We have a lower crime rate in NY and we have neither loose gun laws or stand-your-ground crap.

    RACE, besides the usual race thing of blacks being singled out by authority 10fold over anyone else, had NOTHING to do with this case.

  • jacob||

    FYI - read the last sentence of the article.


    Seminole County State Attorney Norm Wolfinger said a grand jury will meet April 10 to consider evidence in the case.

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/.....z1pjmc6Zlr

  • jacob||

    Found a nice summary of Florida's Concealed Carry law that may incriminate Mr. Zimmerman (emphasis mine)

    A. A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman. But, as stated earlier, deadly force is justified if you are trying to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony. The use of deadly force must be absolutely necessary to prevent the crime. Also, if the criminal runs away, you cannot use deadly force to stop him, because you would no longer be "preventing" a crime. If use of deadly force is not necessary, or you use deadly force after the crime has stopped, you could be convicted of manslaughter.

    http://licgweb.doacs.state.fl......fense.html

  • adam||

    Anyone want to take a guess on what Trayton's Law will be?

  • Spartacus||

    If you want to see a succesful use of the Stand Your Ground law, read the decision here.

    The Sanford case doesn't even seem close. But there has to be an indictment first (I believe), so it's up to the grand jury right now.

  • ||

    a white hispanic??

  • sounds real good||

    Check upthread for discussion on this category.

  • ||

    Funny how someone always has to come along and make a big ole "Black Thang" out of it! Never fails.

    www.real-world-anon.tk

  • ||

    It appears to me that though the "stand your ground" law and racism are probably factors in this case, it is not in the sense that has been portrayed or discussed by the commentariat.

    Whether or not the shooter was racist is not made at all clear by any of the evidence released so far, but if there were racism involved, it would seem more likely that it was the cops who did not file any charges after a black youth was killed.

  • ||

    I don’t think the “stand your ground” law had much to do with this scenario until after the shooting occurred. The odds are that Zimmerman was not even aware of this law and did not consider it during the shooting. He was not in a rational state, made obvious by the 911 calls, and not likely to be considering the nuances of the law when he pulled the trigger. What is wrong with the law is not that it will likely cause more shootings, which is quite a stretch, but that it gives too much latitude to law-enforcement over who gets prosecuted.

  • ||

    My understanding is that previous to this law being enacted, if you stood your ground in self defense, you could be charged with a crime for not attempting first to leave. The only change this law should make is that you will not be charged with a crime if you stood your ground in an act of justifiable self defense. When one person has willfully killed another, the courts should still be involved in discovering whether or not (especially in this case where self-defense is so questionable) a justifiable self-defense has occurred. It is at this point that the law should kick in. If it was found justifiable, he or she cannot be prosecuted or sued, even if retreat wasn’t attempted.

  • West||

    The last name Zimmerman actually comes from Prussia, Germany and the Germans began using surnames since the 12th century. So my questions is... is he what they claim he is? Or is he something else? If you want my opinion, who cares!!! A crime was committed and he should be arrested for the crime he did and that's murder another human being. The punishment must fit the crime, simple as that.

  • WillMunny||

    What's to say Zimmerman didn't follow Martin, just to see where he was going to tell the police who were on the way? Or that he wasn't breaking into a house? That's consistent with a Neighborhood Watch. Just because he followed, at a distance, doesn't mean he was playing cop, as too many have suggested. And there's precedent. Several years before, Zimmerman witnessed someone stealing a TV from a local store. He called the police, and followed the thief in his car, until the police arrived. That's not criminal, that's not crazy. That's being a good citizen.

    Also, just as likely, Martin could have imagined/perceived Zimmerman was a threat, and ambushed him. Which would explain Zimmerman's busted head, and bloody nose, and grass stains on his back.

    It doesn't have to be racism, just a horrible misunderstanding.

  • Lucy||

    Racism, pure hate! My heart goes for the family who lost a 17 year old son. This guy is a weirdo and the neighbors didn't see it coming? He should be arrested along with the neighbors who chose him to be the neighborhood watch kind of guy.

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