Why Does It Matter When and Why George Zimmerman Followed Trayvon Martin?

Video via The Orlando SentinelVideo via The Orlando SentinelA major theme of the case against George Zimmerman so far is that he unjustifiably and recklessly followed Trayvon Martin after seeing the teenager walking through his neighborhood and deeming him "suspicious." When Sean Noffke, the police dispatcher who took Zimmerman's call that night, testified on Monday, prosecutor Richard Mantei suggested that Zimmerman was bent on following Martin, while defense attorney Mark O'Mara suggested that Zimmerman got out of his car in response to Noffke's queries. The dispatcher twice asked Zimmerman to "let me know if this guy does anything," which O'Mara suggested Zimmerman may reasonably have interpreted as a request to keep his eye on Martin. Zimmerman's report that Martin was running prompted this exchange:

Noffke: He's running? Which way is he running?

Zimmerman: Down towards the other entrance to the neighborhood.

Noffke: Which entrance is that that he's heading towards?

Zimmerman: The back entrance…fucking [unintelligible].

Noffke: Are you following him?

Zimmerman: Yeah

Noffke: OK, we don't need you to do that.

Zimmerman: OK.

The sound of door chimes and wind can be heard in the middle of this exchange, right before Noffke asks, "Are you following him?" While Mantei suggested that Zimmerman planned to get out of his car all along, O'Mara suggested that Zimmerman was simply trying to provide the information that Noffke requested. Noffke conceded that his question about where Martin was running could have prompted Zimmerman to get out of the car for a better look, although he said that was not his intent. O'Mara focused on when Noffke heard Zimmerman's heavy breathing and when he did not in an effort to show that Zimmerman stopped following Martin after Noffke said "we don't need you to do that." The prosecution, by contrast, says Zimmerman disregarded Noffke's quasi-instruction. Similarly, during yesterday's testimony about Zimmerman's interest in starting a neighborhood watch following a series of burglaries, Mantei emphasized that volunteers like Zimmerman were expected to keep a safe distance from suspicious characters, while O'Mara emphasized that avoiding a confrontation does not necessarily mean letting someone slip out of sight. If the neighborhood watch is supposed to be the police department's "eyes and ears," he said, doesn't that imply keeping an eye on possible criminals?

Both sides clearly think the issue of when and why Zimmerman followed Martin is important. The prosecution portrays Zimmerman as tracking down Martin and killing him out of anger at the "fucking punks" who "always get away," while the defense is keen to rebut the idea that Zimmerman sought a confrontation. But there is another angle here that neither the prosecution nor the defense is likely to raise: The longer Zimmerman followed Martin (and regardless of his actual motivation), the greater the chance that Martin would have perceived him as a threat, especially if he saw Zimmerman's gun. The defense does not want to concede that Zimmerman could have seemed threatening, and the prosecution does not want to concede that Martin attacked Zimmerman, even in an attempt to neutralize a perceived threat. Yet that scenario is more plausible than the idea that Zimmerman, described by several witnesses as calm and mild-mannered, was suddenly transformed into a rage-fueled Death Wish–style vigilante.

Notably, identifying the aggressor in this situation is not necessarily dispositive. Under Florida's self-defense law, an aggressor always has a duty to retreat but may use force if the person he attacks responds with force "so great that [he] reasonably believes that [he] is in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm and that [he] has exhausted every reasonable means to escape such danger." So even if Martin threw the first punch out of anger at being followed (as opposed to fear), once the fight began he may have been justified in using force to prevent Zimmerman from shooting him. Conversely, even if Zimmerman started the confrontation, he may have been justified in shooting Martin if the fight unfolded as he describes—with Martin on top of him, reaching for the gun.

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  • sloopyinca||

    I think what you call "following" the prosecution is labeling "stalking".

    I don't agree with them, but of course they have to make their case any way they can. That witch ain't gonna burn himself, after all.

  • Pro Libertate||

    All that really matters is whether Zimmerman intended to kill or seriously harm Martin and whether he acted reasonably in self defense. Yes/no likely means conviction, if the prosecution can somehow prove it. Anything else means he probably walks. It doesn't sound like his zealous actions beforehand show any propensity to use force, which doesn't help the case any. He may or may not be a busybodying asshole, but that's probably not very relevant. It's not even relevant if he's a racist (which is very unlikely, incidentally), unless he killed Martin without acting in self defense.

    Whether or not he's innocent is something we'll likely never know. But I think it's already clear that the government lacks the kind of evidence necessary to convict.

  • Irish||

    My question is why he would have called the cops if he was intending to kill him. No one seems to be asking that question. If you want to straight murder somebody, why call the police first?

    He could have just claimed he was assaulted and defended himself without that police call. Calling the cops was unnecessary if he wanted to murder somebody.

  • Rich||

    That wily Zimmerman! He had it *all* planned out!

  • Irish||

    I feel like he'll be exonerated of this crime and then a few moments later we'll all find out that he was secretly Keyser Soze.

    The bailiff will rush out to confront him, but by the time he arrives, Soze will have gotten into a waiting car and disappeared into the city's traffic.

  • Pro Libertate||

    . . .to live in sin with Casey Anthony in an undisclosed trailer park. That's how everyone knows this will play out. I mean, come on, it's Florida.

  • RBS||

    There has to be some sort of exotic animal involved.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I said Florida.

  • Zeb||

    I don;t think that the intention to kill has to be far in advance of the killing. If in the moment of the killing (and if it wasn't legit self defense), then I think that that is sufficient.

  • Paul.||

    No it does not, which is why there was no realistic way they could charge with 1st degree.

  • Tim||

    Show trial. Stay till after the credits role for the rioting.

  • ||

    Nothing is more pathetic than the KULTUR WAR/racist/tokenizing that has surrounded this case from the beginning. No one gives a fuck what actually happened, they only care about which narrative they support or who they identify with more, or who they can fuck over by proxy. It's fucking disgusting and just continues to be so.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I know. And the news coverage makes no sense, as there's no attractive, psychotic woman involved. Weird.

  • ||

    If only it were about a hot chick. That at least would be entertaining.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Don't give up hope, dude. Perhaps a love triangle between Martin, Zimmerman, and some psychotic chick will be uncovered! Or invented by Nancy Grace!

  • Libertymike||

    Susan Smith was not available?

  • John||

    You only get one shot at being the accused white girl of the month. There is a term limit on that.

  • Libertymike||

    I can still see the faces of those two boys. At the time, one of my best friend's two boys strongly resembled one of Susan Smith's boys - and they were the same age.

  • John||

    She should have gotten the death penalty. You can't get more evil than strapping your two kids in a car and drowning them so you can run off with your boyfriend.

  • Paul.||

    OH jesus, you had to remind me of this case. Fuck.

  • hotsy totsy||

    I thought she shot them and then shot herself in the hand. She then blamed it on a "bushy haired" stranger. If I recall her daughter survived and ended up witnessing against her.

    I think the boyfriend ended up ditching her anyway.

  • hotsy totsy||

    Oooops John's right. I was thinking of different case from the 80s.

  • Mike M.||

    Everyone knows full well that if Zimmerman and Martin were the same race this wouldn't have been in the news for more than ten seconds since neither one was famous beforehand.

    But the lowlife scum in the media absolutely love to try and gin up a race war at any opportunity they can get.

  • Rich||

    Oh, so *that's* what they mean by "post racial"!

  • Timrek||

    Now it means that race conflict is needed to right perceived and long since past wrongs. There may have been a brief period of true racial harmony somewhere between the Cosby show and In Living Color where people could laugh at each other without the PC BS we have today, but that eras gone.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "From PBS to PC BS - a history of race relations in the past few decades"

  • David_TheMan||

    Who cares if it wouldn't have been on the news. You seem to cry about that rather than be concerned that a unarmed person was shot by a armed person and the police covered it up for over a week and were going to move on with no trial until media attention was raised.

  • Irish||

    The police didn't cover it up for over a week since all the information was available. They didn't charge him because his story held up and then the media formed a lynch mob that forced them to issue charges in order to ward off a race riot.

    You seem more concerned with your narrative than the fact that George Zimmerman had wounds completely consistent with being attacked.

  • Pro Libertate||

    That's what really kills the case for the prosecution, given that's there's no other evidence, not really, to go by.

    That was also the most egregious sin of the media, as the extent of the injuries was blatantly and intentionally hidden from the public for quite some time. Disgusting. That's true even if Zimmerman is an Illinois Nazi who has been hunting down non-Aryans for twenty years.

  • David_TheMan||

    His story held up so well that when it came time to actually use the SYG law his defense passed on it.

    No it didn't stand up at all, and when you look at the actions of the police inviting his father to the crime scene and him telling them what and what would not pass for evidence for him, and the police trying to influence witness statements it makes it look even worse.

  • Irish||

    No it didn't stand up at all

    How can anyone say this with a straight face? Have you seen the pictures of his injuries? They are absolutely consistent with his story. He had lacerations on the back of his head which were consistent with his head being pounded into the ground. He had a broken nose, consistent with being hit in the face. By the way, the media then proceeded to ignore all of these injuries in order to push the narrative that you seem to have bought unthinkingly.

    His story held up so well that when it came time to actually use the SYG law his defense passed on it.

    That's because, as has been mentioned on this site, the stand your ground law has nothing to do with the case at hand. If he was being attacked, then the stand your ground law is of no relevance because it's a straight self-defense case. They aren't using the SYG law because it's fairly obvious that a self-defense claim provides the more effective defense.

  • David_TheMan||

    Yes I've seen the pictures of the scratches on the back of his head that required no stitching and not even bandages.

    Zimmerman keeps changing his story so I don't see how anything is consistent with his story.

    I really don't give a damn what the media pushed, if it got attention for a the case so that at the least someone would have to defend their actions in the death of someone I am okay.

    You are right on the STG situation though.

  • sgs||

    "Zimmerman keeps changing his story so I don't see how anything is consistent with his story."

    Post quotes from him and how his story changed.

    I'll wait.

    Make sure to use his actual words please.

  • David_TheMan||

  • Paul.||

    re: zimmerman's story changes..

    Looks like a classic case of talking to cops without a lawyer.

  • sgs||

    "You are right on the STG situation though."

    Then why did your scumbag ass try to use that against him when you said this?

    "His story held up so well that when it came time to actually use the SYG law his defense passed on it."

    If you agree it's not a SYG case, why would you make yourself look like such a piece of shit?

  • David_TheMan||

    I just said he was right, so why bitch and moan.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I said well before this even started getting tried in earnest that it didn't appear to be a SYG case. As did people more familiar with Florida criminal law.

    It's pathetic that people bring their politics to a situation they know nothing about. None of us do. We only know what evidence has been found, which is hardly compelling, and we know that the evidence needed to convict, which is a HUGE burden, probably isn't there.

    I'm sorry the kid was killed. Even more so if he was shot down for no good reason. But the case is a bad one.

  • Arn0||

    "Even more so if he was shot down for no good reason"

    If someone is "shot down for no good reason" then it should not be self-defense.

    You must have a very good and compelling reason to shoot someone ... especially if he is walking down the street unarmed !

  • ||

    You're exactly the kind of scumbag I was talking about above. Congratulations, you're a disgusting narrative pusher and KULTUR WARRIOR. Enjoy, dirtbag.

  • sgs||

    "His story held up so well that when it came time to actually use the SYG law his defense passed on it."

    Um, as much as you'd like people to believe you know what you're talking about, that's not how the Stand Your Ground law works.

  • WTF||

    Nice logical analysis of all of the available and relevant facts.

    Jesus.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    And the media's methods were more dishonest than usual, which is saying something. The way they used old pictures to portray Martin as some skinny little kid, pretended Zimmerman had no injuries, doctored the audio tapes to make him sound like a racist, and of course using the infamous "white hispanic" term to gin up maximum racial conflict.

    I think most of us were pretty upset about the case when as it was first presented (and not happy with idiots like Geraldo Rivera who tried to blame Martin's hoodie wearing for his being shot). That changed when the real facts started coming to light and that it was not clear what had really happened. Unfortunately, like epi said, too many people jumped on the culture war bandwagon and never got off.

  • Enough About Palin||

    True

    That

    (ripped from today's headlines)

  • John||

    But Trayvon looks the President's son Episiarch. They murdered Obama's son in Florida. Don't you see that?

  • Hyperion||

    And our prez is the number one pusher of that shit.

  • John||

    It is all he has. What is he going to talk about? Obamacare? The economy?

  • David_TheMan||

    Yeah its Obama's fault that Zimmerman and Martin got entangled with each other and one died.

  • Irish||

    Which no one said. They said that Obama pushed the racial aspect of this in a completely reprehensible manner. Which he did, given that whole 'my son would look like Trayvon' nonsense.

    Reading comprehension. Learn it, live it, love it.

  • Pro Libertate||

    What the fuck is the president doing commenting on a local case? He's such a fucking waste.

    I like his latest attempt to stage a debate over climate change to distract everyone from the tyrannical and corrupt behavior of his administration. It's not going to fucking work.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "What the fuck is the president doing commenting on a local case?"

    Because it raises issues of national importance. Unlike "local crime" stories such as the Gosnell trial.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Did he express sympathy for Caylee Anthony on the national stage?

  • David_TheMan||

    Obama making an empathetic statement isn't pushing a racial angle. Sorry but there is a lot to hate Obama for but that statement isn't one of them.

    Reading comp, seems like you can't use some of your own advice.

  • WTF||

    Reading comp, seems like you can't use some of your own advice.

    DERP!

  • David_TheMan||

    got me there
    damn misspelling

  • Irish||

    Obama making an empathetic statement isn't pushing a racial angle.

    Are you fucking kidding me?

    "If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon," Obama said at the White House.

    He's saying his son would 'look like Trayvon' which is blatantly racial because both of them are black. Why is it relevant that his son would 'look like Trayvon?' It's not relevant at all, except from a racial standpoint.

    I notice that Obama doesn't comment on any of the other major local crime cases that occurred during his presidency, except for the one with racial undertones.

  • David_TheMan||

    So what doesn't mean anything, it is a empathetic statement going out to the parents big whooop.

    Obama did a lot of commenting on sandy hook, aurora colorado, and boston. Most politicians do, but the rage you go into regarding Obama and this situation just doesn't hold up in my view.

    He made a show of empathy.

  • RBS||

    He made a show of empathy a politically calculated public display .
  • David_TheMan||

    That is probably closer to the truth more than anything, that every public comment from a politician.

  • Hyperion||

    Empathy, my fucking ass. This is a guy who kills hundreds or thousands, by drones, with impunity, and then sheds his crocodile tears for the children when the camera is on him.

    Give me fucking break already.

  • sgs||

    "Obama did a lot of commenting on sandy hook, aurora colorado, and boston."

    And in none of those cases did he claim the victim resembled him to a crowd of people who resembled him.

  • Irish||

    Sandy Hook, Aurora and Boston are also hardly comparable to the shooting death of one teenager. We're talking about mass killings and terrorist attacks vs. an ambiguous case that involved two people in Nowheresville, Florida.

  • David_TheMan||

    all of them are local crimes, like it or not and he stuck his nose in all of them to comment.

    He only commented because it was a national story and politicians love to seem like they are informed and knowing.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    In defense of Obama, He said that because he's a toxic narcissist and thinks that only things related to himself have importance.

  • WTF||

    WOOSH!

  • trshmnstr||

    Who's the new troll?

  • WTF||

    I don't know, but it's certainly idiotic.

  • RBS||

    These threads tend bring out the retards.

  • Mike M.||

    It's probably Mary Stack returning once again.

  • sgs||

    It has that "old troll" feel doesn't it?

  • Irish||

    Come on guys, he's not a troll. This isn't exactly unbelievable stuff he's arguing.

  • Hyperion||

    It's not Mary, unless she got back on some improved meds.

  • Enough About Palin||

    ^^Who is this stupid fuck?^^

  • John||

    The longer Zimmerman followed Martin (and regardless of his actual motivation), the greater the chance that Martin would have perceived him as a threat, especially if he saw Zimmerman's gun.

    I am thinking that if someone with a gun is following me, the last thing I am going to do is attack them. First, I am going to try to get to where I am going as fast as I can. I am sure as hell not doubling back or taking the long way there. Second, if the guy does confront me, I am not going to escalate the situation. If he pulls a gun, I am going to run and make him both have the nerve to shoot me for no reason in broad daylight and be a good enough shot to hit a moving target.

    I can't see how Martin thinking Zimmerman is following him with a gun is evidence that Martin attacked Zimmerman.

  • Tim||

    His parents should have taught him that no matter how mad he gets, you can't just jump on people and start beating them.

  • John||

    Yeah. Fighting and attacking people is not real smart. No matter bad you are, eventually you will run into the wrong guy and it will end badly.

  • Tim||

    case in point.

  • shamalam||

    yep.

  • tarran||

    I wondered then, as I wonder now, if he might not have turned out a very different boy indeed if you had administrated a few fatal beatings earlier.
  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "fatal"?

  • Eric Johnson||

    It's a line from a Rowan Atkinson comedy skit. A headmaster at a private academy reports to a father that he's beaten the man's son to death, and keeps going on about the boy's discipline issues.

  • Timrek||

    Do we know for sure that Martin knew of Zimmerman's gun prior to the two of them fighting? I can't recall especially since every news story seems to differ from previous reports.

  • John||

    No we don't. I was just saying that if he did, that argues against Zimmerman attacking him.

    It seems very likely that Zimmerman never drew his gun and Martin attacked him. If Zimmerman intended to finally get the punk, he would have drawn his gun. Why get into a fight when you can just pull your gun out until the cops get there?

  • David_TheMan||

    Then you have the issue of Martin thinking someone was following him with ill intent attacked for his own self defense.

  • Irish||

    If I think someone might be following me, am I allowed to punch them repeatedly in the face and slam their head into cement?

    I didn't know that was legal.

  • David_TheMan||

    Nice strawman but I never made that contention.

    I said if he was following him and perceived ill intent he might have attacked in self defense.

    I find it funny you take this route with the notion that Martin could have attacked with his defense in mind, but the notion that Zimmerman started the physical altercation trying to subdue him is out of the question to you.

  • John||

    Zimmerman started the physical altercation trying to subdue him is out of the question to you.

    Why would Zimmerman try to physically subdue a larger, younger man when he could have just pulled his gun? That doesn't make any sense to me. I find it very unlikely that Zimmerman physically attacked Martin given the difference in size and physical fitness between the two and the fact that Zimmerman had a gun.

  • David_TheMan||

    Why wouldn't a person who thinks they are catching a potential criminal not do it? Makes sense to me. Maybe Zimmerman wasn't ready to pull his gun yet. Even Zimmerman himself said he did not go for his gun until after the altercation started.

    The key point to the whole thing is knowing who started the altercation.

    Since only Zimmerman is alive to know that and he has ever reason in the world to paint himself in the positive light, we will never know, which is why I think the state is fighting a losing case with these charges.

  • John||

    Why wouldn't a person who thinks they are catching a potential criminal not do it?

    Because the other guy is a criminal and is bigger than you and will beat the fuck out of you. Maybe you are cavilier about walking up and attacking men who are bigger, younger and fitter than you. But you are in the minority on that one. Why wouldn't he do it? I don't know, why would I not want to get into an MMA ring?

  • David_TheMan||

    Well he said that Martin was a kid in the call and acting strange. I'm pretty sure from the call that he didn't feel any real danger because he got out the car to follow him.

    I don't know what was in his mind, but to claim it is out of the question that he would initiate any physical conflict doesn't hold water with me.

  • Calidissident||

    Martin may have been slightly taller than Zimmerman, but Zimmerman outweighed him by a significant margin. And it's not like Zimmerman was 80 years old. He's 30. People have certainly started stupider fights than Zimmerman picking one with a 5'11 160 lbs 17 year old. Martin weighed ten pounds more than I did at that age, and I would not have wanted to pick a fight with a guy of Zimmerman's age and size. And why the fuck would he pull a gun after calling the cops? He had no evidence he was committing a crime, so he would have been arrested for that as soon as the cops showed up. Not saying I think this is what happened, and I don't think Zimmerman should be found guilty, but scenarios where Zimmerman started the physical confrontation are not as far fetched as you think they are.

  • Irish||

    What I said:

    If I think someone might be following me, am I allowed to punch them repeatedly in the face and slam their head into cement?

    What you responded:

    Nice strawman but I never made that contention.

    I said if he was following him and perceived ill intent he might have attacked in self defense.

    Your follow up is exactly what I said. You're arguing that he 'perceived ill intent' from the fact that someone was following him and just assaulted the guy. That is illegal in every state in this country, and is grounds for the person you are attacking to defend himself.

    It's not a strawman when that's actually what you believe.

    For the record, I don't know what happened. Zimmerman COULD have been at fault. But given the evidence, and the fact that we live in a country where people are supposedly innocent until proven guilty, his story holds up well enough that he should be exonerated.

  • David_TheMan||

    Its illegality or legality would depend on a jury of peers wouldn't it?

    Yeah it is a strawman.

    If I ever argued that Zimmerman was guilty and needs to be convicted of anything you would have a point.

    I never have.

  • MJGreen||

    And how the fuck would Zimmerman explain it to the cops? "I wanted to subdue him, so instead of talking or even brandishing my weapon, I started beating on him."

    That makes sense.

  • David_TheMan||

    Well if he took his weapon out and was found that Martin did nothing wrong he would be arrested for brandishing a weapon and I'm sure some other shit.

    He probably thought the cops were on the way he would physically restrain him until they arrived.

    That is all conjecture but not out of the realm of possibilities.

  • Jim in Denver||

    Initiating an attack because of a perceived threat... would make him the aggressor. You cannot then claim he acted in self-defense.

  • Lord Peter Wimsey||

    Irish, your perspective is all wrong. Martin is black. Zimmerman is a WHITE (hispanic) gun nut. Ask yourself this: which one of these guys was brought over on a slave ship? Well, the other one is guilty. If you have a problem with this analysis I will tweet your home address and let the mob explain it to you.

  • David_TheMan||

    Playing the race card, how sad.

  • C. Anacreon||

    Mr. TheMan, if you are going to post here you need to make sure you have your sarcasm meter on.

  • David_TheMan||

    I would ask that you forgive me, obviously the post I was referring to violated Poe's Law.

  • John||

    Two things. First, even if Martin did think that, Martin is still in the wrong. Someone following you does not give you the right to attack them. Second, regardless of why Martin attacked Zimmerman, the issue is still, was the attack sufficient to put Zimmerman in fear of his life giving him the right to use his gun in self defense. So what Martin did or did not think shouldn't really matter.

  • David_TheMan||

    I would think it would matter because if the prosecution can paint the story that Martin acted to a reasonable fear and it was in self defense, they can then paint Zimmerman has the aggressor who murdered a person trying to kill themselves.

  • John||

    It is pretty hard to pain Zimmerman as the aggressor if you admit up front Martin attacked him. The only way the prosecution can win here is by proving Zimmerman started the confrontation and attacked Martin.

    The Prosecution's theory is that Zimmerman meant Martin harm from the moment he got out of the car. That is possible. But if that were the case, why was there ever a fight? Why didn't Zimmerman just pull his gun and shoot Martin? Martin was a bigger guy. Zimmerman is going to not use his weapon and choose instead to get in a fight why?

  • David_TheMan||

    If you can get people to buy that Martin had reason to be suspicious and fearful of the man following him to attack in self defense, you can easily lead to the conclusion that the whole situation was started by Zimmerman's actions.

    That is a nice gap you point out to bridge, I'm sure they will say Zimmerman got cocky and though he could handle it physically and then lost and resulted to using a gun. I"m sure Zimmerman's defense might say what you said.

    In the end we will never know, but I"m glad he is being made to defend his actions and I know that if the jury is sound he is walking because there is no way they can prove Murder 2.

    Martin was taller, Zimmerman was bigger in weight. I'm seen tons of short stocky guys beat on taller men, so the heigh disparity doesn't mean much to me.

  • John||

    that the whole situation was started by Zimmerman's actions.

    So what. That is where you like so many other people go off the rials on this case. It doesn't matter if Zimmerman started it. it doesn't matter if Zimmerman was a jerk. That didn't give Martin the right to attack him. You guys can't get over your dislike for Zimmerman and think his being a bad guy makes him guilty of murder.

  • David_TheMan||

    If the defense can prove that Martin reasonably felt threatened and acted in self defense, then it would matter wouldn't it.

    As for who attacked who, we don't know.

    I have no like or love for Martin or Zimmerman. I don't know them.

    I have only said that Zimmerman should be found not guilty of the charges levied so I don't understand where you anger is coming from.

  • Jim in Denver||

    If Martin was not reacting to a violent assault or to a direct verbal threat of violence (even that might be flimsy) he was the aggressor.

    If you attack first it is by definition *not* self-defense. That unfortunately is the foundation of your premise and the foundation is poor.

  • trshmnstr||

    They can paint all they want, but it's still not just cause to start beating somebody's head open on the sidewalk.

  • David_TheMan||

    Both side can and will paint, but to act like it is open and shut is ridiculous for both sides of the equation, imho.

  • Irish||

    Both side can and will paint, but to act like it is open and shut is ridiculous for both sides of the equation, imho.

    I agree, but your argument from the prosecution's side is absurd. It is not just cause to attack someone if you think that they're following you. It is just cause to defend yourself when being assaulted. Unless the prosecution can prove that Zimmerman acted first, a tall order given his injuries, he has to walk.

  • David_TheMan||

    I'm not arguing from the prosecution I'm just reminding people that there are other sides that can be taken and standing on the ground that every thing that Zimmerman claims is just as foolish as accepting everything the prosecution claims.

    I agree no one can prove who acted first so the charges are never going to stick.

  • NeonCat||

    Or Martin could have gone home, locked the door, called the police and said "I think some creepy dude is following me." But he didn't. He decided to deal with the situation himself.

  • David_TheMan||

    He has the right to stand his ground, he has no duty to retreat

  • John||

    He has the right to stand his ground, he has no duty to retreat

    Sure. But he doesn't have a right to beat someone up just because he found him "threatening" whatever that means.

  • David_TheMan||

    It would be up for the jury to decide if he was in the wrong if he started the fight and if the prosecution goes that route.

  • JD the elder||

    Do you even know what "Stand Your Ground" means in legal terms, or are you just repeating it because it sounds clever? As the Florida law is written, it specifically addresses using force, including deadly force, to prevent your own death or grievous bodily harm if you reasonably believe it is necessary. It is not a general statement about being allowed to be places. The only way it would possibly apply to Martin is if Zimmerman attacked him and put him in fear of death or grievous bodily harm. If you're asserting that Zimmerman attacked Martin first, you might want to show some evidence for it.

  • MJGreen||

    For fuck's sake, David, Jacob explains why that's not the case in this very blog post. Even if Martin was in the right to use force, Zimmerman can still be in the right to use his gun if he had no other way to de-escalate the situation and save his own life.

    "even if Zimmerman started the confrontation, he may have been justified in shooting Martin if the fight unfolded as he describes—with Martin on top of him, reaching for the gun."

  • David_TheMan||

    I think the key part is if Martin was actually on top of him reaching for his gun.

    Physical evidence shows that Martin had no DNA on Zimmerman's gun holster or gun, which conflicts with Zimmerman's story of wrestling the gun from Martin and shooting.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Physical evidence shows that Martin had no DNA on Zimmerman's gun holster or gun, which conflicts with Zimmerman's story of wrestling the gun from Martin and shooting.

    Reaching doesn't leave DNA:

    "When I slid, my jacket and my shirt came up. ... I felt his hand go down my side, and I thought he was going for my firearm, so I grabbed it immediately, and as he banged my head again, I just pulled out my firearm and shot him."

    http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/21/.....n-shooting

  • David_TheMan||

    I didn't say reaching I said wrestling the gun from Martin.

    Orlando Sentinel:

    Zimmerman also told police, the source told the Sentinel, that while the two were on the ground, Trayvon reached for Zimmerman's gun, and the two struggled over it.

    Those portions of Zimmerman's account are not corroborated by other evidence, the source said.

    http://articles.orlandosentine.....department

  • Azathoth!!||

    I didn't say reaching I said wrestling the gun from Martin.

    Yes, YOU said 'wrestling--but your source said 'reached'--

    Orlando Sentinel:

    Zimmerman also told police, the source told the Sentinel, that while the two were on the ground, Trayvon reached for Zimmerman's gun, and the two struggled over it.
  • Loki||

    if the prosecution can paint the story that Martin acted to a reasonable fear and it was in self defense, they can then paint Zimmerman has the aggressor who murdered a person trying to kill themselves.

    Read the article you dumb fuck (and while you're at it learn English, your constant typos and lack of basic grammar is fucking annoying):

    even if Zimmerman started the confrontation, he may have been justified in shooting Martin if the fight unfolded as he describes—with Martin on top of him, reaching for the gun.

    Even if Zimmerman started the fight, if Martin knocked him to the ground and started pounding his head into the ground, and then started to reach for the gun, then Zimmerman could have still reasonably feared for his life and shot Martin in self defense.

    Let me put this another way: let's say you're at a bar having a few bears, and let's also say for the sake of argument you have a gun and a concealed carry permit. Let's also "assume" for the sake of argument that you're as obnoxious in real life as you are on this thread, and you get into someone's grill. They punch you in the face and start pounding your head into the ground "ground and pound" style. Then they see your gun and start to go for it. You would be within your rights to blow that person away because you reasonably fear for your life. Even though you're the one who started the fight in the first place. That's how the law in Florida works.

  • David_TheMan||

    I would be in jail in my state because it is illegal to carry a gun in a venue that serves alcoholic beverages.

    As for the other stuff, nice story but you assume too much regarding the events and you overly rely on Zimmerman's account.

    Now if I start a fight with you and start getting my ass beat and pull out a gun and shoot you, I'm a murderer. I initiated and escalated the level of violence.

    Don't really care what the law of the land says about that or not.

  • ||

    True, but this wasn't a bar fight. This was strange man following strange man at night. Which is a lot creepier than someone getting in your face in a bar.

    Put yourself in Martin's shoes. If some strange guy was following you at night, and you noticed that he was carrying a weapon, wouldn't you possibly be a bit freaked out? And if you were a young male, might you possibly react by attacking and attempting to disarm your stalker?

  • Pro Libertate||

    You know, even if that could be proven to be true, Zimmerman could still legally shoot Martin if he reasonably feared for his life and was acting in self defense.

  • David_TheMan||

    The medical examinations don't show that his life was in reasonable danger, and I don't believe you can initiate a conflict with either physical or non/physical action then pull a gun out when you are losing and claim self defense.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "The medical examinations don't show that his life was in reasonable danger"

    Read this a few times and ask yourself: "What the fuck am I trying to say?"

  • Irish||

    He had a bloody nose and lacerations on the back of his head, but David apparently believes that he isn't in reasonable danger until he actually has a knife sticking out of him.

  • David_TheMan||

    Only thing that tells me is he was punched or struck in the face and fell on the back of his head, doesn't mean his life was in danger and also doesn't tell us who started the fight.

  • tarran||

    The lacerations

  • tarran||

    Gnarrrgh! My long comment was eaten by the squirrels.

    No nuts for them!

  • David_TheMan||

    I have maybe you should try reading slower

  • Irish||

    Only thing that tells me is he was punched or struck in the face and fell on the back of his head, doesn't mean his life was in danger and also doesn't tell us who started the fight.

    Which means he should be found not guilty because in a free society you are presumed innocent. Moreover, if you're being assaulted, you have no idea how much harm this guy intends to do to you. How much damage must be done to someone before they're allowed to act in self defense? Should he have waited until Trayvon gouged one of his eyes out?

    I have maybe you should try reading slower

    I understand everything you wrote, you just aren't smart enough to argue cogently. I have maybe you should repeat 3rd grade.

  • sgs||

    "Only thing that tells me is he was punched or struck in the face and fell on the back of his head, doesn't mean his life was in danger"

    The state, if it was prosecuting YOU for doing this to someone ELSE, would disagree.

    In other words, your standard is worthless. Punching someone in the face in such a way that they strike their head is absolutely, without any shadow of doubt, in the state of Florida, grounds to have deadly force used against you.

    This is caselaw, your opinion doesn't matter at all.

  • Gray Ghost||

    Since you say it's caselaw, mind citing which cases say that? I mean, they probably do, but I'd like to see which cases answer the question of what amount of force Florida considers that a reasonable person receiving it would feel they were in imminent danger of great bodily harm.

  • sgs||

    " I'd like to see which cases answer the question of what amount of force Florida considers that a reasonable person receiving it would feel they were in imminent danger of great bodily harm."

    Since "punched in the face so hard that I fell to the ground" easily crosses that threshold, I'm not sure what you're asking me for?

    Cases where someone got punched then was exonerated?

  • Gray Ghost||

    Since "punched in the face so hard that I fell to the ground" easily crosses that threshold,

    Does it? I don't know, especially in something as counter-intuitive as a lot of criminal law can be. I wouldn't make that statement without knowing how Florida defines great bodily harm. In incidents from other states, I've seen it or similar terms, refer to being threatened with a knife or other weapon capable of immediately threatening lethal force. A fistfight, by itself, wouldn't ordinarily count, despite the agg assault case I mentioned up above.

    Perhaps Florida defines a punch that knocks you on your ass as fitting within that set. Then it should be easy to find a case where that happened, the victim killed the otherwise unarmed puncher, claimed self-defense, and the judge and jury agreed.

  • sgs||

    "Does it?"

    Yup.

  • sgs||

    "I wouldn't make that statement without knowing how Florida defines great bodily harm."

    I don't really care what you'd do.

  • sgs||

    And by the way, you never answered my question.

    ARE YOU ACTUALLY ASKING ME FOR EXAMPLES OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN PUNCHED AND DEFENDED THEMSELVES BEING EXONERATED?

  • Gray Ghost||

    So you've got no evidence beyond your usual ranting and shouting.

    Got it. Back into the filter you go.

  • Jim in Denver||

    "upon seeing my firearm Martin reached for it..."

    There's your answer.

  • Loki||

    Should he have waited until Trayvon gouged one of his eyes out?

    I suspect Derpid_TheTardo thinks Zimmerman should have waited until Martin actually got his hands on his gun, then tried to wrestle it away from him instead of shooting him when Martin was on top of him beating the shit out of him and (allegedly) started to go for the gun.

  • David_TheMan||

    No need for any name calling Loki. Make your point and have a discussion.

    You whole setup is based off the words of a man who has every reason possible to paint himself in a positive light.

    If you take that at face value so be it. I dont.

  • sgs||

    "No need for any name calling Loki."

    Sorry, you're the asshole who decided starting the conversation with "the police covered it up for over a week and were going to move on with no trial until media attention was raised." and " look at the actions of the police inviting his father to the crime scene and him telling them what and what would not pass for evidence for him, and the police trying to influence witness statements".

    You don't get to tell us not to call you an idiot and an asshole for behaving like an idiot and an asshole.

  • David_TheMan||

    Police mishandled the case and brought the attention on themselves, that and a history of aiding the politically connected get away with violent behavior, they need to have the light shined on them and punished.

    But this is the US, our "betters" are never held accountable.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "I have maybe you should try reading slower"

    I read it slow and "reasonable danger" is still a moronic phrase.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Um, what? He had to wait until he was in a coma to shoot?

    Again, not commenting on whether Zimmerman was actually in danger for his life or whether he acted reasonably in using lethal force. Who knows? But, see, in our system, "Who knows?" is a win for the criminal defendant, every time. The evidence is consistent enough with his story to end the matter. The state should've gone after him for a lesser, easier to prove charge.

  • David_TheMan||

    I'm not talking about the assault from a legal perspective and as I've said I think with the charges levied Zimmerman should walk away free.

    That said I don't think the injuries he received are consistent with anyone saying they felt their life was in danger.

  • MJGreen||

    Have you ever been in a situation that Zimmerman claims he was in that night?

    I have not, so I don't feel like telling those who have whether or not their fears in-the-moment were reasonable. And this is ignoring Zimmerman's claim that Martin was reaching for the gun, which, if true, completely demolishes your second-guessing.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I dunno, my skull going into the pavement, maybe I get violent.

  • sgs||

    This fuckers so stupid it's like he's never heard of anyone dying from a falling on their head.

    "DERP IF I PUNCH YOU AND YOU FALL AND HIT YOUR HEAD AND DIE THATS NOT DEADLY FORCE DERP"

  • Gray Ghost||

    We had a guy locally get charged for aggravated assault for doing just that: hitting a guy, knocking him out, and the guy hit his head on the curb and died.

    Jury disagreed, only convicting him for misdemeanor assault, but I totally agree with you about people dying from fist fights. It happens all the time. All the more reason not to get into them

  • shamalam||

    "We had a guy locally get charged for aggravated assault for doing just that: hitting a guy, knocking him out, and the guy hit his head on the curb and died."

    I read the story in your link. That is amazing!

    Person A punches person B. Person B dies as a result of the punch. Person A is convicted of misdemeanor assault. That sure looks like manslaughter to me.

  • Irish||

    Not me. If someone's slamming my head into the pavement, I would use the David Standard and refuse to defend myself until I lose so much blood that I can feel the life slipping from me.

    It's how all reasonable people would respond.

  • David_TheMan||

    If that was the totality of my argument you would have a point, but it isn't and you don't.

  • sgs||

    No, the totality of your argument appears to be that you're an idiot who can't make a coherent point.

  • David_TheMan||

    Yes I have been on the ground and been punched on. I have been in fights, never felt like I was going to die.

    That said I don't think anyone has to accept getting beat on for any reason if they are not aggressing on anyone.

    The key point for me was who started the fight. Like I keep saying though if we don't know that I don't see how the state can prove murder 2.

  • sgs||

    "The key point for me was who started the fight."

    That's not the key point of law though.

  • David_TheMan||

    Not arguing about the law of the land. I've already said with regards to the US legal system I can not see how they can convict Zimmerman on the levied charges.

  • sgs||

    "Not arguing about the law of the land. "

    You were earlier, did you decide you'd lost that one?

    And did you decide you were done spouting off about police cover-ups too?

  • David_TheMan||

    No I actually wasn't I was mistaken on Zimmerman claiming SYG law and I said I was wrong.

    Other than that I haven't said anything about what Zimmerman should be charged with, whether he broke any law, or anything else along those lines.

    Sorry for you though.

    ----

    The thread isn't about police cover up so I think we should keep it on topic.

    That said I think Sanford PD is who should be on trial here more than anything, but the Zimmerman racial angle pushed that out of the picture when everyone latched onto that and started digging trenches.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "That said I don't think the injuries he received are consistent with anyone saying they felt their life was in danger."

    Read this again and ask yourself:
    "What the fuck am I trying to say?"

    Need a little help? How the fuck would you know what injuries are consistent with someone feeling safe or in danger? If you saw a 6" gash on someone's neck would you say: "Now there's a person that FELT threatened!"?

  • David_TheMan||

    cry on as much as you want.

  • sgs||

    Says the guy who came in here screeching like a fucking idiot about coverups, only to have his idiot ass handed to him and change his tune.

  • David_TheMan||

    I do think their is and was poor police work by Sanford PD. It simply isn't the purpose of this thread.

    I see after I posted the links of Zimmerman's changing stories you stopped responding, why?

  • Gray Ghost||

    Um, what? He had to wait until he was in a coma to shoot?

    I don't know (and am not going to spend the money on WestLaw to find out). How have Florida judges interpreted the phrase, "that the person reasonably believes that he or she is in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm...?" Do Z's injuries indicate that he would have reasonably believed that, assuming, as I do, that Z was full of shit when he claimed Martin said that he was going to kill Z? Moreover, did Z "exhaust every reasonable means to escape such danger?" Like, did he say "I give up," "I quit," etc...? Does FL law require that an initial aggressor do that? Because there's no evidence that he did.

    You only get to that inquiry though if you think Z was the aggressor. And there isn't evidence beyond a reasonable doubt to believe that.

  • sgs||

    "Moreover, did Z "exhaust every reasonable means to escape such danger?"

    Not required.

    " Like, did he say "I give up," "I quit," etc...? Does FL law require that an initial aggressor do that?"

    Nope.

    You seem to have a very unsophisticated understanding of the law in question, asking things that are not only settled but well known.

  • Gray Ghost||

    Not required.

    Um, I'm quoting from the statute, § 776.041 Fla. Stat. Which you can find here. So, if Z's found to be the aggressor, and wants to claim self-defense, then yeah, it's required.

    If Z hasn't been proven to have started the fight, then he doesn't need to do that. (Which is why I wrote 'initial aggressor' above.) He just needs to reasonably believe that his deadly force is necessary to prevent his great bodily harm. § 776.012 Fla. Stat. I'm just trying to figure out what 'exhausting all reasonable means', well, means. From how decisively you've been writing on this, I thought you'd know.

    From T.W. v. State, 98 So. 3d 238 (2012), the 4th District Court of Appeal noted the paucity of definitions for great bodily harm in statutory definitions. They did note that FL courts have generally defined it as:

    “great bodily harm” as “great as distinguished from slight, trivial, minor or moderate harm, and as such does not include mere bruises as are likely to be inflicted in a simple assault and battery.”

    (Pg. 5 of the slip opinion.)

    Again, I don't know if Z's injuries qualify.

  • Pro Libertate||

    One of the problems with the debates on this topic is trying to figure out what actually happened. That's not really possible from the evidence so far. What can be ascertained, though, is whether there's any good evidence that Zimmerman intended to kill Martin without acting in self defense. So far, it seems the answer is no. So much so that the motives for seeking a murder conviction simply have to be political.

    It's entirely possible that Zimmerman was a total asshole to Martin and may have provoked or even initiated violence. There's no evidence to the contrary, other than Zimmerman's testimony. But he has no burden to prove anything--only the prosecution does.

  • John||

    Exactly. There is no case to be made that Zimmerman got out of the car looking to attack Martin. If he had, he would have just pulled his gun out and shot him. That we know didn't happen.

    It also seems unlikely for the reasons stated above that Zimmerman drew his gun and Martin feeling threatened attacked him. It is entirely possible if not likely that Zimmerman confronted Martin, shot his mouth off and provoked Martin into attacking him and then Zimmerman losing the fight badly shot Martin.

  • Pro Libertate||

    It's possible, of course, that Martin attacked Zimmerman as Zimmerman began to draw the gun. But that's not something that can be proved.

  • John||

    That seems very unlikely. Drawing a gun deters someone from attacking you.

  • Pro Libertate||

    See, I don't think that argument is as solid as you do. If Zimmerman was sounding scary and started reaching for the gun, Martin might well have gone after him. The only reason I don't really think that happened is that if Martin knew about the gun, he'd have tried to take it away, not wasted his time beating the guy up.

  • John||

    Now that is a good point. We will never know. But the mostly likely scenario seems to be that Martin for whatever reason went after Zimmerman not knowing he had a gun and Zimmerman drew his gun and shot Martin during the fight.

  • Pro Libertate||

    And the moral culpability may well have been Zimmerman's. He could've said something really vicious and/or threatening and even given Martin a shove. Who knows? One guy. That's it.

  • John||

    Very possibly the case. But as you know there is a difference between moral culpability and legal culpability.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I just don't see any way they can get a conviction for this. In fact, the evidence is so sketchy that I'm not sure the inevitable wrongful death suit will have much of a chance.

  • free2booze||

    The longer Zimmerman followed Martin (and regardless of his actual motivation), the greater the chance that Martin would have perceived him as a threat, especially if he saw Zimmerman's gun.

    Which also raises the question; if Zimmerman was following Martin for a long time, and Martin felt that Zimmerman posed a real threat to his safety, why didn't Martin call the cops?

  • John||

    Or just go home to his uncles. The idea that Martin was terrified of this strange armed man following him and his solution was to confront said armed man is fucking ridiculous.

  • ||

    I am thinking that if someone with a gun is following me, the last thing I am going to do is attack them.

    You're also not a teenage male.
    The question shouldn't be what YOU would do, but is it conceivable that a young male who thought he was being followed by a strange man with a gun might have behaved the way Martin did?

  • Irish||

    I don't think that's relevant. Why Martin did what he did doesn't matter. All that matters is why Zimmerman did what he did.

    Martin could have been afraid and responded violently, and Zimmerman still would have had reason to protect himself. There's simply not enough evidence to find him guilty.

  • ||

    Probably not.

    But from a moral perspective, you could argue that Zimmerman killed a person who was only trying to defend himself. That is both men were acting in self-defense, with a reasonable fear for their life. But Zimmerman is more responsible since he initiated the situation.

  • Timrek||

    It's all Paula Dean's fault.

    Either way it appears Tim is probably correct on this one. There doesn't seem to be enough to convict Zimmerman. Thus ... riots!

  • John||

    Don't you know the media is having orgasms thinking about that possibility.

  • Libertymike||

    So is Obama and Chucky Schumer.

  • Timrek||

    Dean uses the N-word, Zimmerman loves good southern cooking, Zimmerman shots a poor defenseless black youth, RACIST HATE CRIMES!!

  • Rebekah||

    I mean, who doesn't love an excuse to fuck up their own neighborhood? Plus, free shit!

  • Timrek||

    It's all fun and games until the well armed Asians, who actually care about their neighborhoods, shoot you.

  • Rich||

    "OK, we don't need you to do that."

    Would someone *kindly* explain what this has to do with anything? Suppose Noffke had said "OK, throw any weapons you might have into some bush and lie down in the street until the police arrive" or "OK, shout out your name and address to him". Would Zimmerman have been somehow obligated to follow *those* "orders"?

  • ||

    911 dispatchers can only make suggestions, they can't give orders for liability reasons. It is totally irrelevant, as well as not provable anyway as to Zimmerman's motives.

  • John||

    Exactly. I think that is what throws a lot of people who should no better on this board off in this case. They think that because Zimmerman may have confronted Martin that Zimmerman was necessarily in the wrong here.

  • Jordan||

    OT: Sixty Percent of Mexican Workers Labor Off the Books.

    Behold the economic illiteracy in this quote:

    "The country loses 3 or 4 percentage points of GDP every year because 60 percent of its workers don't generate any taxes and also don't have social security benefits," Labor Minister Alfonso Navarrete said on Tuesday.

    Must be a distant relative of Tony.

  • Timrek||

    Wow, that's a lot of levels of stupid for a single government official.

  • John||

    If the labor doesn't result in taxes, it doesn't count. Wow.

  • Irish||

    I like that he doesn't realize that it's the government's fault that so many people choose to work off the books in the first place.

  • sarcasmic||

    It has always puzzled my as to why government spending is part of GDP, when government doesn't produce. It moves stuff around, but it doesn't produce. Since it doesn't produce, why is it included in the Gross National Product?

  • Nazdrakke||

    Look, those numbers aren't just going to inflate themselves.

  • Enough About Palin||

    To pad the numbers.

  • Jgalt1975||

    Government spending only counts towards GDP to the extent it goes towards directly acquiring goods and services. Transfer payments like Social Security and welfare benefits are counted as part of consumer spending in the "CIGX" formula for GDP (Consumption + Investment + Government + Exports) See here for a starting point:

    http://economics.about.com/od/.....roduct.htm

    See also here for an explanation of sources of government funds to spend on "G":

    http://www.unc.edu/depts/econ/.....uation.htm

  • VG Zaytsev||

    It moves stuff around, but it doesn't produce.

    Not true,

    It produces lots of misery and broken windows.

  • Zeb||

    How the fuck would it affect GDP? The under the table money still gets spent. And almost certainly in a more efficient way than the government woudl have done.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Both sides clearly think the issue of when and why Zimmerman followed Martin is important."

    Zimmerman may be formally charged with murder in the second degree, but the crimes he's really being charged with are exercising his Second Amendment rights and racism.

    Racism is the charge in question, here. If the prosecutor can convince the jury that Zimmerman followed Martin becasue he was black, then convincing them that he killed Martin for the same reason should be relatively easy.

  • Pro Libertate||

    That shouldn't matter at all. He could be more suspicious of a black kid--like, incidentally, Jesse Jackson famously said he would be some years ago--but that doesn't mean he shot Martin because of that.

    Juries can be doofuses, but they're usually more likely, in a murder case, to err on the side of letting the defendant go. That's because they're beaten in the head with the concept of the huge burden the prosecution has.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "That shouldn't matter at all."

    It shouldn't, but it does, and both the prosecution and the defense seem to be aware that it matters.

    "That's because they're beaten in the head with the concept of the huge burden the prosecution has."

    They're also going to be beaten over the head with how dead this unarmed black kid is.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Sure, but jurors aren't going to convict without feeling pretty confident about a murder actually occurring. Not in most cases.

  • Enough About Palin||

    "ike, incidentally, Jesse Jackson famously said he would be some years ago"

    As did Chris Rock.

  • ||

    We won't know for sure what really happened until Sean Penn directs the film version of this trial, starring Jaden Smith as the funny, intelligent, but misunderstood Martin and Danny Trejo as George Zimmerman.

  • ||

    That would be far more interesting than the reality here. Unless it were to be directed by Spike Lee, in which case it would become far less interesting, and the reality isn't interesting at all.

  • Pro Libertate||

    As usual, Herzog is the appropriate choice.

  • ||

    How about Lars von Trier? It would be darker.

  • ||

    But where would Bjork fit in to all this? Maybe she could play Zimmerman.

  • Pro Libertate||

    No, I see her as a secret witness, who never tells or even hints at the truth. But she knows it. Why will she not speak? We never learn.

  • Enough About Palin||

  • ||

    They will also composite the DAs who are prosecuting this case into a composite a character: a tough, dedicated feminist but still attractive female DA played by either Amy Adams or Jessica Chastain. She fights for justice for Trayvon after meeting his grandma (played by Ruby Dee).

  • ||

    Make it Chastain and I'll go see it. Even if it's directed by Spike Lee.

  • John||

    The Lee version would involve a young black man deciding whether to join the mob going to lynch Zimmerman at the court house. After some dialog with representatives from various minority groups, the young man would have a gratuitous sex scene with his half Hispanic girlfriend and decide to join the job knowing that he was doing the right thing.

  • WTF||

    Reading this makes me glad I've never seen a Spike Lee movie.

  • ||

    Meh, some of his earlier work is interesting (he gets really good performances out of many of his actors, like Giancarlo Esposito), but he's totally overrated and film studies idiots read more into his work than English major idiots read into James Joyce.

  • ||

    And I forgot to add that he's a serious racist. Like, you don't get a lot more racist than Spike Lee. Everything is race. It's very tiring.

  • John||

    I thought the 25th Hour was a good movie. She's Gotta Have it was fun for what it was. Do the Right Thing was boring and trite and might be the most overrated movie made in the 20th Century.

    The rest of his stuff isn't so much bad as it is just boring. I can't understand why people find him interesting.

  • RBS||

    Oh John, I think you know exactly why people like to claim he's interesting.

  • ||

    'Inside Man' was pretty good. I was amazed at how Spike Lee managed to restrain himself with the social commentary in that one.

  • Zeb||

    I think DO the Right Thing is a terrific movie. Otherwise, blah.

  • ||

    I recall Spike Lee has explicitly said that even questioning the motives of the mob that burns down Sal's Pizza in "Do the Right Thing" is racist since it implicitly values a white man's property over a black man's life.

  • Irish||

    Wait, Lee didn't mean that to be morally ambiguous?

    He doesn't even seem to realize the messages that come across in his own work.

  • ||

    It was ambiguous, he just thinks that white people have an inherent view that the life of a black man is less important their property rights.

  • Irish||

    The property owner didn't even kill the guy in that instance. The cops did. So if you call the cops to protect your property rights, and they kill someone, it's okay for people to burn down your business for something that wasn't your fault?

  • WTF||

    If that's really the message, it's fucking idiotic.

  • Zeb||

    Well then why the fuck didn't they go burn up some police cars? Sal didn't kill Radio Rahim.

  • Zeb||

    This is why I try not to know about what filmmakers think of their own films. It is usually disappointing.
    I love Do The Right Thing. But I think that questioning the motives of the mob who burns the pizzeria down is a big part of the point of the movie, and I don't give a fuck if Lee thinks that's wrong.

  • ||

    The longer Zimmerman followed Martin (and regardless of his actual motivation), the greater the chance that Martin would have perceived him as a threat, especially if he saw Zimmerman's gun.

    That's really key. I think it is likely that Martin might have thrown the first punch because he saw Zimmerman's gun and wanted to knock him out before Zimmerman had a chance to pull it. He might have been reaching for the gun, not necessarily to kill Zimmerman, but ot disarm him.

    Of course, the prosecution might be thinking that they should do their best to portray Zimmerman as a crazed vigilante, because the general tactic of defense attourneys is to assume that juries are stupid and easily swayed by emotional arguments. And they might be right. But it could backfire if they don't emphasize that Martin himself might have had good reason to attack Zimmerman in self defense.

    There's another angle as well. It's possible that Zimmerman already had a prejudiced notion of what Martin was up to and that made him not realize how his actions might have appeared threatening to Martin, and therefore might have been more willing to pull his gun and shoot in self-defense.

    Overall it seems like a really sad story about preconceptions and biases leading to a misunderstanding the resulted in trajedy. Not saying Zimmerman is necessarily racist, but his actions seem to have been colored by preconceived ideas about why a black teen in a hoodie would be walking through the area.

  • John||

    I think it is likely that Martin might have thrown the first punch because he saw Zimmerman's gun and wanted to knock him out before Zimmerman had a chance to pull it.

    Only if Martin is a complete moron and a violent one at that.

    Beyond that, even if that where true, it wouldn't mean Zimmerman was guilty of anything. Once Martin threw the first punch, Zimmerman had a right to defend himself up to using deadly force if he felt his life was in danger.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Apropos of very little, Mythbusters recently tested the old adage about not bringing a knife to a gun fight. If you're pretty close, the guy with the knife could win, if the gun isn't actually drawn already.

  • WTF||

    Actually, from the studies I've seen, if the gun isn't already drawn and the guy with the knife is within 20 feet, the guy with the gun is in trouble.

  • Pro Libertate||

    To be sure, what they didn't test was whether the knife wielder could kill or sufficiently incapacitate his opponent before being filled with lead. That's a pretty serious open issue.

  • Nazdrakke||

    There are a many variables in situations like this that are difficult, if not impossible to quantify accurately. From reflex speed to terrain and footing to adrenaline level and so on.

    That said, a gun hits what it's pointed at, and it is surprisingly straightforward to not get shot at point-blank range if you have any training or experience of what to do that circumstance.

    One of the things I and several of my training partners and students used to practice was taking initiative at point-blank range of someone pointing a (unloaded) gun at them and not being where the gun was pointed by the time the gun holder could pull the trigger. It's not nearly as difficult as it is sometimes made to sound to put yourself in a winning position from that starting scenario.

  • John||

    The problem with a knife is you have to know how to use it. If you don't, and few people do, you are as likely to stab yourself as the other guy or worse get it taken away from you.

  • wwhorton||

    There's an element of the "kung fu commando" to these sorts of things. When people (not saying you specifically) make statements like that it sort of presumes that one of the people in the equation has some kind of extensive combat training and has been in similar situations beforehand, while the other person is a muppet.

    It's really not that difficult to fight with a knife if you're fighting someone who's never dealt with one. The difficulty comes in fighting someone who knows how to fight with a knife. Most people who don't have any kind of training will see a pointy thing and go into panic mode. At best, they'll back away and dodge wildly; they're very unlikely to know that they shouldn't attempt to block the knife with their palms out (exposing arteries), for instance. Conversely, a person who doesn't know how to fight with a knife will probably hold it Psycho-style, blade down, or they'll hold it blade-up and slash, a la whatsherface in The Shining.

    As my father used to say, if the other person sees that you have a knife, you're doing it wrong.

  • John||

    Yes to all of that. I personally would never attack someone with a knife. I don't know how to fight someone with a knife and even if I did, they can always get lucky. A knife raises the stakes way too high.

  • tarran||

  • ||

    Whether Martin was stupid or not isn't the issue.

    I think it's completely plausible that a young male would respond to being stalked by a tsrange man with a gun by freaking out and attacking strange man.

    It seems that at some point Martin sped up, since Zimmerman thought he was "running away". So he tried to get away on foot first. Maybe he didn't want ot lead his attacker directly to his house. Maybe he took the long way because he wanted a private chat with his girlfriend.

    Does it matter? I'm not saying Zimmerman should be convicted, but it's totally plausible that Martin might have punched first out of fear for his life.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    but his actions seem to have been colored by preconceived ideas about why a black teen in a hoodie would be walking through the area.

    Only if you assume he would have acted differently if it had been a non-black teen.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "because the general tactic of defense attourneys is to assume that juries are stupid and easily swayed by emotional arguments."

    The only thing confirmed by academic studies is that juries tend to be more pro-defense than judges.

    Does anyone here object to this?

  • MJGreen||

    There are a number of plausible scenarios of what went down that night. Both parties could have been innocent, one or the other guilty, or both guilty. And... yeah, not sure what else can be said.

  • Gray Ghost||

    I think it is likely that Martin might have thrown the first punch because he saw Zimmerman's gun and wanted to knock him out before Zimmerman had a chance to pull it.

    The gun was a Kel-Tec PF-9. They're not the biggest pistols around. It's about an inch less in length, a half-inch shorter, and about 2/3d the width of a Glock 30, which isn't that big either. Depending on how Z was carrying it, I wouldn't be surprised that Martin had no idea Z was carrying until Z started reaching for it.

  • Jordan||

    I expect him to be very narrowly acquitted. No way the prosecution can prove their case beyond a shadow of a doubt.

  • WTF||

    Juries don't decide cases on logic and facts.

  • Rich||

    "Just remember -- this could have happened to *your* child!"

  • sarcasmic||

    To an all female jury.

  • Jordan||

    Yeah, but I expect at least one of the jurors to. Call me a dreamer :)

  • WTF||

    And it's also an all-female jury.
    Just sayin'.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    If it were a *real* jury - i.e., 12 members - then it would have been hard to keep men off of it. Women and men are complementary - *both* perspectives are needed to get a balanced decision.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "Juries don't decide cases on logic and facts."

    As opposed to judges, who (eg today, in Kelo, etc.) always act based on the most rational and intelligent interpretation of the facts and the law?

    The right to jury trial is a palladium of our free constitution - the alternative is to have professional judges have the last word on our fate. No, thank you.

  • WTF||

    I never said anything about judges. They most often seem to be on the prosecution's team from what I've seen.

  • Hyperion||

    Sorry to say, he's toast. The powers that be (DOJ, the White House, the liberal media) want a conviction. Zimmerman is their token white boy, member of the patriarchy, with a gun, and Trayvon could have been Obamas son.

  • Pro Libertate||

    How are they going to do that? Blackmail the jury?

    Now, I think he's screwed when the trial is done, when he very likely walks away a free man.

  • WTF||

    I think they do that by the judge favoring the prosecution in her rulings and in her instructions to the jury, and allowing emotional appeals about Trayvon and his family to be entered as though they were relevant facts to an all-female jury where only 6 guilty votes are needed. Blackmail not necessary.

  • Hyperion||

    How to they get away with all of the surreal shit that they get away with? The Obama admin seems to be able to get away with anything. If this administration rigged the jury, it would be a just like Benghazi, the IRS, NSA, a scandal until it just goes away, with them coming out smelling like roses, again.

  • Irish||

    You really think the Obama administration is going to rig a criminal jury in Florida?

    Sweet Christ, this administration should have everyone a little paranoid, but that's absurd.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I think there could be some shading, depending on how political the judge is, but anything blatant just means an appeal and a win.

  • Hyperion||

    I didn't say that I thought they were going to do that. I said if they did, they would get away with it.

    No, I think either the jury gives in to the pressure to convict Zimmerman, or he walks and the powers that be stir up a shit storm of trouble over it as just another diversion from all of their criminal activities.

  • Pro Libertate||

    There is an angle I didn't consider, that this media crap and the political pressure could scare the jurors. I mean, they could be blamed personally for "letting Zimmerman walk."

  • Nazdrakke||

    they could be blamed personally for "letting Zimmerman walk."

    That's the scenario that concerns me the most. I see it as quite possible the jury will toss out a guilty verdict to avoid possible backlash from the ideologically invested and their useful idiots. If I was on that jury it would certainly be somewhere in the back of my mind that I might have to entirely relocate or suffer if I found him not guilty. It's not right, doesn't belong in our justice system, I hope it's not the case, but fuck if it's not hanging like the Sword of Damocles at this point.

  • Hyperion||

    The bigger picture that comes out of this is, when we legalize 30 million or so illegal... errr... undocumented workers.. are we going check to make sure they are not 'white' Hispanics? Will they have to prove their brownness before they can stay? Clearly, these white Hispanic devils are a detriment to us moving forward into the great utopia that our dear leader has paved the way for.

  • John||

    Zimmerman is more black than Homer Plessy. Life really is funny sometimes.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Shhh...you're trying to throw a wrench into the narrative!

  • The Late P Brooks||

    "Hey, Kid. Wanna make ten bucks?"

    "Fuck you, queer."

  • Anders||

    "A major theme of the case against George Zimmerman so far is that he unjustifiably and recklessly followed Trayvon Martin after seeing the teenager walking through his neighborhood and deeming him "suspicious.""

    Great theme.

    In reality that is not a crime in any way shape or form.

    You can't cite statute or case law on unjustifiable and recklessly following anyone. How do you recklessly follow someone anyway?

    This is a tragic farce.

  • David_TheMan||

    Like someone said earlier I think they are trying to go the stalking route.

  • Anders||

    Which requires what can be referred to as 'form'.

    I can't claim I know what went down with certainty. But I continue to assert that this case has more holes in it than John Dillinger, it's political, a waste of taxpayer money, an example of horrific political malfeasance, and race baiting of the worst kind.

    This is our state at war with a citizen - this is not justice.

    But we can at least look forward to the riots.

  • David_TheMan||

    If we had private courts and law this wouldn't even be an issue.

  • ||

    I tihnk the point is that by following Martin, he gave Martin reason to fear for his life, thereby possibly justifying Martin's attack that Zimmerman claims that he was defending himself from.

    It's also possible to seee why, if Zimmerman had a preconceived idea that Martin was a "punk", that he would be more ready to pull the trigger than if he though that Martin was a scared kid who didn't know why a man with a gun was following him at night.

  • tarran||

    Being followed does not put someone in fear for their life.

    It's at worst the most minor form of assault.

  • tarran||

    Hazel, let me give you an example:

    1) A few months ago, I was driving at night with my kids and took a shortcut trhrough an unlit back street in Newton.

    2) A car followed me and turned off its head lights.

    3) When we got back on the main road, it was still following me.

    4) Eventually it got back-lit and I recognized the outline of a distinctive bit of frippery hanging from the windshield mirror; and I realized my ex-wife was stalking me.

    Now, my ex wife had no reason to be there; she was clearly following me, and by turning off her headlights had tried to obscure this fact from me.

    Had I stopped my car, rushed over to her, and punched her in the head would you really be arguing that I had behaved in self defence?

  • tarran||

    And yes, I was concerned for my safety, since if I were to be killed, my ex wife's life would get a great deal easier.

  • Zeb||

    Being followed does not put someone in fear for their life.

    I think you'd have to ask the individual to know that. Fear is often not rational.

  • Mo Henry||

    So in your mind, if you were told by the police dispatch not to follow the "suspicious" person, and you didn't listen and continued to follow the individual and a confrontation took place which lead to an altercation and someone dies then that is no responsibility on your part? What if this was your background. (You were previously accused of domestic violence, tussling with a police officer and speeding). That is George Zimmerman's background.

  • Enough About Palin||

    "Why Does It Matter When and Why George Zimmerman Followed Trayvon Martin?"

    What difference, at this point, does it make!?

  • ||

    I think a more interesting question would be "why does it matter why Trayvon Martin turned around to confront Zimmerman?"

  • Sidd Finch||

    He wasn't afraid of Zimmerman.

  • ||

    Why do you assume that?

  • Sidd Finch||

    More specifically: "His fear of Zimmerman was less than his desire to confront Zimmerman."

    He had gotten out of sight. If that statement isn't true, he would've stayed out of sight.

  • Paul.||

    It's unfortunate that it takes race to get liberals to give a shit about unarmed people getting shot.

    If Zimmerman is found guilty, hopefully liberals will find some of the highly questionable, if not outright illegal police shootings reprehensible.

    Because I say again, if Zimmerman is held to the higher standard, I want police brought up to that standard.

  • Anders||

    "Paul.| 6.26.13 @ 3:30PM |#

    It's unfortunate that it takes race to get liberals to give a shit about unarmed people getting shot."

    People like to concentrate on the 'armed' aspect which is a media canard...as if St. T wasn't armed with the ability to snatch the life right out of Zimmerman.

  • Azathoth!!||

    Based on the call, the 911 calls, and the call records of 'Witness 8', it's pretty clear that beyond the period between Zimmerman getting out of the car and the dispatcher telling him they didn't need him to follow Martin, Zimmerman didn't follow Martin.

    By the time the call ended he'd lost Martin. He didn't confront him during the call, and there's not enough time for a confrontation of the sort being supposed(a period of following followed by an altercation) to have happened between the end of Zimmerman's call and the first 911 call--which occurred while the altercation was taking place.

    No suppositions, no motives, just check the times.

  • shamalam||

    Interesting. Do you have a link to the time line?

  • Mo Henry||

    Jacob, if Zimmerman takes the stand, which I doubt. These facts will come out. George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer accused of killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, was previously accused of domestic violence, tussling with a police officer and speeding. Based on these facts, I think anyone would conclude about Zimmerman's tendencies and that should factor in this case.

  • Azathoth!!||

    However, the FACTS are that reciprocal restraining orders were issued to Zimmerman and his ex, no charges of domestic violence were ever made.

    Zimmerman 'tussling'(sic) with a police officer undermines the whole 'wannabe cop' angle and may be ignored.

    Or the FACT that all charges were dropped might enter into the equation.

    And speeding? Really, speeding? Should we also include parking infractions?

  • handworn||

    I don't think it does matter. Someone bent on eliminating "punks" is not going to call 911 and help create a record of the event that puts him at the scene where a body was found-- much less a scene where as a resident and Neighborhood Watch member his identity is well known. It's as simple as that.

    This case is an embarrassment to the justice system. Such a prosecution will incite racial tension all over, including, justifiably, in white people, since as in this case they might be hauled into court to cater to pro-minority racism.

    What I'd like to know is whether manslaughter is a lesser included offense of second degree murder in Florida, such that the jury could reject the greater charge but still have the lesser charge as an option. If not, the charge of second degree murder was breathtakingly stupid by the prosecution.

  • conterbonter||

    phone records show zimmerman had at least 2 mins to get back to his truck after his non-emergency call ended.

    zimmerman didn't get back to his truck = he's lying about initial confrontation/getting "jumped".

    ..in addition to lying about non-emergency telling him to follow trayvon, and the reason he got out of his car in the first place.

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