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Zimmerman acquittal shifts race issue in U.S. back to the fore

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Let's see, Trayvon was only out shopping for candy late at night. Rather than walk directly home, he somehow got into a private gated coummunity where he did not live. Rather than walking in the sidewalk this community, he was walking between the homes. Added to this, there had been several previous thefts committed in the community at night. Was Trayvon really "profiled" in this situation?

Next, in America, all Americans have the right to detain or even arrest someone whom they suspect of committing a crime. In America regular citizens have just as much authority as police officers in such situations. The 911 operator told Zimmmerman that he "didn't have to follow Martin", but never told Zimmerman not to, the operator did not have that right.

No doubt the altercation could have been avoided had either party used more sense. Had Martin obeyed the orders of Zimmerman, which Zimmerman had the right to issue, nothing would have happened, had Zimmerman simply told Martin to leave, none of this would have happened. But neither one did, and someone died.

Lastly, there never was a case against Zimmerman until the press created one. The police investigating the case refused to file charges in the beginning because they knew there wasn't sufficient evidence of a crime. Yet, because of the press coverage of this case, including the airing of doctored 911 tapes which were edited to make Zimmerman sound like a racist (indeed, Zimmerman did not even know Martin was black until some time after he attempted to detain him), and showing photos of a small, young and smiling 12 year old Trayvon Martin, and not the 6 foot tall 17 year old football palyer with gold teeth and tattoos. Zimmerman was described by the press as being "white", then "hispanic", then CNN had went so far as to invent a new race; "white hispanic". This spreading of disinformation influenced the opinions of countless people who were never given an objective story about the case.

Racism was never an issue in the basic case. The FBI investigated quite carefully, and determined that race was not a factor, which is why the DOJ has not proceeded with a civil rights case against Zimmerman. The article above is another example of the cowardice and greed of the press as they try to fabricate yet another issue to incite and divide the public.

All the public disturbance which has resulted from the trying of this case lies at the feet of the press which fomented it. They created the public uproar and the ensuing demonstrations to attract viewers, and sell more papers and advertising. If anyone else is hurt or killed as the result of the verdict in this case, I hope the victims sue the press, who are responsible for inciting the violence.

We need another plane crash or celebrity scandal to draw the attention of these vultures away from things which they know nothing about, but by which they try to profit, to the suffering of us all.

3 ( +10 / -7 )

This black riot movement will only infuriate many non-black citizens and will result in increased racism. We are moving in reverse here.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Rather than walk directly home, he somehow got into a private gated coummunity where he did not live.

Actually he was staying at his father's home, which is in the gated community. He did not 'somehow get into a private gated community where he did not live', he was walking through the gated community to his father's home where he was staying.

Racism was never an issue in the basic case. The FBI investigated quite carefully, and determined that race was not a factor, which is why the DOJ has not proceeded with a civil rights case against Zimmerman.

Being a racist is a worse crime than killing an innocent person walking home from the shops? Whether Zimmerman profiled Martin on account of his race or not is, or should be, irrelevant. The point is that he got out of his car with his gun and went after a youth who had done nothing wrong. If Martin had been armed, felt 'threatened' by Zimmerman's approach and shot him 'in self-defence', then under Florida's insane laws he would presumably have been as justified as the court has decided Zimmerman to be. When a harmless situation like this can end up with someone shot dead and no one to blame, then the people of Florida need to take a a very careful look at their laws and to do some very deep soul-searching regarding the kind of social mentality that puts a 'shoot or be shot at' law on the books in the first place. The Wild West supposedly ended a long time ago.

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

Rather than walk directly home, he somehow got into a private gated community where he did not live. Rather than walking in the sidewalk this community, he was walking between the homes.

Treyvon's father lived in that gated community. He probably knew the area and it's shortcuts. He had a right to be there. In America, we have the right to not go directly home.

Next, in America, all Americans have the right to detain or even arrest someone whom they suspect of committing a crime.

I don't know if American's have the right to detain and arrest, but even if they do, they better have a good reason. What evidence did Zimmerman have that Martin committed a crime?

The 911 operator told Zimmmerman that he "didn't have to follow Martin", but never told Zimmerman not to, the operator did not have that right.

The operator told him "we don't need you to do that (follow him)" which any idiot should know means "don't do it."

Had Martin obeyed the orders of Zimmerman, which Zimmerman had the right to issue, nothing would have happened, had Zimmerman simply told Martin to leave, none of this would have happened.

No matter how much he thinks he is, Zimmerman is not a cop. Martin was minding his own business. He had no obligation to "obey" Zimmerman's "orders." That's just ridiculous.

Racism was never an issue in the basic case. The FBI investigated quite carefully, and determined that race was not a factor, which is why the DOJ has not proceeded with a civil rights case against Zimmerman.

I think race played apart with Zimmerman and Martin was profiled. But even without that, race definitely played a part with the initial police reaction. You can't honestly believe that Zimmerman would have been treated so well if he was black and Martin was white.

All the public disturbance which has resulted from the trying of this case lies at the feet of the press which fomented it. They created the public uproar and the ensuing demonstrations to attract viewers, and sell more papers and advertising.

The police had sufficient evidence for manslaughter, which this obviously was. An innocent 17 year old kid was shot dead, and his killer was going to get off without being charged. You don't think that's worth media attention? The public has a right to know about this and they should be outraged.

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@cleo and MrBum

Exactly. Shame the pair of you weren't part of the prosecution's legal team.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

It's not only African-Americans who are upset and protesting. This article seeks to cement the racial divide its reporting.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

The 911 operator told Zimmmerman that he "didn't have to follow Martin", but never told Zimmerman not to, the operator did not have that right.

The operator told him "we don't need you to do that (follow him)" which any idiot should know means "don't do it."

It was not the 911 line, but the non-emergency line.

http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/326700-full-transcript-zimmerman.html

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I haven't been following this all that much because let's be honest, we all knew it was going to be a racial thing in the end - even though the shooter himself is a minority but I have to ask about this.

Treyvon's father lived in that gated community. He probably knew the area and it's shortcuts. He had a right to be there.

So I go and visit my parent's back home, I can cut through people's private backyards because they live there? Sorry but that's just dumb.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

What no-one has mentioned here is that Zimmerman was assaulted by Martin.

Where Martin was traveling was irrelevant. That Zimmerman was following him is irrelevant. They both had the right to walk around. They both lived in the area, they both had a right to be there.

Likewise the call to the police is largely irrelevant.

What is relevant is that Martin threw the first punch at Zimmerman. Martin had no injuries. Martin didn't let up, he continued to beat Zimmerman on the ground. Zimmerman had a gun, he felt he was in fear of his life and he used it defend himself.

The cops didn't fail to charge Zimmerman because he was white, they didn't charge him because there was clear evidence Zimmerman had been assaulted by Martin, and that he had used his gun while taking a serious beating and in clear threat of his life.

This case wasn't about race and the Judge was right to rule it off limits as a topic. Remove race and it becomes a simple case of proving that Martin assaulted Zimmerman and Zimmerman acted in self-defense. The defense met that burden, the prosecution failed to prove otherwise. Case closed.

Anyone trying to rehash this case on any other grounds is a complete racist.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I thought this thing was about self-defence, nothing else.

Someone was screaming and then the gun went off. According to the defense, this was because Zimmerman was having his head slammed against the pavement. This argument makes sense both in terms of order of events and of bodily damage. Now, if Trayvon's body had shown he was the one taking a beating and then was shot, the verdict might have been something different.

Everybody, stop deviating from the facts. Yes, the whole thing would never have happened if Zimmerman hadn't gotten out of the car, but the fact that he did didn't make the conclusion inevitable. Something else happened before the shooting, obviously.

Maybe Zimmerman did profile the guy, maybe he hated black people, or maybe didn't and he hated hoodies, but that is not the point. The point is that the prosecution could not account, in the way that the defense did, for the screaming before the shooting.

Look at the facts. Look at the arguments.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Totally with Cleo, Bum-san and lucabrasi on this. An armed member of public pursues (stalks?) an unarmed member of public, which leads to a confrontation and the armed person shoots the unarmed person dead. Police question the armed person and based on his version of events and some bumps and cuts, let him go free. No trial or thorough investigation.

Nothing to do with race. Just crazy laws in gun-loving wlid-west USA.

Make sure you are armed and a person you want to hurt or kill is not. Start a fight based on some made-up story (hey! you! I saw you take that guys wallet!) and after they hit you, shoot them.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The writer of the article is, to put it kindly, wrong.

This case had nothing to do with the "stand your ground" law. It was simple self defense, a concept that is centuries old. The trial was about self defense, nothing more. Zimmerman's lawyers made no mention of the SYG law whatsoever.

Nothing Zimmerman did up to the confrontation with Trayvon was illegal. Following someone, talking to them, even confronting them aggressively, all are legal acts. Ill advised, but legal.

Why is race an issue when the parties involved are Hispanic and African American?

The jury believed Zimmerman's story that Travon attacked him. Backed up with his injuries, it was enough to produce reasonable doubt for a murder or manslaughter case.

Alternate theory to Zimmeran the "wannabe cop". Trayvon the "wannabe gangsta". A tall (6 foot plus), angry young man from the big city (Miami) who was suspended from school and sent to his father's place in the 'burbs to cool off. A kid with aggressive tendencies, tattoos, the gangsta rapper's expensive gold grille (gold teeth) and a drug habit. Officious little George gets in his face because he doesn't recognize Trayvon as someone from his neighborhood. Trayvon decides to teach the nosy little (5 foot 7) guy a lesson and starts pounding on him. The rest is tragedy.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Why is race an issue when the parties involved are Hispanic and African American?

Zimmerman is "black" -> Mother was "Afro-Peruvian"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k60_2njrT7E

http://www.scribd.com/doc/135286421/A-Letter-of-Gratitude-from-Gladys-Zimmerman

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

This case had nothing to do with the "stand your ground" law. It was simple self defense, a concept that is centuries old. The trial was about self defense, nothing more. Zimmerman's lawyers made no mention of the SYG law whatsoever.

The judge made explicit mention of SYG in her instructions to the jury. Juror B37 revealed that SYG played a significant part in their deliberation towards a verdict. Was the jury acting improperly when they made SYG a factor?

Nothing Zimmerman did up to the confrontation with Trayvon was illegal. Following someone, talking to them, even confronting them aggressively, all are legal acts. Ill advised, but legal.

You are seriously, seriously mistaken. There are laws against harassment and stalking. Section 784 of Florida's code clearly defines what the law regards as unlawful harassment.

A person, cannot, under Florida law, purposefully "follow" someone else to the point where the target becomes aware of your following them and starts to feel increased stress. That's all it takes. When those conditions are met, the very fact of your following them now becomes an unlawful act. By explicitly prohibiting the act of tailing a suspect, the rules for Watches were designed to insure Florida law in this regard was complied with.

The evidence brought out in the case affirms that Trayvon Martin became aware of Zimmerman's surveillance of him to the point he confided it to the person he was talking to on the phone that night. The stress levels of both were significantly increased when Martin reported that Zimmerman started to follow him. (Which Zimmerman himself admits to doing.)

When faced with the simple facts of Florida legal code regarding this, I think most would come to agree that Zimmerman's actions in pursuing Martin were clearly unlawful. I have a hard time understanding the motivations of people who appear to want to overlook Zimmerman's clear violation of Florida's laws against harassment and stalking.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Yabits, are you seriously arguing that Florida law allows you to lay a beat down on someone who you think is following you? Because if you are then you're the one who is "seriously, seriously mistaken".

That's the issue here. Martin assaulted Zimmerman, not just a single punch and then walking away, but he continued to assault the man once he was down with a skull injury. Zimmerman had every reason to believe that Martin was not going to stop, and that his life was in danger. Zimmerman drew his gun and fired.

Was Zimmerman completely innocent of all wrong doing? Not relevant to the murder charge. Did anything he do entitle Martin to beat him to death? No. Was Zimmerman justified in drawing his gun and firing? A court of your peers thinks so, and so do I. This was the key issue in the case.

I do, however, agree that SYG is relevant to this case since it governs when a firearm can be used. In some states the rule is "retreat to the wall", and under those circumstances Zimmerman might not have been justified in using his gun if there was any option of retreat (although with a head wound and some 6 foot tall guy pounding on you he probably would have met those criteria too).

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I read the statute and saw nothing like that. More to the point, the prosecutors in the case didn't bring it up either as a possible crime to charge Zimmerman with. That tells me what I need to know.

Following and stalking are, obviously, different. But even, let's assume, you are right. That still does not give Trayvon the legal right to assault Zimmerman, keep assaulting him, etc. The prosecution admitted as much in their case, demonstrating graphically a scene with Trayvon on top of Zimmerman, pounding away.

Keep grasping at straws. Most unbiased legal experts agree that the verdict was fair and the trial was proper. Only the race baiters and hustlers see it differently.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I read the statute and saw nothing like that.

The law contained in Section 784 is quite clear:

a) "Harass" means to engage in a course of conduct directed at a specific person which causes substantial emotional distress to that person and serves no legitimate purpose.

A course of conduct -- (conducting surveillance, following in his vehicle and then leaving his vehicle to pursue)

directed at a specific person -- (Trayvon Martin, who Zimmerman reacted to with undue suspicion)

which causes substantial emotional distress to that person -- (Martin's remarks to Ms. Jeantal about his being stalked by a creepy person, which caused substantial emotional distress in both of them, followed by his noting that Zimmerman was leaving his vehicle to follow him -- a fact confirmed by Zimmerman himself)

and serves no legitmate purpose -- ("We don't need you to do that." He knew as a Watch that tailing was forbidden Could anyone supply a legitimate reason for Zimmerman to harass Martin, in whom he already caused substantial stress?.)

"Course of conduct" means a pattern of conduct composed of a series of acts over a period of time, however short, which evidences a continuity of purpose.

Zimmerman's continuity of purpose was to not let a person he considered a suspect get away -- from the moment he spotted Martin -- to the time when he got out of his vehicle and engaged in pursuit. An act perceived by the innocent person he targeted as stress-inducing harassment. His series of acts included hostile words against the suspect he would later stalk. The amount of time involved certainly fits "however short."

More to the point, the prosecutors in the case didn't bring it up either as a possible crime to charge Zimmerman with. That tells me what I need to know

It is unfortunate you have duped yourself into that mistake. The charge of harassment is often considered as a misdemeanor. However, it is still an unlawful act. A person cannot be engaged in an unlawful act and, under Florida law, expect the protections of SYG to apply to them the way the jury applied them to Zimmerman.

The jury was split 50/50 initially, before they started to discuss SYG -- according to Juror B37. Would the knowledge of Zimmerman's unlawful harassment of Martin -- the first unlawful act between the two of them that evening, and which would have taken SYG off the table -- have swayed the scales differently?

Only the race baiters and hustlers see it differently.

Pardon me for not taking your bait.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

 A person cannot be engaged in an unlawful act and, under Florida law, expect the protections of SYG to apply to them the way the jury applied them to Zimmerman.

... I think you may need to rethink your position here.

Firstly, "We don't need you to do that" does not mean the purpose wasn't legitimate. It was the operator's opinion. It isn't legally binding. You trying to turn it into a legally binding position is reaching.

Secondly it is irrelevant. If someone is guilty of an illegal act is does NOT nullify their right to self-defense. By your logic if someone drives dangerously (a moving violation - a misdemeanor) then they lost their right to self-defense when another motorist gets out of the car with a crowbar and tries to beat them to death in a fit or road-rage.

And it just gets more ridiculous the more I consider the precedent you're trying to create. If you can show that anyone broke any sort of law near the time when they were attacked then you could remove their right to self-defense. It would be open season on jaywalkers and shoplifters!

... and this IS how law in the U.S. works. If you create a precedent where you say that Zimmerman couldn't defend himself because he (arguably - I think you're wrong) broke the law, then you're opening a huge can of worms.

And this is why you're not a judge.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Zimmerman waved the stand your ground law before trial, it was not an issue of this case. The case was tried as a traditional self defense case.

Interesting meme started going around: Only in the United States can a "brown" man shoot a "darker brown" man and the "white" man gets blamed.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There was an article on this on another web site yesterday and they had over 40 thousand responses since that morning. Response after response was not pleased that they wanted to try Zimmerman again merely because they did not get the verdict they wanted. A former employee of Florida State Attorney Angela Corey's office plans to file a whistleblower lawsuit against George Zimmerman's prosecutors, his attorney told Reuters on Tuesday. The action will put pressure on Corey, who already faces criticism from some legal experts for the unsuccessful prosecution of the case, which led to the acquittal of Zimmerman for shooting unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin. Ben Kruidbos, Corey's former director of information technology, was fired after testifying at a pre-trial hearing on June 6 that prosecutors failed to turn over potentially embarrassing evidence extracted from Martin's cell phone to the defense, as required by evidence-sharing laws.

Trial law requires prosecutors to share evidence with defense attorneys, especially if it helps exonerate defendants. The requirement is known as the Brady disclosure.

Kruidbos testified last month in a pre-trial hearing that he found photos on Martin's phone that included pictures of a pile of jewelry on a bed, underage nude females, marijuana plants and a hand holding a semi-automatic pistol.

The Martin family lawyer, Benjamin Crump, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Firstly, "We don't need you to do that" does not mean the purpose wasn't legitimate. It was the operator's opinion. It isn't legally binding. You trying to turn it into a legally binding position is reaching.

The operator did not know, and could not assume, the unlawful nature of Zimmerman's action. Examine the Florida law on what constitutes harassment and stalking. Zimmerman admitted to taking a course of action that targeted Trayvon Martin. What makes it unlawful harassment is the feeling of distress it induces in the target of the harassment. While we now know -- thanks to the testimony that described Zimmerman's "creepy"-ness and the fear it caused -- the operator did not know that at the time.

Unless Trayvon Martin could be claimed to be engaging in some stage of the commission of a crime, there is no legitimate purpose for an ordinary citizen to act unlawfully. The moment Zimmerman was observed by Martin to get out of his vehicle to pursue him, Zimmerman clearly was acting unlawfully. It was the first clearly unlawful act committed that night.

If someone is guilty of an illegal act is does NOT nullify their right to self-defense.

True. It nullifies their right to have stand-your-ground protections applied to considerations of his verdict. The directions for SYG clearly state that "If Zimmerman was not engaged in an unlawful activity." He clearly was acting unlawfully. He admits getting out of his vehicle to pursue Trayvon, and he told the police that Martin noted his pursuit.

Faced with Zimmerman acting unlawfully, in his harassment and stalking of a person who had not committed any unlawful act, it was Martin -- at that point -- who was more within his rights to defend himself. Nevertheless, it was Zimmerman's unlawful harassment and stalking that led to the confrontation with the unarmed Martin. The jury did not hear that, and still initially split 50/50 on the case. As soon as SYG was raised, the fact of Zimmerman's unlawful actions would have nullified it. You can't be acting unlawfully and expect protection under SYG.

A person who acts unlawfully still has a right to defend themselves. But if their unlawful action causes another to feel threatened and prompts their need to defend themselves, it would be difficult to expect the person who first acted unlawfully to escape legal responsibility for damages resulting from their unlawful behavior.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Kruidbos testified last month in a pre-trial hearing that he found photos on Martin's phone that included pictures of a pile of jewelry on a bed, underage nude females, marijuana plants and a hand holding a semi-automatic pistol.

This is all irrelevant since Zimmerman knew none of it when he began stalking Martin. A lot of it seems like a smear campaign too. Martin has never even been suspected of stealing jewelry and the "burglary tools" people mention was a screwdriver used to vandalize a door or something at school. He was only ever suspended for being late to school. Underage nude females? Not so bad when you keep in mind that Martin was underage too. The photo of him holding a gun? It could've been anyone's legally owned gun. Are you seriously using that against him when he was the one that was shot unarmed? Maybe if he actually had a gun that day, you'd all be defending his right to self defense.

Clearly Martin wasn't a model student and maybe he was trying hard to seem tough on Facebook, but that's a lot of teenagers. I'm not a violent person, but I can understand how being stalked and treated like a criminal in your dad's own neighborhood could make you want to knock the guy's lights out.

We don't know how the fight went down, because we only have Zimmerman's side of the story. Maybe he provoked the fight because he knew he had a gun. Maybe he had some opportunity to back off. We'll never know because he decided pull out his gun and kill the only other person that could've said otherwise. The fact that anyone could think that's fair or just baffles to the point where race is the only reason I can think of.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

yabitsJul. 18, 2013 - 09:43AM JST The operator did not know, and could not assume, the unlawful nature of Zimmerman's action. Examine the Florida law on what constitutes harassment and stalking. Zimmerman admitted to taking a course of action that targeted Trayvon Martin. What makes it unlawful harassment is the feeling of distress it induces in the target of the harassment.

You gave 3 requirements for it to be harassment/stalking. I only see two here. The third, which you're ignoring, is that the action should serve no legitimate purpose.

Zimmerman was keeping track of Martin's location in order until the police arrived. He was clear on his purpose in the phone call. There's a legitimate purpose. And with that legitimate purpose Zimmerman's action becomes legal and your case dissolves.

The law doesn't work on a "Meh, 2 out of 3 requirements is good enough!" approach. If there are 3 requirements for something to constitute harassment/stalking, and all must be met then 2 means it is legal.

If you see someone strange hanging around your house then it is perfectly legitimate to follow them and see if they live in the area or if they're an outsider casing the area for their next burglary.

And with that your argument that Zimmerman was acting illegally from the outset disappears, leaving us with just the facts, that Martin attacked Zimmerman and continued to attack Zimmerman. That Martin inflicted serious injuries on Zimmerman, and that Zimmerman inflicted none on Martin. Finally Zimmerman drew his gun and fired. Martin unfortunately died.

Those are the facts of the case. Zimmerman wasn't racially profiling Martin, he just saw someone he didn't know in his neighbourhood following a series of burglaries. Zimmerman wasn't stalking Martin, he called the cops and was just keeping tabs on Martin until they arrived so he didn't disappear before the cops could question him. We have no evidence that Zimmerman confronted or assaulted Martin, and plenty of evidence that Martin confronted and assaulted Zimmerman. All in all this case couldn't be more clear-cut. That it had to go to trial at all was a massive failure of the U.S. Justice system caving to political pressure from racists.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

A lot of it seems like a smear campaign too.

Yes. Because there is zero evidence that Trayvon Martin was engaged in any criminal act when Zimmerman targeted him for surveillance and pursuit, there are some who feel the need to concoct an image of Martin that might justify Zimmerman engaging in the unlawful acts of harassment and stalking.

Clearly Martin wasn't a model student and maybe he was trying hard to seem tough on Facebook, but that's a lot of teenagers.

One of the important questions about Martin's character that wasn't explored is any track record of fighting or acting violently towards others. It appeared that everyone who knew Martin well attested to his even-temper and general cheerfulness. There is nothing on the record of anyone who ever had a violent altercation with him before Zimmerman.

If Martin's reaction to Zimmerman's clearly unlawful stalking of Martin raised Martin's fears to the point where he felt the need to defend his turf (and his younger sibling) against a stranger who was following him to his home, Martin could be said to be acting out of a courageous and noble impulse.

On the other hand, Zimmerman seems to have had a long track record of calling 911 to report all manner of things that struck him as being not right. The night with Trayvon wasn't the first time he blew things totally out of proportion. Not only that, but there are several noteworthy incidents where Zimmerman acted out against other people with physical aggression.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

My oh my, to those who say race/profiling wasn't involved, I have a whole lotta swamp to sell you folks!

This jerk Zimmerman is the DIRECT cause of ALL that happened, plain as day to me..............nuts to think otherwise.

The actions of Zimmerman clearly stressed out this poor kid to such an extend he felt he had to DEFEND himself, now we have a bunch saying oh he pounded Zimmerman good, we gee this would have all been easier now if Martin just had a gun so he could STAND HIS GROUND & kill the SOB!

Then it all would be been right................yeah right, Martin would have been arrested on the spot & we all know how it would have likely played out in courts.

The sad sad fact in the USA is there is still WAY too much hate/prejudice. The US is slowly getting better but its progress is MUCH too slow. its all plain as day!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@InControl

Make sure you are armed and a person you want to hurt or kill is not. Start a fight based on some made-up story (hey! you! I saw you take that guys wallet!) and after they hit you, shoot them.

Following someone isn't a crime. Attacking someone for following you is, however. When someone is straddling you, and punching you, I'm pretty sure you could fear for your life.

You can't ignore a witness who says he saw that happening:

http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2013/jun/28/neighbor-testifies-about-martin-zimmerman-fight/#axzz2ZMpUvIJB

You need to read more facts about the case before forming an opinion based only on the lies the media throws out.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Hey Probie is the guy being pursued & followed NOT allowed to fear for their lives? Or only the guy with the gun?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

GW Jul. 18, 2013 - 01:37PM JST Hey Probie is the guy being pursued & followed NOT allowed to fear for their lives? Or only the guy with the gun?

Is he allowed to be nervous and stressed? Sure. You can also get nervous and stressed by someone's dog barking behind a fence. A reasonable man then calls the police or heads towards a lighted area where they can find help. As long as they're not offering any physical violence though that's all you're allowed to do. They MIGHT just be walking the same way as you, or you MIGHT have dropped your wallet.

Does it allow you to lay a beat down on the guy following you or the dog? Hell no. That's the line Martin crossed. He attacked Zimmerman physically, and continued to attack him once he had him on the ground.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@GW

Hey Probie is the guy being pursued & followed NOT allowed to fear for their lives? Or only the guy with the gun?

If he "feared for his life", then why did he double back and confront GZ??

http://www.wagist.com/2012/dan-linehan/evidence-that-trayvon-martin-doubled-back

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

frungy,

You certainly have lots of advice on tis incident, too bad Zimmerman didn't take any of it & back off then NONE of this would have happened.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

GWJul. 18, 2013 - 07:02PM JST frungy, You certainly have lots of advice on tis incident, too bad Zimmerman didn't take any of it & back off then NONE of this would have happened.

Yup, and too bad that Martin decided to try and beat Zimmerman to death. Zimmerman is just lucky he was packing or he'd be a dead man right now and Martin would be in prison doing 10 to 20 and afraid to reach for the soap.

Either way Martin was going to blow up at someone sooner or later, the kid had serious anger management issues. Maybe its better that he got shot in a clear self-defense case than waiting until he bought a gun and went nuts in some school.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I live in Nagoya and there are quite a few Americans over on business with some major companies.A few times I have ended up chatting in the pub.More than half the times what seems to be a normal person ends up being a manic racist going on about blacks and how they need to protect themselves from them.Sad to say but there must be some truth to it .It is still distasteful to hear but cant think of a ready solution to the problem.The divide is already there if not fixed in place...........as I said very sad to see and hear....

0 ( +1 / -1 )

You gave 3 requirements for it to be harassment/stalking. I only see two here. The third, which you're ignoring, is that the action should serve no legitimate purpose.

Oh, I have not ignored that at all. Since you are the first one to make mention of this, it appears that you may not understand what is meant by legitimate purpose. By adding the word "legitimate" to modify "purpose," it means that your purpose can not just be for yourself. You might think your purpose is legitimate, but is really up to others to ratify or legitimize it.

So who might be the others who would agree with Zimmerman that his purpose was legitimate? Other homeowners? Yes, I can agree that some individual homeowners might agree with him. But others would not, making the legitimacy questionable. The circle has to be expanded.

How about the organization that was specifically concerned with safety and security of the complex -- the Neighborhood Watch group. Would that group agree that George Zimmerman was acting with a legitimate purpose when he got out of his car with a loaded weapon to pursue someone he called a "suspect?" Did the group attach legitimacy to any action of that type?

And what of local law enforcement? What indication is there that they would endorse that an armed pursuit by an ordinary citizen of someone who had not committed any crime would have a legitimate purpose? Purpose enough to commit the unlawful acts of harassment and stalking. I argue that "We don't need you to do that" -- undermines any claim to legitimacy.

Now, flip the situation around: Who is supposed to be protected by Florida's laws against harassment and stalking? How about an ordinary citizen walking back to the place where he is living from the store? Should that person be protected from harassment? The true ugliness of the situation comes when we ask the question: Should the fact that George Zimmerman didn't know Trayvon Martin, while acceptably raising suspicions, justify taking actions towards Mr. Martin that caused him to feel afraid for his safety, and easily pass the standard for harassment in the eyes of Mr. Martin.

You can claim that Zimmerman had a legitimate purpose in committing an act that Mr. Martin would regard as stalking and harassment only if you can prove that local law enforcement or the Neighborhood Watch group would agree that it was legitimate. You appear to be willing to completely disregard Mr. Martin's rights in the process. Was he a sub-human to have his legitimate rights tossed away?

Why did Mr. Martin have to bear the sins of the people who had committed crimes in the community? Is it possible that, at the moment Zimmerman saw Mr. Martin, his mind reacted emotionally and irrationally, rather than maturely and rationally? The only question from this point is how far is society prepared to go to allow Zimmerman to act out his emotions while possibly denying Mr. Martin his basic rights. The whole thing would be so easy if Mr. Martin was actually involved at some stage of the actual commission of a crime. But there was not an active break-in taking place, just some that had been occurring recently. It was Zimmerman's imagination that was making the connection. How much can it be trusted?

Was it unlawful for Mr. Martin to be unknown by Zimmerman? Is that a crime that justifies stalking him? What if actually didn't live in the community and was cutting through it -- is that a crime?

If you see someone strange hanging around your house then it is perfectly legitimate to follow them and see if they live in the area or if they're an outsider casing the area for their next burglary.

I would strongly advise you not to take my word for it, but to take that exact statement, and call any law enforcement agency in Florida and put that to them. My work in cyber-security here in Georgia has me dealing with law enforcement quite often, and the laws here are not too different from Florida's. Here is what I have gleaned regarding this:

I assume you mean by "hanging around" that they are not actually on my property -- but on public property. If they are doing nothing but looking at my house, and they are doing it long enough to where I start to feel nervous, Florida law gives me the right to file a claim of harassment against them. I would not go out and confront them. I'd just call my local police and wait for them to arrive. If they are just a stranger walking down the street, any discomfort I may feel about that does not give a person the right, under Florida law, to follow them. If you can follow them without their noticing it, you can get away with it. If, however, they notice it and start to fear for their safety, they have every right to file a harassment and stalking charge against you. You might not like this, but the fact that they are strangers to you does not mean they have to give up their rights to be free from harassment, as the law defines it.

We once had a stranger who came and planted himself on our front porch. I went out and tried to ask the person if there was anything wrong. I assessed that the person was autistic or had some other mental disability and was completely lost and disoriented. As it was very hot day and the person was seeking shade, I went and got him a glass of cold water and called the police. (We knew someone had to be looking for him.) All it really takes is a coward to assume the worst about any situation. There are many other reasons for strangers to be on a street besides casing out houses. And they have rights that must be respected.

What a different world this would be if the pistol-packing Zimmerman rolled down his window that night and offered a ride to a kid trying to get home in the rain. Wouldn't the lives of both of them have been better off? But that was Zimmerman's call.

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Probie,

do you seriously think Martin just pounded Zimmerman for no reason????????

Clearly there is only one side of this story, the gun mans & there are MILLIONS of reasons why he will lie about what took place, I find it amazing so many believe him, Zimmerman caused the ENTIRE thing to happen, he should pay for what he set in motion but sadly the keystones totally blew it from the start & that's why Zimmerman got acquitted

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yabitsJul. 18, 2013 - 08:46PM JST Oh, I have not ignored that at all. Since you are the first one to make mention of this, it appears that you may not understand what is meant by legitimate purpose. By adding the word "legitimate" to modify "purpose," it means that your purpose can not just be for yourself. You might think your purpose is legitimate, but is really up to others to ratify or legitimize it.

Umm... No. The term "legitimate purpose" appears in a lot of U.S. laws, and the meaning is well established. For example in many U.S. knife laws you're allowed to carry longer blades with a "legitimate purpose", for example if you take a machete to cut down some brush at the bottom of your garden and are ambushed on the way by a mugger lurking in the bushes, and use the machete to kill him then you won't be arrested for using a blade longer than is allowed. Why? Because you had a legitimate purpose for carrying the machete.

They do NOT have to consult your neighbors, the neighborhood watch, the concerned mother's association or the local bible study group. Zimmerman's documented call to the hotline establishes his legitimate purpose, keeping Martin in sight until the police arrived.

All it really takes is a coward to assume the worst about any situation. There are many other reasons for strangers to be on a street besides casing out houses. And they have rights that must be respected.

Or someone who lives in a neighborhood where there have just been a series of break-ins and where residents have been asked to keep an eye out for strangers. Gee, it sounds a lot different when you actually add in real facts.

GWJul. 18, 2013 - 09:25PM JST do you seriously think Martin just pounded Zimmerman for no reason????????

Documented anger management issues on both sides (Martin and Zimmerman). Frankly I don't know who threw the first punch, but it isn't a question of what you or I believe, it is a question what can be proved in court, and they couldn't prove that Zimmerman threw the first punch, so he walks. That's how the U.S. justice system works.

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The term "legitimate purpose" appears in a lot of U.S. laws, and the meaning is well established.

You say that, but you don't give any evidence of understanding it yourself. Take your own example for example.

for example if you take a machete to cut down some brush at the bottom of your garden and are ambushed on the way by a mugger lurking in the bushes, and use the machete to kill him then you won't be arrested for using a blade longer than is allowed. Why? Because you had a legitimate purpose for carrying the machete.

What if you were planning to cut some brush on the weekend. Would that give you a legitimate purpose to carry the machete today? And here's what you fail to grasp: Whether your purpose is legitimate or not is not for you to ultimately determine. Not unless you think you can make up your own laws.

If you claim the machete at your side is to cut the brush, and law enforcement finds no brush at all to be cut, because it was all cut weeks ago, your claim dries up -- no matter what you think. If you call a person a "suspect" and treat him as a "suspect" and that person hasn't committed any crime whatsoever -- your claim to legitimately be following him also dries up. That other person has a legitimate right to be secure in his person from being stalked. You refuse to acknowledge that.

Zimmerman's documented call to the hotline establishes his legitimate purpose, keeping Martin in sight until the police arrived.

Oh, it establishes his purpose. Only law enforcement and the Watch group, and Florida Law, reject its legitimacy. Only if Mr. Martin was actively engaged in a crime could it be argued that stalking him was legitimate. You refuse to recognize that a person committing no crime has a right to be free from being harassed or stalked, under Florida law. Just because he might fit some description of someone who might have committed a crime is not sufficient to violate his rights.

Or someone who lives in a neighborhood where there have just been a series of break-ins and where residents have been asked to keep an eye out for strangers

Keeping an "eye out" for strangers does not permit tailing them with a weapon. Not unless they are actively engaged in a crime, and even then a person who is not law enforcement is on shaky legal ground.

Let's go back to your machete example and try answering this: You are getting ready to cut brush on your own property and you notice someone you think might be trespassing on your neighbor's property. Do you have a legitimate purpose in entering property that is not yours with your machete to follow the person? How will that person react to a stranger with a machete who seems to be following them? Are they to just assume that you have a legitimate purpose in frightening them? There is nothing marking you as law enforcement, and they are aware of the law that clearly says such pursuit is unlawful.

At the bottom line, admit it: You think your rights supersede everyone else's when you think they look like criminals. It doesn't matter if they actually committed any crime or not. They are to be treated as suspects until proven otherwise. And, if they legitimately feel a need to defend themselves, they have no right to do it.

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At the bottom line, admit it: You think your rights supersede everyone else's when you think they look like criminals. It doesn't matter if they actually committed any crime or not. They are to be treated as suspects until proven otherwise. And, if they legitimately feel a need to defend themselves, they have no right to do it.

You seem quite oblivious to the fact that your final sentence applies more to Martin's conduct than it does Zimmerman's. Zimmerman followed Martin. He had a legitimate purpose, keeping an eye on Martin.

Martin was the one who assaulted Zimmerman. Now let's look at your final sentence:

And, if they legitimately feel a need to defend themselves, they have no right to do it.

Your entire argument up until this point has been that Zimmerman provoked the attack by Martin, but right there in your final sentence you admit that there's absolutely no justification for Martin to attack Zimmerman. He felt threatened, okay, but that doesn't excuse him in any way attacking Zimmerman.

Zimmerman on the other hand was on the floor getting his head kicked in and in serious danger of death. Zimmerman had a clear right to defend himself. If you think Zimmerman should have just lain there and died then you clearly have no clue.

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You seem quite oblivious to the fact that your final sentence applies more to Martin's conduct than it does Zimmerman's.

You seem oblivious to the fact that Mr. Martin and Zimmerman both had rights. Under Florida law, a person coming at you with a gun or machete can be met with deadly force. And stand-your-ground does not require them to retreat.

He had a legitimate purpose, keeping an eye on Martin.

Even the jury said Zimmerman was wrong to leave his vehicle. Since Mr. Martin had not committed any crime at the moment Zimmerman left his vehicle to pursue him, please explain how Zimmerman's intent to pursue Mr. Martin outweighs Mr. Martin's right as a citizen to be free from harassment and stalking. If Zimmerman could have pursued Mr. Martin without being noticed -- causing no distress to Mr. Martin -- there could have been no harm claimed. But once Zimmerman noted that Mr. Martin had spotted him, any course of action by Zimmerman to follow -- UNLESS Mr. Martin was in the act of committing a crime -- would come into direct conflict with Mr. Martin's right to be free from harassment and stalking. You simply can't call an unlawful behavior legitimate -- unless there's a greater crime in progress.

Once again, Mr. Martin's right to be free from harassment and stalking outweighed any claim to legitimacy on Zimmerman's part to pursue him. You can't engage in clearly unlawful behavior -- by the effect it has on an innocent citizen -- and claim it to be legitimate.

Your entire argument up until this point has been that Zimmerman provoked the attack by Martin

Wrong. You can't even get what I have been trying to argue correctly. Most of my argument has been that Mr. Martin had the right to be free from stalking and harassment, not anything about provoking an attack. If it can be shown that Mr. Martin was in the process of committing a crime, then Zimmerman could be said to have a legitimate purpose in following him. But Mr. Martin was completely innocent.

Florida law defines unlawful harassment and stalking quite clearly. If a person is not committing any crime, there can be no legitimate purpose for harassing and stalking them. (Hopefully, this will finally start to sink in.)

Once he realized he was being stalked, Mr. Martin, under Florida law, had the right to defend himself. Zimmerman even described how Mr. Martin retreated when Zimmerman got out of his vehicle. For Zimmerman to pursue further represents a much greater threat to Mr. Martin. Mr. Martin was not engaged in any unlawful activity. Zimmerman was.

Under Florida law, a person not engaged in any unlawful activity has the right to stand-their-ground and even use deadly force.

Zimmerman on the other hand was on the floor getting his head kicked in and in serious danger of death

I have no reason to swallow Zimmerman's story hook, line and sinker, as you have. His injuries were superficial. Not the slightest trace of a concussion. From the moment he spotted Mr. Martin, he engaged in a series of exaggerations.

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@GW

Probie, do you seriously think Martin just pounded Zimmerman for no reason????????

No. I think he attacked him because he had been followed. Following someone isn't a crime though, confronting someone who is following you isn't a crime either. The moment you physically attack someone who was following you is a crime though. And all the evidence leads us to believe that is what happened.

Clearly there is only one side of this story, the gun mans & there are MILLIONS of reasons why he will lie about what took place, I find it amazing so many believe him, Zimmerman caused the ENTIRE thing to happen, he should pay for what he set in motion

You have GZ's side of the story; the witness who saw TM on top of him beating him; the medical examiner who said that the injuries to the back of GZ's head were consistent with it being hit onto concrete... He will have to pay for what he did, because he has to worry about some dumb animal trying to kill him for the rest of his life, despite being acquitted. I find it amazing so many people can't see the facts and instead just believe what they read online or heard on the news. Read the court documents, listen to the witnesses, think about being a juror and having to decide whether the prosecution proved beyond reasonable doubt that GZ is guilty, then see if your rage is still there. If you look at it without the emotion, and see it impartially, you'll see that he is innocent. It was a tragic thing that happened, and he did play a large part in it happening; but TM escalated it to the point where it bacame a crime, and gave GZ the reason and impulsion to do what he did.

but sadly the keystones totally blew it from the start & that's why Zimmerman got acquitted

No. The prosecution did the best they could with what they had. They lost because there wasn't enough to build a solid case.

The prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that GZ was guilty of what he was charged with; the defence only have to prove there was reasonable doubt. The defence showed that the prosecution's case was weak, and it WAS weak. Because GZ was arrested and charged 6 weeks after the incident because of public pressure and pressure from special interest groups, NOT because of any new evidence the police found.

You can't jail someone who didn't do anything illegal just because a bunch of people are angry.

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He felt threatened, okay, but that doesn't excuse him in any way attacking Zimmerman

Frungy Probie,

Thing is the defendant had 6WEEKS to get his story tweaked..............the keystones BLEW IT!

For all we know Zimmerman told Martin he was packing & maybe he even pulled the gun & THEN Martin attacked fearing for his life.

This whole case stinks, personally I don't blame the jury in any way for this, it was the police & prosecutors who botched it, the jury was stuck in a situation where the HAD to acquit because the job was botched LONG LONG before they were even selected!

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@cleo

Being a racist is a worse crime than killing an innocent person walking home from the shops? Whether Zimmerman profiled Martin on account of his race or not is, or should be, irrelevant. The point is that he got out of his car with his gun and went after a youth who had done nothing wrong. If Martin had been armed, felt 'threatened' by Zimmerman's approach and shot him 'in self-defence', then under Florida's insane laws he would presumably have been as justified as the court has decided Zimmerman to be. When a harmless situation like this can end up with someone shot dead and no one to blame, then the people of Florida need to take a a very careful look at their laws and to do some very deep soul-searching regarding the kind of social mentality that puts a 'shoot or be shot at' law on the books in the first place. The Wild West supposedly ended a long time ago.

There is NO crime for wearing a Hoodie. Zuckenberg wears a hoodie. There are plenty of whites that wear hoodies. Anyone that thinks that race did not play an issue in this trail is on serious drugs. The jurors couldn't relate to Martin. There was NOT ONE black juror on that trail. Most already had it in their minds to acquit Zimmerman just like in the OJ case, most Blacks on the trail acquitted him. It's about race and yes, Florida's "Stand your ground law is a joke" But if you accept that law, then that means Trayvon was also standing his ground. Again, Had Zimmerman stayed in his car, this tragic incident would have never have happened.

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@GW

Thing is the defendant had 6WEEKS to get his story tweaked..............the keystones BLEW IT!

They didn't. His story is supported by witnesses. The only thing that was "tweaked" in those 6 weeks was public opinion by a biased media, not helped by the President making a stupid comment on the case.

For all we know Zimmerman told Martin he was packing & maybe he even pulled the gun & THEN Martin attacked fearing for his life

Yeah, for all we know he could have done that. No one can prove that either way though.

This whole case stinks,

I agree, it should never have even gone to trial.

personally I don't blame the jury in any way for this,

Neither do I. They made the right decision.

it was the police & prosecutors who botched it, the jury was stuck in a situation where the HAD to acquit because the job was botched LONG LONG before they were even selected!

No. The police did their job correctly. The prosecutors were forced into attempting this because of public opinion, and race-baiters like Al Sharpton. They acquitted because the prosecution had no case.

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I find it amazing so many people can't see the facts

Following someone isn't a crime though...

Technically., following someone the way Zimmerman did Trayvon Martin that night is an unlawful act under Florida law. It's what is called "harassment and stalking." Zimmerman was engaged in behavior that was unlawful. (Only Mr. Martin could have filed the charge on him, and we all know why he couldn't.)

If Trayvon Martin had been observed to be engaged in a criminal act, there may have been a legitimate reason for Zimmerman to follow him. But as long as Mr. Martin was not committing any crime, tailing to the extent to where Mr. Martin became aware of it and concerned crosses the line and becomes unlawful. (Section 784, FL code.)

Whether this came out in the trial or not is irrelevant. It's the truth, established by Zimmerman's own recount to the dispatcher, his later interview with Sanford police, and the conversation between Mr. Martin and Ms. Jeantel. Stalking someone, under the circumstances described by Florida law, is an unlawful act.

the medical examiner who said that the injuries to the back of GZ's head were consistent with it being hit onto concrete...

No stitches and not the slightest trace of a concussion. A witness saw Mr. Martin on top beating Zimmerman, he did not see Mr. Martin pounding Zimmerman's head onto the concrete. The fact is this: Zimmerman's injuries were nowhere near life-threatening. Whether they were even be up to the severity of the average high school fist-fight is questionable.

He will have to pay for what he did, because he has to worry about some dumb animal trying to kill him for the rest of his life

George Zimmerman should not be flattered but pitied. Men understand that the blood of Zimmerman -- a pathetic coward -- could never atone for Trayvon Martin. Rather than lead the predatory stalker to his home (and his younger sibling) Mr. Martin returned to find Zimmerman still advancing on him, and, with no escape route, stood his ground with only his fists. A noble act that ended up costing him his life. White supremacists can not believe that such a scenario is possible. They can only ascribe the worst possible motives to Mr. Martin. Anything more would be admitting that he was a human being, worthy of respect.

Many white supremacists predicted that major riots would break out after the verdict. That simply did not happen and will not happen. The dignity of the parents of Trayvon Martin has engendered tremendous respect. When I see Mr. Tracy Martin, I witness a man of great grace throughout this horrible ordeal.

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Technically., following someone the way Zimmerman did Trayvon Martin that night is an unlawful act under Florida law. It's what is called "harassment and stalking." Zimmerman was engaged in behavior that was unlawful. (Only Mr. Martin could have filed the charge on him, and we all know why he couldn't.)

It's not illegal to follow someone.

If Trayvon Martin had been observed to be engaged in a criminal act, there may have been a legitimate reason for Zimmerman to follow him. But as long as Mr. Martin was not committing any crime, tailing to the extent to where Mr. Martin became aware of it and concerned crosses the line and becomes unlawful. (Section 784, FL code.)

It's not illegal to follow someone. Also, there is no way to prove that TM felt "substantial emotional distress", so that argument is pointless because it's all speculation. The only witness TM had, was Biz Markie, who was the worst witness I have ever seen, and if anything hurt the prosecutions case.

Whether this came out in the trial or not is irrelevant. It's the truth, established by Zimmerman's own recount to the dispatcher, his later interview with Sanford police, and the conversation between Mr. Martin and Ms. Jeantel. Stalking someone, under the circumstances described by Florida law, is an unlawful act.

The fact that you don't know whether that came out in the trial, shows you didn't pay attention to it and what was said in it.

the medical examiner who said that the injuries to the back of GZ's head were consistent with it being hit onto concrete...

No stitches and not the slightest trace of a concussion. A witness saw Mr. Martin on top beating Zimmerman, he did not see Mr. Martin pounding Zimmerman's head onto the concrete. The fact is this: Zimmerman's injuries were nowhere near life-threatening. Whether they were even be up to the severity of the average high school fist-fight is questionable.

Did you hear what the doctor said about the injuries during the trial? I doubt it, so I'll summarise: He basically said, that although they didn't look all that bad, they were consistent with being hit onto concrete; also, that GZ should have gone to hospital, because he could have had an injury to his brain (the police should have taken him, even if he didn't want to go, because if he had died of a brain hemorrhage while in their care, they could have been sued).

George Zimmerman should not be flattered but pitied. Men understand that the blood of Zimmerman -- a pathetic coward -- could never atone for Trayvon Martin. Rather than lead the predatory stalker to his home (and his younger sibling) Mr. Martin returned to find Zimmerman still advancing on him, and, with no escape route, stood his ground with only his fists. A noble act that ended up costing him his life. White supremacists can not believe that such a scenario is possible. They can only ascribe the worst possible motives to Mr. Martin. Anything more would be admitting that he was a human being, worthy of respect.

There you go bringing race into it. Stop it.

Many white supremacists predicted that major riots would break out after the verdict. That simply did not happen and will not happen.

Of course white supremacists would say stuff like that! They're dumb white supremacists who will take any chance to say things like that. Although, when Al Sharpton is on the other side, you can hardly blame them for using it as fodder for their stupid ideas. remember what Sharpton did in Crown Heights?

The dignity of the parents of Trayvon Martin has engendered tremendous respect. When I see Mr. Tracy Martin, I witness a man of great grace throughout this horrible ordeal.

I completely agree.

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It's not illegal to follow someone.

Stalking and harassment are unlawful under Florida law.

Also, there is no way to prove that TM felt "substantial emotional distress"

Only by behavior.Flight or fight. Mr. Martin first ran away. Then, Zimmerman said Martin was in an agitated state after being stalked.

I fully expect a review of this case -- in preparation for the civil trial that is certain to come -- will point out Zimmerman's unlawful stalking and harassment of Mr. Martin. With the victim of the harassment (conveniently) killed off by his stalker, it will be up to a panel of jurors in a civil trial to decide if a preponderance of the evidence indicates harassment and stalking -- unlawful actions which would make Mr. Martin's subsequent death wrongful.

The fact that you don't know whether that came out in the trial, shows you didn't pay attention to it and what was said in it.

The facts that prove harassment and stalking came out in the details of the trial. The jury was not properly instructed when they deliberated over stand-your-ground. Zimmerman could not be engaged in an unlawful activity and expect SYG to apply to him. He clearly was -- Juror B37 admitted he was wrong to leave his vehicle to pursue Mr. Martin. That "wrongness" is actually codifed as "Harassment and stalking" in Section 784 of Florida's legal code. Again, the jury never should have put SYG on the table in their deliberation towards a verdict.

He basically said, that although they didn't look all that bad, they were consistent with being hit onto concrete

That does not make them life-threatening. Nor does it indicate he was hit onto concrete more than once, and any harder than very lightly. It doesn't prove that Mr. Martin hit Zimmerman's head or whether Zimmerman sustained the injury from his own momentum falling down in the tussle. Zimmerman clearly exaggerated the extent of the impact that led to his superficial injury; I don't buy his story of how he got it, when he was interviewed by the police.

Although, when Al Sharpton is on the other side, you can hardly blame them for using it as fodder for their stupid ideas.

Sharpton hasn't commented on this board, nor have I seen any racist rhetoric from him or any other African-American leader in any articles here. That's not to say there might not be some. Among the comments on this board that impugn a person because of their race or culture, nearly all of it reeks of white supremacy. It seems to me extremely difficult for posters to ascribe any possible noble motive -- like basic self-defense of the pathway to his home, and his brother -- to Trayvon Martin's actions that night. At the other extreme, I have noted quite a few which call him a thug and assert that he got what was coming to him.

After being targeted, profiled, put under surveillance, unlawfully harassed and stalked, after he tries to retreat, and is ultimately shot and killed within a couple of minutes of a basic fist-fight in which, by rights, he was standing his ground and defending himself against a "creepy" stalker -- note that "creepy" also would convince most people of an elevated stress rate -- there are people who say that Trayvon Martin had all of that coming to him.

Since he was doing nothing at all criminal or illegal, there was no reason for Zimmerman to subject Mr. Martin to unlawful harassment and stalking. That's what was wrong from the start. The trial focused on what happened when the altercation started.

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GWJul. 19, 2013 - 10:05AM JST For all we know Zimmerman told Martin he was packing & maybe he even pulled the gun & THEN Martin attacked fearing for his life.

I'm open to the possibility that it might have gone down that way. The problem is that possibilities don't mean anything in a court of law, it is all about what can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Unless you can PROVE that it went down that way then your opinion is just that, an opinion without any basis in fact. All the FACTS and evidence point to Martin attacking Zimmerman though, and that's what counts in court. Don't likeit? Change the justice system so that opinion is more important than facts... but then hope that public opinion doesn't just decide to lynch you because they don't like your face.

yabitsJul. 19, 2013 - 11:11AM JST Technically., following someone the way Zimmerman did Trayvon Martin that night is an unlawful act under Florida law. It's what is called "harassment and stalking." Zimmerman was engaged in behavior that was unlawful. (Only Mr. Martin could have filed the charge on him, and we all know why he couldn't.)

You keep repeating this as if repeating it enough times will make it true. It doesn't. Following someone for "a legitimate purpose" like keeping an eye on someone until the police arrive, isn't illegal. I went and checked the Florida state laws you claim to be quoting, and the criteria are REPEATED instances to qualify for stalking/harassment. To me this makes sense. If I happen to follow someone once it could be concidence, but once you have repeated instances then you can start to build up a case.

"A person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows, harasses, or cyberstalks another person commits the offense of stalking, a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083." http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0700-0799/0784/Sections/0784.048.html

Willfully. Check. Maliciously. Maybe, but it would be tough to prove. Repeatedly. No way, this was definitely the first time.

And so yabits not only is your argument flawed in terms of "legitimate purpose", but also in terms of "repeatedly" (and arguably in terms of malice).

No stitches and not the slightest trace of a concussion. A witness saw Mr. Martin on top beating Zimmerman, he did not see Mr. Martin pounding Zimmerman's head onto the concrete. The fact is this: Zimmerman's injuries were nowhere near life-threatening. Whether they were even be up to the severity of the average high school fist-fight is questionable.

So now your argument is that Zimmerman should have waited a bit longer? Perhaps until he had lost consciousness, or developed a life-threatening injury? Wow. I had no idea that a requirement for self-defence was that you had to be incapacitated and incapable of exercising the right before you were allowed to defend yourself. That makes a lot of sense.... NOT.

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@frungy

Zimmerman followed Martin. He had a legitimate purpose, keeping an eye on Martin.

Trust me, had Martin been white and walked through the neighborhood in the same way, Zimmerman would never have followed him, sorry to say it, but it's true.

Martin was the one who assaulted Zimmerman.

Ahh, but what led up to that confrontation? How do we know that perhaps Zimmerman could not have bee the one to engage or antagonize Martin and then Martin struck him, we just don't know.

For all we know Zimmerman told Martin he was packing & maybe he even pulled the gun & THEN Martin attacked fearing for his life.

True, but the scenario could have also been that Zimmerman pulled out his gun and threatened Martin, put it up to his chest and Martin fearing for his life felt he had to fight his way out of this and it was now a matter of life or death and they engaged in a struggle for the gun.

Your entire argument up until this point has been that Zimmerman provoked the attack by Martin, but right there in your final sentence you admit that there's absolutely no justification for Martin to attack Zimmerman. He felt threatened, okay, but that doesn't excuse him in any way attacking Zimmerman.

Like I said, you and I were NOT there, WE don't know what transpired, but all I know is, Zimmerman profiled Martin and had he looked like Jim Carey, Zimmerman would have never got out of his car or even made the call.

Zimmerman on the other hand was on the floor getting his head kicked in and in serious danger of death.

If he felt that way and if that is indeed what happened, then he should not have tried to play the neighborhood cop wannabe. But again, Trayvon was big an athlete and in Shape, confident and Zimmerman, short, low self-esteem, he wanted to prove something or felt the urgent need to and when he got his butt kicked, that probably pissed him off, but again, that is another possible scenario.

Zimmerman had a clear right to defend himself.

So did Martin. So now you are saying that anyone that carries a gun that gets into a fight has the right to shoot someone?? I have been in many fights and some of them I lost and I was banged up pretty bad, but I NEVER wanted to get a gun and retaliate and kill someone. But there is a huge discrepancy and double-standard when it comes to people of color and justice. You can talk to ANY Black and Latino person in America and that is totally true. I can give you examples all day on this.

If you think Zimmerman should have just lain there and died then you clearly have no clue.

No, I don't think so, but if Zimmerman were a real man, knowing that he can't fight, he could have bought a Taser gun and a retractable club. He bit off more than he can chew and put him and Martin in that situation. I am a pretty good fighter and I always walk away unless, I am being physically attacked. I avoid fights and walk away from people that get in my face. In my mind, I want to stomp a mud hole in their face, but for what? People are crazy and as a man, let's face it, guys don't want to back down, but sometimes, you need to think ahead. I have kids, I can't go throwing punches all over the place. Zimmerman is the one that is responsible for the outcome of that night. Trayvon is dead because of Zimmerman. Zimmerman followed him and Zimmerman got into an altercation and shot Trayvon as to how it all unwound, we sadly have only Zimmerman's version of the story. Obviously, the jurors couldn't connect with Martin and felt more sympathy towards Zimmerman. but with the Jury make up, it figures and I wasn't surprised by the verdict. A real shame.

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It's not illegal to follow someone.

Stalking and harassment are unlawful under Florida law.

They don't apply in this case. If they had, I think the prosecutors would have used that angle. I'm surprised they didn't consult you before the trial so you could tell them how to do their job.

Also, there is no way to prove that TM felt "substantial emotional distress"

Only by behavior.Flight or fight. Mr. Martin first ran away. Then, Zimmerman said Martin was in an agitated state after being stalked.

No. There is evidence that TM doubled back towards GZ. That isn't someone being stalked, and if they were in "substantial emotional distress", they wouldn't move towards the thing responsible for their "substantial emotional distress".

I fully expect a review of this case -- in preparation for the civil trial that is certain to come -- will point out Zimmerman's unlawful stalking and harassment of Mr. Martin. With the victim of the harassment (conveniently) killed off by his stalker, it will be up to a panel of jurors in a civil trial to decide if a preponderance of the evidence indicates harassment and stalking -- unlawful actions which would make Mr. Martin's subsequent death wrongful.

The fact that you don't know whether that came out in the trial, shows you didn't pay attention to it and what was said in it.

The facts that prove harassment and stalking came out in the details of the trial. The jury was not properly instructed when they deliberated over stand-your-ground. Zimmerman could not be engaged in an unlawful activity and expect SYG to apply to him. He clearly was -- Juror B37 admitted he was wrong to leave his vehicle to pursue Mr. Martin. That "wrongness" is actually codifed as "Harassment and stalking" in Section 784 of Florida's legal code. Again, the jury never should have put SYG on the table in their deliberation towards a verdict.

He wasn't engaged in anything unlawful. If you think he was, then you obviously think you know better than the prosecution in this case. Which, with all due respect, I seriously doubt you do.

He basically said, that although they didn't look all that bad, they were consistent with being hit onto concrete

That does not make them life-threatening. Nor does it indicate he was hit onto concrete more than once, and any harder than very lightly. It doesn't prove that Mr. Martin hit Zimmerman's head or whether Zimmerman sustained the injury from his own momentum falling down in the tussle. Zimmerman clearly exaggerated the extent of the impact that led to his superficial injury; I don't buy his story of how he got it, when he was interviewed by the police.

Still doesn't change the fact that it fits with what he said to the police at the scene. Also, injuries to the head can look superficial, but kill people. It doesn't take much impact for your brian to start bleeding and kill you.

Although, when Al Sharpton is on the other side, you can hardly blame them for using it as fodder for their stupid ideas.

Sharpton hasn't commented on this board, nor have I seen any racist rhetoric from him or any other African-American leader in any articles here. That's not to say there might not be some. Among the comments on this board that impugn a person because of their race or culture, nearly all of it reeks of white supremacy. It seems to me extremely difficult for posters to ascribe any possible noble motive -- like basic self-defense of the pathway to his home, and his brother -- to Trayvon Martin's actions that night. At the other extreme, I have noted quite a few which call him a thug and assert that he got what was coming to him.

Al Sharpton is the biggest race-baiter in the United States. Any white person who says what he does, would be ostracised and called a monster by the media.

Race should have NOTHING to do with this case. The only people who started attaching it to it, were people like Sharpton, and the media wanting to make something out of nothing, and idiots eat it up.

After being targeted, profiled, put under surveillance, unlawfully harassed and stalked, after he tries to retreat,

...and then double back.

and is ultimately shot and killed within a couple of minutes of a basic fist-fight in which, by rights, he was standing his ground and defending himself against a "creepy" stalker -- note that "creepy" also would convince most people of an elevated stress rate -- there are people who say that Trayvon Martin had all of that coming to him.

TM escalated it into a physical confrontation. If he'd just kept on walking home, he would still be alive.

Since he was doing nothing at all criminal or illegal, there was no reason for Zimmerman to subject Mr. Martin to unlawful harassment and stalking.

For the dozenth time. Zimmerman wasn't stalking him; and wasn't doing anything illegal.

That's what was wrong from the start. The trial focused on what happened when the altercation started.

Do you know why? Because that is when TM escalated it into a physical confrontation! THAT is from when GZ was able to use SYG.

I'm certain now, that it's not that you don't know the facts of the case, OR understand the laws involved; but that you don't want to.

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bass4funkJul. 19, 2013 - 02:13PM JST Trust me, had Martin been white and walked through the neighborhood in the same way, Zimmerman would never have followed him, sorry to say it, but it's true.

Prove it. Zimmerman says he would have followed anyone. You say he followed because the kid was black. Who's the racist here?

Ahh, but what led up to that confrontation? How do we know that perhaps Zimmerman could not have bee the one to engage or antagonize Martin and then Martin struck him, we just don't know.

Witnesses didn't see everything, so there's a possibility, but again, PROVE IT.

Like I said, you and I were NOT there, WE don't know what transpired, but all I know is, Zimmerman profiled Martin and had he looked like Jim Carey, Zimmerman would have never got out of his car or even made the call.

That's your opinion, not a fact. Learn the difference. Courts operate on facts.

So did Martin. So now you are saying that anyone that carries a gun that gets into a fight has the right to shoot someone??

If you're attacked in Florida and you're legally carrying then you have a legal right to use that gun in your defence. That's the legal position. That's all that matters.

No, I don't think so, but if Zimmerman were a real man, knowing that he can't fight, he could have bought a Taser gun and a retractable club.

... but if he did you'd say he planned on assaulting Martin... but he didn't so now he's guilty of not planning the assualt properly.. Wow, Zimmerman really can't win in your world since you've decided he planned the assault from the outset and can't even contemplate that he was doing just what he said he was, and what witnesses support, i.e. he was just keeping an eye on a suspect until the police arrived and was attacked out of the blue.

You've made up your mind and there's no shifting you because you can't even see how biased you are. You know what another word for biased is? Bigoted.

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Zimmerman helped black kids in his neighborhood. Also, when a bunch of white kids (and I think one of the kids was the son of a cop) beat of a homeless black guy, Zimmerman protested about it and even tried to raise money to help the guy.

Zimmerman was NOT a racist.

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What irritates me about the Martin vs Zimmerman thing in the U.S. is that there is an issue here, but the public have got so obsessed with the personalities involved that they're missing the big issue.

The REAL issue here is that if Martin had killed Zimmerman under exactly the same circumstances then Martin would be in prison. Why? Because black people in the U.S. get the short end of the stick when it comes to the legal system. If Martin had killed Zimmerman then his "grille" (gold teeth), cellphone pictures of a gun, and naked pictures of underage girls would have swayed the jury into stereotyping him as a gang banging gangster, and racist stereotypes of black people would have seen him in prison for murder. Zimmerman DID benefit from his skin color in this trial. The statistics on black vs white conviction rates and relative prison sentences for black vs white people in the U.S. make this undeniable.

However, that isn't Zimmerman's fault. That's the fact that most people seem to be missing here. Zimmerman benefited no more than countless other white defendants. It doesn't make Zimmerman guilty.

Who SHOULD you be angry with? Well, try the Judges (predominantly white) who have the power to overrule a jury if they think the decision isn't legally sound? Or how about the police force? Or how about racist jury members, members of the public just like most of the people complaining about the injustice of the system? Or what about public prosecutors who pursue more aggressive sentences against black defendants.

The problem here is systematic. It doesn't make Zimmerman guilty or a racist. Even if Zimmerman went to prison for a hundred years for Martin's death is wouldn't help fix the system if the standards of proof were lowered so that everyone was treated like a black person.

The answer here isn't to persecute ONE GUY and LOWER the standards for everyone. The answer here is to work towards FAIR treatment for everyone.

Of course that's a lot more difficult than just ranting about one guy. Its a lot more of a challenge, and for most people the idea of reforming an entire system is just more than their little brains can handle. They can easily fixate on the idea that Zimmerman benefited from a racist system, because he has a name and a face, and one person is a manageable idea for them. However Zimmerman isn't guilty, he just received the treatment that everyone SHOULD receive.

So stop hating on Zimmerman, and get off your lazy asses and start addressing the real problem of racism in the U.S., because that's the real problem here, an unjust system that requires a lower burden of proof for black defendants because of pre-existing racist stereotypes. Write to your congressman. Don't duck out of jury duty. When you see cops doing something unjust REPORT THEM. Start a petition for fair treatment for all.

Stop focusing all that outrage on the wrong person and start focusing it on the right people. I know its more difficult to fight a faceless, nameless system, and for many people it will prove too great a challenge, but it is the only way you'll see progress.

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@frungy

Prove it. Zimmerman says he would have followed anyone. You say he followed because the kid was black. Who's the racist here?

Prove it that Zimmerman wasn't racially profiling him because he was Black. Just because he told the police that? Who is showing racial bias now?

Witnesses didn't see everything, so there's a possibility, but again, PROVE IT.

I have been saying that the whole time, yet, it seems everyone wants to look at Zimmerman as the total innocent victim in all of this. There are many scenarios and the way it could have played out.

That's your opinion, not a fact. Learn the difference. Courts operate on facts.

Don't give me that just becuase te facts are presented to the courts doesn't mean that they are factual.

If you're attacked in Florida and you're legally carrying then you have a legal right to use that gun in your defence. That's the legal position. That's all that matters.

True, but you don't have the right to threaten or bully someone with that firearm. I'm not saying that is what happened, but we don't know how all this played out. Martin is dead. Also, if you are a trained individual, reaching for your gun is the absolute last resort. In other words, you should use other ways to hold off and restrain an unruly person. If every law enforcement officer would use the gun as a first choice, the death rate would jump up quite significantly. This is another reason why more and more police agencies are using tazer guns which is a better alternative to shooting someone.

... but if he did you'd say he planned on assaulting Martin... but he didn't so now he's guilty of not planning the assualt properly..

That is how YOU see it. You are looking at this from a myoptic viewpoint.

Wow, Zimmerman really can't win in your world since you've decided he planned the assault from the outset and can't even contemplate that he was doing just what he said he was, and what witnesses support, i.e. he was just keeping an eye on a suspect until the police arrived and was attacked out of the blue.

I never said such a thing. I said, Zimmerman should have stayed in the car as instructed. Zimmerman changed the whole outcome when he disobeyed an order from the dispatch and wanted to play good cop wannabe. He's thinking, I'm going to show this punk or coon as he said on the tape. What happened after that, what was said, we all don't know. But one fact we do know is, a 17 year old boy is dead.

You've made up your mind and there's no shifting you because you can't even see how biased you are.

Yes, I made up my mind as that Zimmerman was the cause for this tragedy, once he defied the dispatchers orders. Bottom line. Not biased, just looking at the facts as you say I should and I did just that.

You know what another word for biased is? Bigoted.

So then most people that think Zimmerman is innocent of doing nothing and was the innocent victim in this are Bigoted. That's what you are essentially saying.

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Prove it. Zimmerman says he would have followed anyone. You say he followed because the kid was black. Who's the racist here?

I can't "prove" it. But something is amiss. Let's say you're in your car and you see a teenager you don't know in your neighborhood. (Zimmerman identified Mr. Martin as a teenager -- correctly.) Let's say you don't feel at all threatened by them but want to know why they are there.

I have to stop right there and say that, to me, it's really none of my business why they are there. But if I feel at strange about the situation, I'll roll down my window, greet them with a nod and smile, tell them that I live in the neighborhood, and ask them if they are OK. If I was a Neighborhood Watch, I might stop my car, window down, wave at them to get their attention and ask (yell out) if everything's OK. If they walked toward me, I'd get out of my car and stand by the open door, and, when they got the right distance away, introduce myself as a Watch, and ask if there's anything I can do to be of service to them. After showing respect and courtesy, I would tell them about some of the break-ins that have been occurring and ask them if they live in the neighborhood. Afterwards, I would thank them, hand them a business card and ask them to call 911 if they see anything that looks like a crime in progress.

Back to Zimmerman, there are a few questions: Taking a sample of all of his calls, what percentage were to report whites he thought were up to no good? How many (black and white) did he leave his car to follow to report on their position? How many of those were white? Had Zimmerman ever rolled down his window to talk with people rather than just reporting them? If he did, would he be more likely to take that approach with a white teenager than a black one?

Where it gets a bit more sticky comes if, we take Zimmerman at his word, he gets out of his car and pursues a white high-schooler -- someone unarmed who Zimmerman does not recognize, but who recently moved in to the community. Suppose this white high-school kid is just walking home, dancing or moving to some music on their smart phone. The kid spots Zimmerman and decides to lose him. Does Zimmerman refer to this white kid as an f-ing punk? (Maybe, but I wonder how this kid's parents are going to take that.)

Lastly, let's say Zimmerman gets into a fist-fight with the kid and shoots him dead. Will the white community take it and say the kid had it coming? Let's say the kid was talking to his girlfriend when the altercation started -- a very attractive and articulate girl. Is it likely that a jury largely composed of white females regard her words with greater attention and respect than they did with Rachel Jeantel?

Not saying Zimmerman was racist, but there were racial issues all over this case.

And who can say what the real sin of Rachel Jeantel was? The thing that made her so worthy of the disrespect and condescension shown to her. C'mon...you know what it is.

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bass4funkJul. 20, 2013 - 09:54AM JST Prove it that Zimmerman wasn't racially profiling him because he was Black. Just because he told the police that? Who is showing racial bias now?

Not me. You, quite probably. The U.S. justice system give the accused the benefit of the doubt, i.e. if there's doubt then the accused is innocent. You're not giving Zimmerman any benefit of the doubt. In fact in this case even if the "balance of probabilities" standard was used there would be no clear outcome, there are simply too many unknowns. As a result he's been acquitted, quite reasonably and justly. But you're convinced he did it... and your reason is...

Yes, I made up my mind as that Zimmerman was the cause for this tragedy, once he defied the dispatchers orders. Bottom line. Not biased, just looking at the facts as you say I should and I did just that.

You're wrong. The dispatcher didn't give an order. Check the transcript again. The dispatcher said it wasn't necessary, but didn't IN ANY WAY order/forbid or otherwise direct Zimmerman to act in any way. In fact the dispatcher kept talking to Zimmerman after he decided to follow, and never said another word about it.

So your entire stated reason for believing Zimmerman is guilty is based on a mistake you've made. Perhaps you read the wrong report, one where a reporter paraphrased things in a way that implied it was an order. I'm prepared to give you the benefit of the doubt here given the enormous amount of bad reporting around this case. What I'm not prepared to do is let you continue in ignorance.

yabitsJul. 20, 2013 - 11:12AM JST I can't "prove" it. But something is amiss.

Well at least you're honest. And proof is all that matters in court. I agree that this case stinks to high heaven. I agree that there's a possibility that Zimmerman murdered Martin. However I can't prove it, and so he walks. He's as free as the next man.. and there's a good reason for the U.S. system that gives the defendant "benefit of the doubt" where facts can't be proven, its to prevent malicious prosecution. Its for everyone's protection and you benefit from it as much as Zimmerman does. So don't hate Zimmerman while hiding behind that same laws yourself, that's just hypocritical.

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