Friday, March 30, 2012

The Trayvon Martin Case

As some of you may have seen on the news, there was a quite interesting case that happened in February in Florida. Trayvon Martin, a teenage African American was shot and killed by George Zimmerman, who is an older white man in a private community. This is Trayvon Martin:

The facts of the case are as follows. Trayvon Martin was walking home from a convenient store towards his father's girlfriends home. He was talking with his girlfriend while he was walking. Zimmerman, who is a community watch coordinator, began following him because of his "suspicious behavior." Zimmerman later told the police that he was walking very slowly and looking at the houses. He said that he thought Martin was up to no good and could possibly be on drugs. According to the investigation done by police, Martin had told his girlfriend that there was somebody following him and it made him very uneasy. His girlfriend advised him to run.

Zimmerman had called the police to report this suspicious activity and informed them that he was following him. The police dispatcher told him to not do that and that it was not needed. The dispatcher told him that police will be there shortly and they will handle it. From Martin's girlfriends testimony, she heard Martin yell at the man "why are you following me?" with a response from the man as "Why are you here?" It sounded like there was a scuffle and Martin's girlfriend lost contact with Martin, and there was no response when she tried to call him back. When police arrived on the scene, Zimmerman was standing over Martin who was heavily bleeding on the ground. Zimmerman informed police that he had shot Martin and Zimmerman was taken into custody. Zimmerman claimed that it had been for self defense and he has not been charged with a crime.

Eye witness testimony, which we all know to be very unreliable, had a very mixed account of what happened. Some witnesses claimed that Zimmerman was calling for help while others said the Martin was calling for help. One witness said she saw Martin on top of Zimmerman and punching him and then later saw Martin unconscious on the ground. Many witnesses claimed that the police seemed to be immediately siding with Zimmerman and believing his every word.

A very interesting part of this case is the use of the "stand your ground" law in Florida. This law states that a person may use deadly force in self defense and that they are not obligated to retreat or run away. This is a perfect example of the law. The law seems very open to me and up for interpretation. The law states that if you kill someone in self defense that you cannot be held accountable for it, even if it happened in a public place. Do you think that Zimmerman should be held accountable for his actions or that he was just acting in self defense? Do you believe there was any racial profiling done by Zimmerman and by the police? What do you think should happen in this case?

1 comment:

  1. I think that we should wait and see what the grand jury does. this case has gotten so much national attention from the media that it is impossible to make an educated decision. for example the media has stirred up controversy by using only photos of Martin from when he was a young kid and not the 6'3 man he was. They also showed only the compromising pictures of Zimmerman. I think the only thing we can do is follow the physical evidence.