Rod Liddle

The Zimmerman jury should have done its duty and ignored the evidence

20 July 2013

9:00 AM

20 July 2013

9:00 AM

I wonder what possessed the jury in the Trayvon Martin case to return two not guilty verdicts when they knew the trouble it would cause. One never ceases to wonder at the self-importance, the narcissism, of those people who always believe they know better than the rest. An important section of the American population — perpetually outraged black civil rights leaders and their faux-left-wing whitey hangers-on — had been absolutely clear about the case: George Zimmerman, the ghastly white neighbourhood watch person, was guilty of the murder of Trayvon Martin — and not just murder, but racially aggravated murder at that. The jury knew this and yet knowingly and wilfully acquitted Zimmerman.

Since the verdict, all hell has broken loose, and at least one jury member has mumbled something a little shamefacedly that rather than doing as she had been instructed by the civil rights lobby, she had instead paid a lot of attention to something she referred to as ‘the evidence’ of the case — hence the acquittal. Some excuse. She had listened, for example, to the various witnesses — witnesses for the defence, of course, because the prosecution was unable to provide a single witness. Lots of people claimed to have seen the young black kid attack Zimmerman, smashing his head against a paving stone and breaking his nose. But they were all probably racist too.

The juror quoted in the American press nonetheless stated that all of her fellow panellists believed Zimmerman felt himself to be in danger of losing his life, including the black lady jurist. But that’s the way whitey works these things, co-opting some Uncle Tom to give the verdict the thinnest sheen of respectability. The civil rights lobby and their fellow travellers knew two things: Trayvon Martin was black and unarmed, aside from a packet of the sweets known as Skittles, and George Zimmerman was white (as near as makes no odds) — so murder it must be, no argument. Who needs the facts?

And so, whipped up by the likes of the Reverend Al Sharpton, the veteran semi-literate black demagogue, various inner cities have seen peaceful, and often not very peaceful at all, protests. In Los Angeles a Walmart was trashed, and rather than offer a mild rebuke to the rioters, the city mayor said that the Trayvon Martin case ‘has ignited passions’. So that’s all right then.

Cops were attacked in that other old civil rights redoubt of Oakland, former home of the exciting Black Panther movement, and there’s a been a little bit of bother in San Diego. The US government now seems determined to bring civil rights charges against Zimmerman, and his family have been subjected to hate mail and death threats: ‘Everyone with (his) DNA should be killed’ was one salient observation.

Was there a racist element to the killing? The jury did not think so. Zimmerman said he thought Martin looked a bit suspicious, hanging around his gated community, so it would not surprise me if his colour was one of the things which registered a chord of disquiet within Zimmerman’s mind, along with Martin’s age and apparent unfamiliarity with where he was.

This would be a form of scarcely conscious supposedly racist ‘profiling’, which the prosecutors may now attempt to get to grips with for a follow-up case against Zimmerman, seeing as how the jury this time around got it so badly wrong. Of course Zimmerman wouldn’t be alone in feeling that pang of suspicion and worry when, late at night, he saw an unfamiliar black face in close proximity. One senior US politician has confessed precisely the same feelings: ‘I hate to admit it, but I have reached a stage in my life that if I am walking down a dark street late at night and I see that the person behind me is white, I subconsciously feel relieved.’ That was the patently racist scumbag the Reverend Jesse Jackson speaking, incidentally. But even this much was disputed by the jury; Trayvon’s race did not come into it at all, they seemed to believe. The thing which seemed to clinch it for them was the repeated beating of Mr Zimmerman’s head against a paving stone, and the lacerations and bruises which were a consequence.

The horrible thing, I think, is that the civil rights lobby seems intent upon pursuing a sort of lynch law — the irony of which does not seem to have struck them. In traditional left-wing absolutist fashion, the actual facts of the whole matter — what went on — are of no concern and of no import whatsoever. The only thing to consider is: black and unarmed, white and armed. There is no room for all that extraneous detail the jury had to listen to — you know, the evidence.

And the hypocrisy is horrible too. Trayvon Martin’s death was indeed tragic — and avoidable had America been a little more sensible about who they allow to have guns. But each year from 1980 to 2008, there were 9,000 African-Americans murdered — and, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 93 per cent of them were black-on-black killings. Where were the riots and the fury after these killings occurred? Meanwhile, black-on-white killings now comprise more than 8 per cent of the total number of homicides in the US each year — the figure, and proportion, has been rising. No protests, no fury. Just silence.

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  • Marcus

    Would Trayvon have been under suspicion if he was over 65? No
    Would Trayvon have been under suspicion if he was wearing a suit with a neat side parting? No
    Would Trayvon have been under suspicion if he was a black female? No
    Would Trayvon have been under suspicion if he was black and in a wheelchair? No
    Would Trayvon have been under suspicion if he was white with swept to the
    side hair and a blazer on? No
    Would Trayvon have been under suspicion if he was white, male & under 50 with a hoodie on? Yes

    The common denominators are that he was negatively profiled by Zimmerman for:
    a) His age.
    b) His gender.
    c) His socioeconomic dress code.
    d) Athletic build.
    To eek out race on top of all of the above factors is impossible to start with.
    I know you bascially make this point Rod, but I’m just making it again.

    • Davis

      I know this takes reading the case, but Trayvon was identified because he was looking the through the windows of people’s houses (something burglars do), he took a known cut through burglars use, he was acting like he was on drugs (he was found to have MJ in his system), he was doing all of this during the dark and in the rain. It had nothing to do with a hoodie or his skin color. In the unedited 911 tape, the descriptions of “he looks black” and “he’s wearing a hoodie” were given to the dispatcher AFTER he asked for a description. Even if it was Mark Zuckerberg, if he was doing all of that, he would have been a suspect. Trayvon Martin had 4 minutes to get home from the time they lost contact with each other to the time Trayvon ASSAULTED Zimmerman. It takes no longer that 15 seconds to jog from that first point of contact to get to his home.

      • mysteryquest

        So Zimmerman did his duty when he called the police, he is not the police! The actual police would have investigated and found there was nothing a foot. Apparently, George didn’t know he wasn’t the police and apparently it was all God’s plan! God told him he was the police, prosecutor, judge and executor. Hey, how do u argue with God after all?

    • mysteryquest

      So, who appointed George Zimmerman to the police force? Do you think a real police officer would have shot an unarmed teen? No he would have pulled up to him, asked who he was, gotten a explanation and maybe even given him a ride home since it was raining and there was a vigilante calling the police every time he saw a black man. Police are trained and they not only protect, they serve. That is why we have police in lieu of lynch mobs.

  • john jackson

    Spot on mr liddle. For liberals racism is a one way street. I recall one time when I was at uni having a terrific row with a marxist student. Essentially I agreed with him. Yes there is institutionalised racism in this country against blacks. So I then put it to him…but of course you do understand that a black person can harbour prejudices against a white person and the white majority per se. No , he replied. Blacks are not racist.
    Where do you start?

  • StephanieJCW

    Why do moronic imbeciles such a Rod Liddle engage in such ridiculous whataboutery?

    So if you have an issue with the circumstances in which Martin was killed you must necessarily have an issue with circumstances in which any and every black person is killed? If you wish to consider what you think is a bad law in Florida you must also protest gang violence?
    If you wish to protest that an evidently paranoid man with a past is allowed to have a gun, you must also protest the fact that criminals illegally have guns? The outrage was aimed at was felt to be a police force failing to do more than a token investigation when faced with a dead body. Not merely the instance of a neighbourhood watch man shooting someone dead after profiling them. So what are those who protest obliged to protest any other murder that occurs?

    Why? If I wish to show outrage at the OJ Simpson verdict then I must protest all instances of women killed by their partners.

    The worse thing, using your spectacular logic fail you are guilty of the same kind of hypocrisy. For I recall your racist blog piece you write after Rigby was murdered Rod but there was nothing but silence from you on a similar death in Birmingham when an elderly Asian man was hacked to death by white men.
    Guilty of your own hypocrisy.

    • OldSlaughter

      “Not merely the instance of a neighborhood watch man shooting someone dead after profiling them.”

      You, and others seem intent on ignoring the bit in the middle. Between the alleged profile and the following is an attack that was wounding another. Without that this is meaningless.

      The beating is the key. Not the age and the profiling. If Trayvon and he had not had a conversation, if after stopping like the police advised GZ was attacked… Whose fault was it?

      • NiggleFarridge

        Call me old fashioned, but it was the person who initiated violence. That would be Martin, who punched Zimmerman. This might seem entirely normal to you, but in an area like that, where crime isn’t unusual and a shooting occurred before, it’s the kind of thing that might cause one to unload a gun on an assailant.

        • OldSlaughter

          Have you replied to the correct person? If so, where have I indicated otherwise?

    • OldSlaughter

      And if Rod called those perpetrators ‘white savages’, it would e racist right?

    • Drakken

      Your race card has been overplayed to the point it has no meaning. Profiling does work and yes it upsets your precious lefty sensibilities, but reality doesn’t seem to be your strong point.

  • Scradge1

    Regardless of what happens prior to the attack, can you imagine the terror a person might feel if he has been sucker-punched, quickly overpowered and is on the receiving end of a martial arts type “pounding?” A gun is a life saver in these circumstances.

    • Rach

      According to the police booking at the time, Trayvon was 158lbs, Zimmerman nigh on 200lbs. Trayvon was 5’11, Zimmerman 5’7… so a 40lbs weight advantage and near-as-makes-no-difference height disadvantage. Even an athletic opponent would have a hard time subduing a person 40lbs heavier than they are.

      Not to mention we’re talking about a boy vs. a grown man, and Zimmerman’s wounds are consistent only with a single punch to the beak. The only other evidence of a “beating” are two lacerations to the back of his head, which – with no eye-witness testimony to how they got there (by all accounts from eye-witnesses, Trayvon had only punched Zimmerman) – it’s plausible that Zimmerman, with his knowledge of criminal law had caused to himself.

      Note “plausible” not “fact.”

      It’s entirely plausible that Zimmerman followed a young man, cocksure with a gun on his hip, and then placed himself in a confrontation that he couldn’t handle. A gun, here, is not a life-saver nor an equaliser, it’s a death sentence for a boy who did no wrong but reacted when fearing for his safety.

      • NiggleFarridge

        Yes, a 158lb teenager can subdue a 200lb grown man. I know because I’ve done it in the past. He can subdue him with a single punch.

        If you’re making the assumption that the injuries on Zimmerman were self-inflicted, well, why not go the whole hog and just make stuff up to suit your case by using the “if” clause in-between sentences.

        “only punched Zimmerman” is also somewhat worrying. If someone “only punched me”, yes, I would be in fear of my life, especially as I don’t know if he’s also packing a gun or a knife.

        And if I lived in a closed community that had also had 8 burglaries 1 shooting and some other assorted assaults, I would probably be a little paranoid about a random person I don’t know trolling my area too.

        I call BS on this whole things, just as Mr Liddle has.

        • mysteryquest

          Go the whole hog and make things up, yeah, just like Zimmerman did. So his head was pounded on the concrete 12+ times and he only he had 2 scrapes? Well it being part of God’s plan and all, I guess there was some kind of divine intervention. God works in mysterious ways!

      • darwins beard

        You dont watch UFC do you

      • Thor fenris

        4 inches is a makes no difference height advantage?
        I guess you have never watched boxing.

    • Studley

      The great equalizer, bar none.

    • mysteryquest

      There was no evidence besides Zimmerman’s cock and bull story that Trayvon Martin attacked him, yet you completely embrace it despite the fact that it defies the forensic evidence and common sense.

  • Rach

    This case makes me think of the Tony Martin case, where Martin was convicted of murder for shooting a fleeing burglar. The jurors had the option to convict him of manslaughter, but opted for murder instead.

    In this Zimmerman case, the jurors had the option to convict him of manslaughter and chose not to. I don’t understand, in any interpretation of the law or the events of that night, how they arrived to that conclusion. In any interpretation of events there are several instances where Zimmerman could have prevented Trayvon Martin’s death by using good sense.

    From reading the transcript and listening to the police recording, I always had a sense that – in the part where Martin was “coming towards” Zimmerman, and then suddenly decides to run – Zimmerman had flashed his gun at Trayvon.

    I see no other reason why he would decide to run away at that precise moment.

    • John Standley

      Martin’s victim was not “fleeing” – he was crouched at the feet of his accomplice with his back toward Martin, at bottom of the stairs.

  • David

    I don’t get the whole ‘profiling’ thing. Regardless of whether its right or wrong who’s to say that profiling is a crime, if anything it’s a thought crime as who could ever no who has profiled someone. All humans can do is judge what we do, not what someone thinks. You would have to be god to do otherwise

  • Aerin_S

    The only “evidence” for Zimmerman’s version of events is Zimmerman’s own story (which is undermined by the fact that he was proven to have lied about some things, such as his knowledge of the “stand your ground” law). Medical testimony indicated that his injuries were “very minor” and were not consistent with having had his head banged on the sidewalk. Testimony of the most important witness indicated that Zimmerman initiated the confrontation two minutes after his 911 call ended and while Martin was walking towards his father’s fiancee’s house while talking to Rachel Jeantel on his cell phone. It also indicates that Zimmerman initiated physical contact (why else would Martin have said “Get off! Get off!?). To believe Zimmerman’s story, it is necessary to disbelieve these lines of testimony. The jury chose not to believe Jeantel because they didn’t like her diction or demeanor (the “white lies” she told Martin’s mother to spare her feelings should in no way have undermined her credibility as a witness). The jury also was improperly swayed by Chris Serino’s expressed opinion that Zimmerman was telling the truth (which also contradicts Serino’s own recommendation at the time that Zimmerman be charged with manslaughter), which they were instructed to ignore, but which one juror said she considered very important. Serino, in turn, based this comment on the fact that Zimmerman expressed relief when told the entire incident had been caught on videotape. However, Zimmerman had to know that this was a bluff, because, through his involvement with the Neighborhood Watch, he certainly knew that there were no surveillance cameras, and also that it had been too dark for photography, anyway. Based on the evidence presented, Zimmerman’s story should have been recognized as a lie, and he should have been convicted of manslaughter. (Second-degree murder was overreach.)

    • JabbaTheCat

      Shilling for Al Sharpton are we?

    • Voltara Smith

      Unfortunately your version of events was comprehensively rejected by the jury. I’m unsure whether you are seriously misinformed or deliberately ignoring the evidence which was presented. Either way, your response is proof of the mind-set the author of this article criticises.

  • Arnold Swift

    We cannot allow the truth to get in the way of a good lynching, can we.

  • Drakken

    Well then I say go ahead and let the cultural enrichers riot, it will give the left an absolute case of the vapors and the right target practice.

  • Studley

    Great stuff, Rod. You’re a wonderful writer but it would be nothing if you were immoral. Or politically stupid. And you’re not.

    As for “the Reverend” Al, read Jonah Goldberg (if you have not done so) in NRO on this creep, “living large”.

  • James Brewer

    First, people need to know the differences between stereo typing and racism! we all stereo type on a daily basis and not just human being but almost everything. Target vs. Walmart, Hanes Vs. fruitaloom…Stereo typing is built into our DNA it’s instinctual and can save your life ask any war vet.

    Statistics are shoved in our face all the time about which race is more likely to be doing what in our society and guess what? That causes society to stereo type and while some maybe offended by it, it just might have saved more than a few peoples lives. It could have been that tingle that told you to cross the street to avoid the crowd up ahead or to lock your car door when driving through a certain neighbourhood. What happen between Zimmerman and Martin is a tragedy and no doubt race had a part in this, but it wasn’t race that got martin killed, Zimmerman stereo typed him based on several things, first probably yes, Martin was Black, second, Zimmerman didn’t recognise him, and thirdly it was Zimmerman’s neighbourhood. Lastly, Zimmerman more than likely felt a sense of authority as a “Neighbourhood Watch” to confront this unknown person….and well, the rest we all seem to know.

    And that’s it, this wasn’t a White or Hispanic on Black crime…this was wrong place wrong time…I’ve been around the world, sometimes as an authority figure and I have never walked up on an individual who appeared suspicious and not confront them in a very careful manner when carrying a firearm. I can not defend Zimmerman, I wasn’t there…but it stands to reason that he would call out to the guy…Hey…what’s up, who are you, and what are you doing??? So on and so forth….Did this happen, I can’t tell you but it stands to reason…Now if I have a fire arm..the last thing I would every do is put myself within grabbing/striking distance of some one that I am confronting…..So that would lead me to believe that Martin would have approached or came toward Zimmerman after being confronted…it makes since…now here is were most people wouldn’t understand because most don’t or have never carried a firearm….defending yourself when you have a firearm only goes one way most of the time…..You have to make sure you control your weapon, you cannot under any circumstance give your advisory the chance to get their hands on your firearm…So…you pull your weapon while backing away….if you are being assaulted…guess what, you have no choice but to pull the trigger, because at that point its you or him…

    As horrible as this was, by the evidence that was given it was not a racial killing, it was not a hate crime, the jury got it right. Do I think that Stereo Typing played a part in the confrontation, absolutely, did Martin being black play a part in Zimmerman’s stereo typing, absolutely….

    Riots, tearing up your own neighbourhoods….well guess what…you’re just propitiating the very stereo types that cause tragedies like this one.

    Break the cycle…

  • GB Republicans

    The author does not believe in law as evinced by his article.

  • Matthew

    There has been much criticism of the Florida law of “stand your ground” in the light of this case. The English law of self-defence is very similar, it is a good law and it works well. As Rod points out the problem is not the law of self-defence but the laws about guns.

  • Damien Johnson

    Nicely written snark.

  • jimcooper

    I suppose the entire direction of inter-ethnic social relations in the USA is embedded in this case. Those of you who know a bit of basic sociology will have heard of “labelling” theory, which in brief assumes that facts build upon prejudice, e.g., police think black men are criminals, police therefore focus on black men disproportionately, police discover more crimes, black men become overrepresented statistically in the prison population. Result? Zimmerman really fears Martin – BANG! he’s dead; seems to be an explanation with merit. However, I’m too thick to know if this is true, but given the horrendous historical social situation of black men (poverty, oppression etc.,) might not the general assumptions about the need to fear black men which lies at the bottom of this chain of reasoning have some merit too? Maybe their tendency to criminality IS real?