For over a month now there has been controversy over two people in Florida. One of them is Hispanic, and the other was African-American. George Zimmerman was a self-appointed neighborhood watchman at a gated community in Sanford, Fla. and Trayvon Martin was a high school quarterback for his football team, visiting his dad.
When I ask people if they have heard about the story, many say they haven’t, and many who have heard it don’t know much about the details. The outcome of this fateful night was that Martin went to a convenient store to pick up Skittles for his little sister and an iced tea. Zimmerman pursued the boy because he looked like “he was up to no good” as he was walking home on his cell phone with his girlfriend. There were screams and pleas before witnesses heard the gunshot that killed Martin.
I have been accused of wrongfully assuming that Zimmerman is guilty because after all, you are innocent until proven guilty in this country. The problem with this tragedy is that, because Zimmerman claims “Stand Your Ground,” he cannot be simply be arrested for murdering Martin.
“Stand Your Ground” basically supports people who claim they killed in self-defense. The problem with this law is that there is a lot of evidence that Zimmerman didn’t shoot in self-defense, and is guilty of a crime he is just now being charged for. Not only is “Stand Your Ground” failing the justice system, it has many times before.
Police in Florida have said in interviews that many people hide behind this law, and that people get away with murder at least three times a month because of it.
I think that Zimmerman is guilty despite my father being a devout defense attorney, where I have been raised to believe that everyone deserves protection and has rights. After all, we are “innocent until proven guilty.” Here are a few reasons why I believe Zimmerman is guilty. First of all, it is against the law in Florida to be carrying a gun while being a volunteer community neighborhood watch person. Zimmerman was specifically told not to pursue Martin on his own, and he went against police orders to do so.
Another reason I suspect he is guilty is because the story he told police contradicts phone records found on Martin’s phone in regards to time. His story also contradicts what Martin’s girlfriend said she heard that night. She claims that she told Martin to run and he was confronted by Zimmerman, while Zimmerman claims Martin surprised him from behind.
A huge problem with the case is that the police did not do any counter investigative reporting for Martin’s side immediately after his death. In fact, they waited over a week to search Martin’s phone records, and they believe that if they did this sooner, as well as interview witnesses sooner they could have had this case solved already.
However, this isn’t the first time this police department in Florida has failed before. There was a murder similar to this where the same department failed to gather evidence correctly, just recently this year.
One reason I am upset is because as a freshman here in college, my best friend Terrence Beals died. He was also murdered, and this month is the third anniversary of his passing.
He was African-American, and I swear he was one of the most amazing, friendly people I have ever come across. I still miss Terrance terribly, and no one can replace him. I can only imagine what Martin’s family is going through. What saddens me is that I feel that people did not take much attention to his death, and this same racism that causes us to overlook these things almost cost Martin and his family justice due to the poor job done by police.
“Stand Your Ground” seems like a pretty foolish law where you can kill anyone and claim self defense with hardly any evidence. If we are to give Martin and his family justice, the best thing we can do is try to appeal this law in the meantime. I shall continue to stay tuned to all of the updates in Martin’s story. One of the best things you can do is talk about it with your friends and family and spread awareness of this tragedy. There are many “Hoodies” marches for Martin that you can get involved with.