It’s hard to believe it decades after Civil Rights movement in America and the related legislation that went through Congress, but a white racist vigilante can kill a 17 year old African-American and not even be charged, or detained even briefly, by the police.
An unarmed 17 year old African-American, Travyon Martin was shot by George Zimmerman, a Neighbour Watch leader in a gated community who has been in constant touch with the police for years. Martin was walking home afar buying sweets. A police officer warned Zimmerman not to chase Matin when he phoned to communicate the information that he had seen something suspicious, i.e. a young black man walking through his community. Zimmerman ignored that advice, chased Martin and shot him dead. Not only was Zimmerman armed while Travyon was not, he is a lot bigger and stronger. The police appear to have let him off on the grounds of self-defence while tussling with Travyon. Utterly bizarre. Even in the unlikely event that Travyon was wining the alleged fight, shooting is to say the least a disproportionate reaction. Furthermore the police influenced a witness to revise testimony, failed to carry out basic procedures of testing Zimmerman for drugs and alcohol, and failed to make a medical examination to see if Zimmerman had been hurt in a fight, as he seems to have been claiming. The police also lied at first about Zimmerman’s criminal record, claiming he had none.
The police are now claiming that they cannot arrest Zimmerman because they lack ‘probable cause’. I’m sure that whatever ultra-narrow, and fastidious, definition they are using of ‘probable cause’ would be applied if an African-American shot the 17 year old son of a police officer. (Not everyone gets sarcasm, apparently, so just to be clear that was sarcasm). A police officer has equated the victim with his murderer, by saying that both would wish they had acted differently on the day of the killing.
As one would expect, there is a big reaction to this in America, and appeals are being made to the FBI and to the Federal Attorney General to get involved. So more than 50 years after Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream’ speech, it may still necessary for federal authorities to intervene in a former Confederate State to obtain justice for an African-American victim of an illegal killing. Despite the outrage, racist killer Zimmerman is still free and the grotesque police officers who have allowed this situation are still employed to ‘protect and serve’.
It’s possible that some facts might emerge to make the killing less heinous than it might seem, but it’s impossible to see how that could leave Zimmerman guilty of anything less than manslaughter. Unless Travyon had a gang of thug friends round the corner ready to punch on him, or Travyon suddenly revealed himself to have superhuman fighting powers. (Sarcasm again).
There is a very little something that anyone can do, sign a relevant petition by clicking here.
Some links about the story
I’ve made the effort to check out what defence there might be of Zimmerman’s action and only a wild contrarian or a grotesque racist would be at all impressed. The only ‘defence’ is that he pulled a gun during a supposed fight with a smaller weaker unarmed man. Maybe Travyan did try to fight back against Zimmerman’s harassment, what defence would that be for Zimmerman?