Monday, July 1, 2013

What Exactly is George Zimmerman Guilty of?

The trial of George Zimmerman is about half-way though and the six woman jury is gong to have to decide what George is guilty of and if what he is guilty of deserves any time in prison. It is an odd case in that there is no disputing the man on trial killed someone, but there are two questions which make the final verdict a tough one; did George shoot Trayvon Martin in self-defense and how responsible was George for instigating the incident in question?

Both of these questions revolve around the definition of self-defense and one's right to resort to lethal force. Basically it comes down to this: you have the right to defend yourself from injury if you are being attacked (the key words here are "being attacked" and not that your opponent is fighting back after you attacked him nor are the two of you brawling with equal participation) and you have the right to  resort to lethal force if you are in immediate danger of extreme injury or death (and you can't shoot someone because you start losing a fight; you must have conceded and your opponent must be continuing to beat you up). I think anyone listens to this 911 call would easily conclude that George Zimmerman was screaming in terror and felt he was about to be killed.

Let me pause for a minute and discuss whether that is Trayvon or George screaming "Help me!" in the 911 call. Even if we ignore George's statement about how Trayvon punched him in the nose, knocked him down to the pavement, mounted him and started doing an MMA "ground and pound," the scenario one hears in the background of the 911 call has someone repeatedly screaming for help which would be the guy who is losing the fight. George Zimmerman clearly was not winning the battle since Trayvon had no injuries other than the bullet wound. A person who is punching the daylights out of someone or smashing their head into the pavement is not going to be screaming "Help me!" at the same time. Only someone needing a referee to stop the fight is going to be screaming for someone to save him and that someone would be George Zimmerman.

So, George passes the first test of rightful self-defense; he really was on the receiving end of a brutal assault and he thought he was going to die. It is interesting to note that one hears a bunch of screams in the tape so it is clear that George didn't get punched once and then blow away his opponent. This meant Trayvon had ample time to stop beating up George. George's screams also show that Trayvon knew George was terrified and he was not fighting back and, therefore, continuing to attack George is nothing but straight-up assault.

However, one thing that has always troubled me; George Zimmerman's cop-wanna-be attitude and some of his behaviors while in jail and in court. George has issues and one of them is taking on the role of a cop, an armed cop, while patrolling the neighborhood. Clearly, the dude can't fight for shit and following tougher, younger, possibly violent men when you are a wuss and come off like a wuss can only invite trouble. The Guardian Angels patrol neighborhoods, too, but these are usually tough young men and women who don't carry firearms. When they approach someone they think might be dangerous, they do it with the full realization they are putting their life on the line and may have to protect themselves with their fists. If a fight ensues, likely both will walk away, albeit with some damage. And, if you aren't going to carry a gun, you better go out on a group patrol or be a pretty big, tough dude.

George Zimmerman, on the other hand, brought a gun because he felt unsafe, probably because he knew he would lose if he ended up in a fight with anyone. Since George obviously hasn't spent much time in a gym, he quickly did end up on not being able to defend himself with his fists after Trayvon hit him, leaving his only resort to pull his weapon and shoot. Of course, Trayvon clearly went on far too long fighting a man who was no match for him and you do take your chances that the man down is going to pull out the only weapon that will work for this case... a gun.  George says that he only pulled the gun when he realized Trevon was going for it, which actually gives George even more right to pull the weapon and fire. Considering how long the screaming went on, I would have to give George credit for holding off for as long as he did (assuming the reason wasn't that he simply couldn't get to the gun).

So, I conclude that George Zimmerman legally shot Trayvon Martin at the moment he pulled the trigger, but, I still feel like he deserves some penalty for instigating the confrontation, only because anyone carrying a weapon (except the police) should avoid trouble. George, carrying a gun on patrol bothers me because Trayvon might not have retaliated for having his presence be questioned if it had been a police officer. Doing so while armed and without a badge raises the level of risk for both parties. However, manslaughter does not really work in this case and the sentence would likely be way too high.

It is a difficult case for six untrained jurors to decide (and most of you folks know I dislike the jury system). I don't know if I could fault them for going any direction with their verdict because there the beginning of the exact confrontation is unknown although evidence seems to indicate Trayvon circled around and then sucker punched Zimmerman which would mean at that point Trayvon was the aggressor and the attacker. I wish them the best in trying to come up with a satisfactory conclusion and I hope the public will not burst out in anger regardless of which way these jurors go. Sometimes the law cannot so clearly address a complicated scenario in which both parties deserves some of the blame for the outcome, although Trayvon Martin actually is responsible for the criminal action.
Criminal Profiler Pat Brown

July 1, 2013


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Anonymous said...

I disagree with this train of thought on the self-defense. Just bc someone gets the upper hand in a fight doesn't mean the other person didn't attack them first. Ignoring the Help me! It is obvious by the calls G. Z made and what he was told he is the one who confronted Trayvon Martin. I know this is being compared to OJ being that a lot of white people and hispanics are standing behind G.Z. while blacks are standing behind Justice for T.M.,
Not hinting at racism just quoting the majority of the media on that, media,media,media. I'm too young to remember the OJ trial anyway.

for perspective I'm a 23 yr old white female from SC,USA
and I'm white.

I can honestly say that my whole families white and we think that G.Z. is guilty as sin.

So no I don't believe G.Z. passes your first test, based on all the evidence that has been released to the public. even while ignoring the help me, so no, in my mind G.Z. fails your first test.

I have read all of your books and a vast amount of your blog but I disagree with you on this one.
However on a different subject I agree with you on Madeleine McCann's parents guilt.
and on the Ramsey's innocence in the Jon Benett Ramsey Case.

Anonymous said...

I wish they would do a directed verdict, because due to the manslaughter charge being requested by prosecution and allowed by the judge, the jurors, who will not be allowed to know this charge still can carry a 30-year penalty, will likely think they're doing Zimmerman a favor by going for it.

I'm most troubled by the city attorney and mayor's actions and by the testimony of former Police Chief Lee who said it wasn't a case that merited an arrest in his judgment but that he was forced to make an arrest by the mayor's office and then the police excluded from Martin's family and lawyers having a private meeting in the mayor's office to play the tape, which then destroyed what might have been further evidence if it had been done individually. And then the subsequent firing of Chief Lee.

It troubles me that racial outcry can cause something to go to trial that shouldn't have. No matter what the outcome, Zimmerman will have to live with the results.

Anonymous said...

TM didn't know who the person following him was or what his intentions were. GZ had a chance to clarify when supposedly TM asked him "do you have a problem?" Instead, GZ answered that he didn't have a problem. GZ might have tried to hold him at gunpoint to prevent him from getting away and TM panicked and tried to fight for his life. It surprises me how blindly people believe GZ's (trying to save his butt from prison) account.

Anonymous said...

AGREED all around MS. Brown. I think he should have received at least a manslaughter charge.

The jury system is a joke as well.
A "jury of peers" usually equates to people with little to no legal knowledge other than the nonsense they see on CSI or some other highly dramatized/fictionalized t.v. show which if anything makes them more biased than objective.

A Jury, to be properly functioning and fair, should consist of various individuals from legal, law enforcement, and forensic science fields who all analyze the case and come to a conclusion of guilt based on objective observations.

The current jury system is too easy to manipulate. Fair article.

Mary said...

I live in Florida and have been the victim of a crime. My house was broken into in broad daylight and my computer was stolen. Crime is bad here. Every week someone's car is broken into or vandalized. And I live in a gated community. I might add I have lived all over the US and Florida is the worst for this sort of crime. I wish I had George Zimmerman living in my neighborhood. If I saw a teen boy looking into windows of townhouses, I would say something also. I think there's just one less thug in the world and that's a good thing.