The Next Verdict from the Zimmerman Trial

Now that the jury has acquitted George Zimmerman of the murder of Trayvon Martin, Americans will need to look elsewhere for answers to the larger questions of social and racial justice the case raised

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Joe Burbank / MCT / Getty Images

George Zimmerman is congratulated by his defense team after being found not guilty, on the 25th day of Zimmerman's trial at the Seminole County Criminal Justice Center, in Sanford, Forida, Saturday, July 13, 2013.

In the narrowest sense, the news people had been waiting for out of the George Zimmerman trial in Sanford, Fla., came late Saturday night when the jury delivered its verdict: not guilty on all charges, including manslaughter and second-degree murder, in the death of Trayvon Martin.

But the real reason everyone tuned into the trial, with its scrappy details of a small-time confrontation gone awry, was for the verdict it might deliver about race in America. And for that larger mission, the six-woman jury was ill-suited.

By assignment, the jurors had to handle only the question of whether Zimmerman, who was taking a training course in criminal justice and had volunteered to patrol his neighborhood at the time of his violent confrontation with Martin on Feb. 26, 2012, had acted either with malice or at least without legal justification in shooting and killing the 17-year-old boy.

(MORE: Viewpoint: Just Because Zimmerman ‘Started It’ Doesn’t Mean He’s Guilty)

And that was enough. The jurors had to weigh whether Zimmerman’s pursuit of Martin, in contravention of police instructions, suggested malicious intent. They had to disentangle counter-claims about whose voice could be heard crying for help in the background of recorded 911 calls made by distraught neighbors. They had to separate conflicting claims over how the confrontation had unfolded and where Martin had been when he was shot.

Most of all, they had to decide whether the prosecution had proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman had broken the law in killing Martin.

But with angry crowds gathering outside the courthouse, the trial had become freighted with questions that no pragmatic jury could answer. Are gated communities in parts of the country inclined to racial profiling? Do permissive gun laws open the door to racial violence against young black men? Are law enforcement officials in America still inclined to blame black victims of violent crime?

For those questions, the trial was decidedly ill-equipped, as the jurors only had a narrow remit. But the public expectation that the trial would serve as an answer not just for the narrow legal questions but the larger social ones, led many to worry about unrest. In hopes of managing anticipated anger, for example, Miami-Dade police set up two “first amendment” zones where protesters could gather under the auspices of local clergy and community leaders.

(PHOTOS: Trayvon Martin Supporters Rally After Zimmerman Verdict)

In the early days after the killing, when law enforcement had declined to put the question of Zimmerman’s guilt or innocence to a jury, President Obama himself had weighed in, apparently in solidarity with Martin’s family. At a press conference in March 2012, Obama said, “My main message is to the parents of Trayvon Martin: If I had a son he’d look like Trayvon. They are right to expect that all of us as Americans will take this with the seriousness it deserves.”

Now that the six-woman jury has answered the narrow question of whether there was reasonable doubt of George Zimmerman’s guilt, Americans will have to look elsewhere for answers to the larger questions of social and racial justice the case raised.

With reporting by Nate Rawlings and Claire Groden

285 comments
AdamLipowski
AdamLipowski

never ever ever confront them, they could even have a weapon. The only time I will ever permit you to use violence is if the other person uses violence first, or pulls a weapon on you. http://www.bg.top10-bookies.com/

alchikz
alchikz

"There is a class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs. There is a certain class of race-problem solvers who don't want the patient to get well." - Booker T. Washington

Regio121
Regio121

the issues had been settled, the jury has already spoken and the DOJ need to leave the unanimous VEREDICT undisturbed, otherwise long-gone racial sentimental issues could spark unknown and no positive results for our entirely NATION. We don't need any other disturbances.

KentR
KentR

Regardless of Political party faith   race  or sexual preferences  their are good and bad in every group   it s part of the human race and the first gift given  by God.. The gift of Choice  some of each group are nice  even when mistreated  and some in all groups feel they are a victom and want to get even  even when they suffered near nothing.  its Life and  the errors..

valentine.godoflove
valentine.godoflove

THE RACE BAITERS.......RACE INCITERS.....HATE THE WHITE CAMPAGINERS LIKE JESSE THE SHAKEDOWN JACKSON......AL THE PIGR SHARPTON.....AND THE HEAD AGFITATOR HIMSELF.....BARRY SOTERO,,,,,,THE MOSLEM PRESIDENT WHO SAID......IF I HAD A SON....IT WOULD LOOK LIKE TRAYVON......MEANING.....HEY MY HALF BLACK BROTHERS.....FOR I AM HALF WHITE.....JUST LIKE  MY WIFE.....MICHELLE THE MOOCH......GO KRILL  WHITEYSS......

SO INSTEAD OF UNITING THE COUNTRY......IN THE NEWSPAPERS ANYHWAY.....IT SEMS LIKE THERE IS WIDESPREAD RACIAL WARFARE GOING ON.......BECAUSE OF OBAMA, SHARPTON, JACKSON, TNE MEDIA THE DEMOCRATS AND GOD KNOWS WHO ELSE IS COMING OUT OF THE WODWORK....

ON THE CONTRARY.......YOU  SEE A LOT OF BLACK BROTHERS WITH WHITE DUDES......BROTHERS.....BANGING WHITE WOMEN......SO THAT THE WHITE ANGLOS HAVE TO GO OUT WITH DARK SKINNED GIRLS LIKE FROM INDIA OR THE PHILIPPINES......THE MEXICANS.....MOSTLY STAY TO THEMSELVES.....

SHAKEDOWN JESSE, PIGY SHARPTON , SOTERO AND THEIR MEDIA LACKEYS ARE ITCHING FOR A RIOT......SO THEY CAN GET HIGHER RATINGS !!!!......

IMAGINE......CALLING ZIMMERMANN A WHITE LATINO.......THEN LET US CALL OBAMA A WHITE NEGRRO.....OR LI AS A WHITE CHINAMAN......OF NGUYEN A WHITE VIETNAMESE.......OR RED CLOUD A....WHITE INDIAN......

THE NEWS MEDIA INTENTIONALLY WHTENED OUT ZIMMERMANS IMAGE......DOCTORED THE 911 TAPES........DOCTORED EVERYTHIJNG TO SEE ANOTHER RODNEY KING EVENT.....STALIN WOULD AVE SENT THE HIS NKVD AND HAD THEM ALL SHOT.....READING A RECENT BOOK ON MAO TSE TUNG OF CHINA.....HE CAUSED TO BE KILLLED 75 MILLION CHINESE.......STALIND....CAUSED TO BE KILLED 50 MILLION RUSSIANS......AND HITLER.....SUPPOSED TO BE THE WORST OF ALL ONLY 20 MILLION ,,,,,,HITLER WAS THE AMATUER....BURT NOBODY REMEMBERS STALIN OR MAO.....BECUASE.....MOST PEOPLE ARE ILL INFORMED UN-EDUCATED......LIKE THAT GIRL FRIEND OF TRAYVON....WHO IS A SENIOR AND CANNOT EVEN READ......

SO.....MAYBE......THE ANGLOS AND THEIR ALLIES WHOULD GIVE SHARPTON/JESSEOBAMA AND THEIR FRIENDS...WHAT THEY WANT.....A  RACED WR.......JUST LIKE IN THE BOOK GODFATHER 1.....IT IS TO GET THE BAD BLOOD OUT EVERY 10M YEARS OT SO.

SO MY WHITEEEE FRIENDS.....GO ORGANIZE.

VALENTINE, WORLD HISTORIAN, COMEDIAN......LOL

StuartCaldwell
StuartCaldwell

Looks like the OJ Simpson case in reverse - live wid it!

OnTheOtherHand
OnTheOtherHand

Dear editors, there you go, contributing the the problem. When you say Zimmerman was found "not guilty on all charges," you insinuate there was a whole list of charges. There wasn't. There were two charges. It would be far more accurate to say he was found "not guilty on both charges" or "not guilty on either charge."

lillDreamer86
lillDreamer86

DO NOT USE VIOLENCE. DO NOT USE VIOLENCE. DO NOT USE VIOLENCE.

Every black parent is asking: "how to I raise my son in a society like this?"

You tell them: "Never never never, NEVER, use violence to solve anything! If you do, I will disown you. Even if you are disrespected, even if you feel you being persecuted. If you feel dangerous people are following you, call police and run to the nearest safe place. But never ever ever confront them, they could even have a weapon. The only time I will ever permit you to use violence is if the other person uses violence first, or pulls a weapon on you. That's that. We MUST be respectful and civil to anyone. Respect is what makes our world possible, even if people fail to show it you. "

DO NOT USE VIOLENCE. 

ronmarw
ronmarw

I believe the Jury came to their agreement based on politics, not the events of that fateful evening. They were from a right-wing community and have to live there. They were not willing to jeopardize their reputation and standing in the community in the interest of justice.

RobinDonaldDeVallon
RobinDonaldDeVallon

Pretty soon there could be 4 USs of America.. One religiously Christian white... (Catholic Christianity banned).. One distictively semi Khazar (fake = Zionist) Jewish.... One black from early African slave ancestry and One totally Catholic Latino... all with protective laws preventing integration from other cultures..... or terrorists....  Donah..//


kwlittle
kwlittle

You know what, if you don't like living here, then send your welfare check back to the taxpayers (who work) and go back to Africa--btw your FREE TO DO SO!

kingjames
kingjames

It really feels bad to be a black person in this country when you realize that even the justice system is made up to reward racism......

kingjames
kingjames

I don't think you have any understanding of the current debate on race. Nobody has ever condoned crimes committed by blacks against blacks, let alone blacks against whites in this country. This case is about a 17 year old boy minding his own business who is killed by a wannabe cop who is allowed to go home freed from any charges the very same night. If Trayvon was a white boy, you bet, those racist jurors who have probably even asked to charge Zimmerman of first degree murder.

TerrenceRocks
TerrenceRocks

I have to ask when Rodney King's violence on the street happened, what was the focus on the rights of the Truck Driver that was pulled out of the truck and beaten to death? African Americans should take a long look at Cities like Oakland where the murder rate is 600 and 75 percent of the Murders, Robberies and Crimes are all African Americans. What are the Rights of the Innocent women and children killed in drive by shootings and guess who is doing the shooting? African American teen Agers is the majority at more than 75 percent. White people are routinely, robbed, beaten and killed by African Americans DAILY, let me say that again, DAILY. My Father was Mugged and beaten in Washington DC, he was RETIRED MILITARY 24 years serving our country and this happened to him 6 times until he started carrying a gun and moved away. The most Racist people, ask any black person what they think about GAY Rights.

kingjames
kingjames

It is intellectually dishonest to pretend that race has nothing to do with the verdict. The judicial system itself has been designed to protect such crimes against minorities (blacks mostly). Beside, a jury made up with 5 whites women could have never convicted Zimmerman even if more evidence were provided. These women were instructed, protected and rewarded by the law in taking  such a decision. And under such circumstances, when a white jury is allowed to reward the killer of a black person while being entirely protected by the law, that's when racism resurfaces... The biggest problem with black people all over the world is 'naivety'. Black people were so gullible thinking that having elected Obama as president, this country has gone through the dark era of racism. Certainly not.......

KpThapaperchaserPoindexter
KpThapaperchaserPoindexter

Wrong is wrong even when you try to cover it up it always shows.......Its not just black people thats upset its america cause everyone know the truth as a race were not always upset especially nowadays because its more black people trying to be white forgetting about there own people.....We just want justice cause i do have a lil brother and sister but how am i suppose to show them how to survive in this world without using violence if the justice system aint even fair? What goes around always come rite back tho watch out america cause it showtime

StevenNickels
StevenNickels

The juries not out.  The African Americans are the biggest racists on earth.  If they don't get their way, they play the race card.  The NAACP is the biggest racist organization on earth.  now they're pouting.  The jury spoke.  Trayvon was the racist in all this.  Where was his worthless parents because the thug had drugs in his system when he died.  Trayvon was a loser, deal with it racists. 

kenpruitt
kenpruitt

Wow, there must have really been a scare going through the White House that Obama's façade was failing, that there was a real threat of a pervading distrust that was spreading across the population!

THAT is why the liberal media pulled this old staple out of their quiver of divisive gimmicks to divide the growing chorus of dissent against this corrupt administration; that has been the administration's saving grace, that the population could not unite against a common corruption.

This is worse than just a race baiting liberal media, willingly ignoring the facts and details, but willing to cause riots, violence and civil strife in order to reignite the racism that fuels blind allegiance to this elitist narcissistic leader who has no regard for ANY of the segregated groups into which he has divided us.

mickey66049
mickey66049

Had Martin been white and Zimmerman black, would the verdict have been the same? I am quite sure that the shooter would have been found guilty of 2nd degree murder.

orangesunshyne
orangesunshyne

These are the same people who cheered and celebrated when OJ Simpson was acquitted.

bearclaw69
bearclaw69

Immigrants are welcomed to this country, but they need to respect our American culture and quit acting like we need to assimilate to their customs. We resent being asked to print our election ballots in 100 different languages and staff our schools with translators just so immigrants will feel more "comfortable". We're not a hotel, and if immigrants don't like that, they can stay in the hell holes they came from.

JennySmith1
JennySmith1

@Regio121 Just like in the O.J. case, Regio?  

Justice is a positive result. I'd like to see it come from the legal system in Zimmerman's case.  The fact that he will have to remain in hiding for the rest of his life because of his infamous racism may be justice enough, but that too would be vigilanteism, which is what he is guilty of. Except he's guilty of being a vigilante who murdered a child because he was black.   Yes, the DOJ should pursue the civil rights violations issues here and get Zimmerman back on the stand.

Bardamu
Bardamu

@kingjames  Zimmerman was no doubt a over zealous wannabe cop but Martin had the option of calling the police himself or going straight home. Instead he made the decision to initiate an altercation with Zimmerman. 

The real issue in this case is the laws in Florida which allow a guy like Zimmerman to be legally armed while acting under the loose guidelines of neighborhood watch captain. Also, the State's case was doomed from the beginning because they overcharged with 2nd degree murder to placate public opinion. Had they went with manslaughter the outcome may have been much different.

rohit57
rohit57

@kingjames"This case is about a 17 year old boy minding his own business who is killed by a wannabe cop who is allowed to go home freed from any charges the very same night."


But you leave out the crucial fact that he ATTACKED Zimmerman and Zimmerman was injured.  If he HAD been minding his business he would still be alive.

Miranda
Miranda

@kingjames Or it is about a boy who did not like being questioned and decided that the guy questioning him was going to die that night and attacked him.


Imagine if his parents had grounded him for being suspended three times from school rather than letting him wander around and not wonder where he was until the next day.

OnTheOtherHand
OnTheOtherHand

@kingjames It sounds as if you would like jury members to be selected on the basis of race.  Isn't that racist?  But it is prohibited to select jury members on the basis of race (or gender, or age or sexual preference or...).  

JoeJeffrey
JoeJeffrey

@kingjames No.  It's intellectually dishonest to ASSUME the verdict was affected by race.  Maybe not everyone in the country is obsessed by race. Maybe this was a case of a self-important wannabe cop and a you-can't-make-me teenager -- sad, tragic for the kid and his family, but nothing to do with race.  Just stupidity.  Zimmerman's clearly a jerk. Martin acted like a jerk.  But assuming race is involved because Martin was black is nonsense. As is your outrageous comment that the jury "rewarded" Zimmerman.  The women of the jury made the only decision possible based on the evidence.  You accusing them of racism in a case like this because they're white is, well, racist. Maybe that's why you think race was involved in the verdict -- you see the world through race-colored glasses, and you can't understand people who don't.

rohit57
rohit57

@kingjames Are you saying that Zimmerman's injuries are irrelevant to the case and the only thing which matters is the race of the jurors?


Who is the racist here?

simbajumped
simbajumped

@KpThapaperchaserPoindexter

"What goes around always come rite back"... that is the white man's biggest (and deeply hidden) fear. The movie Django scared the sh%t out of white men. Truth be told, the white man has always lived in fear of the black man. They have always feared us for our  greater athletic ability (big reason they resisted allowing black people to play in the white leagues), they have feared our bigger endowment (they are the only race of men i have encountered who seem obsessed with men's genitals), they have feared the supposed 'latent' desire their (white) women have for us. They mask all this fear with their bravado, and they have done everything to ensure that we (black men) always cower and stay submissive to them.

However, the time is coming soon when all black men will realize just how much of weaklings white men are; and when that day comes..... well, no need to speak further.

simbajumped
simbajumped

@StevenNickels  

Hmmm... should I remind you of OJ Simpson; a black man accused of killing a white woman who was found not guilty; furthermore, it was proven that the police detective.. what was his name.. Furman (now works for FOX news by the way) lied under oath. How did white people take that? To this day, white people still swear the man was guilty.. even after a jury (the justice system) found him innocent. Worse, white people never let it go.. you hounded the man, and I am sure you are all very happy that he is finally in jail (where he belongs, right?). Shall I also remind you of Michel Jackson. accused of child molestation.. but found not guilty.. how did white people take it? Not so well.. suddenly he becomes "Wacko".

Face it Mr white man, you are the sore losers who always want your way. Your actions speak much much louder than your words.

rohit57
rohit57

@kenpruitt Personally I think Obama has acted very badly in the Snowden affair and letting the NSA spy on all of us.  But on the TM-GZ affair, he has only said sensible things.

simbajumped
simbajumped

@mickey66049 

Maybe we should put this theory to the test. I suggest that black men follow white teenagers around (because the white teenager looks suspicious) and try to incite the white teenager to violence. Then shoot the white teenager. When the case goes to court, we simply invoke George Zimmerman's "Self Defense" defense. I suggest we as black people go even further, we should start treating white people like they treat us. All black police men should start pulling white people over for 'driving while black'; all black hiring managers should give preference to black applicants, and only promote their black employees. If you work in a store, and a white person walks in, follow them around from aisle to aisle. We need to show these white people what it feels like to be treated the way we have been treated. Maybe, just maybe, will it start to dawn on them, the reality of their prejudice.

OnTheOtherHand
OnTheOtherHand

@mickey66049 Not if all the other facts and evidence remained the same.  They do not support either Murder in the Second Degree or Manslaughter beyond doubt.  They support Not Guilty.

Miranda
Miranda

Yeah, Mickey.  Just like the OJ trial!  Oh wait....

fjlejeune
fjlejeune

You are making a big assumption!

KpThapaperchaserPoindexter
KpThapaperchaserPoindexter

@orangesunshyne But look at what happen to OJ Simpson he is currently serving life for a robbery that he didnt do cause the white devil was too angry from him being acquitted for killing that poor lil white girl lol the justice system is not made for a black men to rise and become better its only made for us young black people to fail......

rohit57
rohit57

@bearclaw69 Immigrants would not demand such absurd things if white liberals did not encourage them to do so.


OnTheOtherHand
OnTheOtherHand

@Bardamu @kingjames Even sadder, Ms. Jeantel reported that Martin told her he WAS almost home. If he had just gone inside, he would still be alive. Instead, in the four minutes following that telephone conversation, he went back to the other end of the row and confronted Zimmerman.

RobinDonaldDeVallon
RobinDonaldDeVallon

@Bardamu @kingjames .... I wouldn´t state that... I wasn´t there... and Trayvon can´t speak for himself... so here we have "one good Law Abiding American" telling his story... and we have to take his for granted ?? I would have water boarded Zimmerman untill the truth rolled off his obese frame... letting him SPEAK FOR HIMSELF.....  Donah..//

simbajumped
simbajumped

@Miranda @kingjames  

From your logic, any time a white person approaches a black person and begins questioning said black person, the black person should become submissive and respond, qualifying each response with "sir". In your 'perfect' world, black people should continue to bow down to white people. When white people tell us ignorant black people 'justice was served', we should not question it, because the white man has spoken. Is that your claim?

The boy was going to his Mom's house, coming from a store; did you want his mom to put him under house arrest. Oh, forgive me, my black ignorance surfaced.. being a black teen, his mom should have sent him to the local police station for punishment (that is where black men belong, right).

I have encountered many of you racist white men. Telling you "leave me alone" does not suffice. In many cases I (as a black male) have had to become confrontational. Peaceful means do not work with you white men.. you have this stupid mentality that you have rights over black people. That is not the case. Black people have the same rights and liberties under the constitution as you do.

What is more appalling is how innate your racism is. You do not even realize how racist you are.

rohit57
rohit57

@DoodleBug @StevenNickels While I do not agree with whites like StevenNickels, I can understand why so many whites, who have been the victims of attacks by blacks, are fed up.

There is a saying, "A conservative is a liberal who was mugged."


I think law abiding black people like you (I assume you are black) need to take greater responsibility.   If a white person is mugged by a black person, he has good reason to be angry and you need to acknowledge the justice of that anger.  Only then can there be peace.

kenpruitt
kenpruitt

@rohit57 @kenpruitt Of course you do, you work for Time!  Obama should never have made it an official "race" issue with his statement about how Trayvon could have been his son in the way he looks!  Like when he foolishly injected himself into the arrest of the professor by the non-black cop, before he knew/without knowing what happened.  The only legitimate feelings Obama has are political.

HelpmeToUnderstand
HelpmeToUnderstand

@KpThapaperchaserPoindexter @orangesunshyne Yet the murder rate in Chicago is higher than ever!  Black on black crime is growing.  So how is this the fault of the "white devil"?  Funny how we riot and destroy our community and blame someone else.  Whites do not destroy stores and hurt other people. What are you doing to make it better?


383ker
383ker

@simbajumped Have you ever heard of common courtesy. If someone came up to you to ask directions you'd probably hit them before they could ask. And you wonder why whites treat you as they do. Get the fricken chip off your shoulder.

mrtsupastar
mrtsupastar

Man you have spoke truth to power. It does no good with these people, they can never see themselves being wrong when it comes to Black people because they have the sense that all Black people are bad and evil. If George Zimmeran would have confronted any of them, they would have reacted much harsher and demanded to know why he would dare question them. I have seen so many white people act a damn fool when they are questioned about anything. Trayvon Martin is supposed to be obedient and respectful to a nobody. Everyone is trying to paint Trayvon as this monster. Willie Horton all over again. Why are they not questioning the fact that Zimmeran was the one with the criminal record and assault against a police officer, also he is currently under investigation for molesting his own family member, just a disgusting vile peice of trash. Everyone is so big and bad behind their computer screens. Just like they dont wont nothing to do with the Black race, trust and believe I wont nothing to do with them either, stay on your side of the fence and I will stay on mine. That same stand your ground that they are using to legally murder Blacks will come back to haunt them in spades.

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