Trayvon Martin: An Unnecessary Death
The seventeen year old only brought Skittles and tea to that gunfight ... an attorney's perspective
Guadalupe Gonzalez, Contributing Writer
On February 26, 2012, the seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin walked along a common area in the complex where his dad's girlfriend lived. He carried tea and candy. He wore a hoodie. Mr. Martin was apparently spotted by a Mr. George Zimmerman, who was in his truck at the time. Mr. Zimmerman, who was armed with a handgun, called 911 and reported a "suspicious person." I do not know what led Mr. Zimmerman to that conclusion. Mr. Zimmerman was instructed to remain in his car and the police would look into it.
Published on LatinoLA: April 16, 2012
Instead, Mr. Zimmerman deliberately parked his truck, took his gun along with him, and looked around until he saw Mr. Martin. Then Mr. Zimmerman began to chase Mr. Martin, who was on the phone with his girldfriend. That call is recorded, as are the 911 calls. One can hear Mr. Martin begin panting, saying he was being chased by someone. That someone, as it turns out, was Mr. Zimmerman.
It is said that Florida has a "stand your ground law." That is based on the common law premise that a "man is entitled to protect his castle." (I did not make that up, believe me.) That law means that if someone accosts a person in their own home, that person has the right to protect him or her self from imminent danger. It does not mean that the person who is accosted has the right to escalate the dispute. Or to kill in defense of property.
Mr. Zimmerman is the subject of great discussion of whether the "stand your ground law" applies to him. In looking at the published information, it appears that Mr. Zimmerman was in his truck, heading to his destination, and he CHOSE to ignore the dispatcher's instruction. Instead, he parked and began a man hunt on his own. With a loaded gun. HE was the aggressor. "Stand your ground" does not mean hunt someone down like an animal and kill them point blank. It does not mean whip out your gun and shoot a kid with tea and candy. Mr. Zimmerman put himself in the place where he shot Mr. Martin. Deliberately.
I watched the video of the Sanford police walking Mr. Zimmerman from the police car through the sally port and into the station. I have personally seen murder suspects walked into courts and lock-up areas. They are not allowed to saunter on their own -- generally they are grasped by each arm by a law enforcement official. They are given a GSR test, or Gunshot Residue Test. Their clothes are confiscated as evidence, in order for forensics to ascertain the distance between the shooter and the victim. Blood is drawn from the arrestee, to ascertain whether that person was intoxicated or under the influence of any drug or medication. Photos are taken of the arrestee's body, especially when claims are made of a major scuffle, as Mr. Zimmerman has claimed.
All of the witnesses are interviewed separately. Photos of the location are taken. Attempts are made to notify relatives of the decedent of his death. In this case, although Mr. Martin had his cell phone on his person, his body lay in the county morgue in a refrigerator for two days before anyone notified his family. Why did no one think to call the numbers on the cell phone? Why was Mr. Zimmerman given the royal treatment and released -- free to walk away with the evidence all over him and his clothes? Had the police been contacted by someone powerful? Did you know that Robert Zimmerman, the arrestee's father, was a magistrate judge in Fairfax, Virginia?
I saw the news the other day, although I try to refrain from the negativity of the campaigns, the attempts to take away the rights of women, minorities and the poor. It has just become too much. All that was accomplished during my lifetime is being slowly but incrementally dismantled. Tengan miedo, mi gente, por que hay otros que nos odian.
When I saw Mr. Zimmerman being arraigned, that is, brought into court to be advised of the charges pending against him, I noticed something very interesting. It had been mentioned before by his prior attorneys and others that "George was losing weight..." He has lost weight. I do not know how he is losing weight so fast--I do know it never works for me--but I suspect he wants to look as thin as possible when his case hits the jury. He does not want it to look like he was the big grandulon (larger person) on top of the seventeen year old Trayvon Martin.
I wear a hoodie, I walk along with tea and candy in my neighborhood. Should we all be looking over our shoulders?
?® Guadalupe Gonzalez
Guadalupe Gonzalez, Contributing Writer:
Los Angeles attorney who detests injustice