BY ADEYEMI OSHUNRINADE
July 14, 2013
The Jury in the Zimmerman case has found the one time neighborhood watch not guilty, in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. In a unanimous decision, the Jury of six women decided George Zimmerman was not culpable for death of the African-American teen, in a case that once again, brought to debate the issue of race in America. The jury went into seclusion early on Saturday for deliberation lasting more than 16 hours, before announcing its decision on the controversial case. Zimmerman had been charged with second degree murder and manslaughter.
Zimmerman showed no emotion when the verdict was read. There were no high fives either from both the defense team and Zimmerman’s family. Other than warm hand shakes from his defense attorneys, the mood in the court was somber, showing both sides have realized there are no winners. Martin’s parents and family must deal with the loss of their son Trayvon and Zimmerman, must live with the fact that he killed Trayvon. Though, he claimed it was in self-defense, the prosecution, argued Zimmerman profiled the teen the night he met his fate.
The deadly encounter between Zimmerman and Martin occurred on February 26, 2012, as Martin walked back to his dad’s fiancée’s house in the rain from a Sanford convenience store. Martin was carrying Skittles and a drink, as Zimmerman a neighborhood watch approached him. A 911 dispatcher told Zimmerman not to pursue the teen that help was on the way, but Zimmerman followed. Shortly after, Zimmerman and Martin got into a fracas that led to the shooting of Martin.
On one 911 call by a neighbor, anguished cries for help can be heard in the background. One key element in the case was identifying the person crying for help, a factor that could help decide the case. Martin’s mother claimed it was her son that cried for help. Zimmerman’s parents also testified they’re absolutely sure it was their son yelling for help. Despite expert testimonies and witnesses brought to testify on behalf of both families, there was no conclusive decision about the voice on the recorder.
Martin’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin were missing from the court as the jury delivered its verdict of not guilty. On Twitter, Martin’s father expressed his emotions after the verdict: “Even though I am broken hearted my faith is unshattered I WILL ALWAYS LOVE MY BABY TRAY,” he said. When asked about his thoughts to Martin’s parents, Robert Zimmerman Jr. brother of the accused expressed his understanding of the pain Martin’s family are feeling.
“There are no winners. They will not win or lose anything more than they already have lost, which is their son’s life, by any kind of verdict for George.” “I applaud them for asking for the verdict to be respected…and I will pray for them,” he said to CNN. Some have questioned sincerity of Robert Zimmerman, who once on Twitter likened Trayvon Martin to De ‘Marquise Elkins, a 17-year-old, who along with another teen shot and killed a 13-month-old in Georgia.
In one of his tweets that created outrage, Zimmerman Jr. placed photos of Martin and Elkins, side by side in a comparison mode that if properly interpreted would show Zimmerman Jr. wanted people to believe that just like Elkins, Martin was a bad teenager who got what he deserved when he got shot and killed by his brother George Zimmerman. “A picture speaks a thousand words. Any questions?” the tweet reads.
The jury has rendered its verdict and Zimmerman walks as a free man not criminally liable. Unless there is a civil rights suit by the federal, there is nothing much the society can do than to look for reconciliation and a way forward. It is irreconcilable there are still those who believe in judging others by the color of their skin. America is still battling Jim Crow, de Jure racial segregation and color intolerance, when the campaign could be about unity and end to discrimination.
Dr. Adeyemi Oshunrinade [E. JD] is the author of ‘Wills Law and Contests,’ ‘Constitutional Law-First Amendment’ and ‘SAVING LOVE’ available at http://www.amazon.com/author/adeyemioshunrinade. Follow on Twitter @san0670.
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