Was Trayvon Martin and African American men in general betrayed by the criminal justice system when the jury came to the decision that George Zimmerman was not guilty? That’s the feeling being expressed by some people now that one year has passed since the trial.
In a related report by The Inquisitr, George Zimmerman’s lawsuit against NBC claimed the media company’s employees purposefully edited audio recordings to make Zimmerman sound like he was deliberately racially profiling Trayvon. But a judge decided to throw out the case entirely, which creates quite a problem for Zimmerman since he’s homeless, broke, and owes lawyers a pile of cash for defending him during the trial and he is claimed to have much-needed a cash settlement.
NPR asked journalist Leonard Pitts how he felt about the Trayvon Martin case now that it has been one year, and the court’s decision is now part of American history:
“What did I feel? An all-too-familiar sense of betrayal, I think, would be the best way to put it. What I felt was that we have, sort of, traveled in a circle to something that we’ve seen all too often, which is the justice system – or as I call it frequently in my column, the injustice system – failing to acknowledge and protect the humanity and the basic human rights of African American men, specifically because they are African American men. I think it’s a mistake to look at the Trayvon Martin verdict in isolation. I think if you look at the Trayvon Martin verdict in context of American history, you see a pattern that is undeniable. And the only thing that’s surprising, if you want say it, about this verdict is that we’re still dealing with this all of these – you know – all of these years later.”
This opinion is not uncommon. For example, one professor in the Boston area secretly installed a Trayvon Martin monument next to a Civil War monument that attempted to make the point about how “far we’ve come in terms of race relations, in terms of power and equality since the end of slavery, since the end of the Civil War.”
Trayvon’s father even recently attempted to compare his son to civil rights icons like Emmett Till in an attempt to draw attention to gun control laws. The issue of racial profiling also frequently comes up, and even one of Zimmerman’s former friends now calls him guilty because of that very issue.
Critics point out that the Stand Your Ground laws were never actually used during the George Zimmerman trial. Instead, lawyers claimed Trayvon Martin was killed in self-defense using older laws. In addition, the so-called Trayvon Martin gun control laws have been losing to Stand Your Ground law expansions, with multiple states adding more conditions in which gun owners can use their weapons in self-defense.
There’s also a lot of controversy over whether or not the Stand Your Ground laws help or hinder the African American community. During the NPR talk, Keli Goff claims that white people are “354 percent more likely to be acquitted” if Stand Your Ground is “seen as a viable defense if the person they shot is black versus if it’s a white person shooting a white person.”
But another investigation into the matter determined Stand Your Ground laws actually help more black people than white, with reports claiming that “black defendants went free about 66 percent of the time in fatal Stand Your Ground cases, compared to 61 percent for white defendants.”
Lawyers who regularly represent African American men claim the “law benefits their clients,” and one public defender even claimed he had only used the law to defend black defendants. Regardless, proponents of gun control laws, like the parents of slain teenager Jordan Davis, believe the Stand Your Ground law creates confusion and “encourages confrontations by removing the duty to retreat.”
What do you think about the assertion that the African American community was “betrayed” by George Zimmerman trial verdict? What do you think about the Stand Your Ground laws?