George Zimmerman charged with second degree murder
With the investigation now complete Florida Attorney Angela Corey has decided to charge George Zimmerman with second degree murder for his fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin. In all honesty, at this point I do not have an opinion as to whether or not George Zimmerman is guilty or innocent because we don’t know all of the details of what happened that night.
From what I have read so far it doesn’t appear as if George Zimmerman is being charged with a hate crime, and judging by the reports it doesn’t seem as if this was a race based hate crime, the only question is whether or not he acted in self defense on the night he shot and killed Trayvon Martin. My concern with this news is whether or not George Zimmerman is being charged based on the facts in the case, or if Angela Corey felt she couldn’t afford to not charge Zimmerman with a crime for fear of the public backlash because of the blatantly false news reporting of NBC, ABC, and CNN coupled with the rhetoric being spouted by Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and the New Black Panthers. I hope the fear of retaliation isn’t going to make George Zimmerman a scapegoat.
In her statement Angela Corey denied that she was bowing to political pressure:
We don’t prosecute by public pressure or petition. We prosecute cases on the relevant facts of each case and on the laws of the state of Florida
The real question here is whether or not Florida’s stand your ground law applies in this case, not whether the stand your ground law is partly responsible for the killing as certain politicians would have us believe. By following Trayvon Martin on that night George Zimmerman may have put himself a situation which would negate the stand your ground law, but on the other hand if Zimmerman had stopped pursuing Martin and then Martin turned around and attacked Zimmerman he might have been justified under the stand your ground law. Either way the law itself is not the problem in this case, although the law will also be on trial here in the media. Angela Corey doesn’t believe the stand your ground law is to blame here and has stated that if the law goes on trial along with George Zimmerman the state will fight back.
With the politicization of this story I also wonder if it is possible for George Zimmerman to get a fair trial, unbiased by the faulty reporting and threats of violence from the Black Panthers, or if the jury will feel pressured to render a guilty plea in order to stem the potential rioting if he were to be found not guilty. If George Zimmerman is found guilty–and I think that is likely–I hope it will be based solely on the facts of the case, and not in fear of the reaction of the people who have already tried and found him guilty in the court of public opinion.