Streams

Open Phones: George Zimmerman Charged

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Following up on the shooting of Trayvon Martin in Florida, does the indictment of George Zimmerman mean the protests should stop?  Could you sit impartially on his jury?

Call us at 212-433-WNYC or comment here! 

Comments [42]

Posted in the everlasting faith and hope that you can fix "stupid".

http://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/article1222930.ece

"... Since its passage in 2005, the "stand your ground'' law has protected people who have pursued another, initiated a confrontation and then used deadly force to defend themselves. Citing the law, judges have granted immunity to killers who put themselves in danger, so long as their pursuit was not criminal, so long as the person using force had a right to be there, and so long as he could convince the judge he was in fear of great danger or death. ..."

http://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/article1222930.ece

peace and love

Apr. 12 2012 06:02 PM


http://justoneminute.typepad.com/main/2012/04/stand-your-ground-is-it-part-of-the-trayvon-martin-case-and-how.html

Apr. 12 2012 05:32 PM

@Mr. Ginsburg:

There is no mention of the Second Amendment, "Right To Bear Arms", or "firearms" in the Florida "Stand Your Ground" Statute.

(With the same expertise, and in the same spirit, with which some believe that Mr. Zimmerman's actions are based on some evident psychopathology or character disorder, I urge you to consult a competent physician or mental health professional concerning either your apparent delusion that you are able to read and understand the English language, or the possible deleterious side effects that you are experiencing due to your medication regime (or lack of one).

Apr. 12 2012 05:06 PM
Marc Ginsburg from Bergen County, New Jersey

Having seen the arrest of George Zimmerman, it is clear that the people's outcry has created movement in circles of power. Obviously, the real test of this heinous incident is not merely whether Zimmerman is found guilty on all counts (I still believe he & all who practice vigilante justice where even just an element of a hate crime can be proven should get the death penalty to deter future hate killers) is whether stand your ground laws go the way of slavery in this country--as a shunned aberration. There are grounds to declare these laws unconstitutional. The second amendment (I'm paraphrasing) states, '...a well regulated militia being necessary...the right bear arms shall not be infringed.' The founders feared excessive freedom as much as they did excessive government and therefore sought to strike the most effective balance between freedom on the one hand & security on the other. It is clear from the wording that for them the exercise of the right to bear arms was wholly contingent on the existence of a well regulated militia. Therefore, if the militia, that is, the group of citizens entitled with the right to bear arms, is not well regulated, this right is not sanctioned and can be overturned by law. Therefore, stand your ground laws are in violation of the Constitution because they do not adhere within the guidelines of and therefore violate the Second Amendment.

Apr. 12 2012 01:56 PM

EAA from Brooklyn ~

I would agree. The "hoodie" has a DEFINITE transgressive "fashion" connotation. It has been fetishized and popularized as an icon of the street "tough". This fact has been injected into the culture by hip hop, rap and pop media for years. The hoodie can NOT be separated for this imprinting. The hood-up look has definitely come to be considered threading for many actual and cultural implied reasons.

It doesn't give anyone carte blanch to shoot anyone who wears it but, you can begin to understand how a less discriminating individual (usually the kind drawn to gun ownership), maybe with less capacity to discern would be prone to stereotyping and drawing prejudicial conclusions.

This is exactly why my Brooklyn forth grader will NOT be wearing a hoodie when he gets to middle school.

I don't want him to be shot on the street by one of these idiots.

Apr. 12 2012 12:37 PM

Bruce from Manhattan states: "Gun rights people say guns don't kill people, people kill people, but a person carrying a gun may be more prone to act aggressively & be more confrontational. It seems pretty clear that the confrontation was initiated by Zimmerman"

Zimmerman claims he lost track of Martin and that he was confronted by Martin as he was returning to his car. This would make Martin the aggressive party in the confrontation.

Based on my experiences living in NYC for 25 years, I don't find it hard to believe that a young Black man would become beligerent and aggressively confront a pudgy guy who he felt was profiling him and following him in a way that seemed to gratuitously accuse him being where the Pughy man felt he should not be, although I cannot know what happened in this specific confrontation. Most accounts do seem to claim that Zimmerman was a neighborhood watch patrolman for some years without aggressively confronting others when his suspicions were aroused, which seems to have been frequently.

Apr. 12 2012 12:10 PM
sanych

I listened to the original - non-altered - 911 phone call from Zimmerman.

The recording shows that

1. Zimmerman became suspicious of Martin not because of the hoodie, but because Marting was standing in the rain and looking into other people's houses.
2. Zimmerman described Martin as black when he was specifically asked to identify Martin's race.
3. Zimmerman stopped pursuing Martin after the dispatcher told him to and, actually, lost track of Martin. This suggests that it was indeed Martin that approached Zimmerman.

I also find it funny that there are people like Zuwena who are ready to sit on a jury, but would be disappointed if Zimmerman is not convicted. Hilarious!

Apr. 12 2012 12:03 PM

One would hope whatever WNYC continues to broadcast about this case while the trial was pending, it should not allow the continued use of inflammatory memes (of questionable veracity to be used concerning the case - "vigilante", "the police ordered him (Zimmerman) not to follow", "boy", those kinds of words should be "bleeped" as quickly as you would bleep a racial epithet. Of course if you are interested in a particular verdict, as I suspect you and some of your listeners are, "all comments are welcome".
I would recommend "gary from queens" comment earlier in this thread, and hereby republish the link contained therein:
< http://www.wnd.com/2012/04/media-dishonesty-and-race-hustlers/ >.

I note that you (that word in this context includes you, Mr. Lehrer, as well as the personnel from "The Take-a-way") seem to have a particular verdict in mind.
Is anyone going to at least comment on the part of the Special Prosecutor's statement that appears to characterize the quality of the Sanford Police Department's investigation as being up to professional standards and the time it took in coming to a decision to arrest and prosecute a case of this type to be "within normal limits"? [ http://video.msnbc.msn.com/nightly-news/47022694/#47022633 - at approx, 6:50 on the video ] Or are you NBC-editing those comments until you want to use them to demonstrate Ms. Cory's failure to do "something" to ensure the sentencing of Mr. Zimmerman?

What would the police reaction have been if they had been called to investigate the death by gunshot of a Hispanic teenager resulting from some interaction with an superficially injured, Black community resident, licensed to carry a gun? I don't really know. Varying outcomes can be supported by cleverly constructed narratives. Why don't you give me the closest actual case that you can find?

"gary from queens" recommended link again:
< http://www.wnd.com/2012/04/media-dishonesty-and-race-hustlers/ >.

Peace and Love

Apr. 12 2012 12:00 PM

dboy states: "There is definitely a race component in the Martin/Zimmerman case but, exponentially more black men are killed by other black men then any other equation. The fact is, we don't give a sh*t when this happens. We don't care that there is unfettered access to fire arms in our culture so long as not too many white folks are killed with them."

I'd spin this a little differently. First, most gun deaths in the US are suicides. Nationally, more White people are killed by guns than Black people, although Blacks do die disproportionately from bullets. Interracial guns death receive more media attention brecause they are, in many people's minds, a proxy measure of racism, which is the real story.

That said, some of our urban neighborhoods have serious problems that result in a lot of gun deaths. White people may appear to be apathetic, but in truth I think they simply don't have any clear answers, wonder whether they really understand what's going on and are so accustommed to being called racists when commenting on anything regarding Black people that they simply remain silent unless a simple answer seems obvious.

Apr. 12 2012 11:56 AM
john from office

Dboy, you are spot on. I kid around and find the nonsense in these segments, but you hit the nail right on the head.

Apr. 12 2012 11:44 AM

If you think this case is indicative of a racist culture, let's consider what it means when little is made when a black kid kills another black kid with a handgun. This WNYC story is a perfect example:

http://www.wnyc.org/articles/wnyc-news/2012/apr/11/two-mothers-neighbors-struggle-shooting-killed-one-son-left-other-jail/

If it were not for the unusual "neighbor" component of this story, we would have heard absolutely NOTHING about this case. It would have been another black kid shot and killed in the projects by another black kid. End of story. Even on left-leaning WNYC.

This, is a more poignant example of the systemic racism in our culture than the Martin/Zimmerman example.

There is definitely a race component in the Martin/Zimmerman case but, exponentially more black men are killed by other black men then any other equation. The fact is, we don't give a sh*t when this happens. We don't care that there is unfettered access to fire arms in our culture so long as not too many white folks are killed with them.

The race-huxsters have exploited this horrible crime to the detriment of the real issue which is the easy access to firearms. Until we address this very serious problem young black people will continue to be lost to gun violence.

Why did a borderline, wannabe cop with a history of unbalanced behavior have a hand gun in the first place???

An armed, budding sociopath is still an armed, budding sociopath regardless of color.

Apr. 12 2012 11:28 AM
EAA from Brooklyn

I don't know why everyone is defending the hoodie. There is a culture in our country that encourages kids to dress like thugs, look tough. It encourages all types of violence including misogynist culture. Clearly Zimmerman was acting out of fear, and was stereotyping. There is no excuse for his actions. He shouldn't have ever had gun and shouldn't have acted out of his fear. But when you have a culture that encourages kids to look threatening, what do you expect? People are afraid.

Apr. 12 2012 11:26 AM

If it's true that Mr. Zimmerman's nose was broken, that the back of his head was cut and he had grass stains on his back and Mr. Martin did suffer and any wounds except one from a bullet fired at close range, then perhaps a manslaughter charge would have been the more judicious since the bar of proof is a lower.

Should have read:

If it's true that Mr. Zimmerman's nose was broken, that the back of his head was cut and that he had grass stains on his back and Mr. Martin did not suffer and any wounds except one from a bullet fired at close range, then perhaps a manslaughter charge would have been the more judicious since the bar of proof is a lower.

Apr. 12 2012 11:24 AM

The Truth from Becky claims: "Zimmerman killed Trayvon, this is not up for debate. What is up for debate is why the police chief took an immediate leave of absence after deciding not to properly apply the law."

No, what is up for debate is whether Mr. Martin attacked Mr. Zimmerman before he was shot and, if he did, whether Mr. Zimmerman's use of force was disproportionate with the threat Mr Martin reasonably exhibited. That is what Mr. Zimmerman's court appearance will be about and I'm glad the questions will be raised.

If it's true that Mr. Zimmerman's nose was broken, that the back of his head was cut and he had grass stains on his back and Mr. Martin did suffer and any wounds except one from a bullet fired at close range, then perhaps a manslaughter charge would have been the more judicious since the bar of proof is a lower.

Apr. 12 2012 11:22 AM

How the law is enforced is also subject to variation: FYI

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/03/22/1076889/-Black-Shooter-of-White-Victim-in-Florida-Claimed-Stand-Your-Ground-still-went-to-Court

http://www.eacwebservices.com/JusticeforJohnMcNeilV5a.pdf

Apr. 12 2012 11:13 AM
Bruce from Manhattan

Gun rights people say guns don't kill people, people kill people, but a person carrying a gun may be more prone to
act aggressively & be more confrontational. It seems pretty clear that the confrontation was initiated by Zimmerman.

Apr. 12 2012 11:11 AM
Kevin from New Jersey

Let me first say that I have been responsible for 8 people going to jail in my neighborhood (one guy twice). This happened over 15 years and it was only by chance that I witnessed them commiting a crime (burglary of vehicles and stealing packages from homeowners). I have never been involved in a neighborhood watch but if I were I would NEVER be armed and I would be sure to identify myself with a hat or vest or whatever. I also would never patrol ALONE! If I were Trayvon Martin I would have been totally freaked out if a man was following me in a car or on foot. Zimmerman had no idea who Trayvon was but he should have realized what kind of reaction he might illicit by his own behavior. A grown man following a teenager in this day and age is just creepy. It seems to many that Zimmerman had an agenda. He carried a gun and spent countless hours of his free time on patrol. He also called the police based only on his suspicions. He should never have been allowed to carry a weapon and drive around like an un-deputized sheriff letting his paranoia get the better of him.

Apr. 12 2012 11:11 AM
Zuwena from Manhattan

First, Brian I am really angry that your staff keeps people hanging on the line when clearly there will be no opportunity to speak. I was one of the first on, when you first announced the open phones and yet nothing. I would have rather just listened and gone about my business rather than hang on to a phone.
Second, to answer your questions. Yes, I could serve on the jury despite all the media hype, etc. and render a fair verdict. Yes, vigilance should continue. It seems that when it comes to incidents involving Blacks that is the only way to effect even the possibility of fair treatment. I think, however, that the media should be judicious in asking every Tom, Dick and Harry to pontificate on the "evidence".
Finally, I agree with your assessment of Angela Corey. I am concerned, however, that the legal "pundits" out there have all raised questions about the high burden associated with the second degree murder charge and it makes me wonder if we have all been hoodwinked by a very sophisticated prosecutor--what I mean is, if the burden is not met then this guy is acquitted. An acquittal in this case will be tantamount to a huge slap in the face for all fair-minded people.

Apr. 12 2012 11:10 AM
The Truth from Becky

If you are honest with yourself, you will be terrified, this happened early evening of 7PM - 730PM, you too could have been running out to the convenience store, got caught in the rain and pulled up the hood of your jacket, notice someone following you, a neighbor who decides you look suspicious enough to call the police on, stalk you, wrestle you to the ground and BOOM, you're dead...a shame.

Apr. 12 2012 11:04 AM
Nathan from Hoboken, NJ

Can we perhaps talk about why Zimmerman was so aggressively defending his neighborhood? Ok some say he was a whacko, but I have been a victim of crimes that the police ignored, over and over and over again, perhaps this is also part of this debate. If the police let down Trayvon why would they not also let down that entire neighborhood thereby causing a state of affairs where security was out soured to Zimmerman.

Apr. 12 2012 11:01 AM
fuva from Harlemworld

Florida law enforcement...

Apr. 12 2012 10:58 AM
Masoesa

Thank you mr. Caller. You made the perfect case.

Apr. 12 2012 10:57 AM
fuva from Harlemworld

That Florida enforcement dropped the ball, and would have continued to without public pressure, is now undeniable. They need to be made accountable.

Apr. 12 2012 10:55 AM
urbangranolagirl from Jersey City

The recent callers use of the word "vigilante" made me think of Bernie Goetz. Why isn't the media making that comparison?

Apr. 12 2012 10:55 AM
The Truth from Becky

Zimmerman killed Trayvon, this is not up for debate. What is up for debate is why the police chief took an immediate leave of absence after deciding not to properly apply the law.

Apr. 12 2012 10:55 AM
John from office

Brian is soooo liberal and filled with white guilt that he has to explain why he called a black boy a "boy". WOW BOY OH BOY

Apr. 12 2012 10:54 AM
amalgam from NYC by day, NJ by night

Besides the obvious racial issues in America, which I think the caller got right, there's this:

Vigilantes that STALK others based on certain biases, like George Zimmerman, should not be allowed.

No matter what, George Zimmerman appointed himself to STALK someone who was minding his own business after being told by the police not to pursue, all the while being armed.

Undisputed --- George Zimmerman = Armed, Self-appointed Vigilante, Stalker

Apr. 12 2012 10:53 AM
CL from NYC

Why should the protests stop? Until the "Stand Your Ground" law is repealed, they should continue. Indeed, they should expand. The ease with which Zimmerman obtained a gun and the apparent readiness with which he used it to kill another human being should continue to outrage all citizens. And that doesn't even address the problem of racism in America, another reason for protests to continue.

Apr. 12 2012 10:53 AM
Thatgirlak from Anchorage,AK

I am glad that Zimmerman was charged. Is it time to stop protesting? Absolutely not. What was most aggregious, other than Trayvon being killed, was the Sanford police's failure to investigate that night. Precisely of because of that, George Zimmerman may get off. Although, I wouldn't agree with that verdict I would acknowledge that if the evidence isn't there, he should not be found guilty.

Protests should continue to demand proper police investigation.

I could not be on the !

Daily listener from Anchorage, Alaska!

Apr. 12 2012 10:53 AM

Is zimmerman's father well connected? I ask because in the past he seems to have gotten away with a lot of crime

Apr. 12 2012 10:53 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Zimmerman had to be indicted for something, because a young man lies dead regardless of whose fault that may be. The outrage required some response, and so ZImmerman had to be charged, and for the next few years his life will be hell until after he is finally acquitted in a few years down the road. Because there is no hard evidence of any intention to murder, either first or second degree.

So ZImmerman will have to pay a price of being in and out of jails and his life being ruined because he did kill a young man regardless of whose "fault" it was. In a few years it will be over, and ZImmmerman will go free. But his life will never be "free" again in any case.

Apr. 12 2012 10:52 AM
The Truth from Becky

How is it more complicated exactly?

Apr. 12 2012 10:51 AM
Chris from Queens

Now that there has been an indictment, we should stop protesting. Let the justice system do it's job.

As for protests being a necessary component of launching this investigation: I believe ALL deaths of one human being at the hands of another should be investigated. Life is precious, always, and any homicide should be subject to the full scrutiny of our socially-approved justice system.

I would like to believe I could be an impartial juror (facts are everything), but I cannot honestly say, having never been a juror myself.

Apr. 12 2012 10:50 AM
LaurencePassmore

It's a very positive development that a public outcry forced an investigation and an arrest. But this doesn't mean the inaction of "biased or incompetent law enforcement" (in Brian's words) has been remedied. Their failure to do their job in the aftermath of the shooting will make this case very difficult to prosecute.

Apr. 12 2012 10:50 AM
ian buddington from brooklyn

Yes the protest should stop and continue if there seem to injustice arise again. We should respect martin's mother call for justice. now she has her day in court. Lets wait and pray for her justice.

Apr. 12 2012 10:49 AM
fuva from Harlemworld

Good that Trayvon's death is apparently being really investigated now. Due process seems underway. But we're not out of the woods here...
Is the murder charge, instead of manslaughter, IN FLORIDA, a set-up for an acquittal?
Also, did Corey try to rewrite history yesterday by implying that the Sandford PD was continuing to investigate after they released Zimmerman?...
Maybe street protest can take a break, but ongoing vigilance is absolutely necessary -- around black profiling and the other issues in the black community.

Apr. 12 2012 10:49 AM
john from office

I like the way Brian elevates Al $$$$$$$$$$$ Sharpton to the status of adviser and media talking head.

Tie this into the YOUNG BLACK MALE KILLED IN THE ASTORIA PROJECTS, in the WNYC news cast. Where are the new conferences, tee shirts??? Oh, I forgot there is no money to be made.

Brian, shame on you to bring up Sean Bell in this segment.

Apr. 12 2012 10:49 AM
Wallace

Brian stated that it is inevitable that a trial by jury will take place. That is not true. It is my understanding that there will be hearing before a judge, during which Zimmerman and his lawyers will assert the "Stand Your Ground" defense. During this hearing the judge can dismiss the case in its entirety, and there will be no jury selection and no trial.

Apr. 12 2012 10:49 AM
John A.

This will be a Damned shame if evidence has been lost based on police taking a mans excuses as sufficient.

Apr. 12 2012 10:49 AM
Nick from UWS

Of course I could sit impartially on Zimmerman's jury. I haven't the slightest clue what actually happened there.

Apr. 12 2012 10:47 AM
Jack Haley from Astoria

I think the critical issue here, beyond the tragedy and all the racial implications, is the "Stand Your Ground" law. Even if Trayvon Martin did physically attack George Zimmerman (and who knows?), that doesn't justify shooting the kid dead.

Apr. 12 2012 10:46 AM
gary from queens

This black economist has a take on the Zimmerman that is different than Al Sharpton's. And he doesn't have blood on his hands as does Sharpton for inflaming racial divisions in the past.

Media dishonesty and race hustlers
Walter Williams
Tuesday, April 10, 2012 5:09 PM
<http://www.wnd.com/2012/04/media-dishonesty-and-race-hustlers/>

Apr. 12 2012 10:41 AM

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