Zimmerman Verdict's Ripple Effects

Monday, July 15, 2013

Photo from the Million Hoodies Union Square protest against Trayvon Martin's shooting death in Sanford, Florida (March 2012). (David Shankbone/Wikipedia Commons)

Late Saturday night, a Sanford, FL jury found George Zimmerman "not guilty" in the shooting of Trayvon Martin. Patricia Williams, Columbia University Law School professor and columnist for The Nation, analyzes the decision and discuss the reaction -- from protests in New York and LA, to a move by the Justice Department to relaunch their hate crime inquiry into the matter.


Professor Patricia Williams

Comments [109]

Judith from Manhattan

There is no doubt the color of Martin's skin was a factor in Zimmerman's perception of who he might be. But his youth & maleness were equally in play.

I could not agree more with the caller who cited the stand your ground law as the real issue. It is an extremely dangerous law that allows a situation in which 2 people, neither of whom is doing anything illegal, can have an encounter that leaves one of them dead & the other held blameless, even has his gun returned.

Martin was standing his ground. He violated the law by not having lethal force readily available to him. This is insanity.

A white, old, female

Jul. 17 2013 10:37 AM
Brenda from New York City

This case should be a national wake-up call. Holding on to our guns as an inalienable right is killing African Americans at an absurdly disproportionate rate.

Jul. 17 2013 10:20 AM


David from Fredericksburg is correct, and you are wrong, on the "duty to protect", let alone serve, individual citizens are owed by their police.

"City says cops had no duty to protect subway hero who subdued killer"

"City Argues NYPD Had No "Special Duty" To Protect Subway Hero From Madman's Rampage"

"Why do so many PD's include the words 'To Serve and Protect' on their vehicles?"
Probably for the same reason your toothpaste has "Extra-Whitening Formula" printed on the tube. (But I'm sure you think governmental "Consumer Protection" authorities can be held responsible for losses due to your own commercial credulousness. ;-) )

Admittedly, I don't know you (beyond your poorly expressed thoughts here, e.g., "If I had been on the Zimmerman jury, I probably would have set him free . . . but only because GZ's use of force was . . . never more than a manslaughter case." Were you out of town when the Court allowed (per the applicable statutes) the jury to consider the lesser included offense of "manslaughter"? [In Florida, manslaughter, involving a gun, probably, and maybe even deservedly, draws a 20 year minimum sentence.]

My point is that fatuous ideological assertions may be personally comforting and capable of occupying the no-responsibility programs (and listeners) featured on WNYC's morning schedule, but the producers should be more diligent in the "information", legal or otherwise, that they put out on the airwaves.
(Remember, they have almost no duty at all to be accurate. )

Jul. 16 2013 10:13 PM
Bob from California

Patricia Williams contributed possibly the worst legal analysis of anyone I've heard on this issue. She had her facts wrong about the woman who fired a gun in the direction of her husband who she had a restraining order on but did not kill him and thus there was no murder in the second degree charge. Here's the story.

Now figure out how to invite guests who have something intelligent to say rather than mindless contributors to The Nation.

Jul. 16 2013 04:39 PM
David from Fredericksburg, VA


""You, like so many other Americans, have the misimpression that the police have to protect you. This is not so - there have been lawsuits for failure to protect & the police won. They are under no obligation to protect you."

They're not? Why do so many PD's include the words 'To Serve and Protect' on their vehicles?

You don't know me, David, so be fair and don't presume to know my motives."

I was not presuming anything about your motives, I was responding to your statement:

"WRONG!! An unarmed George Zimmerman doesn't even get out of his car. He waits for the cops to do their job."

Which, in a place with as much policing as NYC, is reasonable. I was merely pointing out that there are a LOT of places with nowhere this amount of law enforcement. I was further pointing out the the police department is not legally obligated to come to your assistance. I am not saying police don't care, just responding to the pervasive idea out there that the police will protect you - this is not always, in fact not even usually, the case.

Jul. 16 2013 02:39 PM

@David from Fredericksburg, VA

"You, like so many other Americans, have the misimpression that the police have to protect you. This is not so - there have been lawsuits for failure to protect & the police won. They are under no obligation to protect you."

They're not? Why do so many PD's include the words 'To Serve and Protect' on their vehicles?

You don't know me, David, so be fair and don't presume to know my motives. If I had been on the Zimmerman jury, I probably would have set him free as well but only because GZ's use of force was not criminal...Part of that is due to FL's bad 'stand your ground' statute and part of it is because the other side of the story is in the grave and part is that the prosecutor screwed up and overcharged Zimmerman. It was never more than a manslaughter case.

My point about what you tell your kids remains the same. Avoid a confrontation where you can. Call the cops if things escalate or you are uncomfortable where things may lead. But if things do escalate and confrontation cannot be avoided, WIN. Let the other guy's story be the one that goes unheard. I am not normally so cut-throat but this verdict will have the impact of more innocent death, rather than less.

Jul. 16 2013 12:32 PM
Dan Foxman from ny

A just verdict, so why the rioting? Did the White community riot, steal, act like fools when OJ walked after planning and exacuting murders? Why, Education, social maturity, social and economic factors? What an embarrasment for the Black community to react this way. I guess they wanted a good old fashion lynching. Shame on obama and his sidekick fat al sharpton for feeding the race issue.

Jul. 15 2013 09:26 PM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

"Justice Department faces evidence hurdles in proving Zimmerman bias after verdict."

"The Justice Department was running into immediate hurdles Monday in its investigation of possible civil rights violations by George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin -- namely, that after examining the case for more than a year, the evidence has not changed."

Read more:

Jul. 15 2013 09:26 PM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

"Back to Full-Time Racial Incitement" COMMENTARY MAGAZINE

"Yet now that the trial is over, much of the media seems to have reverted to its previous pattern of treating Zimmerman’s racism and guilt as givens.
Should President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder heed these voices of incitement and plunge the country into more months or even years of racial arguments by pursuing a foolish effort to charge Zimmerman with civil rights violations, the big loser isn’t so much the man who was acquitted on Saturday night as it is the country."

Jul. 15 2013 06:28 PM
Sam from Berkeley CA

Following this whole topic on TBLS has been quite frustrating for me. The core question in this indecent, how Mr. Zimmerman approached Mr. Martin and how Mr. Martin responded. It is totally within reason for anyone to approach an unfamiliar person in the neighborhood and politely introduce themselves. It says something dark about our society that this is considered an inherently threatening act by many people if the two people involved are of different races. Did Zimmerman approach Martin in a respectful way, or in an aggressive and threatening way? We don't know and no one seems to want to discuss that. Did Martin overreact and assault Zimmerman? That's what Zimmerman says and the jury agreed there was no strong evidence to contradict that, but all the discussions on TBLS seem predicated on the assumption that Zimmerman is lying and then veer off into imposing an inflammatory racial spin on it.

So instead of being a helpful discussion on how ordinary folks can engage each other and deescalate a tense situation, the discussion is all about how everybody else is out to get black people with an implicit suggestion that assault is somehow an excusable response to transient harassment on the street.

Jul. 15 2013 05:25 PM
Steve from Queens

Keep dreaming all; but 24 BY 7 BY 365 Race will always matter in America. The black man is Born A Suspect in America.

Jul. 15 2013 04:42 PM
David from Fredericksburg, VA

@ RUCB_Alum

You, like so many other Americans, have the misimpression that the police have to protect you. This is not so - there have been lawsuits for failure to protect & the police won. They are under no obligation to protect you.

Further, everywhere is NOT like NYC. Many places have many fewer law enforcement personel spread over large areas. This is why so many people "out there" (i.e. not in NYC) feel they need a weapon for self protection.

Jul. 15 2013 03:00 PM

I have a completely different take on the situation and it has nothing to do with race.

It has to do with the emasculation of adult men in America. Right now the US is one of the few societies on Earth where older men are in constant fear of the younger men. And the only way for these older men to exhibit any power or authority is through a gun.

Not too long ago, if there was a dispute between two men, the two men used their fists. You learned how to fight - to use strength, guts and skill in a battle. Now, its just pull out a gun and shoot. Its symbolic of the paternal laziness that now permeates our nation. How pathetic!

Jul. 15 2013 02:17 PM
Mr. Bad from NYC

I would also add that this is very much the sort of matter where NYC provincialism comes shining through. The city and the 'burbs are two different places with different rules. If you're from one but not the other there is a period of adjustment.

This is why Brian is so one-sided on this and why a lot of the black NY'ers on this board are too. They run this scenario over and over in their head like it was going down in the Bronx or Brooklyn and think to themselves, WTF, Zimmerman obviously had a beef, it's as obvious as the nose on your face.

But that's the city. Nobody follows somebody to say "hi" and introduce themselves, hand out a business card and shake hands, then part as friends as Zimmerman was wont to do. That's the burbs', that's someplace like a gated community in Sanford, Florida. People put too much stock in all his "they always get away" bluster. Had Trayvon been a little older and wiser and Zimmerman a lot smarter they probably wouldn't have had any problem at all that night. Clash of civilizations (urban/suburban) and now the media is redlining this for all the click-thoughs and newspapers they can sell. Bravo.

Jul. 15 2013 01:22 PM
Mr. Bad from NYC

@ gary from queens

You wrote:

"But Trayvon was looking into windows and tresspassing. People can get arrested for that."

Trayvon was NOT trespassing, he had a legal right to be on the property, but there was no way Zimmerman could know that. If you click on this link you will see a picture of the actual sign that is posted on the gate of the gated community where this took place:

The point is that the ENTIRE GATED COMMUNITY is private property. I tried to make this point earlier but was shouted down by a lot of willfully ignorant folks who hate facts.

If Trayvon had NOT had a right to be there, he would have been trespassing and it could have been prosecuted. That is likely what Zimmerman believed and likely why he followed him, TO FIND OUT IF HE HAD A RIGHT TO BE ON THE PROPERTY. Why would Zimmerman do that? Well, obvs, because of the dozen or so violent break ins that had taken place, duh?

Did Trayvon match the description of the persons who witnesses reported to have committed those violent home invasions? YES!

Should Zimmerman have known Trayvon had a right to be on the property? NO! Not without SPEAKING to him first. WHY? Well, because Trayvon was a guest of a guest on the property and had not lived there for more than a day or so. Zimmerman would probably have met or seen him at some point and under more normal circumstances had Trayvon lived there for a longer time but that was not the case. All these facts point to unfortunate tragedy, not willful murder. Why is that so hard to grasp?

Jul. 15 2013 12:46 PM
gary from queens

ALL police say the same thing!!! They advise all civillians NOT to engage in any way with suspects.

For liability reasons, they must tell civillians this, and to remain passive sheep: LET the mugger take what he wants. LET the rapist rape you. DONT carry a gun. etc etc.

Because if they advise you to defend yourself and you get injured or killed, then the police get sued.

It was not necessary for Trayvon to have been breaking the law. Neighbors in that place call the police all the time when they see something strange. no one would suggest they not call police until an actual crime occurs.

But Trayvon was looking into windows and tresspassing. People can get arrested for that. Black or white, it happens.

And that was in the record, when Zimmerman was voluntarily deposed by cops and DA.

Jul. 15 2013 12:31 PM

We've removed a few comments from this thread. Please remember the WNYC posting policy, which asks you to refrain from personal attacks. We know this is a heated issue, but please keep your comments civil and productive to the conversation.

Jul. 15 2013 12:13 PM
Joe Pearce from Brooklyn

One of your interviewees ended his participation by stating that opinion was really divided out there on the Zimmerman situation and verdict. Unless I was asleep, that was the first time I had heard anyone on the Lehrer Show, or on the program preceding it, even mention that there were people out there - quite probably more than 50% of the population - that, although they regarded the whole situation as tragic, also believed the only proper verdict for Mr. Zimmerman could be 'not guilty'.

Mr. Lehrer tries to come over as middle-of-the-road, and succeeds most of the time (probably because he sounds like a very reasonable and nice man), but based upon years of listening, he is anything but that, and he occasionally errs by saying 'we' when speaking to many who advocate positions of the Left.

Three questions: 1) On WNYC, why is George Zimmerman always "Zimmerman" while Trayvon Martin is always "Trayvon"? 2) Why is it never mentioned that George Zimmerman, in addition to be part Hispanic, is also part black? 3) Why is it forever promulgated that the Police told Mr. Zimmerman to "wait in his car", when they said no such thing? A 911 operator said, "We don't need you to do that", which to me indicates what they would have said to almost any citizen in a moment of possible danger, that being, "We don't need you to get yourself hurt", thereby, to me, rather giving him a personal choice. THEY NEVER INSTRUCTED HIM TO STAND DOWN OR TO REMAIN IN HIS CAR!

If the DOJ pursues any kind of hate crime charges here, it will be perceived as nothing more than persecution. Hate Crime laws are essentially both un-American and un-democratic in concept because they propose to base punishment of (possible) criminal activities on people's thoughts rather than on their actions, even unto the un-democratic exercise of Double Jeopardy! A crime is a crime! If Mr. Zimmerman wrongfully (by law) killed Mr. Martin, he should have been prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, whether he hated Mr. Martin, loved Mr. Martin, hated blacks, loved blacks, or was totally indifferent to both Mr. Martin's race and/or to blacks in general. He is either guilty of a crime or he is not, and the reasons why he took whatever actions he did go only to motive at best, and not to punishment via double jeopardy proceedings. People have a right to their thoughts. If he had killed his wife and it was found that he did so because he hated her and was getting a jaundiced view of the fair sex because of her, would anybody be considering it a hate crime against women and recommending prosectution by the DOJ for the benefit of American Womenhood? Such stupid laws smack more of the Old USSR than of the New Diversified America. Based on things I've been reading recently about actions to be taken against a film based on a novel by a writer who is not in favor of gay marriage, the concept of free speech is already in danger. Can the concept of free thought be all that far behind? heck with the DOJ.

Jul. 15 2013 12:11 PM
SteveDoc from Bronx

Mr. Lehrer is usually quite even handed in his questions, but today he displayed the "liberal media bias" that NPR affiliates are often accused of. In his statement (in interview with Ms. Williams of The Nation magazine) to the effect of "It is generally agreed that Trayvon Martin was in a preventative self-defense situation" he completely ignores the fact that to claim this there must be a threat. Being followed without a display of weapons (or verbal threats) certainly does NOT rise to a threat of violence in the legal sense.

Mr. Lehrer also stated that Mr. Martin's behavior was "not suspicious" to warrant being noticed by neigborhood watch. The evidence was presented that Mr. Martin was cutting through between houses and not walking in a purposeful manner towards home on a rainy night. That is certainly suspicious enough for a neigborhood watch to become involved.

Lastly, when Ms. Williams presented two comparative cases of black individuals being convicted while claiming self defense, Mr. Lehrer did not point out that both of those cases did not involve any actual bodily attack, which makes them very different in a legal sense from the Martin case.

Jul. 15 2013 12:10 PM
Roger from New York

I am coming late to the show and was curious to see the comments on this topic. I now regret I read through most of them. Other than a sprinkling of calm, rational statements - but not enough to save the conversation - the postings are misinformed, incoherent, hateful, antagonistic or simply moronic. There is so much that could be said that takes in the complicated elements of this story. In the end, guns and race always make for a volatile mix, and America is still very far from finding solutions to these problems.

Jul. 15 2013 12:10 PM
Mr. Bad from NYC

I want to thank Brian Lehrer for bringing up the important notion of white privilege.

I need to have "the talk" with my wife, who is friggin' hot btw, and is constantly harassed by creeps on the subway who MUST be blind because she is white and is still gets hassled? How can this happen Brian? Doesn't her privilege protect her from sleaze balls and criminal acts? Maybe I just have to remind her. Will it work then?

What are we doing wrong? I keep getting parking AND speeding tickets, the cops breath testes me a couple years ago, I passed but should I even be dealing with those hassles? About ten years ago my apt was burglarized, everything gone, didn't they know I was white? Where do I get my pass? Could someone explain how I start getting my white privileges ? Thanks in advance.


If anyone could explain how I start paying "white" taxes I'd really appreciate it, this NYC/Fed/State tax is killing me! Thanks again.

Jul. 15 2013 12:09 PM

Martin was also allowed to "Stand his Ground" If he perceived Zimmerman as a threat - Martin was allowed to use the weapon he had on hand - his body. Zimmerman started the fight - not Martin, who was acting in self defense. The verdict now allows anyone with a gun in Florida to pursue his "prey" and kill that victim as long as there are no witnesses because a corpse cannot tell his side of the story.

Jul. 15 2013 12:02 PM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

Cynthia from East Harlem,

Trayvon Martin beat up George Zimmerman. The pictures of GZ injuries are conclusive.

It's generally not smart to fight someone with a gun.

Rock, Paper, Scissors.

If George Zimmerman simply called the police to investigate, Trayvon Martin would be alive.

If Trayvon Martin didn't beat up George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin would still be alive.

Jul. 15 2013 11:56 AM
Cynthia from East Harlem

Bottom line - he was told to stay in his car. Yes there was a verdict but he is not blameless and Trayvon was not doing anything wrong when he was spotted and Mr Zimmerman did not know him and made assumptions. He was told to stay in the car.

Jul. 15 2013 11:50 AM
The Truth from Becky

"I do this because I live in America" --Lavar Burton

Jul. 15 2013 11:50 AM
George Zimmerman from NYC

This is for all the haterz! I'm re-recording this right now in by underground bunker, This the anthem get'cha damn hands UP!

Haters want me clapped they chrome it ain't easy

Cops wanna knock me, NdoubleAshadyP wanna lock me in

all day

But somehow I beat them charges like mah man O.J.

Z to the izz M, E to the izz A

Not guilty, be Lehrer don't feel me

White privilege is real, but for me it didn't exist

when i needed it

Z to the izz M, E to the izz A

Rule of law all up in this piece!

Jul. 15 2013 11:46 AM
gary from queens

If we're going to just speculate wildly about what could have happened or might have happened, let's include Trayvon being killed by Martians. Because there's just as much evidence for that as there is for Zimmerman being a racist murderer who knew Trayvon and planned to kill him.

I choose to believe the account that most closely conforms to the facts as known. Show me new facts and I'll have to adjust what I believe happened. This is how we, as rational beings, are supposed to figure out reality. Your argument about perceptions of reality is interesting for a late-night, pot-fueled bull session in a freshman dorm but it's no way to run a criminal justice system or a civilized society.

I'll grant your point that, up until he started the fight, Trayvon had committed no crime. He had acted suspiciously (walking on the wet grass instead of the sidewalk, peering into windows-- which is what attracted Zimmerman's attention to begin with) but had actually committed no crime. Until he punched Zimmerman in the face, broke his nose and climbed on top to "ground and pound." Even the prosecution gave up the fantasy that Trayvon wasn't on top. Their closing argument focused on whether Zimmerman could get the gun from his waist with Trayvon on top of him.

I'll even go so far as to say that if all Trayvon had done was punch Zimmerman in the face and gone home, this wouldn't have ended up the way it did. But Trayvon was a fan of MMA and rather than the fight being over when one man is down (like boxing), the MMA fight is only just starting.

Jul. 15 2013 11:45 AM
Luda from Manhattan

this whole getting out of the car thing is ludicrous. You have an individual walking around the back of houses (not out on the public sidewalk) or road in a private neighborhood that has had multiple robberies and slow police response. The watchman is trying to see where the individual is going and loses him in the backyards - how could he see where the person was going from his car - obviously he couldn't. What if instead Treyvon was the person from NJ that beat the poor woman in front of her child and chose not to attempt to see where he was going? Whatever was in Treyvon's mind, he should not have attacked Zimmerman - end of story.

Jul. 15 2013 11:43 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

The retrograde "gangsta" culture destroys communities.

I urge anyone who wants to see what is going on regarding crime in NYC to read the PDF from the NYPD.

Crime and Enforcement Activity in New York City
(Jan. 1 - June 30, 2012)

All peoples lives are precious. To single out the tragic death of a 17 year old young man and ignore the deaths of hundreds of others is DISHONEST and socialist whitewashing.

Anyone who doesn't like WNYC is welcome to listen to WBAI. Catch it while you can because WBAI is not going to exist much longer.

Jul. 15 2013 11:41 AM
The Truth from Becky

Should he have been battered? Darn right! TM had a right to defend himself as is the state law that is twisted. MMA training and a gun, GZ was out to kill someone that night TM was headed home from the store.


Jul. 15 2013 11:41 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

@Ed, I'm not sure if you simply can't read, or if the air is particularly thin up there in "Hudson Heights." or between your ears. I suggest you take a walk west - where there is more oxygen and "color" - past Broadway, past Amsterdam even - don't get scared now.

If you can't acknowledge the difference between someone being killed and the perception (rightly or wrongly in this case) of someone being killed because of their religion, race, sexuality, then I really can't help you.

Jul. 15 2013 11:39 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

@ The Truth from Becky

I'll do you one better...


NOBODY DEAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is called reduction ad absurdum kids

Jul. 15 2013 11:34 AM
gary from queens


Under FL law, what Zimmerman did was not stalking.

Zimmerman was told by a police dispatcher (not an officer) that they didn't need him to follow Martin; at which time, Zimmerman said ok, stopped running and claimed to be looking for an address and then returning to his truck.

So, Zimmerman wasn't stalking, had been told the police don't need him to follow and had stopped.

No crimes here.

Anyone else want to try?

Zimmerman committed no crimes, he was being battered by Treyvon Martin and feared death or great bodily injury thus justifying the use of force under FL law.

One witness said that it wasn't clear who was on top but the closest neighbor, the one who saw the largest part of the altercation, saw Zimmerman on the bottom being repeatedly punched by Martin on top.

Once again, no crimes committed by Zimmerman prior to the assault and battery by Martin.

So, once more I ask...what crimes had Zimmerman committed that night before being beaten on by Martin?

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Jul. 15 2013 11:30 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

Comrade Sheldon from Brooklyn said:

Your "blacks kill each other all the time" narrative, is tired and sloppy.

Can't address the FACT that the perpetrators of crimes against Black people are most often Black people?

What's the matter Sheldon? You don't like to be confused by FACTS?

Are FACTS counter revolutionary?

Al Sharpton wouldn't have a career without fools like you.

Jul. 15 2013 11:28 AM
The Truth from Becky


Q - "Why are you following me?"
A - I am neighborhood watch.


Q - Are you following him?
A - Yes
Action: Back in your car to wait for the police.


Jul. 15 2013 11:27 AM
Karen from NYC

I hope that everyone who is upset at this verdict and at the killing of Trayvon Martin will volunteer for the 2014 congressional campaign. Even in NYS -- especially in NYS, because we are not all "red" -- we can defeat Republican Congress persons and state legislators, building a more progressive Congress and providing the Governor with additional support in the legislature.

OFA (Organizing for America, formerly Obama's campaign organization but now working on issues nation-wide) can also use the help of we New Yorkers in organizing out of state via phone-calls or canvassing trips. Even a few hours a week will help -- so much is now done on line, you can sit in your living room and organize.

Demonstrations are great -- I've been in many -- but change takes VOTES. We need to defeat these bad laws and move our nation forward, on race and many other issues. Put your anger to work, people.

Jul. 15 2013 11:26 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

@ The Truth from Becky

You wrote:

"Clearly that law was passed by and for the gun toting cowards in Florida who cannot hold their own in a physical confrontation. This law backs them so they can approach and verbally provoke you into throwing the first punch."

Yes, I guess all those women who can't take or throw a punch are cowards, they should just lay down and let a man beat or rape them, maybe to death, while pummeling their assailant lightly until the darkness overtakes them.

And those men, those "cowards" who haven't been trained to fight or earned their stripes in street scraps or prison riots should also be at the mercy of violent criminals, because they're not real men unless they can beat another man down. What a world you live in Becky with the truth.

HOW ABOUT NOT attacking someone who is provoking you? How about walking away or calling the cops if necessary. Where is all this provoking taking place? And how is speaking to someone a provocation? What are you even talking about? You seem to want a "survival of the dumbest/strongest" world where brutal he-men rule with their fists? Good for you! Quite a utopian vision.

Jul. 15 2013 11:25 AM
gary from queens


I can't believe how much Brian is towing the race baiter's line!!!!

If Brian was in Trayvon's position that night, he would have asked Zimmerman why he was following him. Brian would have informed Zimmerman that he was a guest at hid dad's home in that community.

Or if Zimmerman had not approached Brian, then Brian would have said the same thing to the police.

He might have had to explain why he was walking on the wet grass behind the homes, as opposed to the sidewalk, but that's about it. end of story. no shooting.

Brian WOULD NOT have turned around from his destination, and AMBUSH Zimmerman with a mixed martial arts attack.

And I dare say, Brian would not have been high on pot!!!

Jul. 15 2013 11:22 AM
blacksocialist from BKbaby

Hey Gary aka knuckledragger

your comment evidences your total lack of rationality because you so agree with the indiscriminate murdering of innocent individuals. you conservatives are so pathetic that you have to jump into and out of hoops to justify your warped view of the world... it's just so pathetic..... now go back to your cave, with edwayd and jgarb

Jul. 15 2013 11:17 AM
Karen from NYC

As a (white) parent:

I told my son, who is in his early twenties, that Trayvon was followed and killed, and that his murder was not properly investigated at the time that it occurred, because Trayvon was black. I also told him that the law in Florida -- Stand Your Ground (even if you were the aggressor -- see my previous post); burden on the prosecution to show a killing was NOT self-defense -- made it very difficult to reach a guilty verdict, given the poor evidence, and that the fault was not with the jury, but with the police, who didn't investigate but took Zimmerman's statements at face value, and the laws. Ultimately, racial prejudice was the cause of Trayvon's death.

Interesting, and tragic: illustrating what I thought had occurred -- that Zimmerman had followed Trayvon and attempted to detain him ("Get off," Rachel though she heard Trayvon say), I reached out and grabbed my son's arm. Immediately -- although I was his Mom and we were in our kitchen -- he angrily pulled away and said, "What are you doing?" This meant to me that Trayvon had reacted in the way that every young man would have reacted if grabbed by a stranger. Zimmerman is morally at fault, as are the police; but the laws (including the ones that let Zimmerman carry a gun) failed Trayvon.

Jul. 15 2013 11:13 AM
The Truth from Becky

I promise you we are NOT on the same side of this issue MR. wannabe BAD! Floridians, registered voters only you can change the law as I explained it below. Clearly that law was passed by and for the gun toting cowards in Florida who cannot hold their own in a physical confrontation. This law backs them so they can approach and verbally provoke you into throwing the first punch. Why the jury believed GZ, a proven liar is another question. No gun, no pursuit, no one dead.

Jul. 15 2013 11:12 AM
gary from queens


It was not the police who suggested----suggested---that zimm not pursue trayvon. IT WAS A 911 OPERATOR.

AND, The court evidence shows that Zimmerman had stopped following trayvon when the 911 operated made that suggestion.


Jul. 15 2013 11:08 AM
Logetty = lojtee from Maplewood, NJ

My conversation with my 4 lovely sons is that
1) racism robs people of their common sense and intelligence
2) They have to know that there is no truth to racial ideology
3) rather it is greed, selfisness, pride, depravity of the soul

I am frightened for my 4 beautiful sons. They have to deal with compromised people who are unable to assess a situation because racism limits their critical thinking ability. My Hope is Christ alone, not what America calls Justice, Freedom, Fairness, Laws,....

America has been so robbed by racism, we are not functionsl

i.e., lobby, prison owners lobby to get more laws in place to have more prisoners /$$$$$$, our schools are poorly funded but more police force on streets to monitor our children so that they could be easily funneled into the prison industry.

Jul. 15 2013 11:06 AM
Karen from NYC

Brian -- see below at 2(a):

776.041 Use of force by aggressor.—The justification described in the preceding sections of this chapter is not available to a person who:
(1) Is attempting to commit, committing, or escaping after the commission of, a forcible felony; or
(2) Initially provokes the use of force against himself or herself, unless:
(a) Such force is so great that the person reasonably believes that he or she is in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm and that he or she has exhausted every reasonable means to escape such danger other than the use of force which is likely to cause death or great bodily harm to the assailant; or
(b) In good faith, the person withdraws from physical contact with the assailant and indicates clearly to the assailant that he or she desires to withdraw and terminate the use of force, but the assailant continues or resumes the use of force.

Jul. 15 2013 11:05 AM
gqlewis from Atlanta, GA

How is that a black woman in Florida fires a warning shot and gets sentenced to 20 years for not shooting anyone, and Zimmerman gets nothing for killing an unarmed black minor. System failure to the max.

Jul. 15 2013 11:04 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

@ The Truth from Becky

I think you wrote a few weeks ago that "the jury will decide". Guess what? They decided. Not guilty of murder, forever.

That's the anthem get'cha damn hands UP!

Jul. 15 2013 11:01 AM

George Zimmerman’s brother Robert is complaining that the widespread judgment that George’s not guilty verdict is unjust means that George will have to be “looking over his shoulder the rest of his life”.

Given that George’s admitted actions caused Trayvon Martin to spend all the life time that was left to him, from the moment that he realized George was following him, looking over his shoulder in fear, what could be more just than that George should spend the all the life time that is left to him looking over his shoulder in fear?

Isn’t it obvious that for George Zimmerman to have to spend the rest of his life looking over his shoulder will be exactly the kind of appropriate penalty, the contrapasso that Dante’s Inferno made clear that true justice demands for wrongdoing when it manages to evade or corrupt proper governmental justice?

From today on, shouldn’t George Zimmerman--a known killer--be followed, wherever he is seen, by volunteers, armed where legal, who take care to not do anything illegal, but demand every few minutes to know what he is up to, where he is going, why he is walking where he is walking, etc?

Jul. 15 2013 11:01 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

"That the dishonest and fascist left turns a blind eye to the deaths of black people at the hand of other black people"

ED, 10's of millions were killed in WW2, we pay more attention to the 6 million who died in the holocaust - you know why? Because they were killed for what they were?

Not saying this was the case in FL. but that is the perception - hence the outrage.

Your "blacks kill each other all the time" narrative, is tired and sloppy. Sadly, I'm not surprised, it's coming from you.

Jul. 15 2013 11:00 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

@ The Truth from Becky

YES, we finally agree! You wrote:

"IF "someone" approaches you and questions and you respond physically you will be shot!Doesn't matter if the person has been pursing you, doesn't matter that the person does not identify themselves, doesn't matter if you are afraid. IF you defend yourself as a result of that fear you will be killed."

Well, not exactly, you may NOT be shot, but yes, if someone approaches you and questions you, even without identifying themselves, and that makes you afraid and you lash out in a physically violent manner then you are liable to be shot by someone carrying a gun if that response in commensurate with the amount of force you're using.

Solution: TALK with people who approach you without identifying themselves, determine what it is they want, they may be from Publisher's Clearing House and you may have won 1 Million Dollars! You may be on some hidden camera show or you may even meet a long lost relative who wants to give you 1 Million Dollars!

Do you want to pummel the Publisher's Clearing House Cracker ? C'mon, can't you see how silly you're being?

Jul. 15 2013 10:55 AM
Joe from nearby

"The fundamental danger of an acquittal is not more riots, it is more George Zimmermans." -Jay Smooth

Jul. 15 2013 10:54 AM
Levy from Manhattan

TO Ben

You want to try to beat up on a dead kid ... elevating your ( am I supposed to believe you ?) excuses to belittle Trevon's Killing with Fox/Limbaugh BS?

That type of racism is dribbling all over your bib

Criminal records? Let's start ..... Republican D Issa from California was a car thief.. G Bush on Cocaine .. etc etc

Jul. 15 2013 10:51 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

@Ben, aka Guilliani lite:

Was Zimmernam an angel before that night? Are you? If someone unnecessarily kills you, is it ok for them to bring up all the unrelated, hearsay, less than stellar things you've done in your life?

Jul. 15 2013 10:49 AM
The Truth from Becky

Not Guilty DOES NOT EQUAL Innocent. He is a murderer, forever.

Jul. 15 2013 10:49 AM
Amy from Manhattan

So many people who weren't there & didn't see what happened are sure they know exactly what happened & why, & what was in the heads of both of them. There was more evidence from people who heard or saw something than I expected, but it was all "it looked like" or "I now believe the person on top was Trayvon Martin." From what I heard, none of the evidence was definitive enough to eliminate reasonable doubt, & the prosecution didn't do as good a job w/what evidence there was as they could have, which is exactly what I was worried would happen. The legal requirement for proof beyond a reasonable doubt meant that the jury had to acquit George Zimmerman.

Jul. 15 2013 10:48 AM

people like the 2nd caller are going to defend "tribal whiteness", just because. it's not about the case,it's about the bigger sense of identity,and standing up for "the team". these people can't be talked to, because to defend "the other" is seen as an attack on them. it's a zero sum insane world that they live in.

Jul. 15 2013 10:47 AM
Ron Voller

Though his death is a tragedy, it isn't quite correct, in my opinion, to say that Trayvon Martin was innocent. He was innocent of any wrong doing prior to his being killed. But, could he have simply gone home? He was apparently just down the block when he was shot. We may never know the answer but if the argument is that he was fed up and went back to confront Zimmerman, that was a mistake. And if he attacked him, he is guilty of not turning the other cheek. Doesn't condone his murder but it is important to remember that escalation is a game for two.

Jul. 15 2013 10:47 AM
The Truth from Becky

Stop deflecting to other cases...forget statistics on other crimes by since this incident..they are not relevant in this case.

The State of Florida, more specifically the city of Sanford has just put you on notice: IF "someone" approaches you and questions and you respond physically you will be shot!

Doesn't matter if the person has been pursing you, doesn't matter that the person does not identify themselves, doesn't matter if you are afraid. IF you defend yourself as a result of that fear you will be killed.

And IF you should survive the shooting, you will be prosecuted as the aggressor, this is currently the law in Sanford, FL.

Jul. 15 2013 10:46 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

The left wing liberals who accuse everyone else of being "racists" generally do not themselves live in predominantly black or hispanic neighborhoods. They try to assuage their own inner fears by projecting and casting the "racist" label on everyone else.

Jul. 15 2013 10:46 AM
Escape from NY from Manhattan

Mr. Lehrer just read Mayor Bloomberg's response to the Zimmerman verdict ---- I started spitting out my water--- Trayvon Martin was profiled by Mr. Zimmerman ---- the same thing Mayor Bloomberg's NYPD does every single day to Black and Hispanic young men --- his hypocrisy is astounding .

Jul. 15 2013 10:46 AM
Levy from Manhattan

Bob is an excellent example of the Zimmermin apologists.. Bob is just like the neighbors that may have asked "what calibre"

Kid was Black? is he dead yet? if not then why isn't he dead?...... People like Bob don't care about Trevon and will make, entertain, fantasize, concoct, convince themselves of any excuse to allow their racism to express itself ...

Jul. 15 2013 10:44 AM

@RJ from prospect hts

"I don't understand why Zimmerman wasn't in violation of the law (and whatever came after) when he ignored a direct police order to stay in his car. Doesn't that make him responsible for whatever followed?"

Because the police NEVER told him to stay in his car. The POLICE DISPATCHER said, "We don't need you to do that." when Zimmerman answered the question "Are you following him?" in the affirmative.

@Mr. Bad from NYC
"Uhm, don't start fights with strangers? Maybe that? Think before you act, call the police if you're really "scared"... all the things my parents told me and I'm a white man."

More likely...Avoid the confrontation if you can. Call the cops if you can't. But if the cops can't get there to stop things, MAKE SURE YOUR AROUND TO TELL YOUR SIDE OF THE STORY. That is, this decision will cause more innocent deaths.

Jul. 15 2013 10:43 AM


Can you sme day examine the racism underlying the Stand Your Ground Laws (i.e. Shoot First Laws)? Thanks.

"It IS About Race: Study Finds Significant Racial Bias In ‘Stand Your Ground’ Laws"

Jul. 15 2013 10:43 AM
Ben from Manhattan

The police never told Zimmerman to stay in the car as is being repeated over and over. An operator told him he did not have to follow. That is not the same thing. Tryvon was far from an angel, had been suspended from school multiple times, been involved in fights, beat a bus driver, had possession of stolen jewelry and was expelled for it, owned an illegal firearm etc. This whole situation has turned into a zoo.

Jul. 15 2013 10:43 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

"Nobody testified to any suspicious activity by Trayvon Martin" - Brian

Brian, Trayvon Martin was not on trial. Nor is their a crime of being "suspicious".

How about some frigging' context? What about all the violent break ins at the community, the thefts, the neighborhood in fear? This wasn't just some sort of vigilante action. Zimmerman was following someone he perceived as suspicious in his own neighborhood, he was head of the neighborhood watch, he may have felt like it was his responsibility to follow Martin and find out what he was up to. NONE OF HIS NEIGHBORS TESTIFIED AGAINST HIM, INCLUDING HIS BLACK NEIGHBORS. Where it went from there is ALL SPECULATION.

Jul. 15 2013 10:42 AM
Bob from Huntington

T. D. Allman discussing his new book "Finding the Sunshine State" on Leonard Lopate's show last month mentioned among other things that during its colonial period white citizens of Florida were permitted by law to essentially shoot black people with little need to demonstrate justification.

Jul. 15 2013 10:42 AM
Karen from NYC

My sister and brother-in-law are on neighborhood watch in FL. My brother-in-law says that, if you see something suspicious, you are supposed to call 911 and wait for the police to show up - not get out of your car with a gun.

Jul. 15 2013 10:41 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Because some of the wars are winding down overseas, the left-wing media needs to provoke a race war in the US so that they can keep their jobs. They need to manufacture crises every day to justify their 24 hour "news cycle." If there is no war, they have to create one.

Jul. 15 2013 10:41 AM
Doreen in Queens

Brain - can you ask Patricia why the jury was only a 6 person all-women jury? Aren't there good reasons that Jury's usually comprised of 12 people. I think there are big problems with the law, that's why he got off.
It's obvious that Trayvon was targeted just because he was black.

Jul. 15 2013 10:40 AM
Joe from nearby

The caller from Mountainside really needs to crawl back under his rock. Hey dude- who deputized Zimmerman, ans appointed you God?! Go spew you foxtalkingpoints somewhere else.

I sure hope your kids never went through what happened to Trayvon. Oh wait, that's right- you're white so that won't ever happen!

Jul. 15 2013 10:40 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

@ ED, What does that video has to do with this case?

If I happen to be Jewish, should I feel "extra outraged" because Bernie Madoff stole millions? Typical collective pogrom type blame you advocate.

What despicable juxtapositions you write.

Jul. 15 2013 10:39 AM
Nat from NYC

The caller is wrong, Zimmerman was not "supposed to" follow anyone. The Police told him NOT to, to stay in his car. The Police were on the way, and Zimmerman was supposed to back off. His failure to do so is the "but for" cause of Martin's death.

Jul. 15 2013 10:39 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Wasn't the case of the woman who fired a gun when her (ex-?)husband came after her 2nd-degree *attempted* murder? From what I heard, he wasn't shot, let alone killed.

Jul. 15 2013 10:39 AM
Karen from NYC

I looked up FL Stand Your Ground law and even if Zimmerman had provoked the Trayvon to defend himself, he still could have successfully plead self defense if he could show that, at the time that he fired the shot, his life was in danger and he couldn't get away. Also, the burden was on the prosecutor to show that it was NOT self defense - dont know if the burden shifts if the shooter provoked the attack.

I agree with Prof. Williams.

Jul. 15 2013 10:38 AM
gary from queens

The function of a neighborhood WATCH is to WATCH!!! DUHHH!

Civic-minded people like Zimmerman join police auxillary and safety patrols to keep their community safe. They don't sit home and allow criminals to take over their neighborhoods.

Their job is to observe and report to police. That's what Zimmerman did. But Zimmerman needed to report to the police where Trayvon went off to, otherwise, what good are having police come?

So Zimmerman needed to look for him. Liberals rant that he "stalked" Trayvon. That is a loaded term. They allege that Zimmerman wanted to engage with Trayvon. Perhaps. That's what neighborhood watchs do. They ask strangers if they are a guest in the community or reside there. But Maybe Zimmerman just wanted to get Trayvon's address, like he told police. Zimmerman had never stalked and assaulted a suspect in the past. He always called and waited for the cops.

Police always suggest caution to police auxillaries and good samaritans. They are concerned for the safety of the civillian, but they dont often issue stern orders to back off, because they defer to the judgment of the person on the scene. Zimmerman wanted to keep eyes on the suspect. As Zimmerman complained UNDER HIS BREATH, this is how they get away. Risky or not, it was his decision to make.

Martin was 50 yards from his home and Zimm lost track of him. Martin has a 30 second head start and could have gone home. But instead, he turned around and headed towards Zimmerman to assault him.

Trayvon could have been a burgler casing homes. All he had to do was tell Zimmerman that he was a guest there, and that would have been the end of it. Instead, the only thing he said to Zimmerman was that he was going to kill him, and then he proceeded to do just that.

Zimmerman was watching over his neighbors, including Trayon's father. (it could have been any other resident on the watch that night.) He didnt deserve to be beaten senseless or killed. And that would have happened if Zimmerman didnt have a gun. This is how guns save life and limb.

YES YES YES, Trayvon didnt want to be followed. Fine. But he had no right to return from his home and go back to were Zimmerman was and attack him. Trayvon was not in danger. he could have asked Zimmerman why he was being followed. He could have called the police instead of his friend.

Trayvon got shot, because of HIS OWN ACTIONS. Belligerant and foolish actions. Zimmerman is being punished for not being black enough. merely hispanic. He's also being punished for not residing in Chicago, where killing black kids doesnt seem to raise any eyebrows.

Jul. 15 2013 10:37 AM
Joyce from NYC

@John from Bklyn

RUCB, You have been spoiled by 20 years of Giuliani and Bloomberg.

What makes you think that in places outside of New York the police do their job, or even show up?

Thirty years ago I joined the auxiliary police in NYC and patrolled my neighborhood. Crime and police protection were very different then.

Jul. 15 2013 10:37 AM


Check out this awesome video "Old Man Rants About Trayvon Martin Murder & George Zimmerman"

Jul. 15 2013 10:37 AM
Mike from Prospect Heights

The Atlantic Editor Ta-Nahisi Coates makes some excellent points in a piece published overnight Saturday night:

"Trials don't work as strict 'moral surrogates.' Not everything that is immoral is illegal -- nor should it be. I want to live in a society that presumes innocence. I want to live in that society even when I feel that a person should be punished."

Coates wrote that arguing for Zimmerman's arrest was surely justifiable but arguing for his conviction may not have been. The jury simply had no ability to counter Zimmerman's basic narrative because there were no other eye-witnesses.

"It's worth remembering that what caused a national outcry was not the possibility of George Zimmerman being found innocent, but that there would be no trial at all," Coates wrote. "This case was really unique because of what happend with the Sanford police. If you doubt this, ask yourself if you know the name 'Jordan Davis.' Then ask yourself how many protests and national media reports you've seen about him."

(See "On the Killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman", The Atlantic, Jul 14 2013, 3:22 AM ET)

Jul. 15 2013 10:37 AM
Edith from Manhattan

I'm sorry, but Brian along with the guest are ignoring facts of the case to what end - to stoke violence? Z had lost sight of TM and then was attacked when talking to the operator. He was then thrown on the grown and beaten. Only then did he fire his weapon. This race bating needs to stop. I am shocked with the coverage here.

Jul. 15 2013 10:35 AM
Carlos from New York City

The Martin family should be fighting to get the "stand your ground" law repealed because it is fundamentally flawed. Pursuing a lawsuit based on civil rights violations is, I think, going to be fruitless.

Jul. 15 2013 10:35 AM
Joe from nearby

"That's some fine police work there, Lou."

Jul. 15 2013 10:34 AM

"Preventive self-defense"??????

Can Jochar Zarnaev plead this?

Jul. 15 2013 10:34 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

@ RUCB_Alum

"Play the game with me for a minute...You are the father/mother of a black son...What do you tell him after this? How do you instruct him to behave?"

Uhm, don't start fights with strangers? Maybe that? Think before you act, call the police if you're really "scared"... all the things my parents told me and I'm a white man.

Jul. 15 2013 10:32 AM
RJ from prospect hts

I don't understand why Zimmerman wasn't in violation of the law (and whatever came after) when he ignored a direct police order to stay in his car. Doesn't that make him responsible for whatever followed?

Jul. 15 2013 10:30 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

1) It is a tragedy that the 17 year old Trayvon Martin, a young man, NOT a child, died in this altercation.

2) A community watch patrol should CALL the police (who are trained to deal with suspicious activity), and NOT PERFORM policing.

3) It is despicable that the fascist left and race hustlers are exploiting this tragedy in their hope to create anger.

Why is Trayvon Martins tragic death more worthy of marches, demonstrations, than the deaths of Black people at the hand of other Black people?

Home Invasion in Millburn NJ caught on nanny cam - brutal beating in f

The above is a nanny cam video of a big black guy beating a little white woman.

The savage beat the woman with his fists, he threw her down the steps to the basement.

Where is the despicable al sharton on the above attack?

Jul. 15 2013 10:28 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Should we make it legal to assault someone just because they are following you, or staring at you, or making you feel uncomfortable? By what right did Trayvon have to assault Zimmerman? Because he was being followed by Zim? Because Zim made Trayvon nervous? If some 6' 1" teen jumped on me and started hitting me, and if I were armed, I might have done the same. But then, I've never had a gun and still survived life in some of the worst times and neigbhorhoods, but then I'm good at hiding and avoiding altercations, if at all possible.

Jul. 15 2013 10:28 AM

@John from Bklyn

"I'm for Australia-type gun control, but the facts of this case show that an unarmed George Zimmerman would most likely been killed."

WRONG!! An unarmed George Zimmerman doesn't even get out of his car. He waits for the cops to do their job.

Jul. 15 2013 10:28 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

@ Sheldon from Brooklyn

Yes, Juries do not find people "innocent", only "not guilty". But when someone is found "not guilty" in our justice system they are forever "innocent" of that crime (because double jeopardy). If you want to win on that technicality, you win a point. The larger point is that this matter is closed forever and whatever demonstrations there will be the legal system should not be used as a tool for revenge, which is what this silly DOJ talk is all about.

Jul. 15 2013 10:28 AM


Have you seen the image that's going viral of MLK in a hoody?

Jul. 15 2013 10:26 AM
John from Bklyn

I'm for Australia-type gun control, but the facts of this case show that an unarmed George Zimmerman would most likely been killed.

Jul. 15 2013 10:23 AM
Joe from nearby

There once was a defendant named Zim,

Who killed an innocent kid on a whim.

"Not guilty,' he'd plead,

And the jury agreed,

'Cuz in the end they were just like him.

Jul. 15 2013 10:23 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

@ Mr. Bad " "Not Guilty" and "Innocent" are interchangeable in the context of a jury finding."

Not sure where you got your law degree but I will have to respectfully disagree.

Jul. 15 2013 10:20 AM
Nat from NYC


Jul. 15 2013 10:18 AM

The bad actor here is Florida's 'Stand Your Ground' law. If Zimmerman hadn't felt this law was 'on his side' he might not have confronted Martin, at all. Does anyone think that Zimmerman gets out of his car if he doesn't have a gun on him?

Play the game with me for a minute...You are the father/mother of a black son...What do you tell him after this? How do you instruct him to behave?

Jul. 15 2013 10:17 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

This guest is wrong, Zimmerman could claim his 5th amendment rights in a civil trial and not testify. In some cases the judge has discretion but this is not usually controversial.

@Sheldon from Brooklyn

"Not Guilty" and "Innocent" are interchangeable in the context of a jury finding. The jury doesn't find him "innocent" like god does, they find the defendant "innocent" of Murder or Manslaughter. Or not guilty of Murder or Manslaughter. It's not a real hard concept.

Jul. 15 2013 10:14 AM

White or black it doesn't matter. If traveling in states like Florida beware, those governments allow crazy people to carry guns and hunt the rest of us. Bad laws, bad effects.

Jul. 15 2013 10:13 AM
uscdadnyc from Queens

I am glad President Obama gave a Responsible Non-Inflammatory Statement following the Not-Guilty Verdict. Previously, President Obama "Played the Race Card" by saying that "... if [he] had a son, [the son] would look like Trayvon Martin..." Why didn't President Obama express the same type of Statement about DeMarquise Elkins? Elkins is the 17-yr old who is accused of killing a 13-month old Baby Boy in Brunswick, Ga. (March 2013).

Jul. 15 2013 10:12 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

You can be angry all you want, but following somebody is not a crime,but hitting someone who is following you is an assault. The jury came up with the correct verdict: Zimmerman was innocent of murder or even manslaughter. There is no point in racializing this incident, because if we racialize every time there is an altercation between people of different ethnicities, races or religions, then this country is doomed. It will set the country back 50 years. The US will become like the Balkans or the Middle East.

Jul. 15 2013 10:11 AM
gary from queens


I'm afraid that includes this program, for not having fair counterpoint. It has resulted in inflammed passions about race. And I felt that was intended to taint the jury pool. The media all referenced the story as a "shooting of an unarmed black teen by a white neightborhood watch captain." Forgetting that Zimmerman was Hispanic and part black! Yet that was the story recap by every media.

Then democrat seminar callers deluged radio talk shows, with their democrat talking points repeated over and over..... "he was profiling" ....."he was stalking" the whole nonsense got a good airing for a year. After the trial, MSM is now talking up and talking to pro Martin people. No pro Zimm people. That is not journalism.

And let's not forget the parents from the 60's, like Trayvon's parents perhaps. They'RE still bitching about it as if the conditions of inequality never improved since then. Their children are listening. whether intentional or not, they are inculcating resentment in their children. resentment over decades old descrimination. They're producing lot's of Trayvons. If it weren't for these race-obsessed lefties, there would be less Trayvons who would bristle upon being approached by a "white hispanic" with police powers to the extent justified to inquire about his presence in the gated community.

Trayvon had the right to have ignored Zimmerman, or told him to get lost. But instead, the young pugilist, who foolishly thought he was dealing with a "cracker" (he should have looked up the word first), assaulted Zimmerman and seemed intent to do great bodily harm, at least according to the physical evidence. But Trayvon had no right or justification to assault Zimm.

We cannot redress past racial wrongs by commiting more wrongs in the opposite direction. One doesnt compensate for the other. We reap what we sow.

Jul. 15 2013 10:11 AM

Patricia Williams had spoken on this program before and her views on this case appear to be extremely biased.

Why is the same racist invited to this program without anybody to confront her bigoted statements?

Jul. 15 2013 10:10 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Mr. Aptly named "Bad" - you lost me after your first sentence. The jury could not find Zimmerman guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, hence - he was found not guilty - not as you wrongly said - "innocent."

I don't know Zimmerman. I don't know if he is a racist or not. I do agree with you that with the help of the media and others goading the public (blacks included) into making judgements about Zimmerman's motives, without all the facts, was not helpful. Thankfully - we have a justice system (if one has a good lawyer) to buffer that.

The facts are however: Zimmerman may have been "justified" in doing what he felt necessary to save his life. However, a teenager is dead because Zimmerman made some terrible decisions that night - beforehand.

A lot of otherwise decent people make the horrible decision of driving, answering a text, running a red light, and killing a family of four and are held criminally accountable - Zimmerman was not for his actions.

A massive wrongful death civil suit will be a start.

Jul. 15 2013 10:08 AM
rose-ellen from jackson heights

Societal racism is evident in this case. Being angry while black is a death sentence. Trayvon got angry at being followed but he was not armed. He wasn't looking for a fight. The image of the six foot tall black man beating on a white man conjures a fear in societies mind.

Trayvon was standing HIS ground until George Zimmerman used a more deadly force vilifying Trayvons right to self defense. One guy was defending himself with his fist, the other guy uses a gun and we go with the guy with a gun.As Benjamin Jelous said;the young black man has to be afraid of the good guy, the bad guy and the cop.

Lesson learned;with a stand your ground law you have to use deadly force because the last man standing is innocent. The law was passed with imagery of the six foot tall beat down, not for the armed neighborhood watchman but who has more to fear?

Jul. 15 2013 10:05 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

I don't agree that our justice system is "just fine" the way it is. There is clear and compelling evidence that black defendants in the criminal justice system are sentenced to death more often, have higher bail imposed, are incarcerated at higher rates and receive less able representation overall.

Some of these problems are due to the poverty of black defendants and some of it is owed only to their race, or rather the perception of their race by the predominately white establishment. But hear this, for once, this verdict was not predicated on race but on law.

You don't have to accept the verdict is fair but it is not unjust, in fact it is the exact opposite of unjust. It is why we have the law in the first place The law is a bulwark against EXACTLY THIS SORT of widespread and moronic, baseless ignorance which in its pervasiveness is not unlike the white racism so common before the civil rights movement. The ironing is delicious.

If Trayvon were white and Zimmerman were black and we were in Mississippi 50 years ago I'd feel the exact same way about the result of the case given the circumstances.

Jul. 15 2013 10:02 AM
gary from gary

The riots over Zimmerman began months ago.

In the two months following Trayvon Martin’s death, black assailants carried out at least 14 fourteen known attacks against white victims with the idea of “avenging” the fallen youth. In East Toledo, six juveniles beat a 78-year-old white man, shouting: “This is for Trayvon … Trayvon lives, white [man]. Kill that white [man]!” In Gainesville, five blacks shouting “Trayvon!” beat a 27-year-old white man, leaving his face permanently disfigured.

Unlike George Zimmerman’s shooting of Trayvon Martin, these attacks were clearly racially motivated, but the media didn’t swarm down on them, Obama didn’t make any emotional speeches about them and the DOJ’s best and brightest community organizers didn’t begin training protesters to agitate the crowds and stir up talk of race riots. The Zimmerman case was supposed to teach about the evils of white privilege, while these attacks could teach only about black privilege.

None of the protestors today care in the slightest that hundreds of Trayvons in Chicago who are gunned down. The reason is the shooters happen to be black. There is no evidence Zimmerman was racist. But in order for liberals and blacks to redress past wrongs of society, they are willing to destroy the life of an innocent man. Yes, innmocent. Not even manslaughter was warranted. People with depraved indifference do not call the police to come!!!!

The American justice system is not racist against blacks. (tho apparantly, it's racist against "WHITE" hispanics. Normally, it's been color blind, with the exception of the color green. Money gets you a better defense. But this state prosecutor, who was given the job to placate the mob, said she was going to get justice for Trayvon. THAT IS NOT THE MISSION OF THE STATE'S ATTORNEY!!!! It never has been.

The Department of Justice has become expert at manipulating it for racial ends, exonerating the Black Panthers for their racist voter intimidation while targeting George Zimmerman because the man he shot might have looked like Obama’s hypothetical son.

Jul. 15 2013 09:47 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

@ Linda from East Village

Questions re the Zimmerman case:

RE: 1.There is no hate crime case. There is even less evidence (as in zero, nada, nothing) that Zimmerman was racist or motivated by racial animus than there was evidence he was a murderer. Confirmed by FBI investigation:

Would DOJ call FBI incompetent or Disregard FBI report? I don't think so.

RE: 2. Federal District Court for that part of Florida would be venue.

RE: 3. Yes, he can avoid testifying and yes he can leave the country to avoid being personally served, however, owing to the fact his attorneys have already stated that they will fight any civil action that seems unlikely.

RE: 4. IDK

Jul. 15 2013 09:40 AM
antonio from baySide

Brian, can we go into the Florida law that allowed Zimmerman not to be arrested after he killed someone?

Is it true they didn't give Zimmerman a drug test, but did one on Trayvon Martin?

Jul. 15 2013 09:31 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

From promoting Obama’s un-presidential, unprofessional and downright despicable comments on the case (PRIOR to the trial!) ... to the dishonest, reprehensible editing by NBC of a “tape” of Zimmerman’s 911 call to make it sound racist – the media has attempted a modern day, leftist version of a lynching.

Jul. 15 2013 09:26 AM
Linda from East Village

Questions re the Zimmerman case:

1. Can't David Boies and Ted Olson and their legal team be brought in for the federal investigation into a possible hate crime? This could be a continuation in their battle for civil liberties.

2. Assuming a federal trial results from this investigation, does that trial have to be held locally, in Florida? (It appears it does.)

3. Regarding any civil suits brought by the Martin family, can Zimmerman avoid testifying there too? Is he not free to leave the country to avoid appearing in court?

4. Is there any indication why Officer Serino apparently changed his mind about Zimmerman's culpability?

Jul. 15 2013 08:54 AM

Because a 35 minute segment of the Brian Lehrer radio show is not even remotely close to enough time to conduct a serious analysis of the Trayvon Martin case, I implore and beg Brian Lehrer to agree to moderate a special 5 hour Town Hall Forum at the Greene Space to be aired live over WNYC AM and FM and streamed live at WNYC.ORG that would include several panels consisting of Henry Louis Gates, Charles Ogletree, Randall Kennedy, Stephen L. Carter, Patricia Williams, Michelle Alexander, Julianne Malveaux, Marian Wright Edelman, Anita Hill, Lani Guinier, Nell Irvin Painter, John McWhorter, Bob Herbert, Errol Louis, Leonard Pitts, Charles Blow, Les Payne, Stanley Crouch, Roland Martin, William Jelani Cobb, Peniel E. Joseph, Richard Prince, Carol Jenkins, Carole Simpson, and Eric Deggans among others. The Town Hall Forum should address how our legal system allowed George Zimmerman to get away with murder, the racial stereotyping of Trayvon Martin carried out by the MSM, and where do we go from here.

Jul. 15 2013 08:28 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

The decision was the only one the jury could have arrived at given the evidence. A great victory for justice and our system of law against media organized mob rule.

Unfortunately Trayvon Martin is dead and George Zimmerman, despite having been exonerated in a court of law, is a marked man.

Where is the media now that Zimmerman is found innocent of all charges but still receiving legit death threats? They are fanning the flames, again, abetting a lynching (a lynching is an extrajudicial execution) and taking us back 200 years in furtherance of what? Willful ignorance of the facts? Racial hate mongering?

Thomas Sowell (a black man) a brilliant thinker (less so an economist) recently wrote this regarding the verdict:

"I am so old that I can remember when most of the people promoting race hate were white... The moral claims advanced by generations of black leaders — claims that eventually touched the conscience of the nation and turned the tide toward civil rights for all — have now been cheapened by today’s generation of black “leaders,” who act as if it is all just a matter of whose ox is gored.

Even in legal cases involving terrible crimes — the O.J. Simpson murder trial or the charges of gang rape against Duke University students — many black “leaders” and their followers have not waited for facts about who was guilty and who was not, but have immediately taken sides, based on who was black and who was white...

The civil rights movement in 20th century America attracted many people who put everything on the line for the sake of fighting against racial oppression. But the eventual success of that movement attracted opportunists, and even turned some idealists into opportunists."

Jul. 15 2013 07:55 AM

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