Musings on Sports, Politics and Life in general

The Real Culprit in the Martin-Zimmerman Case

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Unless you live under a rock, in a cave on a deserted island, by now you’re certainly aware that George Zimmerman was acquitted of all charges in the death of Trayvon Martin. There are no heroes in this case. From what I’ve read about both of the principals, I can’t honestly see how anyone would want to emulate their behavior. George Zimmerman comes across as a power hungry hothead with more ego than common sense. Trayvon Martin was a wannabe gang-banger, sent to Sanford from Little Haiti by his mother because he had spent the past year in continuous trouble with authority.

Their chance encounter was a recipe for disaster. That it ended in one was predictable – and preventable. The real culprit is neither George Zimmerman nor Trayvon Martin, regardless of their latent anti-social tendencies. It is not the prosecutor, a woman with political aspirations who went forward with a prosecution despite lacking any evidence. It is not the original investigators, who concluded (correctly, in hindsight) that there was insufficient evidence to charge Zimmerman. It is not the jury, who reached the only conclusion feasible with the evidence presented.

The real culprits are those the residents of Sanford, FL pay to prevent these types of tragedies from happening: their police.

The Sanford police are not culprits because they let Zimmerman walk after the initial investigation. As shown during the trial there wasn’t enough evidence to warrant an arrest, much less charge with a crime. Instead, they deserve goat’s horns because their initial response was horrifically slow. Drive time from the nearest police substation to where the shooting occurred is less than 6 minutes; it took the police more than 8 to arrive after the initial call by Zimmerman to arrive. The responding officer arrived 5 seconds after the fatal shot was fired. Think about that for a moment: had the police simply driven the speed limit, the physical confrontation between the two men would have been averted. Further, the reason Zimmerman took it upon himself to patrol his neighborhood was due to a rash of robberies. There had been three in the previous five days; the description of the suspects were of “young, african-american males wearing hooded sweatshirts” (those robberies have yet to be solved).

Additionally, the management of the law enforcement in Sanford is a case study in how not to run a small city police force. The crime rate is comparable to that of notoriously crime laden large cities like New York, Newark and Miami. In the five years prior to the Martin-Zimmerman altercation, the Sanford police had been implicated in cases involving police cover-ups and racially motivated shootings. Because of the police department’s history, they left themselves open to charges of misconduct and negligence by those who looked to politically profit from the incident.

So, there’s the reality of the situation. The vast majority of us would never have heard of Trayvon Martin or George Zimmerman had the Sanford PD simply been competent.

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