Sunday, July 14, 2013

Lessons From The Zimmerman Trial

Op-Ed by Allen Bacon, The Daily Bosco

For many of us that have been following the trial of George Zimmerman, Saturday night's verdict was disappointing but not totally unexpected.

This is because Zimmerman's lawyers were able to cast reasonable doubt on the prosecution's contention that Zimmerman was the aggressor who pursued Trayvon Martin and killed him with no reason.

And the prosecution, which had the burden of proof in this case, was unable to totally refute Zimmerman's story of self-defense.

That's how the American Justice System Works.  It sometime comes down to which side presents the best argument and that is exactly what happened here.

But somewhere along the line the bigger lesson got lost.

Although the verdict, (reached by a jury of six caucasian women who will probably never fully understand what African American mothers go through) deserves to be respected, we will never know exactly what went down that fateful night 17 months ago.  Because, unlike another racially-charged case, the Rodney King Beating by the Police in Los Angeles, there was no video or even eyewitnesses that saw what really happened.

But we do know through audio that Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer and wanna-be cop made a snap judgement, instantly profiling Martin as a "____ punk" who "looks like he's up to no good".  Why?  Because he wore a hoodie and was an African American.

The other fact is that if Zimmerman had followed the real Police's instruction to get back in his truck, Trayvon Martin would still be alive today.

Nobody should be killed for going on a snack run at a convenience store.  Trayvon Martin was doing nothing wrong.

Moving forward, we need to look back. We need to look at the big picture.

Everyday, minorities in our country, especially those in the African American community are routinely stopped by authorities or viewed by others as "up to no good" for no reason than the fact that their skin color is black.

In New York City, for instance, there is a policy, which allows the police to search anyone they see as suspicious. Almost 90% of those stopped are minorities, a trend that holds even in predominantly white neighborhoods.

There is an expression among African-American men,  "driving while black" because they are routinely stopped by officers for "looking" suspicious.

This has to stop. Unless there is an actual crime taking place there should be no searching or stopping based on skin color or because the "look like they are up to no good".

With that being said, Those who are upset about the verdict should listen to Trayvon Martin's father, who requested that everyone "stay peaceful".

Just because a verdict is legally justified doesn't make it right however.

Trayvon Martin's death remains a tragedy that should have never happened.

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