Richard Cohen: In #gztrial aftermath, it’s time America STOPPED ignoring urban crime

My mind has been a mosh pit of thoughts on this topic ever since the story of the tragic confrontation between Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman first hit the national spotlight, and my thoughts on urban crime have increased tenfold in the aftermath of Zimmerman’s “not guilty” verdict.  Our President, the DOJ, and the other Usual Race-Baiting Suspects like Rev. Al and Jesse  have continued to make the Zimmerman case as one about self defense and gun laws, and – of course – racism, ignoring the fact that Zimmerman used his gun lawfully in defense of his person, and also conveniently side-stepping the fact that all signs point to Zimmerman not coming remotely close to being a racist (he was a mentor to black teens, for starters).

The back story behind Zimmerman being on his way to Target and then stopping because he saw someone he thought was suspicious was that Trayvon Martin fit the profile of  the type of young men who had burglarized the Retreat at Twin Lakes neighborhood for the past year or so:  Hispanic and black teenagers, some of them wearing hoodies.   This is the elephant in the room no one wants to talk about. While Trayvon Martin is a household name, not one of the so-called “civil rights activists” on the left are talking consistently ON A NATIONAL STAGE about any of the young black males who are murdered almost daily on the streets of Chicago, whose names none of us knows unless we live in the area. Why? Because there is no money to be made off of it, no career advancement in making black on black crime their central focus.   Sure, you may see local efforts but what about on the national level? Nothing.  And the murders continue.

Sadly, white liberals – who live in a perpetual state of liberal white guilt anyway – rush to jump on board any calls for “further investigation” into Zimmerman’s alleged “racism” while at the same time turning a blind eye to black on black crime that happens every day in urban areas.  Again, why? Because “that’s just how it is,” they’ll tell you.  Talk about racism!  “Let the black community handle it,” others will say, as if we ALL don’t have a vested interest in having EVERY person in our society be able to grow up in an environment that doesn’t see them afraid for their lives every time they walk down the street.

I find this ignorant, hypocritical attitude by self-important, narcissistic leftists unacceptable. And so does Richard Cohen. Penning an column in today’s Washington Post, Cohen – a liberal – writes (hat tip):

I don’t like what George Zimmerman did, and I hate that Trayvon Martin is dead. But I also can understand why Zimmerman was suspicious and why he thought Martin was wearing a uniform we all recognize. I don’t know whether Zimmerman is a racist. But I’m tired of politicians and others who have donned hoodies in solidarity with Martin and who essentially suggest that, for recognizing the reality of urban crime in the United States, I am a racist. The hoodie blinds them as much as it did Zimmerman.

One of those who quickly donned a hoodie was Christine Quinn, the speaker of the New York City Council. Quinn was hardly a lonesome panderer. Lesser politicians joined her and, as she did, pronounced Zimmerman a criminal. “What George Zimmerman did was wrong, was a crime,” Quinn said before knowing all of the facts and before the jury uncooperatively found otherwise. She was half-right. What Zimmerman did was wrong. It was not, by verdict of his peers, a crime.

Where is the politician who will own up to the painful complexity of the problem and acknowledge the widespread fear of crime committed by young black males? This does not mean that raw racism has disappeared, and some judgments are not the product of invidious stereotyping. It does mean, though, that the public knows young black males commit a disproportionate amount of crime. In New York City, blacks make up a quarter of the population, yet they represent 78 percent of all shooting suspects — almost all of them young men. We know them from the nightly news.

Those statistics represent the justification for New York City’s controversial stop-and-frisk program, which amounts to racial profiling writ large. After all, if young black males are your shooters, then it ought to be young black males whom the police stop and frisk. Still, common sense and common decency, not to mention the law, insist on other variables such as suspicious behavior. Even still, race is a factor, without a doubt. It would be senseless for the police to be stopping Danish tourists in Times Square just to make the statistics look good.

[…]

In the meantime, the least we can do is talk honestly about the problem. It does no one any good to merely cite the number of stop-and-frisks involving black males without citing the murder statistics as well. Citing the former and not the latter is an Orwellian exercise in political correctness. It not only censors half of the story but also suggests that racism is the sole reason for the policy. This mindlessness, like racism itself, is repugnant.

Indeed. There is no better time than now to have this uncomfortable but much-needed conversation on a national level, Unfortunately, the powers that be have no interest in meaningfully addressing what has been described by some as an “epidemic” in the black community, even though thorough and candid discussion on the issue could lead to policies and solutions that would have the potential to save more young black men’s lives than any level of gun control and any degree of “investigations” into the “racist past” of George Zimmerman that probably doesn’t even exist.  If we could just find a way for the race profiteers to make money off of it …. :(

“There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery. Then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved…. After all we have been through. Just to think we can’t walk down our own streets, how humiliating.” – Jesse Jackson, 1993

Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton

The best way to help move race relations in a better direction post-Zimmerman verdict? Refuse to allow these two serial race-hustlers the opportunity to inject their poison into it. 

Blacks killed in Chicago, July 1st to July 14th, 2013

**Posted by Phineas

When a single African-American male was killed by a Hispanic man acting in self-defense, the event became national news for over a year. We were told by the major media that this showed how violent and racist a society American still is. And yet, for the 2,236 Blacks killed in Chicago, which has strict gun control, since 2007, we don’t hear all that much outrage from that same major media.

From the excellent site Redeye, here are the names, ages, dates of death, locations, and cause of death for African Americans killed in President Obama’s hometown in the first two weeks of July, 2013.

Ernest Carter, 35
Read more
7/14/13 4000 W. Cullerton St.
North Lawndale
Gunshot
Blake Lamb, 22
Read more
7/14/13 1600 W. Jonquil Terrace
Rogers Park
Gunshot
Joseph Brewer, Jr., 16
Read more
7/14/13 10500 S. Oglesby Ave.
South Deering
Gunshot
Tommie Bates, 24
Read more 
Follow-up coverage
7/12/13 700 N. Central Ave.
Austin
Stabbing
Jeremy Morris, 25
Read more
7/12/13 6800 S. Paxton Ave.
South Shore
Gunshot
Gizzell Ford, 8
Read more 
Follow-up coverage
7/12/13 5200 W. Adams St.
Austin
Strangulation
Jeremiah Brown, 27
Read more 
Follow-up coverage
7/11/13 6300 S. Kedzie Ave.
Chicago Lawn
Gunshot
Darryl Green, 17
Read more
7/11/13 5600 S. Damen Ave.
West Englewood
Gunshot
Marlon Young, 39
Read more
7/10/13 8700 S. Throop St.
Auburn Gresham
Gunshot
Marquise Chandler, 20
Read more
7/8/13 400 S. Pulaski Rd.
West Garfield Park
Gunshot
Georgina Randell, 30
Read more 
Follow-up coverage
7/8/13 1600 S. Drake Ave.
North Lawndale
Gunshot
Ed Cooper, 15
Read more
7/8/13 600 N. Lawndale Ave.
Humboldt Park
Gunshot
Ramone Godfrey, 19
Read more
7/7/13
3:30 p.m.
HW352063
4700 S. Ashland Ave.
New City
Gunshot
Vehicle
Patricia Martin, 40
Read more
7/7/13
12:01 a.m.
HW350899
10000 S. Princeton Ave.
Roseland
Assault
Residential Yard
Terry Patterson, 48
Read more
7/6/13
5:50 p.m.
HW350944
2800 W. Flournoy St.
East Garfield Park
Gunshot
Street
Jerimiah Milsap, 24
Read more
7/6/13
7:31 a.m.
HW350172
1000 W. Maxwell St.
Near West Side
Gunshot
Street
Shavonte Howard, 20
Read more 
Follow-up coverage
7/5/13
2:47 p.m.
HW347672
5600 S. Western Ave.
Gage Park
Gunshot
Vehicle
Elliott Frazier, 26
Read more
7/5/13
6:23 a.m.
HW348705
7400 N. Paulina St.
Rogers Park
Gunshot
Street
Marlon Obanner, 31
Read more
7/4/13
9:38 p.m.
HW348220
6200 S. Marshfield Ave.
West Englewood
Gunshot
Residential Yard
Steve Mabins, 21
Read more
7/4/13
1:32 p.m.
HW347770
600 S. Francisco Ave.
East Garfield Park
Gunshot
Street
Theodis Young, 36
Read more
7/4/13
12:19 p.m.
HW347684
7300 S. Wabash Ave.
Greater Grand Crossing
Gunshot
Apartment
Ernest McMullen, 26
Read more
7/3/13
7:24 p.m.
HW346938
6600 S. Champlain Ave.
Woodlawn
Gunshot
Vehicle
Rayford Brown, 24
Read more
7/3/13
6:51 p.m.
HW346859
2400 E. 79th St.
South Shore
Gunshot
Street
William Jones, 26
Read more
7/3/13
1:16 p.m.
HW346348
8700 S. Loomis St.
Auburn Gresham
Gunshot
Street
Damani Henard, 14
Read more
7/3/13
1:02 a.m.
HW345748
5000 W. North Ave.
Austin
Gunshot
Street
Ashley Hardmon, 19
Read more
7/2/13
10:14 p.m.
HW345588
1300 N. Lamon Ave.
Austin
Gunshot
Street
Terrence Graves, 23
Read more
7/2/13
5:55 a.m.
HW344421
800 W. 99th St.
Washington Heights
Gunshot
Street
Stephon Miller, 18
Read more
7/1/13
8:30 p.m.
HW343994
10400 S. Green St.
Washington Heights
Gunshot
Street

And about these, not a word from the President, the Attorney General, the MSM, civil rights “leaders,” or the rest of the race-grievance industry.

These victims don’t fit “the narrative,” you see.

via The Diplomad

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

I have to agree with Doug Powers…

**Posted by Phineas

…and, through him, with Alan Dershowitz. If anyone should be investigated by the Feds for civil rights violations, it should be Angela Corey, the Florida state prosecutor who conducted what amounted to a Stalinist show trial against George Zimmerman:

Dershowitz singled out special prosecutor Angela Corey for “disciplinary action.”

He criticized the state’s probable-cause affidavit for not including evidence indicating Zimmerman could have been acting in self-defense, including graphic images of blood streaming from his scalp and nose.

“The prosecutor had in her possession photographs that would definitely show a judge that this was not an appropriate case for second-degree murder,” the Harvard professor told Newsmax. “She deliberately withheld and suppressed those photographs, refused to show them to the judge, got the judge to rule erroneously this was a second-degree murder case.

“That violated a whole range of ethical, professional, and legal obligations that prosecutors have. Moreover, they withheld other evidence in the course of the pretrial and trial proceedings, as has been documented by the defense team,” he said.

Dershowitz described the prosecution’s attempt late in the case to add a third-degree murder charge by asserting the shooting constituted child abuse “so professionally irresponsible as to warrant sanctions and investigations.”

Dershowitz said various legal and bar association organizations could investigate how the state handled the prosecution. He added it could warrant a federal investigation as well.

“I think people’s rights have been violated,” the famed attorney told Newsmax, “but it was the rights of the defendant and the defense team, by utterly unprofessional, irresponsible, and in my view criminal actions by the prosecutor,” he said.

I haven’t written much about this case, largely because it was clear to me early on that this was self-defense and because my blog-buddy ST was already doing stellar work.

But the issue of prosecutorial misconduct truly makes me angry. Corey took a man, against whom there was no good evidence (remember, the local PD and prosecutor had declined to file charges), and subjected him to public vilification and defamation (and she still is!), not to mention the tremendous stress and expense of a trial. His liberty was at stake and his life and the lives of his family still are.

And for what? Angela Corey’s personal political advancement? To satisfy the howling mob in the streets and the media that wanted a scapegoat to validate their damnable narrative that this was still the South of Bull Connor? What possible reason justified this prosecution persecution? Whatever it was, the result was a farce and an insult to American ideals of justice that would have Freisler and Vyshinsky nodding in approval.

We give prosecutors wide discretion in this country, which inevitably means there will be abuses. But this is the worst instance I’ve seen since the Duke rape case of 2006. It was nothing short of appalling.

If the word “justice” meant anything to the Eric Holder Department of Justice (other than the racially twisted, Orwellian definition they’re wedded to), their investigation into this case would center on Angela Corey and the judge, not George Zimmerman.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

#GZtrial: George Zimmerman’s fate now fully rests in the hands of the jury

Zimmerman Trial

The trial of George Zimmerman.
Graphic courtesy of WFTV.

Deep breaths, y’all:

George Zimmerman’s lead defense attorney urged jurors to let the Florida neighborhood watch volunteer “get back to his life” by finding him not guilty of murder or manslaughter in the 2012 confrontation that ended in the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, saying the state prove Zimmerman did anything other than defend himself.

In a low-key and methodical presentation that began early Friday, defense attorney Mark O’Mara urged the all-female, six-member jury to not “fill in the gaps” or “connect the dots,” but to stick to facts. He ridiculed prosecutors for their forceful portrayal of Zimmerman as a wannabe cop who profiled an unarmed teen when he cut through the gated community where Zimmerman lived.

“That is not an unarmed teenager!” O’Mara said, hoisting a chunk of concrete to represent the pavement Martin allegedly bashed Zimmerman’s head against before the fatal shot.

For most of the three-hour presentation, O’Mara’s style was in sharp contrast to the fiery summation delivered by lead prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda a day earlier, in which he forcefully told jurors that Zimmerman’s inaccurate “assumptions” about Martin were responsible for the teen’s death on Feb. 26, 2012. But O’Mara became more emotional toward the end, reminding jurors that even a reasonable doubt in their minds that Zimmerman committed a crime can only mean acquittal.

“It is a tragedy, truly,” O’Mara said. “But you can’t allow sympathy.”

O’Mara’s summation was followed by the prosecution’s rebuttal, in which prosecutor John Guy told jurors that Zimmerman would have had to have faced deadly force to be justified in shooting Martin. Guy showed a picture of Zimmerman’s scalp and downplayed cuts on it.

“Did that man need to kill somebody? Kill a teenager?

“Did he really need to shoot, did he have to shoot, Trayvon Martin?” Guy asked the jury. “No he did not.”

Pray.

For those who watched the last two days of closing arguments, what did you think?

#GZtrial: Rogue prosecution starts closing arguments against George #Zimmerman

Zimmerman Trial

The trial of George Zimmerman.
Graphic courtesy of WFTV.

Via Fox News:

A Florida prosecutor painted George Zimmerman as an angry vigilante who “tracked” Trayvon Martin through a gated community and provoked the confrontation that claimed the teenager’s life in a scorching summation Thursday.

“A teenager is dead,” said prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda in his closing argument. “He’s dead not just because the man made those assumptions, but because he acted on those assumptions and unfortunately, because his assumptions were wrong, Trayvon Benjamin Martin no longer walks on this Earth.”

The closing prosecution arguments brought the case one step closer to the jury. On Friday morning, defense lawyers were scheduled to present their closing arguments, followed by a prosecution rebuttal. Then the case will move to the all-female, six-member jury.

De la Rionda told the jury Thursday that Zimmerman wanted to be a police officer and that’s why he followed Martin through his neighborhood even though the teen wasn’t doing anything wrong.

“He assumed Trayvon Martin was a criminal. That is why we are here,” de la Rionda said.

Zimmerman showed ill will and hatred when he whispered profanities to a police dispatcher over his cell phone while following Martin, said de la Rionda as he urged jurors to hold Zimmerman accountable for his actions. In order to get a second-degree conviction, prosecutors must show Zimmerman showed ill will, hatred or spite.

“The law doesn’t allow people to take the law into their own hands,” de la Rionda said.

I have kept up with this trial since jury selection was over with and I can tell you right now that in the first week, before the defense ever called their first witness, reasonable doubt was flying all over the place regarding the allegations against George Zimmerman.   Nearly every single STATE witness, on cross, provided testimony that substantiated the crux of his account, which is that Trayvon Martin confronted HIM and started the fight, that Zimmerman didn’t display any “ill will” or “hatred” towards Martin.  Disgustingly enough, the state even argued at one point that POINTING A GUN IN AND OF ITSELF at another person constituted ill will and hatred towards someone else. I kid you not.  Their star witness, Rachel Jeantal – the young woman on the phone with Martin prior to the incident – is an admitted liar.  And another key witnesses’ testimony was so helpful to the defense that the state turned around and tried to discredit her w/ claims of bias!

Like I said early on, if the all-women jury of 6 didn’t gain a sense of reasonable doubt somewhere within the first couple of days – especially after EYEwitness John Good testified, God help George Zimmerman.

The defense gets to make their closing argument next, followed by a rebuttal from the state. Expect more fireworks tomorrow – and, as Florida pastors are urging, please continue to pray for a peaceful outcome, no matter the verdict ultimately reached by the jury.

Related Reading:  

#GZtrial: First full day of defense’s case underway

Zimmerman Trial

The trial of George Zimmerman.
Graphic courtesy of WFTV.

George Zimmerman’s attorneys have just started the first full day of the case they will present to the jury, and the witnesses who have testified so far are friends of Zimmerman. The defense has said they think they’ll be able to wrap up their case by Wednesday, which means there is a strong possibility the jury will get to start deliberations before the week is out.

After the state rested this past Friday, defense attorney Mark O’Mara made a plea to the judge to dismiss the case under the grounds that the state’s case did not meet the criteria for the 2nd degree murder charge that Zimmerman faces. After about an hour making his case, and a half an hour rebuttal by the state, Judge Nelson quickly denied O’Mara’s request and told the defense to call their first witness. It wasn’t exactly a surprise, as she’s been no help to the defense at all since Day 1 of this trial.

All you really need to know about the state’s case can be summed up in their Friday rebuttal to O’Mara. It was filled with lies and gross exaggerations, which I found particularly disgusting considering a man’s life is on the line here. One lie they told, arguably the biggest, was that a reasonable conclusion to draw from witness testimony is that George Zimmerman started the confrontation. If you’ve been paying close attention to the trial as I have, you’ll know that’s not even remotely true – unless you believe in admitted liar and “friend” of Trayvon Martin Rachel Jeantal. *NO ONE* saw who started the confrontation, and Jeantal was the last person to talk to Martin before everything happened. She has admitted to lies on several issues while on the stand and is not credible, and some have speculated she has been greatly coached by Martin family attorney Ben Crump.

In any event, if you can’t get to a TV, you can follow my Twitter list below of journalists and others who are live-tweeting the trial. A live feed video link is below that.


Video link:

FOX 35 News Orlando

#GZtrial: State likely to wrap up its case today

Zimmerman Trial

The trial of George Zimmerman.
Graphic courtesy of WFTV.

Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton has already testified this morning that she believes the screams heard on the 911 call were that of her son, while Trayvon’s older brother Jahvaris Fulton on cross-examination by the defense confirmed that he told a journalist a few weeks after the death of his brother that he was not sure if it was his brother screaming. It should be noted that Tracy Martin, Trayvon’s father, initially stated to investigators that the screams on the 911 call were NOT his son, but later changed his mind. The state is likely not to call him to testify, but you can expect the defense to.

The medical examiner is now testifying for the state. You can watch a Twitter feed of journalists live-tweeting the trial and other key players commentating on it below. A Fox35 Orlando live feed video is below that.


Video link:

FOX 35 News Orlando

#GZtrial: State tries to discredit own witness after favorable defense testimony

Zimmerman Trial

The trial of George Zimmerman.
Graphic courtesy of WFTV.

As everyone knows already, the trial of George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin started on Monday. I’ve not been able to watch it live but have kept up with it pretty well through a Twitter list of journos and other key players I created.  The list is like a virtual play by play of what’s happening, what’s being said, etc at the trial, and reading it you almost feel like you’re there.  For those who want to watch it online live, you can do so by visiting WESH.com.

Anyway, the big story of the week so far has been the testimony of Trayvon Martin’s friend Rachel Jeantel, the young woman who was the last to speak with Martin (on the phone) shortly before he was shot and killed at the Retreat at Twin Lakes neighborhood in Sanford, FL on a rainy night in February 2012.   It is her deposition to the state that is the primary basis for their charge of 2nd degree murder against George Zimmerman.  In her initial deposition to the state, Jeantel essentially said that Trayvon gave her somewhat of a play by play of what was happening.  Zimmerman watching him from his truck. Zimmerman getting out following him.  Details of where Trayvon was. And, according to her, Zimmerman confronting Martin – the crucial part of her testimony.  The defense, understandably, knows that in order to help create reasonable doubt in this case that it must discredit Jeantel and from what I’ve seen, they’ve done just that.  Jeantel, on the first day of cross-examination by the defense, became openly hostile at times after frustration set in over the detailed questioning of defense attorney Don West.  At the end of the day Wednesday, she even threatened not to come back – to which the judge told her she’d be the one deciding that.

Jeantel was indeed told she would have to come back Thursday, and by the time it was all said and done, she had testified for nearly 5 and a  half hours.  The defense discovered some pretty shocking things: 1) That when Jeantel had sat down for her initial interview with the state, Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton was present – highly unusual.  2) As a result, according to Jeantel, that’s why her deposition is different than some of what she has said this week on the witness stand – she didn’t want to offend or upset Martin’s mother.   Hmm. 3) When she first spoke with the Martin family and Martin family attorney Ben Crump, she said he had asked her if he thought the shooting was racially motivated, and she said yes.  On the tape of this interview, Crump’s question cannot be heard, which has led to questions as to how much of the tape was edited – something the defense understandably wants to get answers to.  The defense is trying to show, without saying so, that much of what Jeantel is saying on the stand was coached to her by Crump and Martin family allies. 4) Jeantel admitted lying about the reason why she didn’t attend Trayvon Martin’s wake.  5) She also lied about her name in a letter to Ms. Fulton as well as on the initial phone call, and also lied about her age.   Lies adding up lead to a jury wondering if a witness can be trusted to tell the truth about key events.

In fact, many of the state’s key witnesses so far have been more helpful to the defense than to the prosecution due largely to the expert, careful, meticulous questioning of lead defense attorney Mark O’Mara and West.  None more so apparent than a state witness who took the stand Thursday afternoon – Jennifer Lauer, a neighbor of Zimmerman’s whose 911 call is the one where the cries for help and then a gunshot can be heard:

Lauer said she was watching television in her living room, with the sliding door open nearby, when she heard what sounded like “sneakers on pavement and grass.”

Later, she heard “grunting” sounds outside that sounded like “wrestling,” Lauer said, adding the sounds seemed to be coming closer and closer to her home. She called 911, and as she talked to a dispatcher, the fatal shot was fired.

During Lauer’s testimony, the state played her 911 call for the jury.

Of the screams, Lauer said: “I couldn’t tell whose voice that was.” She said it sounded like the person screaming was in a life-threatening situation.

After Lauer testified, the jury was led out and she was questioned further. Prosecutors asked her about whether she knew about domestic violence and an arrest from Zimmerman’s past, suggesting that the state believes the defense’s questions opened the door for that testimony.

Lauer was also grilled on whether she follows Zimmerman’s brother on Twitter. She said she didn’t, or at least didn’t intend to; however, an account with her name and photo does follow Robert Zimmerman Jr.

After the social media debate, Lauer was allowed to leave, but told she could be re-called. Within about an hour of leaving the courtroom, the Twitter account had been deleted.

What’s interesting about the questioning of Lauer on her Twitter account – basically trying to discredit her – is that this did not come up BEFORE she testified.  Presumably, the state knew this in advance – as the old saying goes, you don’t ask a question of your own witness that you don’t know the answer to – so why bring it up AFTER she testifies?  Because she ended up being an excellent witness for George Zimmerman: she said she heard sounds on concrete, which would support the defense’s claim that Zimmerman’s head was bashed into the sidewalk by Martin, she said Zimmerman didn’t look wild-eyed or crazy after the shooting, claims that the back and forth voices she heard ‘moved from sidewalk T-intersection toward her townhouse’ – which would bolster the defense’s argument that Zimmerman was going back to his vehicle but was then approached by Martin.  She also stated only ONE person was screaming for help because the “help” sounds were consistently said by the same voice.  She also noted house numbers could not be seen clearly in certain parts of the community due to bushes, undercutting the prosecution’s claim that Zimmerman did not need to get out of his truck in order to get a house number for where Martin was located.

This is largely how the state’s week has gone.  Witness after witness,  under cross examination, ends up saying things that help Zimmerman, Jeantel and Lauer’s respective testimonies in particular.  Jeantel because she’s been discredited as an admitted liar, and Lauer because she presumably has no favorites in this game (her Twitter account had no tweets, even though it showed she was following Zimmerman’s brother). She has given the jury a clear accounting of Zimmerman’s demeanor that night, and has described what she heard and some of the neighborhood layout.   Another witness, interestingly enough, demonstrated how media bias had impacted her opinion of events that happened that night.  According to her testimony, she believed it was Trayvon Martin on the bottom in the struggle between the two, but on cross-examination, admitted she went by the “size” of the bodies and what she had to determine who was who were pictures the mainstream media had published of both Zimmerman and Martin – in particular, the images of Martin as a baby-faced kid.

The best witness for the state so far has been resident Selma Mora, who heard the scuffle, and saw who she claimed was Zimmerman “rider style” on Martin (after the gunshot).   She did not see anything until after Zimmerman had shot Martin.  She testified late Thursday afternoon and could be called back later.

At some point I suspect we’ll hear from two crucial witnesses for the defense who initially said they saw a man in red on the bottom yelling for help.   Things should get reaaaaaaaaaalllly interesting then.

Anyway, just a recap of sorts of what’s gone on this week at the trial, which is currently in its fifth day.  As they say, stay tuned.

Opening statements begin today in George Zimmerman trial

The Orlando Sentinel reports that opening statements are scheduled to start today in the trial of George Zimmerman, who is accused of second degree murder in the death of Trayvon Martin:

SANFORD – Jurors will hear opening statements at the George Zimmerman murder trial today, as attorneys for both sides begin telling their version of what happened the night Zimmerman killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, a homicide that set of weeks of civil rights rallies.

The six jurors and four alternates seated last week will be presented with starkly contrasting depictions of Zimmerman, 29: The state alleges that he profiled the unarmed teenager, then followed, confronted and killed Trayvon Feb. 26, 2012, in Sanford.

Zimmerman, who is charged with second-degree murder, says he fired the fatal shot in self-defense after Trayvon punched him to the ground and began beating him.

When the trial resumes about 9 a.m. today, prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda is expected to present the state’s opening, followed by defense attorney Don West.

Circuit Judge Debra Nelson ruled late last week that the state can use several phrases in opening that Zimmerman’s defense team had argued were too inflammatory: Prosecutors can say Zimmerman was a “wannabe cop,” or a “vigilante,” the judge ruled. They can also say Zimmerman “confronted” Trayvon.

The judge also ruled the state can say Trayvon, a black teen from Miami Gardens, was profiled by Zimmerman, though she instructed prosecutors to avoid the phrase “racially profiled.”

Opening statements come on the heels of a major victory for Zimmerman’s defense: Nelson ruled Saturday that forensic audio analysts the state hoped to call as expert witnesses will not be allowed to testify at trial.

I’ve wrote extensively about the George Zimmerman case last year, but admittedly have not kept up with the legal wranglings that have taken place this year betweeen the prosecution and defense teams.  That being said, I believe this post where I detailed facts not widely known about the case, and deconstructed myths concocted by the mainstream media about the case is one you should probably read before the trial gets underway.  In particular, what I feel are the two most important facts about this case is that there were two EYEwitnesses, one a young teenage boy and the other a male resident of the apartment complex who both initially told reporters and/or law enforcement that they saw a man in a red jacket getting beat up on the ground underneath another man, and yelling for help.  The last I read, the state had managed to get to these two EYEwitnesses by making them think they “couldn’t be sure” of what they saw and heard, but it will be interesting to see if the defense either calls to the stand or brings up these two during the trial.

You can watch the trial online here.

As they say, stay tuned … and pray that – no matter the outcome – there will be no violent demonstrations as a result.

George Zimmerman

George Zimmerman, the night everything happened. He also had multiple lacerations to the back of his head.