The recent racial tension in the United States due to the Trayvon Martin Shooting has not been this volatile since the 1992 Los Angeles Riots or the South Central Riots, also known as the 1992 Los Angeles Civil Unrest, which was sparked on April 29, 1992, when a jury acquitted three white police officers and one Hispanic police officer of the Los Angeles Police Department in the Rodney King trials. Make no mistake, we all know that George Zimmerman is not and was not a police officer, and moreover, we know that the police officers who violated the Civil Rights of Rodney King did not shoot and kill him. Nevertheless, both of these events seem to have a common thread that super charges the issues around race that America keeps avoiding.
Six weeks after George Zimmerman gunned down a young unarmed Black male in Sanford, Florida he was finally arrested. What is interesting is that he was not arrested by the Sanford Police Department, but by the Special prosecutor. Six weeks later? It appears that this was done only after national pressure was brought on by the millions of Americans who have been marching and protesting– calling for Zimmerman’s arrest. The fact that Yale University students have taken on a cause of this magnitude seems unparalleled considering it has not been done since the Vietnam War. The controversial arrest of Zimmerman may go down in the history of America’s Criminal Justice System as the most outrageously delayed criminal prosecutions ever. It is clear that one did not have to be an expert at criminal law to determine that there was some foul play.
As an urban law enforcement officer with over 15 years of investigative knowledge,I know that Zimmerman’s arrest did not have to be based on him being “absolutely and positively guilty.” His arrest had it been six weeks prior would have been based on mere probable cause. Part of the assessment to the additional circumstances should have been his intent. The repeated public references to him being a Blockwatch Captain and neighborhood watch coordinator were a misrepresentation. This particular blockwatch group was not even registered with any law enforcement agency or any recognized national blockwatch entity; therefore, when he sought out Trayvon Martin as a suspect, he was not acting as a Blockwatch Captain or neighborhood watch coordinator. He was acting as an instigator and a person without any legal right to do so. He was preventing Trayvon Martin from enjoying his own Civil Rights as a free young Black male in America. More over, Zimmerman did not possess the required training he would have needed to deal with the potential repercussions of conducting a “stop and frisk” investigation. He was not an investigator. He was not a police officer. He was not sanctioned by any public or private organization to engage in behavior that could result in his use of deadly force.
Police officers have the most sophisticated level of training for urban law enforcement skills. Officers receive regular monthly and yearly training on how to deal with deadly incidents and how to prevent small street level incidents from escalating to tragic and deadly situations. After 15 years of policing, I pray everyday that I keep getting it right. So, what made Zimmerman feel so confident to “act like the police” even after the police dispatcher told him to “Wait for the police?” Had he really been the captain or member of a real blockwatch he would have known that his job was to be just a good set of eyes and ears for the police until they arrived on scene. After all, Trayvon Martin only had a bag of candy and an ice tea. There was no urgency. Maybe Zimmerman thought he could use “exigent circumstances” like the police; however, even a officer with only ten minutes on the job could have determined that this was a case of “Incident Unfounded.” The problem was not Zimmerman’s lack of knowledge of police tactics or his involvement with an illegitimate blockwatch. What lead him to the dark side was that, he is a racial predator.
If it was not clear in the first days after the deadly shooting of Trayvon Martin, it is certainly clear now. Zimmerman’s actions were predicated on his racial and ethic bias. His misconceptions of Trayvon Martin deemed Martin dangerous, a criminal, and a menace to society. This would explain why he followed Trayvon Martin through out the neighborhood as the young boy walked to the store to buy candy and ice tea. The Florida State statute 784.048 states:
“784.048 Stalking; definitions; penalties.—(5) Any person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows, harasses, or cyberstalks a minor under 16 years of age commits the offense of aggravated stalking, a felony of the third degree, (6) Any law enforcement officer may arrest, without a warrant, any person he or she has probable cause to believe has violated the provisions of this section (citation needed). “
As the incident continued, Zimmerman called 911 and told police dispatcher what his observations were and was directed by police dispatchers to wait for police. At that point, the police department owned the incident because they had a complainant-Zimmerman. At this point it became a police investigation and Zimmerman was to wait for the officers to arrive. Zimmerman ignored the police personnel and instead “engaged an innocent child,” under Florida’s State definition, prior to police arriving to conduct their police investigation. This, under Florida State statute 843.06 is called, “Neglect or refusal to aid peace officers (misdemeanor violation).”
The fact that these two crimes had already occurred and the alleged “child of interest,” that the police were called to investigate was now dying from a close range fatal gun-shot wound was already a serious situation. Now we learn that this young man is unarmed. At that point, the police officer should have asked the dispatcher to read back the narrative, or what Zimmerman reported to the 911 operator, and should have called for a sergeant. The sergeant should have then determined that at the bare minimum, Zimmerman would have been in violation of some form of assault law or weapons law. In the world of Florida Policing it should have been statute 784.021: Aggravated assault.—(1) An “aggravated assault” is an assault:(a) With a deadly weapon without intent to kill; or (b) With an intent to commit a felony.(2) Whoever commits an aggravated assault shall be guilty of a felony of the third degree. What should have been done was not.
In an ideal situation, these would have been the charges that could have locked Zimmerman up immediately without question. Days later after it was determined that Trayvon Martin was a 17 years old, and therefore considered a child under Florida’s State Laws, the charges would have been added for violation of Florida State Statute 827.03 “Abuse, aggravated abuse, and neglect of a child; penalties (felony violation), which states that: “A person who knowingly or willfully abuses a child without causing great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the child commits a felony of the third degree.”
Once Zimmerman returned to court, the prosecutor could have changed the counts to 2-Degree Murder.
The fact that it took six weeks to make this arrest is in itself criminal, and a greater violation to the citizens of America. This is a blatant assault on the “people’s intelligence.
Edited by RAVEN MITCHELL