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Same Old "Same Old': Acquittal of Zimmerman Reminds (Again) that Racism Persists

By Linn Washington, Jr.  Posted by Dave Lindorff (about the submitter)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 2 pages)
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opednews.com Headlined to H2 7/16/13

By Linn Washington Jr.


Racist jury aquits white killer of black boy: where's the news? ( by ThisCantBeHappening!)

I received the text message from my buddy blasting the acquittal of George Zimmerman minutes before I boarded an airplane in London in route to South Africa.

To say I was not surprised by the acquittal handed down by the predominately white, all-female jury is an understatement. 

That verdict freeing wannabe cop Zimmerman, whose self-defense excuse rested on his conflicted claims that he shot a teen through the heart during a confrontation that Zimmerman started -- after Zimmerman ignored explicit orders from police to stand-down -- is so symbolic of so many structural problems that have corroded the core of American society since its colonial-era start.

Unarmed teen Trayvon Martin was walking to his father's home after purchasing candy and ice tea when targeted by Zimmerman who -- seeing a black teen wearing a hoodie -- told police dispatchers Martin was "up to no good" and looked like he was on drugs. Zimmerman's observations, made at night in the rain, about Martin being up-2-no-good and on-drugs reeked of racial profiling -- a fact downplayed by prosecution and studiously avoided by defense during Zimmerman's trial.

While a part of me wanted to side with my buddy's ire at Zimmerman's not even getting a wrist-slap conviction on a lesser charge for his punk admission that he killed a kid who he said beat him up during a scuffle, another side of me remained detached, reminded as I was of the details in so many stories that I've covered in thirty-plus years of being a journalist.

I've seen too many racially unbalanced juries render acquittal verdicts in too many race-tainted cases where clear evidence of the white defendant's culpability existed -- culpability obscured by lack-luster prosecution and other perverse judicial system procedures/postures.

I remember writing about a black teen in Philadelphia who spent a year in prison awaiting trial for a rape because lazy police and prosecutors didn't review a security camera tape that eventually freed that teen. And I remember writing about a Philadelphia judge giving big breaks to the white teens charged with raping a 13-year-old black girl at the city's MLB stadium months after that black teen's release.

Interestingly, lack-luster prosecutions and judicial system perversities don't seem to affect the prosecution of minorities, particularly blacks. Blacks and Hispanics, for example, comprise over half of the inmates in Florida's prison system despite those two groups accounting for slightly more than a third of Florida's population. Do blacks commit crimes, disproportionately? Yes! But mass incarceration of minorities ignores the fact that whites also commit crimes but disproportionately do not end up in dungeon-like prisons.

One of the first race-roiling stories I remember covering involved a white teen charged with killing a five-year-old black child in the mid-1970s. That teen had recklessly sped up a small street in South Philadelphia -- driving in reverse and driving DRUNK -- running over the child and then fleeing the scene. 

Like the Trayvon Martin murder (and it was murder in real terms even if not legal definitions) it took public outrage to push prosecutors to haul that drunk-driving hit-and-run teen into court. 

And, like the Martin murder, lack-luster prosecution laid the groundwork for that teen's acquittal by an all-white jury. 

The prosecutor assigned to that case had little trial experience, having been plucked from the DA's law library staff -- an act I always felt was intentional to limit prosecutorial effectiveness in the case. While the white teen defendant did not present a conflicted self-defense claim like Zimmerman, he did play a warped defense card. Basically his defense was: Oops -- I made a stupid, alcohol-soaked mistake"I'm sorry"Kinda"Please don't send me to jail with all those Nig...I mean Negroes who are real criminals.' And that BS worked.

Many of the postmortems of Zimmerman's acquittal faulted the prosecution for acting like a defense team member. The case presented by those prosecutors in Florida was so muddled it made reasonably competent lawyers cringe. And, yes, that muddled prosecution aided efforts by Zimmerman's defense in snowing the jury on Zimmerman's asserted (and evidence-challenged) claim of innocence of any wrongdoing. 

Could an aggressive black prosecutor have done a better job than the dumb&dumber team assigned to the Zimmerman case? That's debatable. However, it is beyond debate that few non-white prosecutors worked in the prosecutor's office covering Sanford, Florida when Zimmerman killed young Martin. The office contained nearly three dozen prosecutors yet non-white prosecutors there could be counted on the fingers of one hand with a few fingers left over. That's a fact I found when I contacted court administration officials in the Sanford area seeking such race-illuminating information -- information detailing structural deficiencies that the mainstream media (conservative and liberal) persistently overlook as unimportant to report. 

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While I agree racism is still alive and doing quit... by Bill Johnson on Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 10:00:52 AM
I don't get it.  1. Why is this a "racial" is... by BravoBull on Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 11:19:06 AM
He didn't follow Trayvon because he was wearing a ... by Dave Lindorff on Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 12:24:43 PM
He never said that Dave, and it doesn't make any s... by Natalie Oberman on Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 12:44:22 PM
And speaking as someone with an NC native as a mom... by Dave Lindorff on Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 1:07:54 PM
"Those people" are not necessarily black. He might... by Bill Johnson on Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 1:33:18 PM
Any honest southern white person knows you are bei... by Dave Lindorff on Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 5:21:47 PM
"I don't know where you're from, but if you're fro... by Natalie Oberman on Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 8:00:33 PM
Hey, I just did some double checking on his past a... by Bill Johnson on Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 at 11:24:20 AM
I cant contain myself any more...DAVE IS CORRECT! ... by XTAR GUY on Thursday, Jul 18, 2013 at 11:32:54 PM
You've gone from 'coon' to 'those people' now. &nb... by Natalie Oberman on Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 2:40:57 PM
"you hate hispanic people"  ???... by BFalcon on Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 10:07:54 PM
The same place that you find "why do you hate blac... by Natalie Oberman on Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 at 12:14:44 AM
where did I find that?... by BFalcon on Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 at 1:17:16 AM
To address point number 4: This case was not "abo... by XTAR GUY on Thursday, Jul 18, 2013 at 11:45:36 PM
What did you say when OJ was acqitted of stabbing ... by Joe Honick on Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 1:50:04 PM
The OJ jurors unknowingly made MLK turn over in hi... by Natalie Oberman on Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 2:52:48 PM
" verdict should be universally celebrated as a si... by BFalcon on Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 10:11:52 PM
Try making some sense, and I might consider respon... by Natalie Oberman on Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 at 12:20:02 AM
you already would... by BFalcon on Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 at 1:16:01 AM
Liberalism has forced racism into the closet. On t... by Bill Johnson on Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 3:54:32 PM
I got a ton of video of these punks in action. YOU... by Bobs Your Uncle on Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 6:33:52 PM
Your video link is no good unless you make your pr... by Bill Johnson on Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 7:17:21 PM
Condemnation?  What is this article, and othe... by Bobs Your Uncle on Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 at 6:01:22 PM
Juror B37 convicted Travon Martin of "walking... by Bill Honer on Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 6:43:29 PM
So Bill .... Is it your opinion that had it been t... by Natalie Oberman on Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 8:45:40 PM
Zimmerman called the cops and got out of his car a... by Peter Hindrup on Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 8:25:51 PM
You are sooooooo wrong! Zimmerman never confronted... by Bill Johnson on Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 8:39:53 PM
"Martin is he who confronted someone with aggressi... by BFalcon on Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 10:16:57 PM
Martin is aggressive because he launched a violent... by Bill Johnson on Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 10:46:10 PM
 and you stop and face them, good luck.... by BFalcon on Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 11:41:37 PM
It was not totally dark - other wise there would n... by Doc McCoy on Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 at 6:41:18 AM
I assume when cops ask you to do something basic d... by Adam Smith on Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 11:50:12 PM
It is not going to be eliminated.  It is not ... by Doc McCoy on Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 at 6:35:19 AM
Trayvon Martin DID profile George Zimmerman.Trayvo... by Bill Johnson on Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 at 7:36:40 AM
and I never claimed that he did either.  As m... by Doc McCoy on Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 at 8:37:59 AM
what he/she writes;'One thing that I have learned ... by Mark Sashine on Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 at 7:45:43 AM
and we can find fault with each others perceptions... by Doc McCoy on Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 at 8:10:44 AM
that if someone does not like you- it could be som... by Mark Sashine on Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 at 8:27:02 AM
In China  you area foreigner and you have to ... by Mark Sashine on Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 at 8:34:29 AM
Agreed.  You also do not have any idea of how... by Doc McCoy on Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 at 9:15:34 AM
Antisemitism- approach in the former USSR was not ... by Mark Sashine on Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 at 9:58:29 AM
but, my purpose is not to trade "insults" with you... by Doc McCoy on Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 at 8:56:36 AM
Knowledge is good. But I did not call you  a ... by Mark Sashine on Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 at 9:09:45 AM
The proper strategy of the prosecution in Z - case... by Mark Sashine on Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 at 7:31:26 AM
People- I should say American citizens do not buy ... by Bill Johnson on Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 at 7:45:45 AM
do not buy that kind of hooie that some  trig... by Mark Sashine on Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 at 8:03:00 AM
So, how many people has Zimmerman shot?How many pe... by Doc McCoy on Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 at 8:15:48 AM
I guess in one sense it's a good thing to see how ... by Dave Lindorff on Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 at 8:50:17 AM
I for one do not appreciate your smear campaign on... by Bill Johnson on Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 at 9:33:22 AM
and Utopia does not exist Dave.If I lived in a com... by Doc McCoy on Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 at 9:49:52 AM
that blacks fear whites, they have a good justific... by Mark Sashine on Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 at 10:12:27 AM
In there the so-called people's patrol was  c... by Mark Sashine on Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 at 9:01:40 AM
but I do agree that it would be appropriate to run... by Doc McCoy on Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 at 9:25:38 AM
quite enough...As for clear and non- clear evidenc... by Mark Sashine on Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 at 9:39:24 AM
It is my opinion that neighborhood watchers should... by Bill Johnson on Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 at 9:27:51 AM
This sets an insane precedent. He needed to be con... by Adam Smith on Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 at 10:22:43 AM