Trayvon Martin Update: Zimmerman Released on Bond

George Zimmerman was released today, Friday, on a $150,000 bond. He is required to wear an ankle bracelet tracking his location.

The hearing revealed new evidence on accusations against Zimmerman of prior violence. While interviewing Zimmerman’s current wife, the state prosecutor read from an affidavit by his former girlfriend. She alleged in the sworn statement that he “pushed her,” then slapped her with an open hand to the mouth and “asked her how it felt.” She said he “picked me up and threw me on the bed” and then “grabbed me again.” Zimmerman’s wife responded that her husband was simply trying to “protect himself from being attacked by her.”


Zimmerman today apologized to the Martin family, though also said “I did not know if [Trayvon] was armed or not.”

The Trayvon Martin case has divided America, largely along racial lines. A USA Today Gallup poll found that most blacks believe that Zimmerman is guilty of a crime and that racial bias was a major factor in the shooting, and the events that led up to it, and that he would have been arrested if he had shot a white person. The numbers are the opposite for whites, only about a third believed that racial bias was a factor or that Zimmerman would have been arrested if the person he shot was white.

America’s Real ‘Race Baiters’

“Mob justice rules the day.” That was the reaction on just one leading right-wing website to the news of the arrest of George Zimmerman.

It was a common theme. Speculation that the charges are “unethical”, claims that — somehow — a Republican prosecutor appointed by a Republican Governor was being forced into charges by anyone from Al Sharpton up to and including the President himself, or claims that prosecutor Angela Corey just wants the limelight.

That Zimmerman is innocent until proven otherwise goes without saying, but Corey obviously believes she has a case and there is more than enough evidence in the public arena to support that she might well have enough beyond reasonable doubt. But that is might.

I recommend this going over of all the evidence by blogger Booman. It comes back to a point made by others — what happened in the 60 seconds prior to the shot being fired. Clearly Corey  believes she can prove what happened and, no, she is not (this is another right-wing meme) required to prove that in the initial affidavit.

What Zimmerman’s surrogates have been saying has changed over time. We need to hear from Zimmerman himself, and hear whatever other evidence his defense team has, that Zimmerman had some reason to fear for his life.

In their media campaigning, his former lawyers repeatedly accused the family and their supporters of ‘racializing’ the case. That tone from those directly involved with Zimmerman appears to thankfully be over, with Zimmerman’s new lawyer dampening down speculation about the case as well as extending his hand to Martin’s parents. However, we are still hearing threats from the right of a “race war” — and politicization by linking it to the general election.

The heat brought light

“Mob justice” looks like, to put it mildly, a nasty insult when viewed next to the reactions of Trayvon Martin’s parents. They took their calm message of ‘all we want is an arrest’ everywhere — even into Bill O’Reilly’s ‘No spin zone.’

Both the parents and those who have been working for them, including civil rights leaders like Al Sharpton, have consistently called for justice — not Zimmerman’s head. Since the arrest, Martin’s parents have made clear they will accept whatever the judicial outcome is.

Watch Al Sharpton ‘This was about one thing, justice’:

That campaigning for justice is why Angela Corey is prosecuting Zimmerman and why the case will end up in a court room. The police chief made it crystal clear that just because Zimmerman said ‘self defense,’ he believed he had to let him walk and the first prosecutor dismissed the police request for a prosecution. It was the campaign of Martin’s parents which led to the release of the 911 tapes, which exploded media interest, and then led Florida Governor Rick Scott to replace the first prosecutor and draft in Corey — who has an extremely tough reputation as a victims advocate and has one of the nation’s highest rates for getting the death penalty.

The opposition to the Martin family’s dignified campaign has been the real ‘race baiting.’ It was once the President said “If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon” that Fox and right-wing blogs stepped up the divisiveness and the taking of sides. It has resulted in a highly polarized reaction to the charges against Zimmerman between black and white Americans, and those who are encouraging it on the right know full well why they are doing it.

Page 2: Care2 members’ thoughts, cover-up of Trayvon’s pictures and Stand Your Ground laws >>

Strange fruit

“Trayvon was a thug.” This is an actual comment from a Care2 member.

Such thinking has resulted from a shameless campaign by influential right wing news sites to paint Trayvon that way. Some of the misinformation has even originated from trashing efforts by white supremacists, other stories selectively leaked from a Sanford police department under fire.

The New York Times demolished the selective picking from Trayvon’s social media feeds. They ignored of pictures of Trayvon holding up a birthday cake with his name on it, fishing with his father, dressed in a suit for his prom, and looking excited to inspect an aircraft engine.

The right has called the protests about the case a distraction from other crimes, claimed falsely that communities are failing to protest gun violence, endlessly referred to “black on black” crime to suggest that blacks are somehow more prone to violence — which is untrue, yet so widely fixed that even African Americans have come to believe it.

Guns and laws

One of the highlights of Corey’s press conference was her saying she will “fight” any immunity request using the ‘stand your ground’ law. Before the law was passed in Florida, there was a near united front among police and prosecutors that the law was a bad idea, so her attitude is not surprising.

That front was not enough to defeat a legislature in fear of the NRA, but the new focus on this law — which even Bill O’Reilly has expressed disquiet with — alongside the growing pushback against the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the conservative group responsible for pushing ‘stand your ground’ laws in state legislatures for the NRA, is a good sign.

In a little noticed commentary last week, a veteran’s group examined how the law actually gives far more latitude to American civilians to shoot people and face no consequences than soldiers in war zones. The army rules of engagement requires a whole series of tests to be met before lethal force can be used, which this law does not.

Of course, the actual application of the law in practice suggests even more leniency. People shot in the back while fleeing, people pursued and shot, gang members chasing and killing other gang members, the law failing to protect blacks or other minorities who are defending themselves — despite what its defenders say, the law has been applied by judges in all those cases to set killers free.

Bill Cosby, when asked about this case, did not say it was about race, he said it was about guns. Cosby lost a son to guns, so he’s not a disinterested observer. And he’s plainly right. No gun would have made it far less likely there would have been a death.

But this is in a state where Zimmerman, despite having been arrested for an altercation with a police officer and having had a protective order entered against him for domestic violence, had been granted a concealed carry permit under Florida’s lenient system.

Related stories:

ALEC Backs Away From Stand Your Ground, But Is It Enough?

How Zimmerman Could Get Off

Minneapolis Trans Woman On Trial For Self-Defense From Hate Crime

Picture: CNN screengrab

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Joy Wong
Joy Wong3 years ago


Bonnie C.
Bonnie C.3 years ago

ZIMMERMAN was charged with 2nd degree murder and he is alllowed $150,000 bail. WHY?? No onme else coud be allowed to have bail for 2nd degree murder. He must be so privedged to have that special treatment. No wonder the country is in trouble.

john hall
john hall3 years ago

Lee W. i dont think you will or could ever understand we have some serious criminals out here that want to do anything they can to kill,steal,rape or anything else they can think of . there are way to many legal , honest hard working gun owning americans that dont break any guns laws . by the law in florida zimmerman had every right to carry his gun now from what really went on between martin and zimmerman we can only hope to find out when he goes to trial . until then zimmerman is guilty until proven innicent even though that needs to be the other way but its not . also if sharpton ,obama , jackson are really concerned with the killing of a black child then they need to get serious with all crimes against the people because in this one they didnt address that .

David Fletch
David Fletch3 years ago

John, this Lee is clearly an extreme racist profiler; he has no more credit then a worm. He has ignored all of the facts and rants on about what will probably be a good citizen doing his civic duty in protecting his and his neighbor’s property. Zimmerman is now a political prisoner. Martin viscously attacked, possibly to impress his girl friend and possibly pissed off because someone was interfering with his income source of burglarizing the neighborhood. Drugs are expensive. I think many of Zimmerman’s critics fault him because he was armed, they don’t realize that millions carry firearms with them every day and most wear it so routinely they forget it’s there unless it is needed. Zimmerman clearly did not attack Martin, he never pulled the gun until he was well bloodied. I don’t know what really happened but it’s clear this Lee is convinced he does.

john hall
john hall3 years ago

Lee W. I consider Obama , sharpton , Jackson all racist pigs because the only time you anyone of these fools talk about race is when it involves a white on black crime . The number of black on black and black on other race crimes are incredibly high but you don't hear them talk to there people about these crimes do yah . I look at Martin and Zimmerman to be both at fault and if you and others can't get over the fact that Martin put his own life in his hands by attacking another person a person who had a gun guess who lost .

Josha N.
Josha N.3 years ago

“I did not know if [Trayvon] was armed or not.”
So WHAT! Is that a valid reason to just start shooting at someone?

Charli S.
Charlotte S.3 years ago

I love how we've tried and convicted this man. Under the laws of this country, he IS presumed innocent until PROVEN guilty IN A COURT OF LAW. He is allowed bail.

Unless YOU were there, you don't know what happened so why are we trying this in the court of public opinion? All any of us know is what we've heard so it's time to allow the court to do its job. Remember, next time it could be you being tried in the court of public opinion.

I have a law professor who used to say that he cherished the protections given to us by the framers of the Constitution because you never know when you may need them. Let's be good citizens and stop throwing gasoline on the fire.

john hall
john hall3 years ago

Lee W. im not shoveling anything its the communist news source that we have in this country thats not putting the real truth out and also the race baiting president along with sharpton and jackson that has caused more racial tensions then what we need .

john hall
john hall3 years ago

Lee W. it was noted by a medic at the scene about the broken nose and gashes to the head and the had pics but also let me say because you break your nose doesnt always translate into you bleeding . people are diffrent some will bleed more than others and some not .

Lauren B.

Trayvon's personality doesn't matter here (in my mind). If he was a tough kid or sweet, gentle boy is irrelevant. We cannot judge people to be criminals by their clothing, their style, their music, their skin color, their religion.; we can't follow them and we can't shoot them.