Fight on for Trayvon
HERB BOYD Special to the AmNews | 4/4/2012, 6:55 p.m.
"First of all," Cohn began, after Hamilton summarized of the case, "the Stand Your Ground law is really irrelevant in the Trayvon Martin case. Even if the events are the way Zimmerman said they were, which is that he was acting in self-defense, the test that would apply is right out of the Florida statutes. It requires that in order to use deadly force--and not have a duty to retreat--the person must reasonably believe that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm."
Obviously, Zimmerman claims he "reasonably believed" he was facing great bodily harm, Cohn continued. "But that belief has to be objectively reasonable under the circumstances. And given witnesses' statements about what they heard, the 911 call, Trayvon's girlfriend's cell call, it looks there is a very strong case to be made that Zimmerman's use of deadly force was not reasonable. In this case, his claim of self-defense would fail.
"What this means is that you and I are not in a position to decide whether he was acting in self-defense or not," Cohn added. "That's why we have a jury system. That's why, when there is probable cause to believe a crime has been committed...the police make an arrest. The person goes to a jury trial--the jury decides whether Zimmerman acted in self-defense or not."
Cohn noted that Zimmerman's father is a local judge, which may have some bearing on why he hasn't been arrested.
Right after the shooting, Zimmerman was taken into custody. A recent video showed him handcuffed and entering a precinct in Seminole County; there appear to be no signs of the alleged scuffle he had with Martin.
However, according to several media reports, on closer examination, the video shows a police officer inspecting the back of Zimmerman's head, where there does appear to be a wound. If true, it would corroborate an earlier police report that Zimmerman was bleeding from the nose and the back of his head.
There was some dispute, as well, about the voice heard during the incident, in which Zimmerman's family claims his voice is screaming for help. Two experts differed on this conclusion after analyzing the 911 calls made during those fatal moments, and they believe it is Martin's voice.
At the rally on Sunday, Sharpton asked participants to donate to defray the travel and legal expenses the Martin family will incur. "This is not a fit, this is a movement," he asserted, countering those accusations of his detractors.
Sharpton also threatened to call for sanctions against the city of Sanford, which was met with strong reaction from the business community and the local branch of the NAACP.
He warned that if Zimmerman is not arrested, he will "move to the next level" and call for an escalation in peaceful disobedience and economic sanctions, though no details were offered on what kind of sanctions.
"We hope that the citizens of Sanford will govern themselves accordingly," said Turner Clayton, chapter president of the NAACP. "We are not calling for any sanctions against any business or anyone else."
Earlier, the New Black Panther Party had offered a $10,000 bounty on Zimmerman, also a source of some concern from local leaders.
The murders of Grant, Stanley-Jones, Graham and now Martin have aroused communities around the nation. Much like the Occupy movement, there is hope that the more recent outrage will not dissipate to be merely ignited again with the next senseless loss of a young Black child or teenager.