Skip to comments.Itís Not About Stand Your Ground (Reserve judgment. But it seems that Zimmerman acted lawfully)
Posted on 03/28/2012 6:33:32 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
President Obama, Jesse Jackson, and others have chosen to personalize the shooting of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla., highlighting the racial issues by expressing concern for people who look like they do or live where blacks are under attack. Many conservatives and liberals have also already concluded that the shooter committed a crime. All of these reactions are premature.
In response to the shooting, Florida governor Rick Scott has set up a commission to review the states Stand Your Ground law. Gun-control organizations, including the Brady Campaign, have gone beyond this and even more drastically called for the end of right-to-carry laws.
But such outrage should be restrained until we have all of the facts. Zimmermans call to the police, which has been heard over and over again, does not appear to tell the whole story. There is other information that appears to back up the shooters account. That evidence, rather than racism, might well be the reason that police chose not to arrest the shooter. Fox 35 in Orlando spoke to one eyewitness, identified as John, the day after the shooting. He explained: The guy on the bottom who had a red sweater on was yelling to me: Help, help . . . and I told him to stop and I was calling 9-1-1.
The witness further indicated that it was the guy on top who was doing the hitting, and that the shot occurred while that attack was taking place. The man who shot Martin, George Zimmerman, was the man in the red jacket. The police report corroborates the witnesss account: While I was in such close contact with Zimmerman, I could observe that his back appeared to be wet and was covered in grass, as if he had been laying on his back on the ground. Zimmerman was also bleeding from the nose and back of his head. Zimmerman told the police, I was yelling for someone to help me, but no one would help me.
Zimmerman and his neighbors seem to have had reason for forming a neighborhood-watch group: During the past year, the Miami Herald reports, eight burglaries, nine thefts, and one shooting occurred in their gated community. And Zimmerman had even caught at least one thief himself.
Prior to the spread of Stand Your Ground and Castle Doctrine laws, citizens who wanted to defend themselves from a criminal had to retreat as far as possible and then announce to the criminal that they were going to shoot. But obvious problems arise: Forcing a victim to take time to retreat can put their life in jeopardy, and a prosecutor might argue that a victim didnt retreat sufficiently. There have been many cases where victims have been chased and knocked down a couple of times before firing in self-defense, and yet prosecutors claimed that the victim still could have done more to retreat before firing their gun.
The Stand Your Ground and Castle Doctrine laws replaced the original requirement to retreat to a reasonable persons standard, instead stating that lethal force is justified when a reasonable person would believe that a criminal intends to inflict serious bodily harm or death. These laws do not protect those who shoot fleeing criminals in the back, provoke attacks, or use lethal force in the absence of a threat to life or limb.
The difference between the Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground laws is where they apply: The Castle Doctrine applies in a persons home, and Stand Your Ground extends the right to any place the defender has a right to have a gun. Forty-one states now have these laws in some form, though most have adopted them in the last decade, and the statutes havent caused any problems at all. By case law, six other states protect victims from having to retreat before using deadly force.
Allowing victims to defend themselves not only protects the lives of victims who come under attack, but deters criminals from attacking to begin with. I have myself conducted the only published refereed academic study on these laws, and I found that states adopting Castle Doctrine laws reduced murder rates by 9 percent and overall violent crime by 8 percent.
But Martins shooting has raised a lot of confusion over what the Florida law would allow. Irrespective of the Stand Your Ground law, Zimmerman did indeed have the right to investigate a strange person in his neighborhood. And when, before any confrontation, Zimmerman informed the police operator that he was following Martin, the operators advice that we dont need you to do that was suggestive, not compulsory. By itself, investigating someone who is a stranger in the neighborhood does not imply a provocation. In addition, Zimmerman claims that Martin attacked him from behind.
If it turns out that the police report and witness are wrong, and Zimmerman was the aggressor, he certainly deserves to be punished. But if Zimmerman was attacked, pummeled, and bloodied by Trayvon Martin, Zimmerman had justification to shoot in self-defense. So far it looks as if the police made the right decision.
John R. Lott Jr. is the author of the third edition of More Guns, Less Crime (University of Chicago Press, 2010). He previously served as the chief economist at the United States Sentencing Commission. He is also a co-author of the newly released book Debacle: Obamas War on Jobs and Growth and What We Can Do Now to Regain Our Future (John Wiley & Sons, 2012).
I don’t want to sound ignorant, but what could be ‘unlawful’ about self-defense....no matter who the individuals are who are involved???
I think the question here is, if Zimmerman actively pursued Martin as reported, does the law still protect him?
Here in The Peoples Republic of CT if I, as a gun owner, take off after the perp, the police now consider ME the threat.
The laws here protect the bad guys.
The Florida “Stand Your Ground” law presents a clear and present danger to a reliable DemocRAT constituent group (i.e., criminals); hence, it must be eliminated.
The Florida “Stand Your Ground” law presents a clear and present danger to a reliable DemocRAT constituent group (i.e., criminals); hence, it must be eliminated.
I’ve seen several reports today that indicate that the MSM is toning down the rhetoric and starting to back away from their first rush to judgement.
Of course I still have many questions about the reporting and how it has been used to inflame the populace especially since the incident happened almost a month before the MSM started to pump their story and the politicians jumped on board.
If I might be forgiven here in way to many ways this is beginning to look like the stock market and how traders react to news. Most are a bunch of lemmings that feel and react versus examining and thinking through the reports that are used to influence the market. Frankly the lemmings tend to lose everything eventually and the thinkers are the ones that come out golden. With the caveat of the cheaters that manipulate and use insider information. What I think of them can’t be posted here.
Has anyone else seen any articles about Trayvon’s arrests for burglary?? Seems we have a blackout.
For now, it should be noted that neither the M narrative or the Z narrative has anything to do with a duty to retreat. The retreat issue would only be relevant if Martin were the aggressor, and Z had the opportunity to escape from Martin in complete safety. Then, and only then, would different state standards about retreat be relevant. Simply put, everyone who has claimed that Florida's retreat rule affect the legal disposition of the controversy is either misinformed or mendacious.Florida's self Defense Laws -David Kopel - March 27, 2012
RE: I dont want to sound ignorant, but what could be unlawful about self-defense..
The argument on the other side was that Zimemrman was the provocateur. He was specifically told NOT to follow Trayvon but he did anyway. The rest of the story is murky....
Trayvon noticed he was being stalked and then apparently asked Zimemrman why he was stalking him.... a fight ensued and Trayvon apparently got the better of Zimemrman, who then shot him.
Not sure if ‘self defense’ is called for here as Zimmerman was not in danger in the beginning. His pursuing Trayvon started the whole thing.
That depends on what "actively pursued" consists of. If Zimmerman is striving to maintain visual contact, and avoid close contact, confrontation, and and use of force, then he's nothing more than a passive observer. Some would call him a busybody.
But if he's in pursuit in order to make physical contact, then he's got a problem.
The media has painted an image of pursuit with intent to capture and detain. I believe that is a radically false impression, and that the evidence shows Zimmerman undertaking an effort to maintain visual contact, and ONLY visual contact.
“His pursuing Trayvon started the whole thing.”
Since Zimmerman isn’t a law enforcement official, maybe it’s debatable whether he started anything by contiuing to monitor Travon.
Just a thought
I guess this might affect hispanic voters? Ding dang.
You can't be "just a busybody" when you have a gun. There's also no need to maintain visual contact. You call the cops, and that's it.
When you take on the huge responsibility of carrying a gun (which, I do) there are certain things you must know.
That sounds an awful lot like, "She was wearing provocative clothing". Zimmerman may have been in the wrong following the individual. Having been in a similar situation I'd call it over-zealous in protecting his own, to the point of putting ones self in unnecessary danger.
If the story is true that Martin threw the first punch and began assaulting Zimmerman in the manner described (banging his head on the concrete), then Martin is the one that crossed that line, not Zimmerman. Add into the mix that no help came when he called for it (when you need help in second, the police are minutes away), then as far as I am concerned Zimmerman isn't guilty of anything other than protecting himself.
The statewide prosecutor appointed to this case was appointed to arrest for ANY excuse. She will arrest not exonerate. She already telegraphed this by stating she will bypass the grand jury process.
“That depends on what “actively pursued” consists of. If Zimmerman is striving to maintain visual contact, and avoid close contact, confrontation, and and use of force, then he’s nothing more than a passive observer. Some would call him a busybody.”
Still others would rightly call him a neighborhood WATCH captain.
He was following the thug, and when the 911 operator suggested he not do that, he stopped and was walking away when he was attacked. He was hit from behind, and that constitutes an aggressive assault.... the thug then pounced on top of him and commenced to beat him mercilessy, bashing his head into the cement... the only thing the thug did not take into account was that his victim (yes the victim here is zimmerman, not the thug) was armed. It looks like the thug picked the wrong guy to assault.
how is pursuing defined if at all?
The 911 calls define the minimus of the “pursuit”
The real issue is how did zimmerman end up with his back on the ground with Martin on top pounding him.
Elderly couple forced out of home after tweet claims killer of Trayvon Martin lives there
Published March 28, 2012 | NewsCore
An elderly Florida couple have been forced to move into a hotel after their home address was wrongly tweeted as belonging to the man who shot teen Trayvon Martin.
The tweets were traced back to a man in California and the address was also reportedly retweeted by director Spike Lee to his almost 250,000 followers.
The couple, aged 70 and 72, have been harassed with hate mail, been hassled by media and had scared neighbors questioning them since the tweet, their son Chip Humble told the Orlando Sentinel.
That’s the way I read it
Liberals want a new standard: if a black man is beating the sh*t out of you, you must yell, scream and die.
Neighborhood Watch groups will be taught to 'fear all equally': a 90 year old grandmother, a five year old in a wheel chair, a six foot tall black man who looks like he's on drugs, an Arab screaming 'Allah Akbar'. All MUST be seen as equally dangerous.
Liberal: "why didn't you call the police on the grandmother walking with a cane in the neighborhood? Why so few 6 year old children called in?". "Are you racist?" (consequence of this? Police would quit responding - citizens would fear calling for help)
In the mind of the mindless - innocent grandmother and thugs MUST be seen as equal threats.
Total denial of reality is required in this brave new world.. Any other stance - any stance other than denial of reality, will be seen as racist.
Wanted Dead or Alive posters, angry mobs, the big bullies in the press ( my big brother will beat you up) - they'll all be out. In the mind of the mindless - they are all to be treated the same.
Zimmerman did not follow - I'll get the link of the police call and link it.
If evidence shows Zimmerman was on his back being pummeled, and no way of knowing if the attacker was going to knife, shoot or strangle him, I ax-u, what the hell you gunna do if you had a gun??? Huh, mofo...?
This is the 911 call from Zimmerman.
There are so many various “facts” about that case.
For instance, I read/heard that Zimmerman did chase the “kid”, lost sight on him and was returning to his SUV when suddenly “kid” had come back to Zimmerman and the fight was on after a few words with each other.
Who can tell the truth about this unfortunate, fatal event.
No one should have died if everyone had been more thoughtful.
I don’t know what happened but that the above is one “narrative” I’ve heard.
From the reading I’ve done. Z’s story is more along the following - pursued him until he lost sight...at which point he turned around and headed away.. T then became the aggressor and attacked him. Z was on the ground be pummeled by Z (as per eye witness.) Z shoots T in self-defense.
If Z’s story is true, - stand your ground seems appropriate and justified.
She jumped conclusions, asked where was the “bombshell” and Pollack said
that this interview proved a point - MSM is part of the core in that MSM pretty much takes a story and runs with it without facts & is a group of “journalists” that really aren't real journalists.
That sounds like 5th column to me. MSM = 5th column. They have their agendas and run with them before any real facts - they run with their agenda - facts be damned.
We don't know that he did. Some reports state that, after the 911 call, Zimmerman turned around to go back to his vehicle. It was at that point that Martin followed him and attacked him.
One more thing, let’s not forget that a 911 dispatcher’s suggestion is not an order. They don’t have that authority nor should they.
From that 911 call, it sounds like Trayvon was casing the neighborhood. Zimmerman noticed his suspicious behavior and called police before he determined the guy’s race.
I can relate because of being followed in stores as a late teen and young adult! I now have to deal with the police in my own suburban neighborhood driving a BMW and being pulled over six times in eight weeks!”
I am so sorry to hear of your experiences, ForAmerica.
America is better that this.
1) At no point did the dispatcher tell him not to. She told him "we don't need for you to do that", which is not an order, or even a suggestion.
2) police reports of criminal activity at the community show a pattern of young black men being involved in burglary and home invasion in the complex, with the neighborhood watch being credited with the apprehension of four of the criminals. If a rash of break-ins had been committed by bands of Scandinavian immigrants, then Zimmerman would have been looking for white blonde-haired guys, but that wasn't the profile.
And if the cops show little interest in responding to anything that doesn't involve traffic fine revenue? What then?
He didn't hang back - he chased Treyvon for at least a little while. He should have reported what he saw in his 911 call, got into his SUV and watched rest of neighborhood and let the real LEOs handle the rest.
Now everything is all messed up and someone is dead and no one seems to know all of the REAL FACTS.
Below is the text of Bonaparte's letter, which includes Lee's FAQ and answers:
There has been a lot of media attention to the recent incident where George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin. This is indeed a tragic situation and has caused a flood of questions and strong emotions from within our community, the region and nation. On behalf of the employees of the city of Sanford, our deepest sympathy and prayers go out to the family and friends of Trayvon Martin. As a father, I can only image the pain Trayvons family must be going though. In an effort to continue to be as responsive as possible to the public seeking information on the incident, I have asked Chief Lee to provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding this matter. Below are his responses. Please understand that since this is still an ongoing investigation, the Police Department is limited in what information it can publicly release.
The city of Sanford is committed to (ensuring) that justice is served and, therefore, the city of Sanford has contacted the United States Attorney Generals Office for assistance in this matter.
The men and women of the Sanford Police Department extend our heartfelt sympathies to the Martin family. This is indeed a tragic situation. The death of anyone due to violence, especially a 17-year-old young man, is morally appalling. As this incident has generated a lot of media attention, we wanted to provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.
Why was George Zimmerman not arrested the night of the shooting?
When the Sanford Police Department arrived at the scene of the incident, Mr. Zimmerman provided a statement claiming he acted in self-defense which at the time was supported by physical evidence and testimony. By Florida statute, law enforcement was PROHIBITED from making an arrest based on the facts and circumstances they had at the time. Additionally, when any police officer makes an arrest for any reason, the officer MUST swear and affirm that he/she is making the arrest in good faith and with probable cause. If the arrest is done maliciously and in bad faith, the officer and the city may be held liable.
According to Florida Statute 776.032:
776:032 Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action for justifiable use of force.
(1) A person who uses force as permitted in s. 776.012, s. 776.013, or s. 776.031 is justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force, unless the person against whom force was used is a law enforcement officer, as defined in s. 943.10(14), who was acting in the performance of his or her official duties and the officer identified himself or herself in accordance with any applicable law or the person using force knew or reasonably should have known that the person was a law enforcement officer. As used in this subsection, the term criminal prosecution includes arresting, detaining in custody, and charging or prosecuting the defendant.
(2) A law enforcement agency may use standard procedures for investigating the use of force as described in subsection (1), but the agency may not arrest the person for using force unless it determines that there is probable cause that the force that was used was unlawful.
Why the 911 tapes are not yet released?
There are exemptions to the public records laws for active criminal intelligence and for ongoing investigations. In this instance, the 911 calls made by neighbors in the subdivision, and the nonemergency call made by Mr. Zimmerman are all key to the investigation by Sanford Police Department. In consultation with the Office of the State Attorney, the Sanford police department has decided not to release the audio recordings of the 911 calls due to the ongoing investigation.
Many times, specific information is contained in those recordings which is vital to the integrity of the investigation. Should it be revealed, the information may compromise the integrity of the investigation prior to its completion.
Why did Mr. Zimmerman have a firearm in his possession while acting in the role of a neighborhood watch member?
Mr. Zimmerman holds a concealed weapon permit issued from the State of Florida. He is authorized to carry the weapon in a concealed manner wherever Florida Statute dictates. Neighborhood Watch programs are designed for members of a neighborhood to be eyes and ears for police and to watch out for their neighbors. They are not members of the Police Department nor are they vigilantes. Training provided by law enforcement agencies to Neighborhood Watch organizations stresses non-contact surveillance of suspicious situations and notifying police of those situations so that law enforcement can respond and take control of the situation.
Mr. Zimmerman was not acting outside the legal boundaries of Florida Statute by carrying his weapon when this incident occurred. He was in fact on a personal errand in his vehicle when he observed Mr. Martin in the community and called the Sanford Police Department.
If Zimmerman was told not to continue to follow Trayvon, can that be considered in this investigation?
Yes, it will; however, the telecommunications call taker asked Zimmerman, Are you following him. Zimmerman replied, Yes." The call taker stated you dont need to do that. The call takers suggestion is not a lawful order that Mr. Zimmerman would be required to follow.
Zimmermans statement was that he had lost sight of Trayvon and was returning to his truck to meet the police officer when he says he was attacked by Trayvon.
Why was George Zimmerman labeled as squeaky clean when in fact he has a prior arrest history?
In one of the initial meetings with the father of the victim the investigator related to him the account that Mr. Zimmerman provided of the incident. At that time the investigator said that Mr. Zimmerman portrayed himself to be squeaky clean." We are aware of the background information regarding both individuals involved in this event. We believe Mr. Martin may have misconstrued this information.
What about media re-enactments of the shooting incident?
Any media re-enactments of the shooting incident are purely speculation. To date the Sanford Police Department has not released any rendition of the events of the evening to anyone other than the Office of the State Attorney. The renditions we have seen are not consistent with the evidence in this case.
The Sanford Police Department has conducted a complete and fair investigation of this incident. We have provided the results of our investigation to the Office of the State Attorney for their review and consideration for possible criminal prosecution.
Although the Police Department is the target of the troubling questions, let me assure you we too feel the pain of this senseless tragedy that has dramatically affected our community. Therefore, as we move forward and strive to answer the questions that are a point of controversy in the community, we ask for your patience, understanding and assistance in getting the correct information to the community.
Norton N. Bonaparte, Jr., ICMA-CM
“You call the cops, and that’s it.”
The cops in our area take an average of @60 minutes to respond. Our neighborhood was victimized by a series of burglaries a few years ago. The neighbors got together and now few strangers come through without being”chatted up “ or their tag being taken down. Guess what? No more burglaries. Nobody’s lookin’ out for us but us—and that’s the sad truth of the matter.
From my limited reading on the subject:
The contra-argument could be that he should have disengaged (maybe not realistically possible..) and retreated instead of using deadly force. The problem for him then becomes - why didn’t he retreat instead?
A prosecutor could/likely would have used this as a linchpin in Z’s prosecution. This gives the prosecution the advantage of getting to second guess life/death decisions made - and suggest alternatives that aren’t necessarily even possible. Stand-your-ground eliminates this option of the prosecution.
I don’t disagree that simple self-defense SHOULD be sufficient, but in these days that isn’t the case anymore. When you have zealous prosecutors who are interested in their raising their own political status (See Duke case as proof of existence) having “Stand-your-ground” is an insurance policy.
And this is the point Lt Columbo stops at the door and says "There's just one thing I don't understand"
Time period from exiting truck to "OK" to police operator ¼ minute
Time period from then to altercation, at least 2 minutes.
And Martin's body is 1-2 minutes distance away from Zimmerman's truck.
Martin's girlfriend had said in a recording obtained exclusively by ABC News that she heard Martin ask Zimmerman "why are your following me, and then the man asked, what are you doing around here." She then heard a scuffle break out and the line went dead.
Phone records obtained by ABC News show that the girl, who is 16 and asked to remain anonymous, called Martin at 7:12 p.m., five minutes before police arrived, and remained on the phone with Martin until moments before he was shot.
More eye witness comment at:
Why? If I was bleeding from nose and had my head bounced around the concrete, I sure would go.
Head bangs to concrete - what if he had concussion or bleeding brain.
He had a broken nose? Again, why wouldn't he go to hospital?
I don’t think either law specifically applies in this case. If you reasonably assume that you are in danger of serious bodily harm or death, you have a right to defend yourself with force, including deadly force, whether you have a concealed carry license or not.
There is a Dr's report on one of the sites. So he did eventually get medical evaluation. (was questioned for five hours at police station)
Notice in the Girl friend's statement who asked the first question....(Who was first to verbally confront.)
Would like to see the autopsy report....Entry point and angle of bullet. Blood splatter on clothing etc.
If there was indeed a struggle for the gun, could “no one” have pulled the trigger?
Given what Zimmerman went thru that day, the trumatic struggle with Martin, being handcuffed by the police and taken to the station to be interviewed, including confiscation of his clothing and weapon, and the fact that paramedics had performed first-aid on the scene, I don't see why you think this is a big issue.