COMMENTARY: Miscarriage of justice

By Jermaine A. Wyrick

Trayvon Martin's mother emphatically stated, "My heart is broken" Indeed, her tragedy breaks many of our hearts, especially when you hear her son's compelling pleas for help on the 911 tape. On February 26, 2012, in Sanford, Florida, George Zimmerman, a 28-year old White Hispanic neighborhood watch volunteer, saw Trayvon Martin, walking to his father's fiance's home from a convenience store, wearing a hoodie, carrying a bag of Skittles and ice tea. Zimmerman told the police dispatcher, that "He looks Black" and "suspicious"--"just walking about in the rain....This guy looks like he is up to no good or he is on drugs or something." Despite the dispatcher's admonition not to follow Martin, Zimmerman did anyway, provoked a confrontation, harshly and unjustly fatally shot 17-year old high-school student Martin point-blank range in the chest. The lead homicide investigator, Chris Serion, was not persuaded by Zimmerman's rendition of the facts and wanted to charge him with manslaughter. The state's attorney's office said there was insufficient evidence for a conviction. Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee said he did not have enough evidence to arrest Zimmerman. Despite the inconsistencies and the lack of credibility with Zimmerman's version of events, he has not been arrested, nor charged, which has infuriated countless people, aroused the conscience of the world, sparked numerous fervent protests. Apparently, Zimmerman had unwarranted bias, foolish prejudice, odious discrimination, or senseless, cruel hatred of young black youth. Hence, his cowardly, violent actions constitute a racially motivated hate crime. The shooting of an unarmed, harmless youth is inexcusable. Trayvon Martin was entitled to the pursuit of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; the fundamental and immutable principles upon which the democracy of the United States of America was founded, which all are bound to respect. Moreover, Zimmerman, even if he thought Martin was engaged in wrong-doing was not entitled to resort to revolting barbarity and become a one man system of administering what he misperceived to be justice--police officer, judge, jury, and executioner of the Death Penalty. This case is the worst as far as the bad judgment exercised by law enforcement not to effectively and expediently bring a violent lawbreaker to justice. This tragedy is analogous to the 1955 killing of Emmit Till, a 14 year old boy who was shot and bludgeoned to death for flirting with a white woman, where his killers were known, but never held accountable--convicted--for Till's murder which sparked the civil rights movement.

Florida's self-defense "Stand Your Ground" Law states that people who perceive a threat to use deadly force without any duty to retreat from the confrontation if they feel reasonable fear they will be killed or seriously injured. This raises a vexed question of the law as to whether the shooting was justified. Zimmerman claims that Marin knocked him down, punched him in the head, and bashed his head against the sidewalk. This supposedly caused injuries, bleeding in the nose and back of the head. Zimmerman's subjective belief, however, was objectively unreasonable and incredulous. Interestingly, the police videotape when he was detained does not reflect any injuries to him whatsoever, which makes Zimmerman's untenable contention nothing more than inhuman, disgraceful, repulsive, scandalous and shameless hypocrisy.

While many think that we live in a color blind society because of the trail blazing election of President Barack Obama, this atrocity shows that we still have a long way to go to reach that goal. President Obama acknowledged this when he stated, "If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon Martin." Fortunately, the U.S. Justice Department has opened a civil rights probe into the shooting, and a grand jury will meet April 10th to consider evidence in the case. This case shows the divisiveness of racial issues, but we can harmoniously live together. Eventually, Trayvon's Martin's pleas for help will be answered, and he will not have died in vain.


Jermaine A. Wyrick is an attorney for the Law Offices of Jermaine A. Wyrick PLLC. His areas of practice are Criminal Defense, Personal Injury, and Police Misconduct. He can be reached at (313) 964-8950, or by e-mail:

Published: Fri, Apr 6, 2012


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