These facts are known beyond dispute. George Zimmerman -- actually a Hispanic -- was a nasty little racist cop-wannabe who couldn't qualify for the Sanford, Florida police department, so he joined the local unofficial Neighborhood Watch. Purely on his own hook, he went out to patrol one night, and spotted a Black teenager -- Trayvon Martin -- walking home, carrying a bag that held some iced tea and candy.
Zimmerman decided that the boy was "suspicious" because he was wearing a hooded sweatshirt and walking slowly. He duly reported the sighting, using some racial insults, to the Sanford police. The police told him not to pursue, promising to send a patrol car around. Zimmerman ignored the police order, and followed Martin.
Martin received a phonecall from his girlfriend at 7:12 PM, and told her he was concerned about a strange "White" man following him. His girlfriend told him to run. A moment later she heard Martin saying: "What are you following me for?" followed by a man's voice saying: "What are you doing here?". After that came a sound of pushing or impact, and then Martin's phone went dead. She tried to call Martin back, but got no answer.
Eyewitness accounts of what happened next are contradictory: the two men were seen wrestling on the ground, no there was no wrestling, Zimmerman yelled for help, no it was a "very young voice" crying for help. One witness, who claimed he saw the two fighting on a grassy lawn, phoned the police. The call, which the police recorded, contains the sound of a single gunshot and then what is clearly identified as Martin's voice screaming for help.
When the police arrived, they found Martin lying face-down on the grass, dead. Zimmerman was standing nearby, still holding his gun, and the police reported that his back was wet and covered with bits of grass. They also claimed that he was bleeding from the nose and the back of the head. Zimmerman claimed to them that Martin had attacked him, punched him in the face and pounded his head on the ground several times, and he'd fired in self-defense. The police had an EMT examine him, then cuffed him, put him in a police car and drove him to the police station.
Police security videos show Zimmerman walking into the police station with no stumbling or staggering, no blood on his face, and only a single small wound on the back of his head. The police confiscated Zimmerman's gun -- of course -- but didn't administer any drug or alcohol tests nor give him any physical examination. The chief detective wanted to charge Zimmerman with manslaughter, but the state Attorney General said there wasn't enough evidence for a conviction -- even though very little investigation had been done. After questioning him, the Sanford police let Zimmerman go without charges.
Within days, the media got hold of the story and the political grandstanding began. Professional Black political activists howled that the whole incident was a case of blatant White Racism, despite the fact that Zimmerman is Hispanic, and the Black Panthers put a $10,000 bounty on Zimmerman's head. Right-wing pundits insisted that Zimmerman was justified in shooting because Martin stood a few inches taller than he did, even though Martin weighed all of 140 pounds and was distinctly skinny. Left-wing politicos attacked Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law, which states that someone threatened with violence in public is not required to "retreat" -- neatly overlooking the fact that "Stand Your Ground" does not mean "Stalk and Confront".
What nobody seems to have considered is that the Sanford police were simply sloppy, incompetent, and -- along with the states Attorney General -- overly swayed by the fact that one of Zimmerman's relatives is a retired judge. In the absence of Left/Right and racial politics, that would have been scandal enough.
Ah, but this is an election year, isn't it?
--Leslie <;)))>< Fish