William Jacobson: What Is Left of the “Zimmerman as Racist” Narrative?
A very good post that breaks down the accusations point by point.
I think this is a fair description of the racial narrative of the shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman:
George Zimmerman (1) shot Trayvon Martin (2) because a black teenager in a hoodie is frightening (3) to whites, as proven by (4) Zimmerman’s description of Martin as suspicious because he was black, and (5) Zimmerman’s use of the phrase “f-ing coons”, (6) in a classic case of racial profiling, (7) inspired by a climate of hate stoked by Republican “right-wing” rhetoric.
What is left of this narrative based upon what currently is publicly known?
You should read the whole thing, and follow the links, but I’ll give you a snippet:
(4) Zimmerman did not describe Martin’s race in the initial 911 phone call until the dispatcher asked the race of the suspicious person, at which point Zimmerman said he “looks black.” The audio broadcast by NBC News omitted this intervening question to make it appear as if Zimmerman stated that Martin was suspicious because he was black.
(5) The assertion that Martin used the racial epithet “coons” is subject to serious doubt. CNN hired three audio experts, only one of whom believed the word was used. In the Affidavit of Probable Cause, two state investigators swore under oath that Zimmerman said “f-ing punks.”
More analysis and supporting links at Prof. Jacobson’s post.
One of the links, highlighted by commenter Random (who passed along Prof. Jacobson’s post), was something I had missed in the initial coverage. (As I have said, I have not followed the story closely.) Namely, evidence that Zimmerman agitated against police officers who had beaten a poor black man:
In late 2010 and early 2011 George Zimmerman, the Hispanic Sanford, Fla., man who shot and killed 17-year-old black teen Trayvon Martin, publicly demanded discipline in a race-related beating case for at least two of the police officers who cleared him after the Feb. 26 altercation, according to records obtained by The Daily Caller.
In a letter to Seminole County NAACP president Turner Clayton, a member of the Zimmerman family wrote that George was one of “very few” in Sanford who publicly condemned the “beating of the black homeless man Sherman Ware on Dec. 4, 2010, by the son of a Sanford police officer,” who is white.
By the way, it looks like a couple of these cops were among those who cleared him.
I think the idea that Zimmerman hunted down Martin and killed him in cold blood is not very plausible given that he called the police first. The remaining scenarios depend on a lot of variables: did Zimmerman pursue Martin after the dispatcher’s “we don’t need you to do that” comment; who initiated the final confrontation; who initiated the physical confrontation; who was getting the better of that confrontation; and so on. It’s all a matter of evidence.
But the idea that this was a racially motivated hunt? Yeah, that’s pretty hard to buy at this point.