Patterico's Pontifications


Obama Sponsored Expanded Stand Your Ground Law in Illinois

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:59 am

That’s what this report says (via Say Anything):

The Obama-sponsored bill (SB 2386) enlarged the state’s 1961 law by shielding the person who was attacked from being sued in civil court by perpetrators or their estates when a “stand your ground” defense is used in protecting his or her person, dwelling or other property.

The bill unanimously passed the Democrat-controlled Illinois Senate on March 25, 2004 with only one comment, and passed the Democrat-controlled Illinois House in May 2004 with only two votes in opposition. Then-Governor Rod Blagojevich (D) signed it into law.

Hooray for cynical politics. Hope and change!

Proof that Zimmerman’s Calls to 911 About Black Males Were Legitimate And Not Racial

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:27 am

This post refutes Scott Eric Kaufman’s recent post suggesting George Zimmerman was a racial profiler.

Regular readers will recall Kaufman’s post, which claimed that a series of calls between August 2011 and February 2012 proved Zimmerman had begun fixating on black males:

[S]tarting in August of 2011, Zimmerman’s calls took on a decidedly different note. He reported:

3 August 2011: “[a] black male last seen wearing a white tank top and black shorts,” who he “believes … is involved in recent [burglaries]“
6 August 2011: “two black males … in their teens”
23 September 2011: yet another “open garage door,” but specifies reason for calling is “neighborhood watch [meeting] last night”
1 October 2011: “two black males … 20 – 30 [years old] in Chevy [possibly] Impala at the gate of the community,” about whom Zimmerman’s concerned because he “does not recognize [the subjects] or [vehicle] and is concerned due to recent burglaries”
29 January 2012: children “running and playing in the street”
2 February 2012: “[black male last seen wearing] black leather jacket, black hat, printed PJ pants [who] keeps going to [the same] location”

And then on 26 February 2012 he calls about Trayvon Martin. There’s a pattern here obvious to anyone without an investment in not seeing it.

I have previously criticized this analysis as sophomoric, which it is, because it makes absolutely no attempt to determine whether the people Zimmerman called about actually were acting suspicious. As I said:

SEK implicitly declares irrelevant petty details such as these:

  • Were the black people he called the police on actually acting suspicious?
  • Were there non-black people he observed who were acting suspiciously but did not become the focus of Zimmerman’s attention?

All he needs to know is: most of the people Zimmerman called about were black. Ergo he profiled them on the basis of race, end of analysis.

Lurking reader (and former commenter) Stu707 sends along a link to an interesting piece linked by Instapundit that got me started down the path of examining the first (bolded) bullet point above: was Zimmerman justified in calling 911 about these black males? The search took me to the site of the Orlando Sentinel as well as to Talk Left, and was very revealing.

In short, Zimmerman had plenty of reason to find these people suspicious.

Let’s break it down, starting with the first two calls that SEK finds to be evidence of race-based profiling:

3 August 2011: “[a] black male last seen wearing a white tank top and black shorts,” who he “believes … is involved in recent [burglaries]“
6 August 2011: “two black males … in their teens”

TalkLeft addressed these two calls in this excellent post:

Two of the five calls the state played for the jury pertained to the home invasion at Bertalan’s residence.

It was Olivia Bertalan, not Zimmerman, who called police to report a home invasion at her home while she and her infant son were home. She saw the perpetrators, hid in a bedroom and called 911 at 11:00 a.m. Bertalan described the perpetrators in her 911 call to police as two young African American males. Shelley Zimmerman also saw the suspects and provided a description to police.

Later that day, at 5:00 p.m., Zimmerman went to her home and brought her a new deadbolt because hers wasn’t working. At 6:45 pm Zimmerman called the non-emergency number to report he spotted someone who fit the description Bertalan had given police of one of the suspects. The police did not catch him that night.

On August 6, Zimmerman called non-emergency again to tell police that the male fitting Bertalan’s description was back in the neighborhood, and that he and Shelley had just seen him again. He told police they might want to send someone over to Calabria Cove apartments because he thought that’s where the male would run to. Again the police didn’t catch him. The case was placed on inactive status.

TalkLeft goes on to present evidence tending to show that two black males actually did commit the burglary:

In September, police got a latent print report from the lab which showed that two prints found on the wall between Retreat at Twin Lakes and Calabria Cove apartments matched someone named Emmanuel Burgess. Bertalan identified Burgess from a photo lineup and charges were filed.

Emmanuel Burgess, who lived with his parents in the neighborhood, was on juvenile parole and and in and out of detention facilities. He lived with his parents at Retreat at Twin Lakes, and was finally arrested in February, 2012, after another burglary at the complex on February 6. His juvenile probation was terminated, he was transferred to adult court, where Judge Nelson presided over his multiple cases, consolidating them. He pleaded guilty to both the burglary at Bertalan’s home in August, 2011 and the Febrary 6th burglary . Zimmerman had nothing to do with reporting the February 6 burglary. Burgess was sentenced by Judge Nelson to five years in prison. The dockets are here and here.

. . . .

Of the five calls the state introduced as supposed support for its theory that they showed Zimmerman’s state of mind as a profiler and wannabe cop, two of the calls pertained to the Beltaran home invasion, in which he didn’t profile anyone. He reported seeing someone who matched the description the homeowner (and his wife) had initially given police. The person he reported not only turned out to be the perpetrator, but the perpetrator was only able to be charged after his latent prints were found on the wall he had jumped over from Retreat at Twin Lakes to the neighboring complex. Burgess didn’t just commit one burglary, but several, and he was found in possession of some of the stolen property when he was arrested. He had a long record as a juvenile and he lived in the neighborhood.

You can actually listen to the August 3, 2011 call if you like. It is at this Orlando Sentinel link. Zimmerman tells 911:

Our neighborhood got burglarized or robbed today. And my wife saw one of the kids that did it, and we see someone that matches his description in the neighborhood now, again.

He adds: “My wife talked to Detective Walker and gave him a description of the guy we see now.” Zimmerman describes the suspect as being in a white tank top and black shorts. In the background you can hear his wife say: “He just went between the houses . . . he’s looking at cars.”

The second call, on August 6, was about the same person, as TalkLeft explains above.

Citing these calls as evidence of racial profiling by Zimmerman is ridiculous. The burglars were black, his wife saw them, and believed she had seen the same person return that day. What was he supposed to do — not call the police?


SEK’s next piece of evidence of Zimmerman’s horrible racism:

23 September 2011: yet another “open garage door,” but specifies reason for calling is “neighborhood watch [meeting] last night”

TalkLeft says:

In the third of the five calls, Zimmerman didn’t report anyone. He called to report an open garage door after 10:00 pm.

That seems to take care of that. Nor do I see any evidence of Zimmerman providing a suspect’s race in the fifth call cited by SEK:

29 January 2012: children “running and playing in the street”

Nothing there about them being black. So that leaves two more calls that SEK complains of:

1 October 2011: “two black males … 20 – 30 [years old] in Chevy [possibly] Impala at the gate of the community,” about whom Zimmerman’s concerned because he “does not recognize [the subjects] or [vehicle] and is concerned due to recent burglaries”
. . . .
2 February 2012: “[black male last seen wearing] black leather jacket, black hat, printed PJ pants [who] keeps going to [the same] location”

TalkLeft addresses these as follows:

That leaves a total of 2 calls prior to February 26 in which he reported African American males as suspicious.

In one, on Feb. 2, the male appeared to him to be casing Frank Taafe’s house, located at the shortcut from the main road. Zimmerman said the guy kept walking up to Taafe’s house and away from it, and he knew the guy didn’t live there. By the time police arrived, the male had left. Taaffe was out of town.

You can listen to this February 2, 2012 call cited by SEK by clicking here. Zimmerman describes a gentleman walking in the neighborhood and says he has seen him before. He says the guy has a black leather jacket and a bomber hat. 53 seconds in, we hear this:

He keeps going to this guy’s house. [An evident reference to Taafe.] I know him, I know the resident, he’s Caucasian. And he’s [meaning the suspicious person] going up to the house and then going along the side of it, and then coming to the street, and then going back to the side of it. I don’t know what he’s doing. I don’t want to approach him, personally.

So it matters in this instance that the suspicious person is black — because he is continually going to the side of a house that can’t be his, because Zimmerman knows the owner, and the owner is Caucasian. Could such actions be innocent? Possibly. Are they worth checking out? You bet. Is it relevant that the guy is black? Absolutely.

In between this February 2 call and the February 26 Trayvon Martin call, there was a burglary in which evidence showed the involvement of more than one black male, resulting in an arrest and recovery of stolen property. From TalkLeft:

On February 6, Tatiana Deamicis reported that her residence in the complex had been burglarized. Two witnesses (Arnold Arms and Iain Beard) told police that they saw a black male, mid-20s, 5’8”, approximately 180 lbs., standing next to Deamicis’s residence (but not entering or leaving it). Beard believed that the individual had stolen his bike (previously reported to police). On February 7, Arms and Beard called police to report three black males and one white male on bicycles “in a cut through area of the complex (a grass area where [the complex] backs up to Colonial Village Apartments),” one of whom (who would turn out to be Burgess) they believed to be the person they saw with a possible connection to the February 6 burglary. Police responded and obtained permission to search the backpack of one of Burgess’s companions (Ransburg), and discovered two laptop computers. A third companion claimed that he had purchased the one of the laptops the previous night. Officers determined, however, that the serial number matched the computer stolen from Deamicis’s residence the prior day. While the officers were attempting to handcuff the four suspects, one fled, but was apprehended shortly thereafter in the Colonial Village Apartments. Burgess’s juvenile probation was terminated and he was arrested. He was ultimately sentenced by Judge Nelson (who also presided over Zimmerman’s trial) to 5 years in prison. It is unclear whether the other suspects remained in custody or were released after February 7, and it is unclear whether they were tried or convicted for anything.)

That leaves the October 1, 2011 call, which TalkLeft describes this way:

In the other of the two calls, during October, 2011, Zimmerman called to report seeing two older (late ’20’s to ’30s) African American males hanging out at the entrance to the gated community at 1:00 in the morning. He reported them for loitering.

That’s pretty much SEK’s entire evidence of racial profiling, right there in that single call. The article linked by Instapundit has more information about that call:

On October 1, GZ reported that two black males, approximately 20-30 years old, appeared to be loitering in their car at the gate of the community at 1 a.m.; he reported that he didn’t recognize them or their vehicle and was concerned due to the recent burglaries in the neighborhood (#39). Later in October, Belatran successfully identifies one of the suspected burglars, Emmanuel Burgess, from a photo lineup. Burgess, who was out on conditional juvenile parole and living with his parents in GZ’s and Belatran’s complex, had apparently become a suspect when police matched two of the latent palm prints to him in September.

He was concerned due to the recent burglaries in the neighborhood — which he knew, based on eyewitness testimony that was corroborated by fingerprint evidence, involved two young black males.

Even if you want to say he was profiling based on race, in this, the one and only call cited by SEK in which there was not a specific non-race-based reason to find the suspects to be suspicious, he is still relating his suspicion back to recent burglaries with unquestionably black suspects.

You have now read evidence that each and every one of the calls cited by SEK which involved black males suspected before the Martin call, with the possible and arguable exception of the last one, was one in which the suspects actually were acting suspiciously, regardless of their race. And, to the extent their race mattered, you have read evidence showing that the race of the subjects was a legitimate concern for Zimmerman.

Yet SEK tells you, from his ivory tower: “There’s a pattern here obvious to anyone without an investment in not seeing it. What began as annoying 911 operators with pointless complaints escalated to notifying the authorities any time he saw a black male he didn’t know.”

I’d like to think SEK will read this post and realize the error of his ways. Instead, I think he will read this post and ignore it, or insinuate that I am somehow a racist. At a minimum, he will say it proves, rather than destroys, his point. He will argue that this shows Zimmerman actually was concerned with black males on the basis of their race. He will gloss over the fact that two of the calls relate to a particular suspect, which undercuts his numbers. He will gloss over suspicious behavior such as repeatedly going to the side of a house that doesn’t belong to you.

Gloss over evidence, ignore evidence, minimize evidence, and loudly re-proclaim his now discredited point. That is what we can expect, and I have no doubt about it.


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