Zimmerman-Martin incident teaches injustice and stereotyping
Written for The Arbiter.
The death of Trayvon Martin is not only unfortunate to his family, but also is an important indicator to the state of our justice system as a whole. If the Sanford Police Department (SVP) does not investigate George Zimmerman for murder, today’s kids may come to an important assumption: justice is not always served and racial stereotypes are still used today.
According to Francisco Salinas, director of Student Diversity and Inclusion at Boise State, the SVP did not handle Martin’s death professionally.
“It seems (Zimmerman) in this case is given an immediate presumption of innocence,” Salinas said.
Boise State students should understand that a Caucasian is just as likely to commit assault as an African-American.
In this case, Zimmerman allegedly acted in self defense. Trayvon Martin was just a teenage boy who was walking through a neighborhood at night. Simply because of these unwitnessed circumstances, Zimmerman should be tried by a jury and not by the SVP.
In fact, there is enough evidence in Zimmerman’s 911 call alone to suggest that he could be suspect for murder.
Before Zimmerman was released from police custody immediately following the incident, the SVP should have investigated Zimmerman’s 911 call, wherein he made comments such as, “these assholes.” Comments like these, however, do not prove Zimmerman’s immediate guilt, but they do provide a reason to suspect Zimmerman of assault.
If justice exists, the police would have further considered how and why Martin would have assaulted Zimmerman in the first place.
According to Scott Stark, a freshman studying internet technologies management, a person confronting someone else in the middle of the night is suspicious.
“I know if I was Trayvon and being followed at night, I wouldn’t feel comfortable,” Stark said.
Additionally, the SVP did not fully consider how the altercation happened. During the 911 call, Zimmerman says Martin ran away from his (Zimmerman’s) vehicle.
According to Dustin Kier, a junior studying mechanical engineering, the police misinterpreted Florida’s Stand Your Ground law.
“We’ve heard the 911 tapes. (Zimmerman) is told not to pursue and he pursued this guy. This is not a stand-your-ground case; (Zimmerman) pursued (Martin),” Kier said.
The police should have become suspicious of murder and not self defense when Martin ran away from Zimmerman.
Zimmerman must have pursued Martin and then confronted him. This demonstrates that Zimmerman was the aggressor.
The police committed a logical fallacy by assuming that Martin was shot in self defense. It’s reasonable to think Zimmerman could have shot Martin out of aggression.
“It is very credible that (Martin) would have not been treated with a presumption of guilt if (Martin) was not African-American,” Salinas said.
According to Salinas, the criminal justice system is more suspect of people of color when there is room for subjective interpretation.
If the police are allowed to assume a person’s guilt (not having Zimmerman tried by a jury), our kids could learn to accept racial stereotypes—assuming African-Americans are usually aggressive.
Justice was not served when Zimmerman was released after shooting a 17-year-old boy from what appears to be a conflict he initiated.
Our children should not be witnessing an example of an African-American’s automatically assumed culpability in a scuffle because of the color of his skin.
For another opinion on the same issue, please visit Journalists must maintain their integrity
-Thanks for reading Bryce Dunham-Zemberi