A Jury Of His Peers

The George Zimmerman case has polarized a great deal of people. The facts were considered by a jury of his peers, and the jury found him not guilty on all charges.

The law in most countries states that the accused is innocent unless proved guilty. The accused isn’t guilty until a guilty verdict is rendered. In this case, George Zimmerman was found not guilty and, to that end, justice was served.

But now there are riots in the streets across America, and people who aren’t referring to all the facts — just the facts that matter to them, or rumors that have no basis in fact — are insisting that George Zimmerman is guilty. I’m sorry but the trial resulted in a not guilty verdict ergo George Zimmerman is not guilty in the eyes of the law and society is to accept that fact.

Where’s the sense in rioting? I’m not talking peaceful protest because I can see the sense in peaceful protests. What I can’t see any sense in is in rioting.

Blocking traffic on various highways across America won’t get the verdict changed from not guilty to guilty. That’s not how the justice system works. But blocking traffic on various highways is a great way to inflame emotions on both sides and possibly create situations that could lead to more unintended shootings and more tragic deaths.

It’s not like Florida is going to call George Zimmerman’s lawyers up on the phone and say, “Hey, look, we made a mistake, you know. So, how about bringing George down to the police station so we can lock him up until all the rioters and protesters tell the State of Florida that he should be let back out again?

To all the angry people who are posting what they believe to be George Zimmerman’s home address: Knock it off. You have no way of knowing for sure if the address you’re sharing as George Zimmerman’s is actually his. You could be endangering the lives of innocent people who may not have a gun with which to defend themselves against vigilantes intent on visiting vigilante justice on George Zimmerman.

There’s reason to worry that, once again, those with an axe to grind will force the rest to bend to their will.

When protesters nationwide criticized the investigation and the fact that George Zimmerman hadn’t been charged a month after the incident. things began to heat up. Those who were pushing to have George Zimmerman to be charged seemed to be interested in only two things: having George Zimmerman charged with murder, and having George Zimmerman found guilty of the charge of murder. The facts didn’t enter into the mix as far as they were concerned.

In other words, they subscribed to the concept that the accused is guilty until a guilty verdict is rendered, even if the accused is innocent and a not guilty verdict is rendered. It doesn’t matter how many memes, buzzwords, inferences, accusations, hypotheses, theories, or armchair lawyering are posted to social media sites in favor of lynching someone for no other reason than because he or she has been found guilty in the kangaroo court of public opinion.

The lynching of George Zimmerman didn’t begin with the not guilty verdict. It began long before that. It began when members from the New Black Panther Party (NBPP) offered a $10,000 reward for the “capture” of George Zimmerman on March 24, 2012. With 2 days, rallies took place in cities across the U.S.

Matters seemed to worsen when NBC mis-edited — and then widely distributed — the 9-1-1 phone call from George Zimmerman to the police. Later on they printed an apology in the form of saying they had been “unfair to the truth” but double-speak that softens the seriousness of one’s actions rarely has the impact that the initial mis-editing has on the public. The public somehow created, and bought into, the mythos that George Zimmerman was a hardened racial profiler.  The mis-edit reported that Zimmerman had said this to the 9-1-1 dispatcher:

Zimmerman:  This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.

In actuality, here’s the exchange that went between George Zimmerman and the 9-1-1 dispatcher.

Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. Or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.
Dispatcher: OK, and this guy — is he black, white or Hispanic?
Zimmerman: He looks black.

It was the 9-1-1 dispatcher who asked George Zimmerman if the suspicious person was black, white or Hispanic. George Zimmerman’s answer was not a racist one. It was in response to the question put to him by the 9-1-1 dispatcher. Up until that point, George Zimmerman hadn’t made mention of the suspicious person’s possible race.

At first, everyone referred to Zimmerman as being white. When that misperception was corrected, media such as the New York Times referred to him as a “white Hispanic.” One can only wonder if this was done so the story of a black victim of white racism would continue to play in the media and with the general public.

NOTE: Please see attachment for additional details on race definitions in the U.S.

The bottom line is that everyone who is charged with a criminal offence is presumed innocent until proved guilty according to the laws of the country. In the United States of America. In Canada. In the United Kingdom,.  In the European Union. In a number of countries around the world.

In plain English that means that anyone accused of a crime is innocent unless the facts prove that the person is guilty, and nobody can punish a person for something that person has been accused  — but found not guilty — having done, as decided by a jury of his peers.

Elyse Bruce

ATTACHMENT:  Race Definitions per the U.S. Census 2000


2 Responses to “A Jury Of His Peers”

  1. karen Says:

    I cracked up over the white Hispanic comment. Does this mean the blacks that of white and black heritage white blacks. admittedly we did not hear the whole case, only what the media wanted us to hear. I respect the jurors decision as should everyone else. no one was failed here

  2. Wally Moran Says:

    Nice summation of the facts and issues. I’m impressed.

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