Sunday, March 31, 2013

Zimmerman’s ‘utterly’ lame defense

(Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

(Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

As I wrote in my last post, Robert Zimmerman Jr.’s tweet linking Trayvon Martin to accused baby killer De’Marquise Elkins was so outrageous that Mark O’Mara told me it was “absurd” without hesitation. The lawyer for George Zimmerman, the killer of unarmed Trayvon Martin, also told the Daily Beast that the electronic missive was “wholly inappropriate.”
What Zimmerman did was show alleged photos of Trayvon and De’Marquise in middle-finger poses. But if the pictures are bad, the words accompanying them were worse.
.@AnthonyCumia – Alleged FB pics of 13mo old Antonio Santiago’s alleged killer & #TrayvonMartin Side-by-Side #uncanny
We’ve been down this road before. Fake pictures purporting to be Trayvon have littered the Internet. Supporters of George Zimmerman have used them to paint the unarmed 17-year-old as a wannabe thug who deserved to die. They have used Trayvon’s suspension from school for being found with an empty marijuana baggie to bolster their point. As if such a thing made Trayvon unlike any other teenager in this adolescent rite of passage. The persistence of the negative view of Trayvon was evident in a tweet reacting to my last post. “[I]sn’t Trayvon Marton [sic] that drug dealing juvenile delinquent with a history of violence?” asked @GameCocksKid.
But a later tweet by Zimmerman, as he battled with critics (and basked in support), actually did make sense — just not in the way he intended. “And character is UTTERLY relevant in self-defense cases,” he tweeted six hours after his original message. If character is utterly relevant when it comes to Trayvon, then it is especially relevant to George Zimmerman.
The neighborhood watch volunteer who wanted to be a cop was arrested in July 2005 for “resisting officer with violence” and “battery of law enforcement officer.” Zimmerman got into a scuffle with cops questioning a friend for alleged underage drinking. Upon entering an alcohol education program, the charges were reportedly reduced and then waived. The next month in 2005, Zimmerman’s former fiance sought a restraining order against him because of domestic violence. Zimmerman sought a restraining order against her in return. Both were granted.
An unarmed teenager with no documented history of violence lost his life to a man who has a documented history of violence. If “character is utterly relevant in self-defense cases,” as Zimmerman says, then his brother is behind the eight-ball.

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