Earlier this month we posted news that Frank Taafe, a self-proclaimed “friend” of George Zimmerman, was going to testify before a Grand Jury that he now believed Zimmerman had a racist motivation for the shooting of Trayvon Martin.  This news came just days before the hotly contested November 4 election in which the Democrats took the same kind of beating that Trayvon delivered to Zimmerman, but without the benefit of being armed.  (See: Key Witness for Zimmerman Grand Jury Changes Story.)

Taaffe’s Grand Jury appearance, scheduled for last Wednesday, was delayed for unexplained reasons.  (See:  We interrupt post-election gloating for news about the DOJ Zimmerman Grand Jury.)  According to reporting by the Orlando Sentinel newspaper, however, Taaffe was to appear before the Grand Jury today to testify about Zimmerman’s purported racial animus.

Such testimony would be a game changer in lingering efforts to seek Federal civil rights charges against Zimmerman.  Despite dozens of FBI interviews of people associated with Zimmerman, there was never so much as a smidgen of evidence that Zimmerman shot Martin for reasons of racism.  Indeed, what evidence was developed ran counter to that narrative.

Among those at the time who told FBI agents that they had no reason to believe Zimmerman had a racial motive for shooting Martin?  Frank Taaffe. Here’s the video:

Without evidence of racial animus there was no basis for a Federal civil rights prosecution, and in fact none was forthcoming. Earlier this year, however, with public interest in him waning, Taaffe suddenly recalled that he had, after all, had a phone conversation with Zimmerman in which the media-described “white Hispanic” had voiced racial animus towards Martin.  It appeared, suddenly and literally incredibly, as if there might be a hook on which to hang a civil rights prosecution of Zimmerman after all.

Could this be true?

Short answer: no.

For reasons known only to the Orlando Sentinel, they waited until the 17th paragraph of their 22 paragraph online post to un-bury the lede:

Taaffe said he expected to testify about a phone call days before Zimmerman’s arrest from someone who claimed to be Zimmerman and made a “racial comment” about the case, Taaffe said.

He said the call came from an unknown number, so he couldn’t be 100 percent sure it was Zimmerman.

Oofah. (The “emphasis added” fairy contributed to the above quote.)

Here’s Taaffe’s impromptu, and VERY lengthy (almost 20 minute) statement to the press today:

So once again the Federal Department of Justice in particular and the Zimmerman-haters in general are left without so much of a smidgen of evidence of racism on any facet–not one–of Zimmerman’s interaction with Trayvon Martin nor the entirety of Zimmerman’s life leading up to that night.

Indeed, as has always been the case the only evidence of racism that night is the racism of Trayvon Martin. Rachel Jeantel, with whom Martin was speaking on the phone up until moments before his death, gave sworn testimony that Martin referred to Zimmerman as a “cracker,” a racist term used to refer to white people.

I concluded my November 1st post on this matter with the words: “Color me cynical.”

Right again. 🙂

–-Andrew, @LawSelfDefense


Andrew F. Branca is an MA lawyer and the author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition,” available at the Law of Self Defense blog (autographed copies available) and Amazon.com (paperback and Kindle). He also holds Law of Self Defense Seminars around the country, and provides free online self-defense law video lectures at the Law of Self Defense Institute and podcasts through iTunes, Stitcher, and elsewhere.