Image 01 Image 03

George Zimmerman Trial Tag

Derek Chauvin goes on trial starting Monday, March 8, 2021, for the alleged murder of George Floyd. I say "alleged" because though the media and activists have already written the narrative of guilt, we know that criminal guilt must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt and media narratives do not always hold up in court.

Seven years ago George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin in lawful self-defense, as Martin beat Zimmerman to a bloody pulp Mixed Martial Arts style. Martin died of a single shot. The eyewitness and forensic evidence introduced at trial corroborated Zimmerman's account of being sucker punched in the nose, something Martin had bragged in text messages, kept from the jury, was his preferred method of starting fights. An eyewitness witnessed the beating, and the forensics were completely consistent with Zimmerman's account.

This week’s Case of the Week is inspired by the so-called “documentary,” Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story, produced by Jay Z and Trayvon Martin’s parents. The first two episodes focus enormous attention on the fact that George Zimmerman was not arrested until April 11, 2012, 44 days after he shot and killed Trayvon Martin on February 26.

With the “documentary” Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story by Jay Z in the news, I though it worthwhile to make this Case of the Week about the lies created by doctoring the audio file of the call George Zimmerman made to the police moments before he was viciously attacked by Trayvon Martin.

It's hard to believe, but my first post here at Legal Insurrection was on June 5, 2013. Naturally, it was a post covering the murder trial of George Zimmerman, after Professor Jacobson noticed some of my comments on his own posts and kindly invited me to contribute to the site. I ended up watching every moment of the trial and reviewing every piece of evidence, and wrote about the trial and surrounding events rather extensively.

Today is the 5th Anniversary of the death of Trayvon Martin, who was shot dead by George Zimmerman. I don't think any other website has covered the case as extensively as we have. We have hundreds of posts under the tags Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman and George Zimmerman trial. We covered the initial publicity, the pre-trial criminal proceedings, the trial itself, and the post-trial problems George Zimmerman experienced. Andrew Branca's live coverage of the trial was epic and widely credited, including by Don West, co-defense counsel for Zimmerman, Unexpected thanks to Legal Insurrection on 2nd Anniversary of Zimmerman Acquittal.

I mostly missed the Ken Bone phenomenon. I either wasn't watching or wasn't listening when he asked a question at the last presidential debate. He then became a media darling, though I'm not really sure why. Something to do with his red sweater, apparently. And the fact that after the debate he said he started off leaning towards Trump, but was impressed with and considering Hillary. It was a perfect pro-Clinton media meme, common guy journalists otherwise would mock becomes cool because he moves from Trump to Hillary; a good example for the common folk to hear about. Bone then sought to cash in, selling a version of his red sweater and doing other stuff to make a buck and promote himself.

Yesterday Angela Corey, the prosecutor who dragged George Zimmerman into a hapless politically-motivated trial for second degree murder for the lawful killing of Trayvon Martin, has soundly lost the GOP primary race for her re-election as 4th Judicial State Attorney in the Jacksonville area of Florida, reports the Florida-Times Union newspaper.  Corey was defeated by a relatively late entrant into the primary, former corporate lawyer and prosecutor Melissa Nelson.

I have left the coverage of the prosecution of six police officers in the Freddie Gray case to Andrew Branca. He had almost 100 posts. As with the Geroge Zimmerman, Michael Dunn and other trials, Andrew did a superb job. From the start of the prosecutions in the Freddie Gray case, Andrew called BS on the charges. One of his early posts on May 1, 2015, was Freddie Gray Cops Charges – Justice or Political Theater?

Facts don't matter in the Black Lives Matter movement. Trayvon Martin's shooting planted the seeds for the movement. Contrary to popular myth, Trayvon was not unlawfully shot and killed by George Zimmerman. The trial evidence was overwhelming that Trayvon attacked Zimmerman with a punch to the nose and when shot was on top of Zimmerman beating him Mixed Martial Arts style, having smashed his head into concrete. Moreover, the racial narrative was false, a perception caused by a deceptive NBC audio edit and false interpretation of audio in which Zimmerman supposedly uttered a racial slur, and amplified by activists and family lawyers. Michael Brown's death directly launched the movement and took it national. Brown, however, wasn't shot "hands up, don't shoot" but because he sucker punched a cop sitting in his vehicle and tried to steal the cop's gun. [Ferguson PO Darren Wilson injuries caused when Michael Brown sucker punched him while trying to grab gun] [Ferguson PO Darren Wilson injuries caused when Michael Brown sucker punched him while trying to grab gun] These seminal events of the Black Lives Matter narrative were lies.

Today the South Florida Times posted on their web site a piece entitled "FILM USES VIRTUAL REALITY TO REENACT TRAYVON’S MURDER." In that piece they describe a piece of fabricated ("virtual reality") cinema that purports to tell the "true story" about the interaction between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin that resulted in Martin's death. The article notes that:
The promotional material for One Dark Night indicates, “By anchoring the piece in accurate and unassailable elements, the user becomes transported inside a reliable, albeit virtual, version of the story as an eyewitness. One Dark Night breaks new ground on multiple levels, including through audio carefully cleaned by forensic specialists Sourcesound and Primeau Productions, with the latter asserting that the reconstructed audio indicates George Zimmerman cocked his gun just before he gave chase.
(emphasis added) Except there's one little problem with that narrative:

The defense has opened with a bang in the "Freddie Gray" trial of Police Officer William Porter, bringing to the stand as their first witness noted forensic pathologist Dr. Vincent Di Maio, who is testifying that Gray's death should have been ruled an accident, not a homicide. As reported by Kalani Gordon at the Baltimore Sun:
Dr. Vincent Di Maio, a forensic pathologist and former chief medical examiner in San Antonio, said Gray's injury was "so violent, it's so high-energy," that it would have immediately caused Gray to lose control of his body and his diaphragm, which is critical for breathing and speaking. "This has all the appearances of a single catastrophic injury," he said. Gray could not have suffered his severe spinal cord, then, at the fourth stop of the van in which he was injured, when Porter found him on the floor of the van and Gray allegedly asked for help, said he couldn't breathe and said he needed a medic. The injury had essentially "cut off the head from the body" in a neurological sense, Di Maio testified. He said Gray's spinal cord was 80 percent crushed.

Has it really been two years since the jury acquitted George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin case? Those of you who have been with us for over two years will recall our exhaustive coverage of the case, long before the trial. Andrew Branca's daily trial coverage was superb, the best out there by far. Andrew established himself as the authority on Stand Your Ground and the law of self-defense. We had hundreds of posts, so it's impossible to summarize them. You can scroll through the Trayvon Martin (including my coverage of the race issues) and Zimmerman Trial tags for pre-trial and trial coverage, and the George Zimmerman tag for all that has followed in George's life. The verdict came as a shock only to people who had not followed our coverage: Here is a screenshot of our post of the verdict:

As our readers know, Andrew Branca is THE expert on self-defense and Stand Your Ground law. He also has a great deal of knowledge about 2nd Amendment and gun control issues. What you might not recall, is that Andrew originally was a commenter at Legal Insurrection. In the run up to the George Zimmerman Trial in June 2013, Andrew's comments were so outstanding that I asked him to cover the trial. Andrew's daily, live trial coverage was outstanding, and he has been covering self-defense and 2nd Amendment issues for us since. Andrew Branca German TV Stand Your Ground John Ekdahl, who writes at Ace of Spades HQ, tweeted about a video he just saw of Andrew being interviewed on German TV on February 28, 2014. We have posted the video before, but here it is again. A brilliant discussion of what Stand Your Ground is and is not, the Dunn and Zimmerman cases, and questionable statistics used to delegitimize SYG.

The fatal shooting of the Mike Brown by police officer Darren Wilson has raised a hue and cry about a wide variety of social issues, among them the increasingly vitriolic nature of American race relations, the astonishing militarization of the police (or, perhaps more accurately, their equipment), and the curious (to me, at least) degree to which the rioting, looting, and arson that followed the shooting was rationalized as “wrong, but understandable.” [caption id="attachment_96650" align="alignnone" width="450"]Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson[/caption]

A Too-Familiar Misinformation Cascade

This most recent high-profile shooting has also seen the deployment of a too-familiar misinformation cascade in cases where there is a real or perceived racial element.  This misinformation cascade achieves its purpose by taking what few “facts” are typically available in the immediate aftermath of such an event, and passing them through a rhetorical filter to construct two defining narrative elements:

The pure victim: An image of the victim as an innocent, nearly saint-like, young child of such tender years as to suggest that the very notion of him committing an act of malice is preposterous.

The monstrous aggressor: An image of the shooter as an angry, hateful, racist monster with a hunger for shooting young black children dead in circumstances totally absent of legal justification.

The Misinformation Cascade in the Zimmerman/Trayvon Case

In the case of the shooting of Trayvon Martin by the "White Hispanic" George Zimmerman, these dual goals were accomplished in several ways.