A slew of questions have been raised in this investigation and calls for justice have been heard from all corners of our country. What's important is that we the citizens have the proper information to draw a conclusion about what actually happened that night. Everything else is pure speculation. I will attempt to do just that here with you, step by step.
The night started with a 911 call from Mr. Zimmerman about a suspicious looking person walking through the neighborhood. Mr. Martin was a guest in the neighborhood and was difficult to identify by familiarity. The 911 dispatcher asked for identifying characteristics of Mr. Martin to which Mr. Zimmerman replied a black male in jeans with a hooded sweat shirt. This brings us to our first question.
Was Mr. Zimmerman's identification of Mr. Martin as a black male an indication of pre-meditation in a hate crime, or otherwise a pre disposition to illustrate facts in any other matter then straight forwardly? It would stand to reason that the physical characteristics played little into how Mr. Zimmerman made his conclusion to involve the police. It was likely linked to the hyperbole surrounding the recent crime in the area and the zealotry Mr. Zimmerman experienced as the watch Captain.
As a result race was a non issue it was the relation to a body, be it white or black in the neighborhood "looking suspicious”. What's suspicious? That’s merely up to perception. Then could it have been a "Hate crime"? A hate crime is defined as such- "In crime and law, hate crimes (also known as bias-motivated crimes) occur when a perpetrator targets a victim because of his or her perceived membership in a certain social group, usually defined by racial group, religion, sexual orientation, disability, class, ethnicity, nationality, age, sex, gender identity, social status or political affiliation."
Probably not considering the race of Mr. Martin was only called into question by the 911 operator and not freely given by Mr. Zimmerman; furthermore Mr. Zimmerman concluded "I think he's black". That degree of uncertainty can call into question any intent Mr. Zimmerman may or may not have had prior to engaging Mr. Martin. From there Mr. Zimmerman goes on to say "He's checking me out" "He's putting his hand in his waist band" "he's got something in his hand; I don't know what his deal is".
I think this is instrumental in fueling Mr. Zimmerman’s mindset. That coupled with the apparent frustration of "These assholes, they always get away". The next question is- Why did Mr. Zimmerman pursue Mr. Martin and confront him? And was it considered stalking? After these events you can hear on the recording Mr. Zimmerman exiting his vehicle. He goes on to say "He's running" you then begin to hear wind and heavy breathing as if a pursuit has been initiated. The 911 operator asks "Are you following him"? To which Mr. Zimmerman replies "Yes" the operator says "Ok we don't need you to do that". There are two very important points to take away from this as there seems to be some confusion here.
First, the "Command" was merely a suggestion as phrased by the 911 operator. Secondly the suggestion as it were was from a telecommunications operator NOT a police officer with any authority over what Mr. Zimmerman does. Mr. Zimmerman replied to the operator after the suggestion to desist was given "ok". The sound of wind and heavy breathing then ended. He then went over more details with the operator for approximately one minute and forty five seconds while returning to his truck. He states when the operator asks him for his home address "I don't want to give that out I don't know where this guy is".
The call is ended shortly afterward when Mr. Zimmerman agrees to meet the responding officer at his truck. In short this unequivocally proves he ended the pursuit as suggested by the operator, contrary to what the media has been reporting. As far as the stalking theory is concerned, Mr. Zimmerman was not guilty in his twenty second pursuit of Mr. Martin. Language in F.S 784.048 provides the legal definition of stalking. (2)Any person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows, harasses, or cyberstalks another person commits the offense of stalking, a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083. Now these are all interesting points because it defines stalking as “Malicious, repeatedly and with harassment”. Mr. Zimmerman’s short winded pursuit of Mr. Martin was not malicious in intent, was not a repeated act and was not harassment as defined in Florida statute. Harassment is defined as such- (a)“Harass” means to engage in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that causes substantial emotional distress in such person and serves no legitimate purpose. Now what is considered as a course of conduct is a little ambiguous in Florida’s definition however is clearer in Federal language.
Florida statute- (b)“Course of conduct” means a pattern of conduct composed of a series of acts over a period of time, however short, evidencing a continuity of purpose. Constitutionally protected activity is not included within the meaning of “course of conduct.” Such constitutionally protected activity includes picketing or other organized protests.
Federal law- (2) Course of conduct. - The term "course of conduct" means a pattern of conduct composed of 2 or more acts, evidencing a continuity of purpose. So that should serve to further clarify the intent of the legislature when creating stalking laws, and what conduct actually consists of in relation to the act of stalking. What happened after the 911 call is shrouded in controversy and mystery; however one conclusion can be drawn.
The police apprehended Mr. Zimmerman after the shooting and took him in for questioning. What was found afterward with both physical evidence, testimony from Mr. Zimmerman and from two separate witnesses was that it was self defense. The idea that this must be some vast conspiracy with the denizens of the neighborhood and Sandford PD is not only ridiculous but offensive to the integrity of the very men and women who protect us day in and day out. Another assertion drawn from the masses is that the Stand Your Ground Law is a "License to kill" This couldn’t be further from the truth. The Florida legislature has built language and provisions into this law to prevent it being used maliciously. Below is the exact verbiage as it is stated on the Florida legislature's website. "776.013 (3)
A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony." This is quite clear that the defendant must "Reasonably" believe that they must use deadly force if they believe such force is the only way to prevent great bodily harm or death to themselves." That being said I have a question for you. If someone assaulted you from behind, punched you in the face, then took you to the ground and pummeled your head repeatedly into a sidewalk would you reasonably believe that was "Imminent death or great bodily harm"?
If so would you be willing to do what it took to stop the commission of that crime and protect yourself with whatever means you had available to you? That is at the very core of the war being waged between both sides. Now a lot of the opponents to the Zimmerman defense story have said that because Mr. Zimmerman "Pursued and stalked" Mr. Martin that Mr. Martin then had the right to stand his ground and Mr. Zimmerman had then forfeited his right to self defense because he was the aggressor and that it was no longer a "Stand your ground" issue. Firstly I would like to quash the idea that we can take "Stand your ground" as literally as it has been portrayed.
The law has adopted the moniker "Stand your ground" because of the verbiage within it and the precedent it set. The true name if any can be given to this law is simply a number F.S 776.013 here I will show you the verbiage in its entirety from the legislature website. A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony." "(3) From what is within that law it could be argued that whether a chase had occurred or not that Zimmerman had the right to be in any public place and so could stand his ground no matter where he was. Your personal space moves with you, and with it the area under which you can "Stand your ground". You will only be standing your ground when the situation comes to a halt and a assault occurs. That seems to be quite contradictory and has a gaping hole in it as it stands. That is why the legislature built in this beautiful provision for the justifiable use of force, which I believe fits in perfectly with this situation.
Arguments have been made that Zimmerman provoked the confrontation by following him which was of course disproven by the un- redacted version of the 911 tape that was not released initially to the media. Now! Even if it wasn't, and we were still under the assumption that Zimmerman was the aggressor this law shows how one could still fall under the stand your ground law legally. Use of force by aggressor.
The justification described in the preceding sections of this chapter is not available to a person who: "776.041 Is attempting to commit, committing, or escaping after the commission of, a forcible felony; or (1) Initially provokes the use of force against himself or herself, unless: (2) Such force is so great that the person reasonably believes that he or she is in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm and that he or she has exhausted every reasonable means to escape such danger other than the use of force which is likely to cause death or great bodily harm to the assailant;" (a) If Martin assaulted Zimmerman after any pursuit was made Zimmerman could still use deadly force to end any assault that made him "Reasonably believe that he was in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm". Right wrong or indifferent this is the law and its intent was to protect everyone legally so that just because you’re a hot head you wouldn’t have to die for it in fear of what would legally happen to you if you defended yourself. The next and to me the most disgusting portion of this debacle is the accusation that the police department "Failed" to arrest Zimmerman and that the investigation was botched. Here is a statute that will 100% remove any doubt of the conduct of the police department and their judgment that night.
A person who uses force as permitted in s. 776.012, s. 776.013, or s. 776.031 is justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force, unless the person against whom force was used is a law enforcement officer, as defined in s. 943.10(14), who was acting in the performance of his or her official duties and the officer identified himself or herself in accordance with any applicable law or the person using force knew or reasonably should have known that the person was a law enforcement officer. As used in this subsection, the term “criminal prosecution” includes arresting, detaining in custody, and charging or prosecuting the defendant."
Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action for justifiable use of force.—(1) "776.032 With the evidence both physical and witness testimony it was proven that Zimmerman acted in self defense and so the Police had no probable cause to make the arrest. How can people cry for justice and in the same breath in ignorance of the law ask for circumvention in the law? Justice is defined as a concept of moral rightness based on ethics, rationality, law, natural law, religion, or equity, along with the punishment of the breach of said ethics; justice is the act of being just and/or fair. There is nothing Rational about jumping to conclusions with sensational headlines, asking for justice via breaking a well founded law and asking for a punishment that is not warranted.