The second-degree murder charges against neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin have crumbled to powder in the first seven days of trial testimony, with the prosecution’s witnesses breaking left and right in Zimmerman’s favor. The reason: the prosecution’s insistence on race-baiting in the months leading up to the trial.
It all started when eyewitness Jeannee Manalo, who told police she saw a large man straddling a figure on the ground the night of the shooting, testified that Zimmerman had been on top. Under cross-examination, however, Manalo admitted that she had based her conclusion on the media’s widely disseminated photograph of Martin as a 12-year-old boy and not as a 6-foot 3-inch, 17-year-old man. She then also acknowledged that the photo had colored her interpretation and that she could no longer conclude Zimmerman was on top.
Moreover, the prosecution’s star witness, Rachel Jeantel, betrayed numerous discrepancies in her testimony – including the reciting two versions of what Zimmerman had said to Martin and three different versions of Martin’s last words. The climax of Jeantel’s testimony came when she stated that she had heard someone being hit and somehow knew it was Trayvon. Defense attorney Don West suggested an alternative interpretation, to which Jeantel charmingly replied, “That’s retarded, sir.” Even liberal news outlets admitted that Jeantel had been a boon for the defense.
The list of examples goes on and on. Neighbor Jonathan Good testified that Trayvon was planted atop Zimmerman doing a “ground and pound.” Officer Doris Singleton testified that Zimmerman hadn’t known Martin was dead until she told him at the station, and that he had been visibly distraught upon learning the information. Lead detective Chris Serino testified that he had tried bluffing by telling Zimmerman that Martin had videotaped the incident, at which point Zimmerman had cried, “Thank God!”, thus convincing Serino he was telling the truth.
And these were all witnesses called in by the prosecution!
The presumption of innocence that is central to our judicial system occasionally results in a jury letting a black defendant such as O.J. Simpson go free out of some twisted notion of collective racial guilt. But the formula rarely works in the other direction.
A jury doesn’t find four Caucasian cops guilty of criminal charges of excessive use of force as payback for white racism, not when they’ve seen the unedited videotape of a drug-addled Rodney King rising and lunging at them. A jury doesn’t find three white lacrosse-playing college students guilty of rape of a black stripper after sifting through her lies.
Nor is a jury likely to convict a man with sterling character witnesses and consistent testimony of second-degree murder just because he’s half-white, not when his stoned, racial-epithet-hurling victim boasted a history of assault and vandalism.
Race-baiters who want to see Zimmerman rot in jail can’t alter reality as much as they’d like to. Our legal system is designed to slow things down and force us to look at evidence without prejudice, and under those conditions they can’t force their argument on the jury.
And as a result, the flimsy, racially instigated case against Zimmerman is falling apart so quickly that it’ll be surprising if Martin supporters are shameless enough to express outrage over the defendant’s likely acquittal.