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In Which I Present What My Closing Statement At The Zimmerman Trial Would Have Been

July 14th, 2013 No comments

Ladies of the jury, I don’t envy. Not in the least little bit. There’s a lot of pressure on this case. My job is to take the pressure off you. My job is to show you that you can make a calm, rational decision, based on the facts. That is what an adult does. Or at least what an adult should do. Kids, and I’m sure you’ve seen this first hand, do what they want when they want. They don’t have very good judgment. Think on your own childhood and some of the stupid things you did. I’ll give you a minute to do that.

Now. Take that incident in your mind and ask yourself – ok, that what stupid, but did I deserve to die for that? Did the worst mistake I ever made mark me for death? And if the answer is yes, how was it your fault?

There are a lot of people on both sides of this case that want to make it about race. Trayvon was a black kid. Convicting Mr. Zimmerman of 2nd degree murder is somehow, some way a travesty of justice because…I’m not really sure why, to be honest with you. Let me take the pressure off you – this has nothing to do with race. End of story.

This has everything to do with being an adult. This has everything to do with the judgment that we, as adult, grow into. Discernment. Morality. Doing the right thing. Not acting rashly.

Let me make a quick side trip here. We all remember the story of the Good Samaritan, right? There’s a guy beat up on the side of the road and no one will help him. Then the Good Samaritan comes along and feeds, clothes and heals the victim. I think we all like that story. But, what’s forgotten about that story is that Samaritans, at that point in time, were looked down on. They were the scum of the earth, so to speak. They were, effectively, spit on by the same people that left the victim dying in a ditch. They didn’t want to get their hands dirty or get involved. They were too busy going about their day to want to waste any of it helping somebody out. Keep that in your mind, please.

Let’s take this down to the very bare facts. Both the prosecution and the defense have done a lot speculating. It’s the nature of this kind of trial. But let’s strip all of that away. Let’s go with what we know.

  1. Trayvon Martin was unarmed.
  2. George Zimmerman had a gun.
  3. George Zimmerman is on tape, and you heard that tape, saying “those assholes always get away with it.”
  4. The 911 dispatcher told George Zimmerman not to follow Trayvon Martin.
  5. George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin.

That’s about as bare bones as you can get. Are we agreed that on that?

  1. Trayvon Martin was unarmed.
  2. George Zimmerman had a gun.
  3. George Zimmerman is on tape, and you heard that tape, saying “those assholes always get away with it.”
  4. The 911 dispatcher told George Zimmerman not to follow Trayvon Martin.
  5. George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin.

Ok. Let’s think about this. What we, the prosecution, allege is that George Zimmerman had criminal intent to kill Trayvon Martin. He wanted to do it. He meant to do it. Let’s again, go back to, not the speculation, but the bare bones facts of the case.

  1. Trayvon Martin was unarmed – Did George Zimmerman know this? The fact is that he literally could not. He sees a kid walking home at night.
  2. George Zimmerman had a gun – Why did he have a gun? We don’t know. I guess that he felt unsafe on the mean streets of Sanford’s gated community. You never know when a felon might try to break into somebody’s house.
  3. George Zimmerman is on tape, and you heard that tape, saying “those assholes always get away with it.” – “Those assholes always get away with it.” Keep that in your mind. Which assholes? Why the word “assholes”. Personally, when I use that word, I’m making a generalization about a group of people. I want you to say that phrase to yourself. You heard him say it. Say it the way he said. What feelings does it bring up inside of you?
  4. The 911 dispatcher told George Zimmerman not to follow Trayvon Martin – George Zimmerman had no legal authority. That’s a fact. None. His job was to call 911 and report suspicious behavior. And he did that. He called 911 to report that someone he deemed to be one of “those assholes” was wandering around the complex. And that made him suspicious. So he called 911. What did 911 tell him? Did 911 tell him, “Thank you, Mr. Zimmerman, what we like you to do is to keep on his tail until we can get some cops over there.” Did 911 tell him, “We are so ineffectual that we need your help, Mr. Zimmerman, and we trust 100% that you know what you’re talking about and have judged the situation properly.”

    You know the answer to that question. It’s on the tape. The answer is no. The 911 dispatcher told George Zimmerman to drop and let the police take care of it.

    What did George Zimmerman do?

    I got fired once. Hard to believe, I know! I was working for Wendy’s as a kid. The manager told me to cut the potatoes for French fries. I thought he was an idiot because there were already French fries cut. So I made some hamburger patties instead because we were low on those. You might see this coming – we ran out of French fries. I was shown the door.

    How many of you have worked in a hierarchical organization? Hierarchies came about as a way to facilitate work flow. Someone has an overall vison. That person communicates the vision to others and tells them what needs to be done to make that vision a reality. If someone disagrees, that’s fine. They don’t work there anymore. It’s like the army – if you don’t like the way the army works, fine, you don’t join the army. But if you do join the army, you follow orders. If you don’t, bad things happen.

    George Zimmerman didn’t follow orders. George Zimmerman felt that he knew better than his superiors. George Zimmerman literally took it on himself, after being explicitly told not to, to get out of his car rather than drive away and let the police take care of the case of a kid wandering around the complex.

    George Zimmerman, in short, did not act like an adult. George Zimmerman acted like a child, pumped up on adrenaline because he was going to get to the bottom of this, regardless of being told not to. Was there an actual threat in a kid wandering around the complex? Had there been reports to the police of house alarms or gunfire? It’s a fact that George Zimmerman couldn’t know that. He’s not a police officer. Had there been murders in the complex? No. If there had been murders, was George Zimmerman of the Neighborhood Watch program the person to deal with a possible murder? No. It’s called a Neighborhood Watch, not a Neighborhood Police Force. How many of you own guns? Does owning a gun make you a police officer? Then why would George Zimmerman believe that he was somehow better and more capable to deal with the highly, highly dangerous situation of a kid quietly wandering around the complex.

    This, ladies of the jury, is why we brought 2nd degree manslaughter charges. This wasn’t a mistake. A mistake would be something like George Zimmerman saying that he didn’t understand what the dispatcher was telling him. THAT is a mistake. This was a willful and knowing disregard for the order of a superior that resulted in the death of a child. End of story.

    It doesn’t actually matter who was on top and who was on the bottom. It doesn’t matter if Trayvon Martin stalked and attacked George Zimmerman. The defense would like you to believe it but it’s simply not true. Frankly, it doesn’t even matter that George Zimmerman referred to “those assholes”. What matters is that he disregarded the order of a superior. Had George Zimmerman done as he was told – had he gotten back into his car and drove off or even waited inside his car for the cops to show up – Trayvon Martin would be alive. Let me rephrase that slightly – George Zimmerman would not have killed Trayvon Martin.

    As the prosecution, we are supposed to prove criminal intent. Trayvon Martin’s death was not an accident. There is literally no way to call it that. The minute George Zimmerman left that car, you have intent. The minute he decided on his own to take the law into his own hands, you have intent.

  5. George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin – he admitted it. George Zimmerman, who, as part of the Neighborhood Watch program, operated under very clear and explicit guidelines, made a conscious decision to ignore those guidelines. As result, a boy is dead.

Trayvon Martin was a child. The defense would like to have you believe otherwise but under the laws of Florida, Trayvon Martin was a child. Trayvon Martin had every right to be where he was despite whatever conclusion George Zimmerman jumped to.

George Zimmerman is an adult. Not only is he an adult, but he was given a certain amount of responsibility under the auspices of the Neighborhood Watch program. George Zimmerman failed. He failed on purpose. He failed as an adult and a protector of the community – a community which Trayvon Martin was a part of. When George Zimmerman left his car he assumed responsibility for anything that happened afterwards.

It was not Trayvon Martin’s fault for walking home and it’s been show that that was all he was doing – walking home. He did not deserve to die for walking home. Was Trayvon a perfect child? No. Did Trayvon make some mistakes? Yes. Did you make mistakes as a kid? I can’t answer that for you. Perhaps you had a mistake free childhood.

George Zimmerman is an adult. As adults, we have responsibility to act as adults.

I want to come back to the Good Samaritan. I want you to think about that story while you’re deliberating. I want you to ask yourself who in the story you are. Are you the wealthy, affluent and unconcerned people who passed by a beaten, bleeding and dying man because you couldn’t be bothered and you wanted to get home quickly? Or…are you the Good Samaritan that did the right thing.

I can’t decide that. That is your decision.

 

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