By Linn Washington Jr.
I received the text message from my buddy blasting the acquittal of George Zimmerman minutes before I boarded an airplane in London in route to South Africa.
To say I was not surprised by the acquittal handed down by the predominately white, all-female jury is an understatement.
That verdict freeing wannabe cop Zimmerman, whose self-defense excuse rested on his conflicted claims that he shot a teen through the heart during a confrontation that Zimmerman started – after Zimmerman ignored explicit orders from police to stand-down – is so symbolic of so many structural problems that have corroded the core of American society since its colonial-era start.
Unarmed teen Trayvon Martin was walking to his father’s home after purchasing candy and ice tea when targeted by Zimmerman who – seeing a black teen wearing a hoodie – told police dispatchers Martin was “up to no good” and looked like he was on drugs. Zimmerman’s observations, made at night in the rain, about Martin being up-2-no-good and on-drugs reeked of racial profiling – a fact downplayed by prosecution and studiously avoided by defense during Zimmerman’s trial.
While a part of me wanted to side with my buddy’s ire at Zimmerman’s not even getting a wrist-slap conviction on a lesser charge for his punk admission that he killed a kid who he said beat him up during a scuffle, another side of me remained detached, reminded as I was of the details in so many stories that I’ve covered in thirty-plus years of being a journalist.
I’ve seen too many racially unbalanced juries render acquittal verdicts in too many race-tainted cases where clear evidence of the white defendant’s culpability existed – culpability obscured by lack-luster prosecution and other perverse judicial system procedures/postures.
I remember writing about a black teen in Philadelphia who spent a year in prison awaiting trial for a rape because lazy police and prosecutors didn’t review a security camera tape that eventually freed that teen. And I remember writing about a Philadelphia judge giving big breaks to the white teens charged with raping a 13-year-old black girl at the city’s MLB stadium months after that black teen’s release...
For the rest of this article by LINN WASHINGTON, JR. in ThisCantBeHappening!, the new independent three-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative newspaper, please go to: www.thiscantbehappening.net/