Trayvon Martin deserves justice

By News | Last updated: Jul 12, 2012 - 4:13:28 PM

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George Zimmerman appearing before judge April 12.
'An unarmed Florida teenager is dead and clearly if the roles were reversed, and Mr. Zimmerman was the victim and Trayvon the defendant, the young Black male would have been vilified and quickly locked away.'

George Zimmerman, the admitted killer of teenager Trayvon Martin, is free after lying to a judge about his finances and having bond revoked.

Mr. Zimmerman is out on $1 million bond and living in a safe house. That means he had to post $100,000 or simply add another $85,000 to the $15,000 the court was already holding. His bail money comes from public donations to a web site that reportedly rakes in $1,000-a-day. According to a Miami newspaper, a lawyer for the man who faces a second degree murder charge says $20,000 was quickly raised when the judge set bond at $1 million and over two months $55,000 was raised. Then there are the rumors that powerful conservatives are also helping to bankroll the Zimmerman defense fund.


Everything happening in this instance is legal but it is galling to Blacks who continually see White defendants offered every legal protection and prosecutors tiptoeing around to make sure none of their rights are violated. It took months for Mr. Zimmerman to be charged and absent national outrage and protests, he would not be facing any charges at all. He was granted bail, lied to the court, had bail revoked and bingo gets a new hearing and magically receives his freedom.

But an unarmed Florida teenager is dead and clearly if the roles were reversed, and Mr. Zimmerman was the victim and Trayvon the defendant, the young Black male would have been vilified and quickly locked away.

Historically and especially in the South the justice system was used to keep Blacks in a subservient post-slavery position through the use of Black Codes, vagrancy laws and sentences that kept what experts called a system of quasi-slavery alive. The legal system essentially meant that Whites wouldn’t hire Blacks for jobs but it was illegal to be out of work. So unemployed Blacks were sentenced as vagrants but were unpaid, farmed out prison laborers used by mining and railroad companies. The abuses have continued, whether Driving While Black and enduring racial profiling, or as thousands of Blacks and Latinos have found in New York, there are no civil liberties respected under the Stop and Frisk program.

For a people who have hardly if ever seen their legal rights respected and have suffered police abuse and even torture, justice has been anything but blind. But for Mr. Zimmerman once again the legal system comes shining through and the law is followed to the letter. Something is terribly and tragically wrong here and no amount of legal maneuvering or verbal gymnastics can change the truth.

So while the justice system in Florida may claim to be upholding the rule of law, the legal system still suffers from a racial double standard and when given the chance, the double standard is almost always applied, and almost always falls to our detriment.

Black America and all those who truly love justice and actually respect the law must ensure that prosecutors are as adamant about protecting the right of Trayvon’s parents to justice as the system has been diligent in respecting the accused rights to bail and a fair trial. The case has only come to court because of constant and vocal demands from an outraged community. This isn’t a time to go to sleep or get distracted; it’s time to press the system to finally work to give justice to a young Black man and his hurting family.

Related news:

Zimmerman Charged: Second Degree Murder in Trayvon Martin case (FCN, 04-17-2012)

Blaming Trayvon? (FCN, 04-04-2012)

Trayvon Martin - The fight for justice continues (FCN, 03-28-2012)

Killing of Black teen, Trayvon Martin sparks outcry, national mobilization (FCN, 03-20-2012)