The injustice that began with the murder of Miami Gardens teenager Trayvon Martin continues. As the trial of George Zimmerman, the man who shot the 17-year-old boy last year, gets underway in Sanford, I find it appalling that Seminole County Circuit Judge Debra Nelson did not allow a single African-American to sit on the jury or serve as an alternate. In fact, the jury is stacked in Zimmerman's favor. Five of the jurors are white middle-aged women. The sixth is a Hispanic woman.
Special prosecutor Angela Corey didn't fight hard enough to make sure a diverse group would determine the case's outcome. Benjamin Crump, the attorney representing Martin's parents, should have protested the predominantly white makeup of the jury. Instead, Crump told MSNBC that the dead boy's parents were "putting their faith in the justice system, and they pray that it doesn't fail them."
The reality is that the jury selection process was not fair to Trayvon. One of the jurors, B-37, a middle-aged white woman with lots of pets, described the protests and rallies in Sanford last year to bring Zimmerman to justice as "riots." She also admitted to having a concealed weapons permit at one time. She's essentially on Team Zimmerman and gets to decide his fate. Meanwhile, prospective juror M-75, a young black woman, was rejected because she admitted some of her friends attended the Martin rallies.
This trial should have been held in another jurisdiction. The jury selection proves it will be difficult to convict Zimmerman on his home turf.
He initially seemed to get away with the murder when Bill Lee, the Sanford Police chief at the time of the shooting, refused to charge Zimmerman with a crime, believing the bullshit story that the self-appointment neighborhood watchman killed Trayvon in self-defense. It took tens of thousands of black people protesting in the streets to force authorities to charge Zimmerman with murder.
It will be virtually impossible for five white women from a racist town to find Zimmerman guilty. His defense team is so confident it has the jury in the bag that his lawyer, Don West, began his opening argument with an inappropriate knock-knock joke. When Zimmerman is found not guilty, the verdict will to set Florida back to the days before the civil rights movement.
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