Should Zimmerman Have Gone Free?

Spurring national uproar and protests, George Zimmerman was not found guilty of the second-degree murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Since Martin was African American, this trial raised questions of race, classification of charges, and a need for justice. The acquittal of Zimmerman shocked the nation who thirsted for justice for the death of a young boy. However, I believe Zimmerman was guilty of manslaughter, not second-degree murder. Perhaps if his charges were different, he would have been convicted of his crimes.

I believe George Zimmerman was guilty of manslaughter. Manslaughter and murder are two different crimes. ‘“Florida State Attorney Angela Corey said the allegations “fit the bill” for the second-degree murder charge. Second-degree murder is defined as a killing carried out with hatred, ill will or spite, but is not premeditated. To convict Zimmerman of manslaughter, jurors would have had to believe he “intentionally committed an act or acts that caused the death of Trayvon Martin.”’ Due to the lack of abundant evidence, discerning the motives for this crime was difficult for the jury. However, during Zimmerman’s trial, the prosecutors were permitted to play the non-emergency call makes by Zimmerman on the night Martin was killed.  Zimmerman “tells a non-emergency dispatcher he is following the teen and uses the terms “f–ing punks” and “—holes.” This language is not one of a man who is acting out of self-defense; it is a language of hate. He was actively following this boy home from the convenience store, creating his own prejudice of Martin. Zimmerman is clearly demonstrating ill will toward Martin in the call. This could have easily signaled that the attack was premeditated.

In light of a possible premeditated crime, both parties were trying to get to the real story. Zimmerman claims he was attacked by Martin and killed the boy out of self-defense. However, “a medical examiner said Zimmerman’s injuries following the altercation were “insignificant”’.  Zimmerman also claimed that Martin grabbed his gun, however no traces of Martin’s DNA were ever found on the weapon. If Zimmerman truly were attacked, his wounds would be more substantial. This leads me to believe that perhaps Zimmerman was giving himself a reason for attacking Martin. Now if Zimmerman instigated the attack on Martin, and Martin fought back in self-defense, we can hardly blame the boy for his reaction. Anyone in that situation would fight for their lives. However we only have Zimmerman’s side of the story to go off of.

In addition to possible claims of premeditation, Rachel Jeantel, who was on the phone with Martin minutes before he was attacked, gave us a glimpse into what might have occurred. Jeantel explained to the court that “Martin told her he was being chased by a “creepy-a** cracker.”’ Martin knew he was being followed. Martin’s conversation with Jeantel, and Zimmerman’s non-emergency call means that Zimmerman was actively pursuing this child. On the call Zimmerman placed, he jumped out of the car because Martin had started to run. The tape revealed Zimmerman yelling, “F—ing punk can’t get away.” This is a 29-year-old member of the neighborhood watch, not a cop. If I were walking alone at night and some strange person was following me, I’d run as well. Zimmerman shouldn’t have been chasing this child in the first place. Following a child who is only armed with skittles and iced tea because he believes the child is up to no good doesn’t sound like an act of self-defense to me. It must be noted that Zimmerman never once confronted Martin to ask him what we was up to, he simply acted of his own accord. And acted violently.

If George Zimmerman was charged with manslaughter, things may have turned out differently. By following a child at night, getting out of his car to chase down this child, and then killing him-regardless of whether or not the child fought back-is a crime that shouldn’t go unpunished. Unfortunately, due to lack of witnesses, evidence, and being charged with second-degree murder, the Zimmerman trial is over. I agree with the prosecutor on this trial when she said, “Trials are not necessarily about the truth all the time…It’s about what you can prove in court.” Unfortunately the jury could not find Zimmerman guilty of murder beyond the shadow of a doubt, but if he were charged with manslaughter, the trial may have ended differently.