Saturday, April 7, 2012

Update on the Trayvon Martin / George Zimmerman Matter (Updated)

Just a collection of a few things I've come across in the last couple of days:

First, no surprise here, but Black Americans have a different view of the Trayvon Martin case than others:
Fifty-one percent of black poll respondents "strongly believe" that George Zimmerman, who claims he shot Martin in self-defense, is guilty of murder," according to a new Gallup survey on how "blacks [and] nonblacks" view the case. Another 21 percent of black Gallup poll respondents say he is "probably guilty," bringing the total to 72 percent. Just 32 percent of "non-blacks" believe Zimmerman is guilty, with only 11 percent saying they "strongly believe" he is guilty.

Fully 85 percent of blacks surveyed believe that "racial bias" played a part in the shooting, including 72 percent who say it was a "major factor," compared to 57 percent of non-blacks who think race figured in the shooting.

Seventy-three percent of black respondents also believe that Zimmerman would have been arrested if he had shot a white person, indicating that they believe he was not arrested because Martin was black.

Nonblacks say, by a 49-35, that police officers would have made the same decision not to arrest Zimmerman if he had shot a white person.
Second, embarrassed by its edits of the 911 audio (or, at least, at getting caught), NBC is now tracking the other direction, reporting (video at link):
Of the seven calls placed by George Zimmerman, the man who shot Trayvon Martin, there were five where he reported suspicious-looking young men in the area -- but he never mentioned the men's race without first being asked. NBC’s Michael Isikoff reports.
Third, Zimmerman has a history of helping black crime victims:
“You will recall the incident of the beating of the black homeless man Sherman Ware on December 4, 2010 by the son of a Sanford police officer. The beating sparked outrage in the community but there were very few that stepped up to do anything about it. I would presume the inaction was because of the fact that he was homeless not because he was black. Do you know the individual who stepped up when no one else in the black community would? Do you know who spent tireless hours putting flyers on the cars of persons parked in the churches of the black community? Do you know who waited for the church-goers to get out of church so that he could hand them flyers in an attempt to organize the black community against this horrible miscarriage of justice? Do you know who helped organize the City Hall meeting on January 8, 2011 at Sanford City Hall?? That person was GEORGE ZIMMERMAN.” – from a letter to Turner Clayton of the Seminole County NAACP written by “a concerned Zimmerman family member”
Finally, NBC has fired the editor that altered the 911 tape, still claiming that the edit was a mistake. However, NBC won't identify the person. (See also here).

A grand jury is scheduled to meet next week to determine whether Zimmerman should be indicted. (Story here).

Update: Also read this op-ed from the Washington Examiner on the racial bias in journalism.

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