By Roz Edward
The history of America is still being written and the acquittal of George Zimmerman of second degree murder by a Florida jury of five White women and one Hispanic female in the mindless shooting death of 17-year-old African American teenager Trayvon Martin is now an important chapter in that history that gave birth to centuries of slavery and Jim Crow.
Like so many, I was shocked by the verdict and could not comprehend how in 2013, a jury purporting to be part of balancing the scales of justice would let go a martial arts trained man with a gun who got out of his car, soaked in his prejudice and tired of seeing Black youths in the neighborhood, followd an innocent teenager and killed him. The prejudiced jury, as evidenced by the interview juror B-37 gave to CNN Monday night, revealed the dark character of a system of justice that has long been failing young Black boys. How long will this continue before those who administer justice finally right the wrongs of the criminal justice system?
Even though juror B-37 admitted that Zimmerman went too far and should not have gotten out of his car with his gun and followed Trayvon, she still believed “George,” as she referred to Zimmerman repeatedly, was on the right side of the law. Then she said both Trayvon and Zimmerman were responsible for what happened, but she assigned no culpability to Zimmerman. More troubling for the juror was when she described Trayvon’s female friend, Rachel Jeantel, as not “credible” because of her “communication skills,” and that she was “using phrases I never heard before,” showing the deep-seated prejudice of a jury whose life experiences do not equate to Trayvon, his female friend or any other Black person.
Apparently, by referring to a Black witness as not credible and using phrases she claimed she does not understand, juror B-37 confirmed to us that the jury members have had limited or no dealings whatsoever with the Black experience.
They have no inkling of the life of a Black teenager and sought to compare the behavior of 17-year-old Trayvon to that of a grown man like Zimmerman.
Makes us wonder why the prosecutors would, in the first place, if they were really interested in winning this case and given the national attention it received, allow a jury that is not diverse in thought, belief systems and life experiences to examine one of the most important racial justice cases in history.
Did the prosecutors conclude that Trayvon’s life was not worth vigorously fighting to convict his killer by throwing the entire book, including racial animus, at Zimmerman? Did the prosecutors decide because of national attention they would just charge Zimmernan for the sake of charging but not put up a strategic and strong fight since their own Sanford Police Department showed no value in a dead Black boy’s life by letting his killer talk his way out of an arrest and go home to sleep on the night he killed Trayvon Martin?