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Old 03-20-2012, 04:57 AM
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Default Department of Justice opens investigation into case of black teenager killed by...

Here is the skinny of the case. Zimmerman, who lives in a gated community, saw a black kid walking around. He followed him in his car while calling 911, claiming he was suspicious and up to no good. Turns out the teenager was visiting from Miami and walking to the store to get supplies for his brother.

The 911 operator told him to stop following him and that authorities were on the way. Apparently Mr. Zimmerman did not listen and, well no one knows what happened next except Zimmerman, who ended up shooting the teen and killing him. He is claiming self defense.

Turns out, Mr. Zimmerman has a history of calling 911 for suspicious people in his neighborhood. A big history. The news stated he has called 911 a lot, each time claiming there was someone suspicious and appeared to be up to no good. And in almost all cases, the individual turned out to be black.

Department of Justice opens investigation into case of black teenager killed by neighborhood watch captain

Quote:
ORLANDO, Fla. – The Department of Justice is launching an investigation into the shooting death of a black Florida teenager by a neighborhood watch captain last month.

In a statement released Monday, the DOJ said the investigation would be a joint operation between its Civil Rights Division, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Florida, and the FBI.

"The department will conduct a thorough and independent review of all of the evidence and take appropriate action at the conclusion of the investigation," the statement said.

The DOJ said it will also assist and cooperate with the state authorities on the investigation.

17-year-old Trayvon Martin was killed by 28-year-old George Zimmerman as he was walking home through Zimmerman's Sanford, Florida gated community last month.

Zimmerman had called 911 to report Martin as a suspicious person, and has claimed he shot Martin, who was unarmed, in self-defense.

The department's announcement comes after Florida college students held a rally demanding for Zimmerman's arrest. They claimed Martin had done nothing to provoke the attack from Zimmerman, and that he was a victim of racial profiling.

"I don't think a man who exited his vehicle after the 911 dispatcher told him to stay inside the car can claim self-defense," Carl McPhail, a 28-year-old Barry University law school student, said at a rally in Sanford.

Zimmerman has not been charged in the case. Although police have described him as white, his family says he is Hispanic and not racist.

Prosecutors may not be able to charge Zimmerman because of changes to state law in 2005. Under the old law, people could use deadly force in self-defense only if they had tried to run away or otherwise avoid the danger.

Under the new law, there is no duty to retreat and it gives a Floridian the right "to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force," if he feels threatened.

"Prosecutors can have a hard time making a case if there is no one else around to contradict a person who claims self-defense," said David Hill, a criminal defense attorney in Orlando.

So far, Sanford police have said there is no evidence to contradict Zimmerman's claims.

"If there is nobody around and you pull a gun, you just say, `Hey, I reasonably believed I was under imminent attack. Hey, sorry. Too bad. But you can't prosecute me,"' Hill said, somewhat tongue-in-cheek.

Gun control advocates said the case is emblematic of permissive gun laws in Florida, which was among the first states to allow residents to carry concealed weapons. Florida was the first state to pass a "Stand Your Ground" law, which has been dubbed a "Shoot First" law by gun control advocates.

Currently, about half of all U.S. states have similar laws, said Brian Malte, legislative director of the Brady Campaign, which describes itself as the nation's largest organization dedicated to the prevention of gun violence.

"It's coming to dangerous fruition," Malte said. "There are more states like Florida."

The "Stand Your Ground" law's legislative sponsor, Florida Rep. Dennis Baxley, said it wasn't written to give people the power to pursue and confront others.

"That's not what this legislation does," said Baxley, a Republican. "Unfortunately, every time there is an unfortunate incident involving a firearm, they think it's about this law, and it's not."
Read more: Department Of Justice Opens Investigation Into Case Of Black Teenager Killed By Neighborhood Watch Captain | Fox News

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Old 03-20-2012, 05:41 AM
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Default Re: Department of Justice opens investigation into case of black teenager killed by..

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Originally Posted by Comet View Post
Here is the skinny of the case. Zimmerman, who lives in a gated community, saw a black kid walking around. He followed him in his car while calling 911, claiming he was suspicious and up to no good. Turns out the teenager was visiting from Miami and walking to the store to get supplies for his brother.

The 911 operator told him to stop following him and that authorities were on the way. Apparently Mr. Zimmerman did not listen and, well no one knows what happened next except Zimmerman, who ended up shooting the teen and killing him. He is claiming self defense.

Turns out, Mr. Zimmerman has a history of calling 911 for suspicious people in his neighborhood. A big history. The news stated he has called 911 a lot, each time claiming there was someone suspicious and appeared to be up to no good. And in almost all cases, the individual turned out to be black.

Department of Justice opens investigation into case of black teenager killed by neighborhood watch captain



Read more: Department Of Justice Opens Investigation Into Case Of Black Teenager Killed By Neighborhood Watch Captain | Fox News



Quote from article: Prosecutors may not be able to charge Zimmerman because of changes to state law in 2005. Under the old law, people could use deadly force in self-defense only if they had tried to run away or otherwise avoid the danger.

As the saying goes, the Law is an ass.
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Old 03-20-2012, 07:40 AM
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Post Justice Department, FBI to probe shooting death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin

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In the wake of spreading public outrage, the Justice Department and the FBI have opened an investigation into the shooting of a black teenager by a Florida neighborhood watch captain who escaped arrest.

....
The Justice Department's Civil Rights Division and the FBI announced on Monday that they have opened an investigation into the shooting in Florida of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, who was unarmed when he was killed.

"The department will conduct a thorough and independent review of all of the evidence and take appropriate action at the conclusion of the investigation," the Justice Department said in a statement.

The campaign to draw attention to the case is the third largest in Change.org's history, and surpassed a petition of about 300,000 signatures credited last year with persuading Bank of America to drop plans for a $5 debit card fee, said Megan Lubin, a Change.org spokeswoman.

The victim's family lawyer, Ben Crump, said public pressure was behind an earlier promise by the Justice Department to review the case. And some Florida legislators are moving to consider a change in the law to prevent a recurrence.

Demand for an arrest
"People all over the world, more than 400,000 people, said we demand you make an arrest. That's what is building pressure to look at it," Crump said.

The shooting occurred February 26 when Zimmerman spotted Martin walking home from buying candy and iced tea at a convenience store.

Zimmerman, patrolling the neighborhood in his car, called the 911 emergency number and reported what he called "a real suspicious guy."

"This guy looks like he's up to no good, or he's on drugs or something. It's raining and he's just walking around, looking about," Zimmerman told dispatchers, adding, "These @!$%#s. They always get away."

The dispatcher, hearing heavy breathing on the phone, asked Zimmerman:
"Are you following him?"
"Yeah," Zimmerman said.
"Okay, we don't need you to do that," the dispatcher responded.

But several neighbors subsequently called 911 to report a scuffle between Zimmerman and Martin. While some of the callers were still on the phone, cries for help followed by a gunshot can be heard in the background.

"I recognized that (voice) as my baby screaming for help before his life was taken," Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton, told Reuters.
“(Zimmerman) was reacting to the color of his skin,’’ Fulton, said Monday on NBC's Today show. “He committed no crime. My son wasn’t doing anything but walking on the sidewalk, and I just don’t understand why this situation got out of control.’’

'Stand your ground'
Police declined to arrest Zimmerman, and turned the case over to prosecutors where it remains under review. Police cited Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law, enacted in 2005 and now in effect in at least 16 other states.
Dubbed "Shoot first (ask questions later)" by opponents
, the Florida law allows a potential crime victim who is "in fear of great bodily injury" to use deadly force in public places.
The landmark law expanded on legislation, known as the Castle Doctrine, that allowed use of deadly force in defense of "hearth and home." Passed under former Florida Governor Jeb Bush in 2005, it overturned a centuries-old doctrine that required the potential victim to retreat and avoid confrontation if possible, according to Ladd Everitt, spokesman for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, a Washington-based advocacy group.
"No one could argue that Zimmerman could not have safely retreated and avoided this conflict, and I think that is the critical element here and why these laws are so dangerous," Everitt said. "He (Zimmerman) does not have a duty to retreat in Florida."

Crump said Zimmerman should not be protected under the Stand Your Ground law. "It's illogical, you can claim self defense after you chase and pursue somebody," he said. "That's a courtroom defense. That's not something the police accept on the side of the street."
Five years after Florida's Stand Your Ground law was enacted, a 2010 review by the St. Petersburg Times found that reports of justifiable homicides had tripled, and a majority of cases were excused by prosecutors or the courts. Meanwhile, the petition drive, started by a friend of Trayvon's mother, has been signed by people across the globe from Canada to Thailand, Lubin said.
U.S. News - Justice Department, FBI to probe shooting death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin

The bold-faced red part is the part that boggles my mind.
There is no question that this guy shot the black teen-ager.
No evidence the teen was doing anything wrong.
The killer pursued the teen who appears to have been abiding the law for no reason other than suspicion.

The guilt or innocence is not for the cop on the street to decide.
It should be decided in a court-room.
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Old 03-20-2012, 09:34 AM
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Default Re: Department of Justice opens investigation into case of black teenager killed by..

I think Zimmerman needs to be sent to Afghanistan to patrol the streets there for suspicious Taliban activity.
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Old 03-20-2012, 09:41 AM
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Default Re: Justice Department, FBI to probe shooting death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin

The reality is that it is a cop's JOB to make judgment calls all the time regarding "guilt or innocence" in terms of whether or not someone has broken the law. That's why they arrest people. For instance, if someone is GUILTY of breaking into a home, they arrest them. I think the news article needs to give more details here. Were the cops AWARE Zimmerman had been pursuing this guy and were they AWARE of the specifics of the 911 conversation? Also, cops are limited by the the way laws apply to a situation. There is nothing illegal with Zimmerman driving around looking for this guy. There is nothing illegal with Zimmerman getting out and confronting the suspect about it. So if the law truly does allow deadly force over being "in fear of great bodily harm or injury" then there's not a lot the cops can do. We really shouldn't blame them for this.

Also, the very last sentence was interesting ...
Why would people in Canada or Thailand be signing a petition that pertains strictly to FL state law? Do people here go and sign petitions in Thailand that only pertain to Thailand law? That doesn't bode well for the credibility of the petition ...
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Old 03-20-2012, 09:46 AM
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Default Re: Department of Justice opens investigation into case of black teenager killed by..

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I think Zimmerman needs to be sent to Afghanistan to patrol the streets there for suspicious Taliban activity.
Right!

THe news reported that Zimmerman has contacted 911 and the local authorities FIFTY TIMES to report "suspicious" people, almost all of them black.
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Old 03-20-2012, 10:08 AM
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Default Re: Justice Department, FBI to probe shooting death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin

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There is nothing illegal with Zimmerman getting out and confronting the suspect about it.
If I am walking down the street minding my own business, and I am confronted by Mr. Civilian, I have no obligation to even look in his direction, and if I walk away, it will be wise of him not to follow. Something not being illegal does not guarantee safety of life or limb for the confrontational person or the eprson being confronted.
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Old 03-20-2012, 10:35 AM
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Post Re: Justice Department, FBI to probe shooting death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin

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Originally Posted by Joe Shoe View Post
The reality is that it is a cop's JOB to make judgment calls all the time regarding "guilt or innocence" in terms of whether or not someone has broken the law.
A teen-ager was killed.
There is no question as to whether the man committed the act.

This isn't like we're questioning whether the man MIGHT have been guilty of ending the teen-ager's life.
THAT is the sort of question a cop would have a "judgment call" on.
The cop's job is NOT to try and define this sort of issue.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Shoe View Post
I think the news article needs to give more details here. Were the cops AWARE Zimmerman had been pursuing this guy and were they AWARE of the specifics of the 911 conversation?

The shooting happened on February 26th.
If the cops weren't aware of the 911 conversation, then they are thoroughly negligent.

The fact that the news has the 911 conversation details...
It leads me to question how you could raise such a question...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Shoe
Also, cops are limited by the the way laws apply to a situation. There is nothing illegal with Zimmerman driving around looking for this guy. There is nothing illegal with Zimmerman getting out and confronting the suspect about it. So if the law truly does allow deadly force over being "in fear of great bodily harm or injury" then there's not a lot the cops can do. We really shouldn't blame them for this.
Whether or not such "fear of great bodily harm or injury" actually existed is a question for the courts.
The fact that Zimmerman PURSUED the now dead teen-ager should be factored into any question of whether or not Zimmerman had such a fear.
Most rational people do not pursue a person they fear will inflict great bodily harm or injury.

Whether or not Zimmerman INSTIGATED the situation (whereby casual evidence leads this way) needs to be examined by the courts.
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Old 03-20-2012, 11:18 AM
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Default Re: Justice Department, FBI to probe shooting death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin

The bottom line is that if Zimmerman didn't break the law, the cops couldn't arrest him. It sounds like if people want this sort of thing to not happen again, they need to focus on changing the law.
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Old 03-20-2012, 11:28 AM
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Post Re: Justice Department, FBI to probe shooting death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin

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Originally Posted by Joe Shoe View Post
The bottom line is that if Zimmerman didn't break the law, the cops couldn't arrest him. It sounds like if people want this sort of thing to not happen again, they need to focus on changing the law.
What in the law would need changing?

It's easily recognized that while the law could be argued here, it's the APPLICATION of the EXISTING law which is questionable.
The question of "fear of great bodily harm or injury" NEEDS to be examined in a court of law.
The fact that Zimmerman pursued the dead kid before killing him helps EASILY dispute any such claim.
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