Zimmerman trial: No justice for the black man
Post civil rights movement America is still coming to grips with the rich ethnic diversity it assimilates. The courtroom pursuits led by six jury members on the State of Florida vs George Zimmerman case are deemed racially motivated by many across the US.
In 1931, nine black homeless people were wrongly charged by the ‘prejudiced’ Alabama court of allegedly raping two white ladies on a railroad tram. This triggered the black community into taking to the streets, backed by the communist party that highlighted its ephemeral presence as a third political force in the US. The court’s verdict that left an indelible blotch on the American judicial system is remembered by many as the Scottsboro tragedy.
82 years down the lane that tragedy seems to have surfaced in the form of Trayvon Martin’s case verdict.
In retaliation, the protesters have gathered momentum from Florida to Los Angeles and New York, expressing their solidarity towards Trayvon Martin, a black American high school student. Martin got shot by a Hispanic man named George Zimmerman, a neighbourhood watch volunteer in Sanford, Florida, in what is presumed by many as cold-blooded murder. This claim is somewhat substantiated with the background screams calling out for help in a 911 call.
After 16 hours of deliberation on July 12, 2013, the jury acquitted George Zimmerman of all charges. A highly revered American judicial system has once again been put under the scanner by the agitating public that is gaining strength by every passing day. Civil rights leaders like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson have also been vociferous towards the cause.
As many still believe that a black American’s civil rights have been violated, a cavalcade of celebrities have also joined in. P Diddy and Jamie Fox tweeted pictures wearing hoodies to show their support for Trayvon Martin, who was wearing a hoodie that tragic night. Barack Obama and New York mayor Micheal Bloomberg have been the most vocal among politicians. In fact, Obama’s empathy towards Martin has not gone down well with some factions across the US. A federal grand jury might be called to restore some sanity, as the department of justice has taken the matter under their control for further review.
With already flexible NRA laws, the ‘shoot first’ law enacted in the State of Florida projects dangerous vigilantism and engenders a trigger happy culture. Things don’t look rosy on the surface as one of the jurors involved in the case publicly suggested that it is the duty of every American to wield a weapon for their security. The audio of the 911 call made by George Zimmerman, suggests that he was armed when he followed his prey with the intentions of pulling the trigger, despite warnings from the dispatcher to stop following Martin. Tensions have brewed ever since. The New Black Panthers party has even issued a bounty of $10,000 for the capture of Zimmerman, which has amplified racial hostility a few notches. The video, however, offering the bounty is from 2012 and has resurfaced due to the Trayvon trial.
A naked eye can find semblance between the current snowballing ruckus and the 1992 Los Angeles riots. Rodney King was the victim in 1993’s controversial Los Angeles court decision of acquitting four police officers from all charges despite having evidence of a handy cam made video that clearly showed the four LAPD officers maiming King with batons. That incident spurred racial outrage, hurling the black community into riots and vandalism.
One can only hope that things do not escalate to that level and eventually sanity prevails. The most apt call to appease all protesting ethnicity across America at this critical juncture would be a repeat of Rodney King’s famous plea…
“Can we all get along?”
Follow Asad on Twitter @asadkahlon
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