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Author Topic: Martin and Zimmerman
G2
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quote:
Originally posted by Wayward Son:
quote:
What, in your opinion, justifies breaking someone's nose and straddling them so as to pin them down and repeatedly slam their head into a sidewalk?
If I were alone on a dark street and a man started to pull out a gun with the intention of shooting me, that is precisely what I would do, or worse. Wouldn't you?
Absolutely not. If I were alone on a dark street and a man started to pull out a gun with the intention of shooting me, I'd run like hell. I strongly recommend you reconsider your strategy or you will likely end up just like Martin.

quote:
Originally posted by Wayward Son:
quote:
That would only be true if Zimmerman was pounding the hell out of Martin.
You don't have to be being beaten to be threatened, G2. See above.

Admittedly, it helps... [Smile]

To respond with deadly force, the threat has to be pretty apparent and imminent. I don't think just following someone rises to that level (or threatening someone via a internet discussion forum - yeah, I heard about it ... you know who you are).
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Wayward Son
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quote:
Absolutely not. If I were alone on a dark street and a man started to pull out a gun with the intention of shooting me, I'd run like hell. I strongly recommend you reconsider your strategy or you will likely end up just like Martin.
Depends on how close the guy is, and whether you want to be shot in the back or go down fighting--or whether you think the guy is a good aim or not. [Smile]

Regardless, whether you or I would attack or not is not the point. The point is whether the belief that Zimmerman was about to shoot Martin would justify him attacking Zimmerman. Obviously, even if it was a bad strategy, it would be justification. (And if Martin was able to knock Zimmerman to the ground and beat his head, maybe it wasn't that bad a strategy...)

Of course, the bottom line is that we don't know what happened. We can make educated guesses, but minor details (like whether Martin thought Zimmerman was about to shoot him) could easily change the entire scenario. All we can come up with is speculation, i.e. fantasy.

Was Martin a sweet, innocent kid gunned down in cold blood by a racist Zimmerman? Probably not. Was Martin a cold-hearted street thug that attacked Zimmerman without any provocation? I doubt it.

Let's wait for all the facts to be known and see what a jury says (if only a Grand Jury). Until then, it's pure political fantasy. [Frown]

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kmbboots
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I think that we are missing the point here. Whether Zimmerman has a valid defense should be a matter of fact for a jury to sort out. That the police didn't bother to arrest Zimmerman after shooting a person dead so we - and more importantly a jury - could make that determination is the real problem. We shouldn't be focused on Zimmerman; we should be focused on the police department.
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G2
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quote:
Originally posted by Wayward Son:
quote:
Absolutely not. If I were alone on a dark street and a man started to pull out a gun with the intention of shooting me, I'd run like hell. I strongly recommend you reconsider your strategy or you will likely end up just like Martin.
Depends on how close the guy is, and whether you want to be shot in the back or go down fighting--or whether you think the guy is a good aim or not. [Smile]
21 feet is the distance. Unless you are within that range, even the slowest draw is almost certainly going to be sufficient. Pistols are not that accurate in general and the Kel Tec PF-9 used by Zimmerman is on the low end of accuracy (all of the super compact guns designed for concealed carry suffer from accuracy - only a 3 inch barrel and poor sights). Under low light, rainy conditions with a little adrenaline, I'd be surprised if anyone could hit a running target more than 20 feet away - it would be pure chance.

quote:
Originally posted by Wayward Son:
[QUOTE]Regardless, whether you or I would attack or not is not the point. The point is whether the belief that Zimmerman was about to shoot Martin would justify him attacking Zimmerman. Obviously, even if it was a bad strategy, it would be justification. (And if Martin was able to knock Zimmerman to the ground and beat his head, maybe it wasn't that bad a strategy...)

If Martin was able to take down Zimmerman and beat his head against the sidewalk several times, then either Zimmerman took a *really* long time to draw it or held his fire a *really* long time. Either way, it makes the case that Zimmerman did not intend to shoot anyone much less kill.

quote:
Originally posted by Wayward Son:
Of course, the bottom line is that we don't know what happened. We can make educated guesses, but minor details (like whether Martin thought Zimmerman was about to shoot him) could easily change the entire scenario. All we can come up with is speculation, i.e. fantasy.

We have a much better idea than "pure fantasy". We know with 100% certainty there was a rather intensely violent confrontation between the two. Basic mechanics of carrying a gun tells us Zimmerman did not have his pistol drawn initially or withheld fire until he was significantly injured (the only speculation is when it was drawn, not that he waited to fire until he felt he had no choice).

quote:
Originally posted by Wayward Son:
Until then, it's pure political fantasy. [Frown]

I think you're wrong there too, we are only just now entering the realm of pure political fantasy.

quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
I think that we are missing the point here. Whether Zimmerman has a valid defense should be a matter of fact for a jury to sort out. That the police didn't bother to arrest Zimmerman after shooting a person dead so we - and more importantly a jury - could make that determination is the real problem. We shouldn't be focused on Zimmerman; we should be focused on the police department.

The police did investigate. In this case, the investigation determined that all the facts (as we currently have them), eye witness testimony, etc supported Zimmerman and were in compliance with the law. The result of that investigation was that there was no crime committed, thus, no arrest. Unless the police suspect you committed a crime, they should not arrest you and charge you with a crime.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by G2:
quote:
Originally posted by msquared:
I think the stand and defend defense is out the window. Once Zimmerman followed Martin after the police told him not to, I think he can not claim he defended himself.

I see this point a lot right now and I don't think it's relevant. There is no crime in following someone - the implication trying to be made by The Narrative™ is that Zimmerman stalked Martin and shot him in cold blood. That's not true. Zimmerman did not feel the need to defend himself until after a broken nose and a few head slams into the sidewalk. Even if you're following someone, they are not justified in initiating a violent physical confrontation and severely beating you.
Certainly, but a jury needs to decide if, MAartin is guilty of assault or if he was acting in self defense, as Zimmerman's legal defense hinges on that determinations. As i stands, Martin is being assumed guilty of assault without any formal legal determination of guilt on his part.

Up and until Martin's actions can legally be classified as assault, he should have the same "Stand your ground" defense that Zimmerman is currently trying to claim, regardless of whether he's actually capable of directly defending himself. And given presumption of innocence, Zimmerman should not be able to claim that defense until it's clearly proven that Martin's actions were an unprovoked assault.

Given what's been said here, it shouldn't be all that difficult to prove the assault, but it's a call that needs to be made by a judge and jury, not by the police without any of the proper process.

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Wayward Son
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quote:
We have a much better idea than "pure fantasy". We know with 100% certainty there was a rather intensely violent confrontation between the two. Basic mechanics of carrying a gun tells us Zimmerman did not have his pistol drawn initially or withheld fire until he was significantly injured (the only speculation is when it was drawn, not that he waited to fire until he felt he had no choice).
Your complete lack of imagination does not mean there are not other possible scenarios. For one thing, I did not say that Zimmerman had drawn his gun. So your "basic mechanics" objection is irrelevant.

I could go on with other possible scenarios that would not be disputed by the known facts, but you seem set upon the one you like, which (by odd coincidence) happens to suit your political position. So I'll let you have it. Believe what you want, or go argue with those who happen to believe Martin was a cherbunic child who wouldn't hurt a fly. I'm sure you can find one. But that ain't me.

I'm perfectly willing to wait until all the facts are in and are judged by a jury. Until then, have fun.

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G2
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
Given what's been said here, it shouldn't be all that difficult to prove the assault, but it's a call that needs to be made by a judge and jury, not by the police without any of the proper process.

So you're convinced that police should arrest people even if they think no crime has been committed? I think you may want to rethink that a bit.

quote:
Originally posted by Wayward Son:
quote:
We have a much better idea than "pure fantasy". We know with 100% certainty there was a rather intensely violent confrontation between the two. Basic mechanics of carrying a gun tells us Zimmerman did not have his pistol drawn initially or withheld fire until he was significantly injured (the only speculation is when it was drawn, not that he waited to fire until he felt he had no choice).
Your complete lack of imagination does not mean there are not other possible scenarios. For one thing, I did not say that Zimmerman had drawn his gun. So your "basic mechanics" objection is irrelevant.
For one thing, I did not say you said Zimmerman had drawn his gun. I'm just pointing out that, in general, guns are drawn before firing. It doesn't require a lot of imagination to figure that out ... maybe you're the one lacking it if you don't understand that.

quote:
Originally posted by Wayward Son:
I could go on with other possible scenarios that would not be disputed by the known facts, but you seem set upon the one you like, which (by odd coincidence) happens to suit your political position. So I'll let you have it. Believe what you want, or go argue with those who happen to believe Martin was a cherbunic child who wouldn't hurt a fly. I'm sure you can find one. But that ain't me.

Which one only suits my political position? That a fight occurred? That Zimmerman was injured? That you usually draw a pistol before firing? None of these things really support political positions one way or the other.

quote:
Originally posted by Wayward Son:
I'm perfectly willing to wait until all the facts are in and are judged by a jury. Until then, have fun.

What's got your knickers in such a twist? Are you claiming the police did not sufficiently investigate and did not get all the facts? Other than Zimmerman not being charged, what evidence is there the police did not exercise due diligence? Are you of the opinion, like Pyrtolin, that the police should arrest citizens even if they are not suspected of a crime?
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
So you're convinced that police should arrest people even if they think no crime has been committed?
They should absolutely detain someone for committing an act that is a crime unless it can be proven that a certain extenuating circumstance applies, particularly when that circumstance requires a finding of guilt on another person to apply.
Zimmerman undoubtedly committed homicide. It may be that there will no penalty for it, because Florida law allows it under certain circumstances, but it's the responsibility of the police to get him to a judge to make that determination (since homicide is not, by default, a legal act) not to co-opt the role of judge and jury on the fly.

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AI Wessex
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"21 feet is the distance. Unless you are within that range, even the slowest draw is almost certainly going to be sufficient. Pistols are not that accurate in general and the Kel Tec PF-9 used by Zimmerman is on the low end of accuracy (all of the super compact guns designed for concealed carry suffer from accuracy - only a 3 inch barrel and poor sights). Under low light, rainy conditions with a little adrenaline, I'd be surprised if anyone could hit a running target more than 20 feet away - it would be pure chance."

Assuming your facts are accurate, how would Martin have known or interpolated any of that? It was dark, he was being followed by someone in a van, then on foot, he was only 17 years old, if you recall.

It's *extremely* odd that you are 100% behind the police on this one. Ordinarily you're one of the most suspicious people here when it comes to government throwing its weight around without the people looking over their shoulder. As Wayward says, clearly you *like* how you are interpreting things. As for imagination, I think you use yours all the time to figure out what position to take on issues that come up.

[ March 27, 2012, 04:11 PM: Message edited by: AI Wessex ]

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Lloyd Perna
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
I think that we are missing the point here. Whether Zimmerman has a valid defense should be a matter of fact for a jury to sort out. That the police didn't bother to arrest Zimmerman after shooting a person dead so we - and more importantly a jury - could make that determination is the real problem. We shouldn't be focused on Zimmerman; we should be focused on the police department.

On the contrary, It's actually against Florida law to arrest someone claiming self defense unless it has probable cause to suspect the force used was unlawful.

From the Florida Statutes
quote:

The 2011 Florida Statutes

Title XLVI
CRIMES

Chapter 776
JUSTIFIABLE USE OF FORCE

View Entire Chapter
776.032 Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action for justifiable use of force.—
(1) A person who uses force as permitted in s. 776.012, s. 776.013, or s. 776.031 is justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force, unless the person against whom force was used is a law enforcement officer, as defined in s. 943.10(14), who was acting in the performance of his or her official duties and the officer identified himself or herself in accordance with any applicable law or the person using force knew or reasonably should have known that the person was a law enforcement officer. As used in this subsection, the term “criminal prosecution” includes arresting, detaining in custody, and charging or prosecuting the defendant.
(2) A law enforcement agency may use standard procedures for investigating the use of force as described in subsection (1), but the agency may not arrest the person for using force unless it determines that there is probable cause that the force that was used was unlawful.
(3) The court shall award reasonable attorney’s fees, court costs, compensation for loss of income, and all expenses incurred by the defendant in defense of any civil action brought by a plaintiff if the court finds that the defendant is immune from prosecution as provided in subsection (1).

Sounds to me the like the Police did the right thing.
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philnotfil
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
I think that we are missing the point here. Whether Zimmerman has a valid defense should be a matter of fact for a jury to sort out. That the police didn't bother to arrest Zimmerman after shooting a person dead so we - and more importantly a jury - could make that determination is the real problem. We shouldn't be focused on Zimmerman; we should be focused on the police department.

Exactly. This point gets missed because the other stuff is more fun to talk about.
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AI Wessex
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Lloyd, how did the police determine that there was no probable cause? By talking to the person who shot and killed the unarmed other man, who had been followed by this person, who had apparently felt threatened by him.

Think about this. Your 17 year old brother doesn't come home one night after going to the store in the same neighborhood for some candy. The police put the body in the morgue identified as "John Doe" even though they have his cell phone and without canvassing the neighborhood to see if anyone knows him. You file a missing persons report the next day, and finally are notified that there is an unidentified body in the morgue. You go down and find out it is your brother. You are told that he was shot during an assault, but that the shooter was not charged and the investigation is closed.

End of story. You don't like it? Sorry. Go bury your homicidal maniac brother. Case closed.

[ March 27, 2012, 05:18 PM: Message edited by: AI Wessex ]

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Gaoics79
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quote:
Without stating so, you are implying that Martin turned and attacked Zimmerman for no reason.
I think there are two narratives going on here (racist vigilante harrasses innocent black youth) and (vicious black youth beats snot out of man who shoots black youth in self defence) and it should be pointed out that they are not mutually exclusive.

Based on the limited facts available, I would hypothesize that: 1) Zimmerman harrassed Martin and that Martin's race was probably a significant factor; and 2) Martin beat the living snot out of Zimmerman causing Zimmerman to shoot him.

One could even throw in for fun the possibility that Martin really was "up to no good" and on the cusp of committing a crime (a hoodie in Florida weather, really??? LOL...) and that Zimmerman really was catching him in the act. Or better yet, you could guess that Martin was about to commit a crime, but Zimmerman had no legitimate grounds to suspect that and was simply a racist vigilante who happened by chance to get it right.

In any event, the narrative being spun by the media depicting Martin with that obviously outdated photograph (the "kid" was 17, not 12 as he appears in the photo) and depicting Zimmerman as a racist psycho who gunned down a black child for no reason is ludicrous. I especially like the Skittles candy part of the story. That's a nice touch. He was an innocent angelic little "child" coming home from the candy store when big bad Zimmerman psycho racist randomly shot him. That would be after he spontaneously broke his nose due to completely unrelated causes...

[ March 27, 2012, 05:37 PM: Message edited by: jasonr ]

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Gaoics79
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quote:
I think that we are missing the point here. Whether Zimmerman has a valid defense should be a matter of fact for a jury to sort out. That the police didn't bother to arrest Zimmerman after shooting a person dead so we - and more importantly a jury - could make that determination is the real problem. We shouldn't be focused on Zimmerman; we should be focused on the police department.
I agree. I'm betting the police are kicking themselves.

No it makes no difference what the evidence shows. Martin might have been hopped up on cocaine beating Zimmerman to within an inch of his life, and if any jury finds Zimmerman anything but guilty, there will be blood in the streets. The narrative is now set. By freeing Zimmerman, the police pretty much guaranteed that he is screwed and so is America.

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AI Wessex
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"I would hypothesize that:"

Why would you bother? The police said Zimmerman had an impeccable record, which was obviously not true, so what's his real story? Why not assume that he was out hiding because he had just committed another domestic assault or was trying to make nice to the police by nailing a suspicious character because he had committed resisting arrest again. Why not assume he was out looking for the first coon he could find to work off some of his anger?

"By freeing Zimmerman, the police pretty much guaranteed that he is screwed and so is America."

How is that?

[ March 27, 2012, 05:48 PM: Message edited by: AI Wessex ]

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hobsen
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Al Wessex asked, "Lloyd, how did the police determine that there was no probable cause?"

The answer to that seems to be they didn't. As Lloyd Perna quoted from one applicable Florida statute, "the agency may not arrest the person for using force unless it determines that there is probable cause that the force that was used was unlawful." They did not determine that there WAS probable cause the shooting was unlawful.

About a hundred million persons in the United States have seen a ghost, most of which are probably hallucinations. If Zimmerman hallucinated that Martin had a knife or gun, he had a right to shoot him.

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kmbboots
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Or said he hallucinated that Martin has a knife - after he followed him for no good reason.
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AI Wessex
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Hobsen, that is the point of due process, otherwise the police can choose to believe whatever they want and evidence or analysis of the scene of the crime is pointless. By not finding that there was probably cause, they did effectively find that there wasn't. Their judgment was not subject to process or review. Only the public's unwillingness to accept that version of the story has led to a "review" of the situation.
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Gaoics79
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quote:
Why not assume that he was out hiding because he had just committed another domestic assault or was trying to make nice to the police by nailing a suspicious character because he had committed resisting arrest again. Why not assume he was out looking for the first coon he could find to work off some of his anger?
Because those are all stupid theories that aren't consistent with the facts?
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AI Wessex
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That's one theory of course. [Wink]
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Lloyd Perna
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
Lloyd, how did the police determine that there was no probable cause? By talking to the person who shot and killed the unarmed other man, who had been followed by this person, who had apparently felt threatened by him.

They did an investigation at the scene. They looked at the injuries Zimmerman had. Listened to his account. They interviewed eyewitnesses. Based on that they used their judgement and determined that they did not have probable cause to arrest him.

The investigation is ongoing. I hope there is more evidence to be had that will clarify the situation one way or the other.

I think it's a tragedy that this young man is dead. I think Zimmerman's actions created the situation that caused his death. It also seems likely that Martin's actions contributed as well.

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philnotfil
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At least two of the eyewitnesses have said that the police corrected their account of what happened as they were giving it.
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AI Wessex
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"The investigation is ongoing. I hope there is more evidence to be had that will clarify the situation one way or the other."

Based on details that are slowly coming out, it seems clear that the crime scene investigation was brief and incomplete. I agree about the ongoing investigation.

This event has become a proxy for a number of other things. This death was unnecessary and may have been a tragedy, but it also raises the issue of what I'll call asymmetric civil safety practices. Zimmerman had all the power in this situation, but he is not and never has been a deputized peace keeper. Anyone he deemed suspicious for merely being present in his watch domain was automatically put in a vulnerable position. He had called in dozens of reports of suspicious behavior over the past year, but it's unknown at this point if any of them resulted in confrontations or arrests, or how many were even justified concerns at all. He was not supposed to be carrying a weapon and should not have gotten directly engaged in the surveillance. His friends will tell you that he's a good guy who just cares deeply about protecting his community from harm. Even if it turns out that he committed no crime, his overzealous behavior and hyper-aware sensitivity to suspicious activities should not have been tolerated by the police in his community, and yet it was encouraged by them and the laws in the state of Florida. That's the root of the tragedy.

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Brian
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How big and/or tough were these two people?

Apparently Zimmerman caused a confrontation, then got the **** kicked out of him.
I don't know about the people living in Zimmerman's neighborhood, but I wouldn't want my Neighborhood Watch run by someone whose only two options in a confrontation are 'get curb-stomped' or 'shoot them dead'.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by hobsen:
The answer to that seems to be they didn't. As Lloyd Perna quoted from one applicable Florida statute, "the agency may not arrest the person for using force unless it determines that there is probable cause that the force that was used was unlawful." They did not determine that there WAS probable cause the shooting was unlawful.

And the only way they could have made that determination was to de facto assume that Martin was guilty of assault without the benefit of a trial. But since Martin didn't have an instantly lethal tool to use in his defense, Zimmerman won the arms race and get's to benefit from Martin being unable to plead his case.

Until and unless Martin is convicted of assault, he should be presumed innocent and acting in self defense under the Stand Your Ground law, at which point there is absolutely probable cause to arrest Zimmerman.

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G2
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quote:
Originally posted by Brian:
How big and/or tough were these two people?

The pictures are misleading since, for the most part, the media is relying on much older pictures of Martin. Last report I saw was that Martin stood 6'2. That's more rumor than anything else though but a young healthy kid like that rolling in at 6'2 seems plausible. Zimmerman is reportedly shorter but has a weight advantage on Martin - somewhere between 50 and 100 lbs. I have no idea about Zimmerman's toughness but Martin was a high school football player so I'd assume he's relatively physically tough.

quote:
Originally posted by Brian:
Apparently Zimmerman caused a confrontation, then got the **** kicked out of him.

That assumption is not supported by the police report. Zimmerman reportedly lost sight of Martin and was walking back to his vehicle when Martin approached him from behind. Martin asked Zimmerman if he had a problem, Zimmerman said "no". Martin then struck Zimmerman, breaking his nose, and took Zimmerman to the ground where he proceeded to give Zimmerman the business. Zimmerman getting out of his vehicle was not smart but it was not confrontational; certainly walking back to his vehicle is not a cause of confrontation.
quote:
Originally posted by Brian:
I don't know about the people living in Zimmerman's neighborhood, but I wouldn't want my Neighborhood Watch run by someone whose only two options in a confrontation are 'get curb-stomped' or 'shoot them dead'.

Funny soundbite but not accurate. I don't know about the people living in Zimmerman's neighborhood, but I want my Neighborhood Watch run by someone who pays sufficient attention that he knows when someone that does not live there is walking around in the rain at night. I'd prefer he not get out of his vehicle though and avoid confrontation.
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AI Wessex
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"The pictures are misleading since, for the most part, the media is relying on much older pictures of Martin...I have no idea about Zimmerman's toughness but Martin was a high school football player so I'd assume he's relatively physically tough."

I agree that the pictures are misleading. Martin was 6'3" and weighed 140 lbs. Zimmerman reportedly weighs about 250 lbs, a difference that would be a big advantage in a scuffle. Photos of Martin wearing a football jersey saying "Bulldogs" in front of bleachers filled with fans appears to be photoshopped. His high school team was the "Lightnings". He played Pop Warner football when he was younger, but I can't find anything that says he played for his school team. The picture of Zimmerman looking directly into the camera that is shown is a police booking photo from 2005 when he was taken into custody (the first time) for resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer. I'd say that Zimmerman thought of himself as pretty tough from his numerous run ins with the police and because he saw himself as the physical protector of his neighborhood.

"Zimmerman getting out of his vehicle was not smart but it was not confrontational; certainly walking back to his vehicle is not a cause of confrontation."

What did Martin think Zimmerman was doing when he walked back to his van? To go home for dinner? To get a baseball bat? To get back in and follow him some more? Why don't we ask him? Oh, right...

[ March 28, 2012, 10:42 AM: Message edited by: AI Wessex ]

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hobsen
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Some of the outrage here stems from a widespread belief that decisions by Florida police are often based on race. Instead of Zimmerman, Martin could have been followed by a white plainclothes policeman, and could have felt threatened by that. If in that case Martin had pulled a gun and shot the policeman following him, it seems unlikely the authorities would have let him go because he acted in response to what he perceived as a threat. Florida law seems to authorize killing people over misunderstandings, and that is not a good thing.

Apart from that Zimmerman seems someone who should have not been allowed to patrol his neighborhood with a gun close at hand. But police quite properly encourage community involvement, and some of those who respond are more stable than others. Probably there are hundreds of such self-appointed watchdogs across the nation, most of whom discourage crime and cause no trouble. Once in a while something like this happens, but it is not the usual thing.

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philnotfil
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quote:
Originally posted by hobsen:
Some of the outrage here stems from a widespread belief that decisions by Florida police are often based on race. Instead of Zimmerman, Martin could have been followed by a white plainclothes policeman, and could have felt threatened by that. If in that case Martin had pulled a gun and shot the policeman following him, it seems unlikely the authorities would have let him go because he acted in response to what he perceived as a threat. Florida law seems to authorize killing people over misunderstandings, and that is not a good thing.

I can't speak for everyone, but I have two sources of outrage. You nailed the first one, the silliness of the Stand Your Ground law. The second one is the lack of investigation into the case.
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D.W.
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Lloyed spelled out pretty clearly why he wasn’t arrested. Like it or not it seems the cops followed the letter of the law. Unless they “corrected” testimony until they obtained a story that eliminated probable cause. If they did not then there was no reason to arrest Zimmerman at the scene.

By Pyrrolin
quote:
And the only way they could have made that determination was to de facto assume that Martin was guilty of assault without the benefit of a trial. But since Martin didn't have an instantly lethal tool to use in his defense, Zimmerman won the arms race and get's to benefit from Martin being unable to plead his case.
No that’s the only way they could prove it WAS lawful. Totally different from not having probable cause to believe it was unlawful. The way the law is written the burden works the opposite way that your are suggesting. [Frown]

By Al Wessex
quote:
He was not supposed to be carrying a weapon and should not have gotten directly engaged in the surveillance. His friends will tell you that he's a good guy who just cares deeply about protecting his community from harm. Even if it turns out that he committed no crime, his overzealous behavior and hyper-aware sensitivity to suspicious activities should not have been tolerated by the police in his community, and yet it was encouraged by them and the laws in the state of Florida. That's the root of the tragedy.
If he had a concealed pistol license then he was certainly allowed to carry it. Getting “directly engaged” in the surveillance seems excessive to me but that is by definition what a neighborhood watch is for, whether he was self appointed or part of a neighborhood program.

Whether the police tolerated his actions when they shouldn’t have pretty much comes down to his track record for reporting suspicious behavior. Did it result in any arrests? Return of stolen property? If it did, and I haven’t heard either way what resulted from Zimmerman’s numerous “reports” then I see no reason they shouldn’t have tolerated and even encouraged his overzealous behavior.

If I were to make my rounds in a dangerous neighborhood I would certainly be armed to protect myself. As for the laws of the state of Florida, they can be debated as needing revision due to cases like this but they are what they are. For now and the case should be evaluated under the current standing laws, whether we like them or not. Tragedy or not I have no problem looking out for yourself or your neighborhood and being armed to defend yourself while you do so, as long as you follow all applicable laws.

My sense of outrage also includes responsible gun ownership is probably going to face even more opposition due to someone who is most likely an irresponsible gun owner. Also that the “stand your ground” law will probably be scrapped as opposed to revised. And I do think it needs some revisions as it does indeed seem to allow for lethal force over a misunderstanding. [Frown]

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kmbboots
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Let me get this straight. According to current FL law, I could, in theory, harass a person minding his own business until they take a swing at me at which point, since I am now in danger, I could kill them without repercussions? Is that about it?
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D.W.
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It appears disturbingly close to that yes. It comes down to if you killing them was “justifiable use of force” in response to the swing. In your case, probably not? Also suspect is how they determine what is “unlawful”. Is the fact you instigated the confrontation enough to make it unlawful? I don’t know. Can they prove you instigated it? If they can’t prove that, it seems they may not arrest you.
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kmbboots
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And my life doesn't actually have to be in danger, I just have to think it is in danger. Right?
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D.W.
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That's where the "justifiable use of force" comes in. I expect it would be justifiable in the opinion of the officer(s) not just by you. Another big loophole only slightly smaller than the way you suggest.
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AI Wessex
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"If he had a concealed pistol license then he was certainly allowed to carry it. Getting “directly engaged” in the surveillance seems excessive to me but that is by definition what a neighborhood watch is for, whether he was self appointed or part of a neighborhood program."

I think you're misinterpreting the purpose and activities of neighborhood watch programs. They are not vigilantes on a beat. They are supposed to act as extra pairs of eyes, not extensions of the police. I've been in a neighborhood watch program. If any of my neighbors had patrolled while armed, they would have been told to leave the weapon home or drop out of the program. From a description of the program Zimmerman belonged to:
quote:
Chris Tutko, director of Neighborhood Watch for the National Sheriffs’ Association, said Zimmerman broke some cardinal rules.

First, he approached a stranger he suspected of wrongdoing.

“If you see something suspicious, you report it, you step aside and you let law enforcement do their job,” Tutko said. “This guy went way beyond the call of duty. At the least, he’s overzealous.”

Second, Zimmerman carried a handgun. Police departments and sheriff’s offices that train volunteers advise them never to carry weapons — though Zimmerman broke no laws by doing so because he has a concealed-weapons permit.

“There’s no reason to carry a gun,” Tutko said.

If that's not convincing I'll see if I can find out if there are formal public guidelines.
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D.W.
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Oh it’s convincing Al. I agree with your representation of the neighborhood watch as well. I meant only to say that he broke no laws. I would not pursue anyone personally but I would go armed if I thought the neighborhood was dangerous enough to warrant it. Whether I was advised to or not. As long as it was legal to do so that is. I’m not part of a neighborhood watch. If I was so inclined to join one and the organization did not want me to participate because I was armed I would probably not participate. Also I don’t live in Florida. Didn’t mean to misinterpret anything.
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D.W.
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Out of curiosity, has anyone heard if his neighborhood had an organized Neighborhood Watch? Or was this just a self appointed title by Zimmerman?
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D.W.
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I should not have phrased it "he broke no laws". I should say that carrying a handgun with a permit and even approaching someone is not against the law. Beyond that we don't know yet and may not ever.
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kmbboots
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Neither, as far as we know, did Trayvon Martin but it seems that he was fair game.
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D.W.
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And that's why the law needs some revisions.

If someone tried to kill me and I killed him instead, I would certianly prefer not to go to prison. I like the idea of a law that would protect me in such a situation. On the other hand the law should not be a license to kill for anyone who gets scared, shoved or initiates a fight and starts to loose.

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