Will Somebody Please Press Charges Against Zimmerman?

Ol’ George has struck again. (Via)

George Zimmerman threatened to kill a driver during a road rage incident in Lake Mary and later showed up at the man’s workplace, according to police.

The road rage incident happened Tuesday, Lake Mary police told Local 6, but the other driver declined to press charges, so Zimmerman was not arrested.

Police said the man, whose name was not released, called police after a truck pulled up next to him and the driver yelled, “Why are you pointing a finger at me?” …

…Police spokeswoman Bianca Gillett said the man recognized the truck driver as Zimmerman. The man said Zimmerman, who was carrying a gun, asked, “Do you know who I am?” before saying, “I’ll (f***ing) kill you.”

Two days later, the man said he saw Zimmerman in his truck outside his workplace. He called police but declined to press charges.

It was almost exactly a year ago that GZ threatened to kill his then girlfriend, and she refused to press charges. Now this guy declines to press charges. You know this is going to continue until George kills somebody else. It’s just a matter of time.

I’m Back!

Had a lovely mini-vacation messing around in Philly. I get back and find our ol’ friend George Zimmerman is back in the news!

Once again, a 911 call to police involving George Zimmerman sends chills down the spine. This time it’s Shellie Zimmerman, calling the cops on her estranged husband, the killer of Trayvon Martin who was acquitted of second-degree murder charges in July. And if you have followed the Zimmerman case as closely as I have the five-minute call and the aftermath will give a sickening sense of deja vu.

“[H]e’s in his car,” Shellie tells police. “And he continually has his hands on his gun and he keeps saying, ‘Step closer.” He’s just threatening all of us with his firearm — and he’s going to shoot us.” She tells the dispatcher that George “accosted my father” and “punched my dad in the nose.” In addition, he “took my iPad out of my hands and smashed it.”

As scary as that sounds, it’s what Shellie says next that is frightening. “I’m really, really afraid,” she said. “I don’t know what he’s capable of. I’m really, really scared.” At one point, she yells at her father to “get back inside; George might start shooting at us.”

Jonathan Capehart also reminds us,

George’s counter-claim that Shellie was the aggressor today at her parents’ home in Lake Mary, Fla., is a near-replay of what happened in Aug. 2005. Back then, Zimmerman’s former fiance sought a restraining order against him because of domestic violence. So, he sought a restraining order against her in return.

Zimmerman was released because the wife and father-in-law did not press charges, and there could be many reasons for that. However,

The Establishment Wants Us to Move On

You are no doubt aware that the Right went on ugly overdrive after the Zimmerman verdict, and then doubled down on the ugly after the President’s remarks on race last week. See, for example,

Nastiest conservative responses to Obama’s Trayvon speech

Top 12 Conservative Freakouts After Obama’s Race Speech

Fox News Host Calls Obama ‘Race-Baiter In Chief’ After Trayvon Martin Statement

Tea Party Host David Webb Hits Obama For ‘Playing Into Black-White Racist Dynamic’ With Zimmerman Speech

Sean Hannity Asks If Obama Is Like Trayvon Martin Because ‘He Smoked Pot’ And ‘Did A Little Blow’

I could go on and on. The mere mention of race drives the wingnuts into a rabid frenzy. It appears that even to treat racial injustice as a serious issue that deserves respectful discussion, or that African-Americans really do experience ill treatment because of race, is taboo. It must not be said in public. It’s like talking about your porn collection in church.

(One does not need a degree in psychology to know that the reason wingnuts feel this way is that they are in massive denial about their own racism. Which, in a way, is progress. Fifty years ago they would have been aiming their shotguns at freedom marchers. Now they’re mostly reduced to throwing tantrums. Well, except in “stand your ground” states.)

What I’m seeing today is, in a way, more insidious. For example, the Los Angeles Times has an op ed piece called “Rhetoric, race and reality in America” that fairly oozes with white paternalism. And yes, I realize one of the co-authors is black.

After criticizing the “hysterical response of some civil rights leaders” to the verdict, and their “message of victimhood and division,” the authors remind us that young black men kill other young black men at higher rates than whites kill young black men. Yes, but one suspects the police actually arrest the perpetrators within a reasonable amount of time.

And what would we do without Shelby Steele telling us that the civil rights establishment is in decline.

On television in recent weeks you could see black leaders from every background congealing into a chorus of umbrage and complaint. But they weren’t so much outraged at a horrible injustice as they were affronted by the disregard of their own authority. The jury effectively said to them, “You won’t call the tune here. We will work within the law.”

Never mind that the law is an outrage. Last year Steele was among the many right-wing media elites who willfully refused to acknowledge that the real issue was the inaction of the police. See also Conservatives Still Don’t Understand The Trayvon Martin Story from April 2012.

Whatever. The Establishment wants us to know that we’ve gone on long enough about Trayvon Martin, and it’s time to accept reality and move on.

Oh, and there are more threats to voting rights on the horizon, but I suppose we’re not supposed to notice that, either.

Of Race and Riots

The wingnuts were so certain African Americans would riot after the Zimmerman acquittal that, in the absence of actual riots, someone felt compelled to post a fake riot video that, naturally, went viral. However, the video was not of a post-verdict riot in Miami but of the 2011 Stanley Cup riot in Vancouver, Canada.

Instead of riots, there have been some protest rallies attended by racially mixed crowds. These have either been mostly peaceful but for a few individuals acting out, or they were entirely peaceful but over-policed. It’s hard to know which.

And, of course, it’s the widespread certitude among white racists that blacks are inherently prone to crime and violence that gave George Zimmerman “permission” to stalk Trayvon Martin.

But if we assume, as racists do, that behavioral traits are connected to race, it’s really white rioters we should fear. Historically, in the U.S. whites have been at least as prone as blacks to engage in riots, if not more so.

First, as mentioned in an earlier post, precisely 150 years ago rampaging whites fomented the biggest riot in American history, in New York City. A close rival to that record must be the East St. Louis riot of 1917, in which a white mob set fire to black neighborhoods and shot residents as they tried to escape the flames.

Of the many white race riots in U.S. history, there were some doozies during Reconstruction, such as the New Orleans and Memphis riots of 1866 (36 and 48 dead, respectively, nearly all African American). One interesting detail of the New Orleans riots is that orders (from Washington? I don’t remember) had sent Gen. Phil Sheridan and many occupying troops out of town (Sheridan was military commander of the district) in advance of the riot. There is speculation this was done to get Sheridan out of the way, as he tended to actually keep the peace. This suggests the New Orleans violence was not so much a riot as a premeditated attack.

After the heavyweight boxing defeat of (the white) Jim Jeffries by (the black) Jack Johnson in 1910, riots broke out among whites around the country in which several African Americans were killed, but I don’t know how many. From PBS:

Newspaper editorials warned Johnson and the black community not to be too proud. Congress eventually passed an act banning the interstate transport of fight films for fear that the images of Johnson beating his white opponents would provoke further unrest.

And of course, during the Jim Crow years lynch mobs were a common phenomenon, and not just in the South.

I could go on and on. You don’t find large-scale African American riots until relatively recent times, such as Watts, 1965, and the “Rodney King” riots of 1992. But again, if we assume a predisposition to riot is an immutable trait connected to race (which I don’t, to be clear), then whites must be at least as likely to riot as blacks.

Update: See also Electric Ooga-Boogaloo. Drudge et al. are reporting riots that are not happening.

Update: On CNN, Newt called the peaceful verdict protesters a “lynch mob.”


A criminal defense lawyer in Wisconsin wrote to TPM:

I was astounded that the defense would put on a “self-defense” argument without the defendant testifying. In most civilized jurisdictions, the burden is on the defense to prove, at least more likely than not, that the law breaking was done for reasons of self-defense. I couldn’t figure out how they could do this without the defendant’s testimony.

I got curious and read the jury instructions Friday night and, I was wrong. In Florida, if self-defense is even suggested, it’s the states obligation to prove it’s absence beyond a reasonable doubt(!). That’s crazy. But ‘not guilty’ was certainly a reasonable result in this case. As I told in friend in Tampa today though, if you’re ever in a heated argument with anyone, and you’re pretty sure there aren’t any witnesses, it’s always best to kill the other person. They can’t testify, you don’t have to testify, no one else has any idea what happened; how can the state ever prove beyond a doubt is wasn’t self-defense? Holy crap! What kind of system is that?

Seriously. I do hope Martin’s family files a civil suit against Zimmerman. Also, I think Charles Pierce is pissed.

More Trial Commentary

Couple o’ things —

Elon James White:

In the Zimmerman Trial yesterday, the defense team noted that if George Zimmerman is, in fact, telling the truth, Trayvon Martin would need three hands.

How did the victim see this gun? Or is it just another lie that [Zimmerman] tells? [Martin]‘s holding one hand over his mouth, one hand over his noise and with that third hand he reaches for the gun?

You see, it’s that third hand that immediately makes young black men suspicious.

Charles Pierce:

The courthouse drones seem to think that the prosecution scored pretty heavily in the late innings, and that things may have gotten a little tighter for George Zimmerman, the wannabe cop who killed an unarmed teenager named Trayvon Martin for the crime of carrying snack food through a neighborhood where Zimmerman thought Martin didn’t belong. One of the reasons to believe that things may be turning just a bit is that Zimmerman’s partisans in the conservative peanut gallery — including his adoptive father, Sean Hannity — have begun to cast about for the hidden (and, of course, very dark) hands behind a possible conviction. …

…Some of them are on the black-savages-will-riot-we-hope-we-hope beat. Some of them are working the White-Man-Can’t-Catch-A-Break side of the street. And nothing good will come of this whole affair. Nothing.

Also, too, the gun testimony reminded me of this:

Predictions in Case of a Conviction

I see that the closing arguments in the Zimmerman trial have ended, which means the case is about to go to the jury. Before there’s a verdict I want to make some predictions in case Zimmerman is convicted of something.

If George Zimmerman is convicted of a crime —

Within a week of the verdict, someone in the Florida legislature will submit a revised “stand your ground” bill to close the “Zimmerman loophole.” Under this bill, if you shoot someone in Florida you cannot be charged with a crime unless the victim was an unarmed, elderly nun. Well, unless the nun was carrying a crucifix. Those things are dangerous. You could poke somebody’s eye out. The defendant was defending himself, obviously.

The Breitbrats will run an expose claiming that the jury was forced by the U. S. Justice Department to convict Zimmerman, because the government was afraid of widespread rioting in case of an acquittal. Or because Obama is a black socialist Muslim. Whatever.

Some white supremacist organization will release a self-pitying statement claiming that white men are now an endangered species, since they can no longer defend themselves from dangerous nonwhite thugs armed with Skittles.

I doubt there will be riots, however. Riots are too much work. Instead, expect scattered pro-Zimmerman rallies mostly attended by men with Confederate flag decals on their pickups. The men will shout and wave signs awhile, and then they will go home and sulk over their beer.


Update: In closing arguments, Zimmerman’s lawyer said that while Zimmerman was injured, Martin wasn’t injured in the fight except for being shot to death.