Friday Night Open Thread: Trayvon Martin Case Updates

Good Evening! The big news today is that Minkoff Minx is back home and resting after her surgery. She even managed to send off an e-mail to the rest of the administrators, so she might even be reading this–if so, hi there, Minx!

I have several updates on the Trayvon Martin case. The city of Sanford is preparing for the aftermath of the special prosecutor Angela Corey’s decision on whether or not she will order the arrest of George Zimmerman.

Sanford Mayor Jeff Triplett said on Thursday that the city’s emergency management team has met regularly with the U.S Department of Justice to construct a plan. Officials said extra police officers and fire department officials are on standby. Neighboring agencies have also been asked to assist, if needed.

“You always prepare for the worst and hope for the best,” Triplett said. “We’re planning for the ‘what-if’ case scenario, and that would be to make sure that all of our citizens get the protection they pay their taxes for.”

The grand jury ordered by Governor Rick Scott is scheduled for next Tuesday, April 10, so Corey is expected to decide soon.

If she finds probable cause, Corey could direct-file the charges anytime or present evidence to a Seminole County grand jury, which was tentatively scheduled to meet on Tuesday. The grand jury could indict, ask to hear more evidence, or decline to indict.

Since the Stand Your Ground Law has been invoked by Zimmerman, even if charges are filed, a judge could review the case and grant immunity, thus dismissing the charges.

Corey previously stated that she may not need the grand jury. I’ll be honest: I just have a gut feeling that she will decline to charge Zimmerman. I hope I’m wrong, but Corey is known for charging juvenile offenders very harshly and trying them as adults. Last year, she charged a 12-year-old boy with first degree murder and ordered him tried as an adult in the death of his two-year-old brother. HuffPo reports that Corey

is known for her tough tactics aimed at locking up criminals for long sentences and making it difficult to negotiate light plea bargains.

Furthermore, 57-year-old Angela Corey has handled hundreds of homicide cases involving the justifiable use of deadly force – experience that could prove invaluable.

Angela Corey

On the other hand, they also report that Corey is exceedingly close to the Sheriff’s office and police. One colleague told HuffPo that she is “too close” to them.

Hal Uhrig

George Zimmerman has a new attorney who is a former police officer, now a criminal defense attorney, who has experience with the media. But that experience did not serve him well today when he suggested in a TV interview that Zimmerman may have suffered from “shaken baby syndrome” after Trayvon Martin supposedly bashed his head on the sidewalk. Except that the new attorney is now claiming his client’s head was bashed into the “ground.” (Just a side note: neither of Zimmerman’s attorneys has actually met him in person yet. They’ve only talked with him on the phone.)

Hal Uhrig, a lawyer and former Gainesville, Florida, police officer who recently joined Zimmerman’s defense team, cited in a TV interview the brain damage that can seriously injure or kill an infant.

His point, which has been made before, was that Zimmerman contends he shot Martin in self defense and feared for his life after the 17-year-old attacked him and began pounding his head into the concrete pavement of a gated community on a rainy evening in Sanford on February 26.

But Uhrig’s choice of words, and use of a recognized sign of child abuse to defend a 28-year-old man who killed a kid, seemed likely to raise more than just a few eyebrows.

“We’re familiar with the Shaken Baby Syndrome,” said Uhrig on the CBS This Morning program. “You shake a baby, the brain shakes around inside the skull. You can die when someone’s pounding your head into the ground.”

Shaken baby syndrome can occur in very young infants because their skulls are still soft, they aren’t yet in control of their neck and limbs, and their heads are very large in proportion to their bodies. Adults can obviously suffer serious head trauma leading to internal bleeding and death, but if EMT’s believed that had happened to Zimmerman they would have insisted he be transported to a hospital.

One of Uhrig’s first actions after taking the job was to get rid of Zimmerman’s “friend” Joe Oliver (now being called a “media adviser”), who made innumerable embarrassing media appearances in which presented a number of inconsistent explanations of what supposedly happened the night of the shooting.

A group of about 40 Florida college students have organized a 3-day march from Daytona Beach to Sanford (41 miles), Florida to demand racial equality in honor of Trayvon Martin. The march is “modeled after the historic 1965 civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala.”

They call themselves the Dream Defenders. The march began earlier today.

The campaign began at Daisy Stocking Park and will conclude on April 9 at Sanford City Hall. During the march, students will be stopping every two hours and receiving training. They will also work on developing a strategy to launch a larger youth movement to address racial inequalities. Their first stop is the Volusia Regional Juvenile Detention Center for a prayer vigil and speakout. You can track the group as they march on their website.

The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office and police officers in Daytona Beach, DeLand and Orange City are coordinating and will be helping with traffic control to make sure the students are safe while crossing busy highways.

Vanessa Baden, a 2007 alumna of Florida State, flew in from Los Angeles to attend the march on behalf of Dream Defenders. She said the purpose of the march is to call for the arrest of George Zimmerman and the investigation of the process of law enforcement following the shooting of Trayvon Martin.

“What we’re not trying to do is try Zimmerman in the court of public opinion. We get that there’s a process in this,” Baden said. “We’ll be patient with the process if they allow the process to begin.”

The group expects other college students to join the march along the way. Good for them. I know darn well if Martin Luther King were still alive, he would be there too.

Unfortunately, a group of “armed neo-Nazis” is already in Sanford, supposedly to help in riot control after Angela Corey makes her decision.

Neo-Nazis are currently conducting heavily armed patrols in and around Sanford, Florida and are “prepared” for violence in the case of a race riot. The patrols are to protect “white citizens in the area who are concerned for their safety” in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting last month, says Commander Jeff Schoep of the National Socialist Movement. “We are not advocating any type of violence or attacks on anybody, but we are prepared for it,” he says. “We are not the type of white people who are going to be walked all over.”

Because nothing diffuses racial tension like gun-toting racial separatists patrolling an already on-edge community.

Lots of audio “experts” are still analyzing Zimmerman’s initial 911 tape to see if he used word “coons” in a whispered utterance. CNN’s expert claims Zimmerman said “fucking cold.” Another expert says it was “fucking punks.”

In addition, I found this slowed down tape of the 911 call by a witness. It was posted by a self-described “audio person.” You can hear screams for help in the background, then a gunshot, and another sound after the shot. It sounded like a scream after the gunshot to me.

NBC has fired a producer who edited the Zimmerman 911 tape and played the edited version on the Today Show as if it were the original.

The person was fired on Thursday, according to two people with direct knowledge of the disciplinary action who declined to be identified discussing internal company matters. They also declined to name the fired producer. A spokeswoman for NBC News declined to comment.

The action came in the wake of an internal investigation by NBC News into the production of the segment, which strung together audio clips in such a way that made George Zimmerman’s shooting of Mr. Martin sound racially motivated. Ever since the Feb. 26 shooting, there has been a continuing debate about whether race was a factor in the incident.

The segment in question was shown on the “Today” show on March 27. It included audio of Mr. Zimmerman saying, “This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.”

But Mr. Zimmerman’s comments had been taken grossly out of context by NBC. On the phone with a 911 dispatcher, he actually said of Mr. Martin, “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.” Then the dispatcher asked, “O.K., and this guy — is he white, black or Hispanic?” Only then did Mr. Zimmerman say, “He looks black.”

Obviously, the editing was misleading, but I actually think the real 911 tape sounds worse and more racially biased. JMNSHO.

Family and friends of George Zimmerman are starting a website to raise funds for his defense and his living expenses. The reporter, Frances Robles says that Zimmerman has suffered “weeks of withering media coverage lambasting him and his supporters…” I’d say the lambasting of Trayvon Martin has been even more “withering,” but of course he no longer has “living expenses,” because George Zimmerman shot and killed him. But what do I know? Poor George….

Robles also notes that Zimmerman has attract some troubling supporters

such as white supremacists and the Rev. Terry Jones, the Gainesville pastor who announced last year plans to burn the Quran and now plans to hold a rally for Zimmerman. Gun ownership advocacy groups have also announced intentions to contribute $10,000 towards Zimmerman’s defense.

But one of Martin’s attorneys points out that

“It’s a PR strategy, a propaganda campaign,” said Natalie Jackson, an attorney for Trayvon’s parents. “His friends and family are doing him a big disservice by race-baiting. They are trying to divide a jury. Frank Taaffe, Joe Oliver, everybody gets up there and says, ‘George Zimmerman is not a racist.’ That’s not what we’re talking about.

“We’re talking about whether he was justified in taking Trayvon Martin’s life.”

I agree with Jackson that the racism issue is a red herring. It’s up to the FBI to decide whether this was a hate crime or not. But Zimmerman needs to be arrested and charged. Then he can plead his case for self-defense to a judge and jury instead of the media.

Feel free to discuss any topic on this thread. I decided to focus on the Martin case because there was so much news coming out today on it, and it has otherwise been a pretty slow news day because of the upcoming christian holiday.


39 Comments on “Friday Night Open Thread: Trayvon Martin Case Updates”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    For anyone who is interested, attorneys for both Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin’s parents will be on CNN at 9PM Eastern.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I guess what I read on twitter was wrong. Steven Segal is being asked about the Trayvon Martin case by Piers Morgan even though Segal admits he knows nothing about it.

    • joanelle says:

      Hey, Minx – if you’re reading this – glad you’re home and hope you’re feeling better. Take it easy breezy! Sleep as much as possible and drink water throughout the day to flush, flush, flush. :)

  2. dakinikat says:

    I think there really needs to be a grand jury. The only fair way to try this is in the courts. A grand jury should decide if there’s enough evidence to drop the case or peruse it.

  3. Boo Radly says:

    Thanks for these updates BB – been searching all day for something, anything to hang some hope of justice in this case. And that means a trial for Mr. Zimmerman. If there is no trial – gawd help FL You mentioned earlier that you suspect there will not be one – that would be a terrible mis-step, it will not be swept under a rug. Off to watch CNN(interview Martin and Zimmerman familes) for the first time in years.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I think there will be a trial eventually, but the feds may have to bring the charges. I just hope I’m wrong and that Corey decides to prosecute Zimmerman.

  4. Minkoff Minx says:

    A grand jury is the least that should come of all this. Thank you for all the updates BB, so nice to get it all at once.

  5. mjames says:

    It wouldn’t surprise me if this prosecutor, who appears to love to prosecute kids as adults and to love those wonderful white men in blue who can never do wrong, declines to prosecute Zimmerman. (Couldn’t they find a somewhat more flattering picture of her? Whew.) It also wouldn’t surprise me if Trayvon did what a really brave person would do: confront the creep following him and stand up to him, maybe beating the shit out of him as Zimmerman well deserved for being a real creep. It also wouldn’t surprise me if Zimmerman is the one screaming for help. He’s the coward. Such a pathetic limp dick of a supposed man that he has to carry a gun to go to Target!

    Even given all of that, however, IMO it would still be up to a jury to determine whether Zimmerman was actually attempting to leave the scene before the alleged fight and was, at that point, confronted by Trayvon, as Zimmerman claims. That’s a question of fact, and the jury is the factfinder. But, then again, I don’t know the severity of Zimmerman’s injuries and whose voice is screaming on that 911 tape.

    But, I always come back to this: had Zimmerman not gotten out of his truck and had he not been carrying a loaded gun, Trayvon would be alive today. That’s the real crime.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I’m the one who chose the picture.

      If Zimmerman were crying for help, why would the screaming stop suddenly after the gunshot? Also, if Zimmerman was out of breath and just about to lose consciousness as his family is claiming, how would he have the ability to scream so loudly and continuously?

      Two voice experts have already eliminated Zimmerman as the one who was screaming. I expect the FBI has good voice experts also.

      The videotape of Zimmerman arriving at the police station showed pretty clearly that his injuries were not serious. The EMTs who examined him didn’t bandage any wounds, and didn’t think he needed to go to the hospital. If he had been in a fight like one that has been described, he would have been covered in blood and would at least have blood on his clothes.

      My big question is how Zimmerman managed to shoot Trayvon in the heart at close range without getting blood all over his clothing.

      • mjames says:

        I know you chose the picture, BB, and I love it. But you found it someplace; that’s what I was referring to – she should have a standard professional photo, and it shouldn’t be this one!

        Anyway, I can’t tell anything from the video or the 911 calls. I guess I’m too old. It could be that Zimmerman was scared out of his wits; that screaming sounds terrified. I hope we get the truth, but I saw so many injustices in my days as a public defender, and that was NYC, I’m not holding my breath.

        My position is, for now: even if it was Zimmerman screaming (and the voice experts we’ve heard from so far are wrong) and even if there is evidence of injuries, even serious injuries, those facts do not eliminate him as a murderer. We still have the issue of whether he was “standing his ground” or somehow justified in his actions. Since Trayvon was unarmed and was engaged in no criminal activity whatsoever, and since Zimmerman admitted to pulling the trigger, to me that is reasonable cause to believe some sort of murder (manslaughter?) has occurred. Zimmerman was clearly the initial aggressor. That is not in dispute, and that should be sufficient for charges to be brought.

        But what do I know? A kid who was doing nothing wrong was killed for no reason. That’s really all I know. And that’s enough to make me sick. I don’t know how his parents carry on.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Oh, I get it. I admit my bias may have influenced my choice of photo, lol.

      • Woman Voter says:

        Here is a photo of Angela Corey

      • Woman Voter says:

        Yup, it is the one Wikipedia is using:

  6. bostonboomer says:

    Why Obama should speak out more about the Supreme Court–like Reagan and FDR did.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/04/06/obama-follows-reagan-fdr-in-airing-supreme-court-constitution-views.html

  7. Minkoff Minx says:

    Check it out, that town that was for sale (bidding was to start at 100,000) went for 900,000:

    BBC News – Sold! US town, population 1, price $900,000

    Did you see the sermon on the mount by tebow? Instead of holding the ten commandments he is holding that other glorious sacrament of the good American christian…a football.

    After spending some time in a bible belt hospital, I can honestly say, I am beyond tebowed out.
    Maybe it was the drugs but damn, there was one channel on the TV that had these dudes dressed in overalls and turtlenecks, talking to these Jesus sculptures…and that is a nice description, they were really just those chainsaw kind of carvings of Jesus, like the ones you see along the roadside or at the flea market…it was like they had two versions, the before (no thorn crown with a full face ) and after…with thorn crown and sunken cheeks. And these guys were there talking to the big chainsaw masterpieces…like I said, it probably was the drugs.

    Speaking of which, I am going to pop another pill…and go back to sleep. Cheers!

    • bostonboomer says:

      I was Tebowed out before I ever laid eyes on the guy.

    • ANonOMouse says:

      Minx……ROTFLMAO!!!

      I don’t think it was the drugs, drugs are better than that. The God channels are full of things that make you feel like your hallucinating.

  8. Maddow did an excellent but scary segment on Reactor 2 in Fukishima. Apparently the water has leaked out of the 1 undamaged reactor. Radiation levels are too high to send people in to fix it, and nothing electronic will work at such high levels. No way to fix it unless something new is invented. Nuclear power is not clean, it’s not safe & we just need to say no to nuclear power. Here’s a story about the reactors that I found: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/mar/28/fukushima-reactor-radiation-levels

    • bostonboomer says:

      She also talked about how last night Scott walker secretly repealed Wisconsin’s equal pay for women law and signed at least two anti-abortion laws. It sounds like he is doing that same thing the GOP is doing in Michigan.

    • Woman Voter says:

      Gosh, I spent years working on community issues, reaching out to parents of the the affected groups is what works best, and COMMUNITY POLICING (police assigned to schools who know the kids and create a safe environment w/ schools pitching in for the salaries)…and a psychologist POLICE MAN (deals with at risk kids, diversion program, deals with issues before they escalate)….yup we have one (worth every penny too).

      Gosh, just realized it sounds like the ‘Village Police’, and yes, it does take a Village approach, a caring approach and involves the whole community.

    • Woman Voter says:

      So, sad kids being killed for no reason.

  9. Woman Voter says:

    K A LL I S TI ‏ @Kallisti

    The 2012 #TIME100 Poll has closed. #Anonymous came in 1st Place

    http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2107952_2107959_2107960,00.html

    That is pretty amazing considering they are everyone and they are no one. lolz

  10. propertius says:

    Unfortunately, a group of “armed neo-Nazis” is already in Sanford, supposedly to help in riot control after Angela Corey makes her decision.

    Apparently, this is completely untrue:

    http://legalinsurrection.com/2012/04/sanford-fl-police-deny-any-indication-of-neo-nazis-patrolling/