Speaking Out on Zimmerman Trial

By Shanae Nelson

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Judge Debra Nelson, who is the current overseer of the George Zimmerman Trial, ruled that the term “profiled” should be used instead of “racially profiled”. Zimmerman’s lawyers had asked the Florida court to bar the prosecutors from using the term and they were successful.

Even though that was Judge Nelson’s ruling, students and faculty members of the Lehman College Campus believe that racial profiling played a huge role in what led to the tragic ending of Trayvon Martin’s life. They believe that race is an unavoidable topic that the court room is trying to avoid.

Trayvon Martin was shot to death on the night of February 26, 2012 Sanford County, Florida. Seventeen months later, the incident is brought before the court and is now an on-going trial.

Trayvon Martin, a seventeen year-old, was on his way from after buying skittles and iced tea at 7-11, was shot by George Zimmerman, a volunteered security guard in the neighborhood, claims he did so in self-defense.

Francis Wills was asked, “What would there be a violent protest if George Zimmerman gets off this case without penalty?” “Oh yes, Something like Rodney King,”Ms. Wills replied without hesitation as she sat on a bench on the Lehman College Campus.

Rodney King was an African American construction worker who was beaten by Los Angeles Police Officers. After the case was brought before the Grand Jury, the officers involved were acquitted. Riots broke out in Los Angeles and many buildings were set on fire.

“Racial Profiling has something to do with the case. That’s the way I see it,” she added.

Although Ms. Wills has not been in the country for 3 months, she is still keeping up with the trial. She believes that the killing was “unjust,” because “the guy (referring to George Zimmerman) was following him,” she said.

The belief that racial profiling is an inevitable topic is also shared by Raquel Thomas, a student at Lehman College. “I think Zimmerman is guilty,” she said.

The issue of race keeps appearing. “I do think that Zimmerman was racially profiling him (Trayvon Martin) and shooting him was excessive,” Ms. Thomas added.
Ms. Thomas also agrees that if George Zimmerman should be set free there will be violent protests. She went on to say that if Trayvon Martin shot George Zimmerman “he would have been arrested already,” she said.

If George Zimmerman should be found not guilty “he will probably never sleep peacefully ever again,” she ended.

Not only are students interested in this strial but also teachers. Alice Speri, a member of the teacher’s faculty at Lehman, has been following the trial.

“I think it’s a huge case and it will spark some debate on the stand-your ground law,” she said.

Since 2005 eighteen states have passed a law that rules in favor of not retreating in the case of self-defense. According to thinkprogress.org there has been an eight percent increase in homicide since the passage of the Stand Your Ground Law.

Should Trayvon Martin kill a white or Hispanic man they would have arrested him along time ago commented Ms. Speri.

“Black man gets picked up for less than that,” she added.

An incoming student to the Lehman Campus shared his views on the Zimmerman trial. Winston Ndow believes contrary to other beliefs that this case will not end in a violent protest because “this is not the 1960s,” he said.

“There’s not an organized community that can rally up people to the point of violence today. You need a public figure to take on an opportunity like this case going wrong,” Mr. Ndow commented.

“This case represents the big elephant in the room; the race issue,” he said. “This issue was touched on when we first elected our president but this case brings it up again.”

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