Most of the evidence in The People vs. George Zimmerman has been released. The only thing that appears to be missing are Zimmerman’s statements to the cops and some of the gory autopsy photos and pictures of the body at the scene. Here are 46 color photos taken by the police. I don’t see the point of trying to recreate the wheel so if you want a detailed discussion of what’s in there see Talk Left or Tom Maguire at Just One Minute.
Long story short – there’s not a damn thing in there that disputes Zimmerman’s claim of self defense.
But I don’t want to talk about the evidence. I want to talk about no evidence.
From the beginning of this case there have been people who rushed to judgment and proclaimed that Zimmerman stalked and executed Trayvon Martin because of the color of his skin. Many of them still cling bitterly to that belief.
There is no evidence that Zimmerman focused on Trayvon because of his race. It is irrelevant that Neighborhood Watch guidelines say not to carry weapons – Zimmerman was on his way to the store, not patrolling the condo complex. It was not a crime for Zimmerman to get out of his vehicle and follow Trayvon. The fact that this tragedy may have been “avoidable” is also not relevant to whether or not a crime was committed.
Much has been made of the Sanford PD’s “failure” to arrest Zimmerman on the night of the shooting or in the weeks that followed. That is wrong. First of all, “failure” implies a duty not performed. The police do not have a duty to arrest unless a warrant has been issued or if they have probable cause to believe a crime has been committed.
Not all killings are crimes. If a store clerk shoots a robber or a homeowner blows away a burglar, the police would not normally arrest that person. Although this case is less clear-cut, the same principle applies. Contrary to what some people seem to believe, the court system is not about determining what really happened.
The court system is intended to determine whether guilt beyond a reasonable doubt has been shown. Guilty people go free every day due to a lack of evidence. The decision whether or not to bring charges is in the exclusive power of the prosecutor. The police merely gather evidence and make recommendations. If the police arrest someone the prosecutor must file charges within two working days or the person is released.
I have seen numerous people suggest that there has been some kind of massive cover-up in this case. There is no evidence of that, nor does it appear that there were any major investigative errors.
Trials are all about evidence, not speculation. Nonetheless, some people keep asserting theories of what “must” have happened based on absolutely no evidence at all. They insist that Zimmerman is guilty because he initiated the incident. But they have no evidence to support their theories.
Zimmerman claims that Trayvon confronted him and then attacked him. There is no evidence or witness that contradicts that claim. Some people claim that Trayvon was defending himself from a stalker. Let’s assume for a moment that Zimmerman caught up to Trayvon and confronted him. Let’s even speculate that he grabbed Trayvon’s arm and tried to detain him.
Trayvon would be justified in using reasonable force to escape. What is reasonable? Punching Zimmerman once and knocking him down would be reasonable. Jumping on top of him and pummeling his would not be reasonable.
But that scenario is just speculation anyway. There is no evidence that is how the incident took place. Even if you totally disregard Zimmerman’s version of events there is no evidence that Zimmerman initiated the altercation.
If a jury views all the evidence and concludes that the most likely scenario is that Zimmerman is guilty but that it is reasonably POSSIBLE that he is innocent, they must vote to acquit. In order to convict they jury must agree that there is no reasonable explanation of the evidence except guilt.
I don’t expect this evidence release to change any minds. There are none so blind as those who will not see.