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Justice for Trayvon Martin! There is No Justice in The Capitalist Courts!
[Family photo of Trayvon Martin from GlobalGrind]
Justice for Trayvon Martin!
There is No Justice in The Capitalist Courts!
By Steven Argue
Saturday night, the killer of Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman walked free from a Florida courthouse after being found “not guilty”. Yet, the case is far from over.
While going to the store to buy candy, 17 year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by racist cop wannabe George Zimmerman. According to a co-worker, in 2005 Zimmerman was fired from a job as a security guard at illegal house parties when he assaulted a woman for being too drunk, throwing her and injuring her ankle. The police knew Zimmerman because he was the sole member of a police supported neighborhood watch group who was constantly calling the Sanford Police when he saw “suspicious” people in his neighborhood. Knowing nothing of Treyvon except that he was a Black male wearing a hoody in the rain, Zimmerman began following him. On the day of his death, Trayvon spotted the suspicious, armed, and dangerous Zimmerman in racist central Florida and took off. Trayvon was able to temporarily escape him and at that point Zimmerman then complained in his call to the police, “these assholes...always get away.”
Get away with what? That’s simple. Being young and Black and wearing a hoody in the rain.
Except on February 26, 2012, Zimmerman made sure that the alleged "asshole" didn't get away. Without cause or authority, Zimmerman pursued, shot, and killed the unarmed Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman absurdly claimed that this was an act of "self-defense". The pursuit of Trayvon Martin was both by car and on foot. While being pursued, Trayvon Martin talked to his friend Rachel Jeantel on the phone, telling her he was scared because he was being chased by a “creepy-ass cracker.”
Trayvon Martin was shot through the chest at close range. Immediately after police arrived on the scene they began their cover-up for Zimmerman. They would not even arrest the shooter. At least three eyewitnesses said they heard the “desperate wail of a child, a gunshot and then silence.” Yet, police tampered with this evidence immediately, "correcting" an eye-witness by saying it was Zimmerman who wailed, not Trayvon Martin. Police also improperly bagged clothing, destroying DNA evidence. Thus began the police defense of the racist stalker Zimmerman, 100 pounds heavier than Trayvon Martin, who we are told only followed the innocent Trayvon Martin by car and on foot to shoot him in self-defense.
Evidence was shown at the trial of injuries to Zimmerman that may or may not have been the result of a fight between Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin. A law used on behalf of George Zimmerman was Florida’s racist 2005 “stand your ground law”, which gives the right to kill instead of retreating even when retreat is a possible alternative. Even if Zimmerman’s injuries weren’t created after the fact, the question arises, at what point of pursuit by a scary “creepy-ass cracker” by car and on foot did Trayvon Martin have the right to stand his ground? Obviously, the law doesn’t apply to Black people being stalked for no reason by dangerous cop wannabes in Florida.
Months after the murder, the police and DA refused to act in bringing a case against Zimmerman. To finally get a trial it took protests and outrage at this racist injustice including the signatures of 2,280,000 people demanding justice.
In April 2012, heavily armed neo-Nazis took-up where Zimmerman left off and began patrolling the streets of Sanford, supposedly to defend white people from the Black hoards. They became the new neighborhood watch. Despite the major media reporting this with photos to back it up, the Sanford Police denied there was any such activity in Sanford. In addition, the racist media outlet FOX News actually called these neo-Nazi patrols a “civil rights group” and in another report a “white rights group”. FOX News has also been one of the most ardent defenders of George Zimmerman.
Despite attempts by the far right to portray Zimmerman as the victim, heavy pressure from the other direction finally forced action in May of 2012. At that time Zimmerman was charged with second degree murder and manslaughter.
Unfortunately, the prosecution was carried out by the Florida State Attorney’s Office. They were dragged into the case kicking and screaming after a mass movement pressured the governor to do so. At the beginning of the case, State’s Attorney Norman Wolfinger interfered against prosecuting Zimmerman. He did this by personally intervening against a detective who expressed that there was enough evidence to prosecute Zimmerman. It was only after mass pressure that a new state prosecutor was assigned to the case, Angela Corey.
Hated Florida Governor Rick Scott was the one who assigned Angela Corey to the case. For some background on Rick Scott, when asked why there are so few Blacks in his cabinet, Governor Rick Scott responded that this is not due to racism, but due to differences in philosophy. Rick Scott is infamous for his efforts to privatize Florida’s prison system, efforts that make America’s mass incarceration of the poor profitable to the ruling rich. Rick Scott is also infamous for his law forcing welfare recipients to pass drug tests in order to collect their extremely meager benefits in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. One reason why the United States is so hateful and mean in regards to social welfare programs is the racist idea that Black mothers might benefit from those programs. This is coupled with racist assumptions of drug abuse in the Black community. Of course, more white people than Black people benefit from the meager amounts of welfare that are available, and Blacks by proportion, aren’t using drugs any more than whites. These are the kinds of hatreds that Governor Rick Scott taps into.
Yet, Rick Scott was under political pressure to change course in the Trayvon Martin case, so he assigned Angela Corey to be the new prosecutor. Angela Corey’s first role was to switch course, but pretend that nothing had changed. So she immediately claimed, “We do not prosecute by public pressure or by petition” and argued that the case was finally being prosecuted due to the accumulation of new evidence.
Since Saturday, after the loss of her case, it has been widely noted that Angela Corey couldn’t stop smiling and thanking everyone while discussing the case with the media. In addition, she showed no remorse for her loss of the case. Her emotions and statements seem to reveal the true side she was on all along. If she deliberately threw the case, she certainly wouldn’t be the first attorney to do so.
Likewise, the police were also on the side of the defense. At the trial the police, who almost always testify for the prosecution, testified that they believed Zimmerman’s story, despite its inconsistencies. The U.S. criminal injustice system systematically watches, targets, terrorizes, arrests, murders and incarcerates people of color at alarming rates, even when they haven't committed a crime. And Blacks who commit “crimes” are far more likely to be busted and do time. For instance, people of color and whites use marijuana at about equal rates, but people of color are 3.73 times more likely to be incarcerated for marijuana than white people. Every 36 hours a Black person in America is killed by law enforcement. Police profile and target Blacks, even routinely getting away with murders of unarmed Black victims. Naturally, the police feel strong solidarity with George Zimmerman when he carries out the same routine racist crimes as cops.
America’s courts are racist as well. The verdict acquitting Trayvon Martin comes less than a month after the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated the 1965 Voting Rights Act which helped to finally give southern Blacks the right to vote. Zimmerman’s trial was carried out in same racist court system.
The Judge presiding over the Treyvon Martin case was Debra Nelson. She was appointed to the bench by racist Governor Jeb Bush. Jeb Bush is infamous for his role in the 2000 elections when he helped secure a victory for his brother in the presidential elections by illegally striking people from the voting rolls who had Black or Hispanic sounding names. This was, by the way, a violation of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, even before that act was overturned. Yet, unfortunately, Al Gore had more in common with George Bush than the multi-racial working class he would have had to have mobilized to do something about the electoral fraud of the 2000 election.
America’s racist and anti-poor courts make sure that juries are not fairly selected. More intelligent jurors are systematically removed leaving us to the mercies of juries that are more easily prejudiced by racism, faith in cops, and a general backward law and order mentalities. Race is also a key factor in jury selection. In the case of Trayvon Martin, the jury did not include a single Black person. Instead, it was composed of five whites and one Hispanic.
The American courts are also a place where evidence is not fairly heard except on those rare occasions when one can afford an expensive lawyer, or one is a cop, or a wannabe cop like George Zimmerman. Through this system the rulers of America have systematically imprisoned millions of the poor with a disproportionate number being people of color. Meanwhile, murderous cops and racist cop wannabes like George Zimmerman are consistently allowed to walk free despite their crimes.
In response to the verdict, Chief Overseer of the Plantation Obama has urged respect for the rule of law while he considers a federal investigation. Under Obama’s rule, nothing has been done to stop the mass incarceration of the poor which particularly targets Blacks, to stop racist police violence in the streets, to end double the unemployment for Blacks, to end lower life expectancy for Blacks, and or to end higher infant mortality for Blacks. Frame-up victims of racist criminal injustice remain in prison like Mumia Abu-Jamal and Leonard Peltier without a peep from Obama. In addition, Obama freely carries out extra-judicial executions of entire families through the use of drones in countries where people are brown and traditionally Muslim. Instead of fighting racism, Obama has helped create the myth of a “post-racial” America with his silence on almost all issues of racism. In the case of Trayvon Martin, Obama speaks-up to urge calm.
Protests began across the country immediately after the verdict, including in Los Angeles, Washington, Chicago, New York, and Atlanta. Traffic was brought to a standstill in Los Angeles and Manhattan. More protest is guaranteed.
Justice is extremely rare under America’s racist capitalist government. In the case of Rodney King, despite videotape showing the cops using enough force to kill a man, the police were acquitted in their first trial. In that case it took a mass six day uprising in 1992 that destroyed over a billion dollars in property to win a new trial for the criminal cops. In the subsequent trial, two cops, Koon and Powell, were found guilty. For a change, two brutal cops went to prison for their crimes. In addition, the 1992 uprising forced the resignation of LA’s Chief of Police. On a small scale, property was also redistributed through “looting”. Yet, the people paid a heavy price for this action with all kinds of repressive government forces mobilized in the streets including the Marines, 53 people were killed, around 2,000 people were injured, and nearly 20,000 people arrested. Yet, the destruction of a billion dollars in property was not without sense, because much of what was destroyed was owned by the ruling capitalist class, our oppressors and exploiters.
Another rare case where a small amount of justice was won was the case of Oscar Grant in Oakland California. Oscar Grant was clearly shown in video being handcuffed and executed by Oakland’s BART Police. Yet, to jail the guilty cop took a mass movement that included protests and a strike by the Oakland Longshore union (ILWU) shutting the Port of Oakland down. The killer of Oscar Grant got off easy with a conviction on a manslaughter charge, but the case was unusual in the fact that the cop did any time at all for his crime.
The true predators in America span from the politicians and judges who hold the highest positions of power all the way down to their badged minions and racist wannabes who patrol the streets, killing with impunity. They represent the wealthy capitalists who own America. Obviously, in capitalist America for those who hold power, the lives of young Black men are cheep. No protest, no strike, and no rebellion by itself will change these facts. To truly jail all of the criminals who are responsible and bring racial justice to America will take a proletarian revolution carried out by America’s multi-racial working class. That revolution must completely smash the capitalist state, at its heart the police, courts, prisons, and military to build new institutions based on racial equality and economic justice. Instead of destroying the property of the capitalists, our goal needs to be one of completely expropriating the entire capitalist class and using our ownership of the economy to guarantee everyone a job, housing, education, healthcare, security, and a clean environment through a new socialist economy based on human needs rather than profit. Building the kind of revolutionary party capable of leading such a revolution is a goal of the Revolutionary Tendency.
This is an article of Liberation News, subscribe free:
Also from this author see:
Forced Sterilizations, Racist Terror, and the Native American Uprising of 1972-1973
Why The Russian Revolution is Still Important
A resident of Sanford agreed with this article, except on the point of neo-Nazis patrolling the streets of Sanford.
I reviewed my sources on this and I must admit that it does appear that reports in the mainstream media of neo-Nazis patrolling Sanford are largely based on reports from the neo-Nazis themselves. I should have been more careful about how I picked-up on those reports. There is also, however, a photo these neo-Nazis in Sanford as well, so its not as if the whole thing is made up either. The police were incorrect in denying a neo-Nazi presence patrolling Sanford because they did at least once.
It may have been misleading on my part, however, to say that the neo-Nazis picked up where George Zimmerman's one person neighborhood watch left off. Their presence may have been very temporary and very fleeting, as opposed to George Zimmerman's relentless harassment of Blacks. The main point I was making, however, is that the neo-Nazis picked-up where Zimmerman left off in terms of ideology. Any impression my article gave of a strong and forceful neo-Nazi presence in Sanford, however, could very likely be incorrect.