On August 13, 2018, the 3rdinstallment of the Trayvon Martin crockumentary–Trayvon Martin: Rest In Power–was aired on the Paramount Network and Black Entertainment Television. The next episode of the six-part series will not air until August 27. The primary theme of this episode was that since it was impossible for Trayvon Martin to have done anything wrong–he was young, black, carrying Skittles and wearing a hoodie!–the only way George Zimmerman could have been acquitted was racism, racism by every white person in America.
The episode began comparing Martin to Emmett Till. I wrote about that comparison in: We Are All Trayvon Martin. Really?
Who were Till and Evers? Fourteen year-old Till was killed on August, 28, 1955 in Money, Mississippi after speaking with a white cashier. Her husband and half-brother kidnapped and brutally murdered him and were acquitted at trial, though they later admitted to kidnapping and killing Till. His death was in part, motivation to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1957. The iconic 1987 documentary Eyes On The Prize, began with the story of Till.
US Army WWII veteran and NAACP field secretary Medgar Evers was killed on June 12, 1963 in Mound Bayou, Mississippi by Byron De La Beckwith. Evers was buried with honors at Arlington National Cemetary. De La Beckwith was prosecuted, but the all white jury deadlocked. Thirty years later, with new evidence, a jury convicted him and he died in prison in 2001 at the age of 80. Evers’ death inspired music, television programs and the 1996 movie Ghosts of Mississippi.
Till and Evers were legitimate, rather than manufactured, victims of racism. Till was truly in the wrong place at the wrong time. Evers died not only working for a living selling insurance, but working for the betterment of America. Till’s notoriety came as a result of his age, the particularly brutal manner of his murder, and the times. Evers served his nation honorably in war and in peace and died as a legitimate symbol of the equality he sought for all.
And then we have Trayvon Martin. Before I begin, let me remind all that race cards are not accepted at this Internet ATM. That Martin’s parents and friends wish to remember him for his good qualities is not only understandable and unremarkable, it should offend no one. That others should manipulate the memory of Martin to political, financial and racial ends is utterly wrong and reprehensible. Such manipulation soils and belittles the memory and legacy of Emmitt Till and Medgar Evers, and particularly Evers whose accomplishments as a man and American are unquestionable and worthy of praise and remembrance.
That shamelessly skewed comparison was accompanied by a flurry of photos of Klan types, wails of a massive “white backlash” and outrage at donations to Zimmerman’s defense fund.
To set the scene, Al Sharpton appeared once again to announce Zimmerman had been arrested. The episode refers to Special Prosecutor Angela Corey several times, but ambivalently. To carry the “everybody’s a racist” theme of the episode, she was portrayed as a prosecutor who wrongfully prosecuted innocent black people. The Florida Stand Your Ground law was raised–again?!–in a case in which it, as in the Martin case, clearly did not apply. It appears the directors are setting up Corey to take at least some of the blame for Zimmerman’s acquittal. She hasn’t been thrown under the social justice bus, but she’s being pushed toward the door.
Colorado attorney Jerilyn Merrit observed the case had become so politicized Corey had to indict Zimmerman regardless of the evidence to prevent riots. Merrit was quite correct, and I made the same point in Update 6: Role Reversal And The Evolving Narrative:
However, as I’ve noted in past articles, since the case took on racial, social and political significance far beyond its importance in the criminal justice system, it will be difficult for any judge to do anything other than allow the case to proceed to trial, if for no reason other than hoping that with the passage of time, tempers will cool and racial strife and violence might be averted.
Prosecutor Bernard De la Rionda was introduced as a straight arrow, ethical and “just the facts” prosecutor. He was anything but. Mark O’Mara, Zimmerman’s defense attorney, was introduced as “brilliant, a tactician,” and excellent in public relations, all of which he was.
The next sequence revolved around Zimmerman’s first bond hearing. Audio of jailhouse phone calls between George and Shellie Zimmerman–his wife–was frequently played with subtitles. The phone calls were carefully edited to make it appear Zimmerman was doing pretty much everything wrong.
While Zimmerman’s $150,00 dollar bond was mentioned, the episode entirely ignored the substance of the hearing, which I memorialized in Update 3: The Prosecution Crumbles.
Outrage was expressed at Zimmerman being given any bond, but the prosecutor nearly lost the hearing outright. Their chief investigator, who signed the probable cause affidavit charging Zimmerman, could not answer any of O’Mara’s questions about the affidavit, including who wrote entire passages or how they came to be present. The affidavit did not produce probable cause to prove the elements of the crime, as I explained in Update 9. The prosecution was lucky the case wasn’t dismissed outright. Under normal circumstances, it may well have been. The directors didn’t think their audience needed this factual information.
This was immediately followed by the audio of an anonymous phone call to the Sanford police. The female caller claimed Zimmerman hated blacks and was a “confrontational person.” She begged the police to investigate Zimmerman, because surely someone would tell them he was racist.
The crockumentary omitted the fact that some 50 FBI agents descended on Sanford with the mandate of proving Zimmerman a racist. Not only could they find no such evidence, they proved the opposite. Eric Holder could not have been pleased.
Immediately following was a segment on Zimmerman’s family background. His father is white; his mother is Black-Peruvian. The assertion was that Zimmerman’s family used these facts to protect George from charges of racism (?!) There was no such effort, but it might not have been a bad idea considering the media’s crazed, deceptive coverage of the case, including editing audio to try to portray Zimmerman as racist.
A Hispanic former friend of George’s said George and Shellie had a great relationship, and said George’s friends were all Hispanic or Black, until he married the white Shellie, and made a turn for the worse: “white family, white perception, white privilege,” he sadly intoned. The “white-Hispanic” George Zimmerman was a race traitor!
Mark Osterman, a US Marshall and good friend of the Zimmermans was introduced, and quickly blamed for helping satisfy George’s interest in guns. This was just another example of racism, because “white masculinity is aspirational,” because it gives white men power, which is apparently what George was seeking. Guns turned George “all the way white.” The horror.
Next was a former teacher in the local college law enforcement program who said George, who was a good student, wanted to be a police officer. George applied to be a police officer, but was turned down, so “because he couldn’t be a real cop, he was going to be a neighborhood cop.” What was omitted is that Zimmerman was almost certainly turned down because he had no experience, something very common indeed. He was taking college law enforcement courses to address that issue.
But George was even more sinister than anyone could imagine. Because black people were moving into Zimmerman’s development, and because black people lived in the surrounding area, “the neighborhood had to find a way to “control the niggers,” they had to protect “white privilege.” This, apparently, explains the neighborhood watch, which has never existed in neighborhoods for other than racist reasons.
The directors then engaged in amateur psychoanalysis. Zimmerman’s marriage was breaking up, and he “was trying to be a hero” to “save the marriage.” He had an argument with Shellie, which must have caused George to shoot Martin. What other possible reason could he have had? George was a violent racist, trying to play white.
A range target with a silhouette of a hoodie–no face was visible–was displayed, and one was shown to O’Mara, who properly denounced it, but the implication was that as a white guy, any such denunciation was insincere, inadequate and evidence of racism. A quick clip of an unnamed white man, apparently some sort of minister, speaking well of Zimmerman and demanding a proper trial, was displayed as evidence of universal white racism. A “white backlash” was announced, and a photoshopped image of Barack Obama in a hoodie was displayed. The image bore the legend” If I had a race baiting president, he would look like this.” What unimaginable, vile racism.
This was immediately compared to lynchings, and several illustrations and photos of lynchings were briefly shown, which was followed by the assertion that George was “attractive to the alt-right,” which term was not then in circulation. The implication was only racists could support Zimmerman.
A brief summary of other legal difficulties followed, with George being jailed again, and a bond of a million dollars was set. I reported on Judge Kenneth Lester Jr. in Update 10.
Lester was so blatantly biased against Zimmerman, O’Mara filed a motion to remove him from the case, which was granted.
On July 13, Zimmerman’s attorney’s filed a motion to disqualify Judge Lester (PDF of the motion available here). They wrote:
On July 5, 2012, this Court filed its Order Setting Bail. In said Order, the Court makes gratuitous, disparaging remarks about Mr. Zimmerman’s character; advocates for Mr. Zimmerman to be prosecuted for additional crimes; offers a personal opinion about the evidence for said prosecution; and continues to hold over Mr. Zimmerman’s head the threat of future contempt proceedings. In doing so, the court has created a reasonable fear in Mr. Zimmerman that this Court is biased against him and because of this prejudice he cannot receive a fair and impartial trial or hearing by this Court.
Such a judicial rebuke against any judge is rare, and speaks to just how unethical and biased Lester was. The new judge, Debra Nelson–one of her decisions against Zimmerman was overturned; also unusual–would be no better, but remained on the case. A new bond was set, and Zimmerman was free once more.
An assertion that Sean Hannity somehow improperly helped Zimmerman make bond was made, and a brief clip of Zimmerman’s Hannity interview was played. The implication was: white people evil, racist, etc.
The SYG law and the NRA were immediately trotted out again–still. Why? The NRA scares white people into having guns, and shooting black people if they feel afraid. Yes, that was actually asserted. Several very brief mentions were made of cases in which white people used the SYG law to shoot black people with impunity.
This was merely a continuation of one of the crockumentary’s primary themes: SYG makes white killers of blacks immune from prosecution. At the time, and even today, Black Lives Matter and other race hustlers continue to try to abolish SYG laws, despite the fact they had no role in the Zimmerman case, and do not remotely protect people of any race that break the law, as I explained in: Force Farce. It was announced that O’Mara would not raise SYG, but would argue self-defense. This was presented as a racist outrage, but O’Mara did it, and won, becauseZimmerman acted in self-defense under Florida law.
Florida Governor Scott, who appointed Angela Corey with the political mandate to get Zimmerman, was also attacked, because he, responding to the Black grievance industry’s demands, dared to appoint a commission to study whether the SYG law should be repealed. The panel recommended against it, but they were mostly white, so it, and Scott, the man who ensured Zimmerman would be arrested regardless of a complete lack of probable cause, was racist.
A brief segment was done on pre-trial depositions, and O’Mara, and Attorney Don West, were excoriated. They were trying to impugn the character and reliability of black people, the Martin family! How dare they! West was called “ruthless.” At trial, he was kind, patient, respectful, soft spoken, and very effective. Odd for such a ruthless monster. At trial, the family was treated with kid gloves.
An attack was then launched on jury selection. How dare O’Mara hire an effective jury selection expert! West was more suspicious of the motives of black voters than white voters! Racist! At the time, that was a well-grounded suspicion indeed, and at least one black stealth prospective juror was discovered and turned out. The episode argued that racist whites thought white jurors could be fair, but black jurors could not, which was an entirely reasonable suspicion. Considering it was West and O’Mara’s ethical duty.
Another horrible outrage was announced when a prospective juror dared to say that if Martin had not gotten himself suspended from school, he would never have been shot by Zimmerman. This was the ugliest racism. That is was entirely true went unmentioned. The jury was eight whites and two Hispanics: eight women, two men. This too was an outrage, but not mentioned was the prosecution’s role in jury selection. The jury was not picked exclusively by the defense. Still, all of this proved “black people can’t get justice.”
The episode ended with the assertion that the prosecutors did not want to play the race card, but O’Mara and West did–except that never happened at trial.
Presumably, the next episode will feature the beginning of the trial, which will be, of course, racist. Considering this was the backward case, where the prosecution acted like stereotypical, dishonest defense attorneys, using every dirty trick in the book, attacking witnesses, and engaging in emotional screaming and bizarre behavior, and the defense calmly and professionally argued the evidence and law, it will be interesting to see how this profoundly misleading and dishonest “documentary” proceeds.