Federal investigation of George Zimmerman continues despite shutdown

Monday, October 7, 2013

Good morning:

Attorney General Eric Holder has announced that the federal investigation of George Zimmerman will continue despite the government shutdown. The Department of Justice and the FBI are investigating Zimmerman to decide whether to seek an indictment by a grand jury in the middle district of Florida charging Zimmerman with committing a hate crime when he shot Trayvon Martin to death on February 26, 2012.

The United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida is located in Orlando. To find out more information about the court, please check the website.

I do not know why the investigation is taking so long. Seems pretty clear to me that despite the not guilty verdict, Zimmerman profiled Trayvon Martin because he was a young black male and decided to hunt him down and restrain him until police arrived. When Martin resisted, instead of quietly and passively submitting to his authority, Zimmerman shot him in the heart at point blank range killing him.

Martin was walking home in the rain after purchasing a can of iced tea and skittles at a 711. He was having a conversation via cell phone with Rachel Jenteal, a friend in Miami, when Zimmerman started following him. Martin was unarmed.

I believe Zimmerman targeted and killed Martin because he was a black kid and that is a hate crime. I do not believe there is any doubt that Zimmerman called Martin a “fucking coon” during his call to the Sanford Police Department that night. State prosecutors appeared to bend over backwards to assure the jury and the public that the killing was not racially motivated when they changed fucking coons to fucking punks. Because of that mischaracterization of important evidence of Zimmerman’s state of mind and intent as well as many other questionable decisions, I have concluded that Angela Corey’s prosecution team threw the case allowing the defense to win.

Why would they do that?

I believe they did it for political reasons. They wanted to create the appearance of a prosecution rather than a real prosecution in order to appease black voters angered by the murder and reassure white voters angered by the decision to prosecute Zimmerman. They wanted the jury to acquit Zimmerman after putting on a dog and pony show so that the governor could say “the jury has spoken, let’s move on.”

The strategy did not work for me. Instead, it convinced me that institutional racism is responsible for the verdict.

I will never forget that the prosecution permitted the defense to improperly elicit opinion evidence from Chris Serino and Doris Singleton, the two Sanford Police officers who interrogated Zimmerman, that he told the truth when he claimed that he shot Martin in self-defense.

That was clear and convincing evidence of racial prejudice, in my opinion.

The Justice Department and the FBI have much to consider in this politically explosive case and that may be why they are taking so much time to decide what to do.

The answer is simple. Seeking justice for Trayvon is the right thing to do. Pray they have the stones to do it.

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55 Responses to Federal investigation of George Zimmerman continues despite shutdown

  1. Not Angela Lansbury says:

    Thanks for staying on this story, Professor. I believe the prosecutors threw the case to stand up for prosecutorial integrity and independence, the cherished notion that public protest should not determine who gets prosecuted. (Yes, they violated their integrity in an effort to uphold their integrity; it’s sad.) They ensured a not-guilty verdict to discourage future publics from believing that public outrage can force a trial. I don’t think their decision had anything to do with race, and that’s unfortunate because in committing to colorblindedness, they ignored the disfiguring role that race has had on all our institutions, as exhibited by the local prosecutor’s failure to charge Fogen in the first place. They failed to understand their role in correcting a racial injustice, and so they failed to correct it. I do hope the DOJ acts in this case.

  2. kllypyn says:

    They knew his story was bull crap.The fact he at first recommended murder 2 proves it. They perjured themselves for their own selfish reasons.

  3. According to Mother Jones, South Park will be featuring a George-Zimmerman type character in the next show.

    Might be worth a few chuckles.

  4. smokeegyrl says:

    I am wondering why or who is hiding George Zimmerman at this point? Do you really think he is hiding out? Something is going on here. He is a media hound. I believe his Dad probably kidnapped or maybe even his brother and has him locked up in a basement somewhere for his own good. Let him out! Life has to take it’s course.

    • Rachael says:

      Maybe someone is hiding his brother too, because he sure has been awfully quiet – but then, maybe he hasn’t and I just having heard about it, because I haven’t been keeping up with things that much.

  5. lurker says:

    I may be completely off base here, and appreciate correction if i am wrong. But I keep harkening back to the line in A Few Good Men–it doesn’t matter what you believe, it matters what you can prove. Now, as an amatuer, it seems to me that successful hate crime convictions have included not only and associated conviction–that is a crime committed, which is legally not the case here. But, they have also relied on evidence of racist involvement that goes beyond just being a bigot–either membership in groups committed to racist politics, or evidence of prior planning with regard to commitment of the crime that indicate an intent to target members of a specific group (like the kids who planned to go to town and find some black folks to attack–and then ran over a man with their truck).

    Now–I absolutely believe that race was the primary criteria that figured into Zimmerman’s assessment that Trayvon was “up to no good,” or “on drugs or somepin.'” But–I think that even Eric Holder would be hard-pressed to make that case.

    What concerns me far more–and I hope that the federal investigation is not limited to whether George Zimmerman committed a hate crime–is all that came after. Not carried out by a bigot with major character flaws, but rather by those entrusted with enforcing the law and safeguarding the rights of kids like Trayvon to walkin about in safety. Did the prosecution throw the case, and under whose direction? Was the Sanford PD involved in a benign or overt neglect of justice and law enforcement–particularly motivated by the race of the victim and the race and connections of the perpetrator?

    If those are the questions that they are dealing with (and is the scope of the investigation public?), I can easily see how investigation would be time-consuming. Smoking guns are hard to come by–but I do think they are likely to come up with a few.

    George Zimmerman got a pass and it’s a damn shame. But ultimately he will either find Jesus or bring about his own downfall. But–it would also be a shame for him to stand scapegoat for larger and uglier sins of the state. And I suspect that they are plentiful.

  6. a2nite says:

    It would have been more honest to not waste time with a trial.

    What a ridiculous stupid exercise to remind us that the evil racist RW criminal injustice system is for white men & evil rich people only.

  7. colin black says:

    Two sides to a story says:

    October 7, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    His age should have been an advantage as well. Teen-age boys often don’t have the determination and stamina of men in their late 20s, 30s, and 40s.
    @

    He was also going out full of anger half cocked a weapon fully cocked loaded with one in the chamber ready to fire.

    He was full or resentment towards his wife whom had ditched to return to her parents.

    Probably wasn’t answering his cell or replying to his txts.

    An he heads out into the dark seething looking for something anything to expel his hatered an pent up anger primed ready to explode.

    An Trayvons just chillin minding his own chatting to his own an totally oblivious he is about to meet his maker ..

    All because he had the missfourtune to cross paths with a hater.

    • Two sides to a story says:

      I agree, Colin. Lots of anger behind his skills as well as any clumsiness. Fogen seemed to be at a peak of fitness considering the photos we’ve seen of him over the years, and he was clearly irritated even though he’s softspoken.

      • One of the most chilling facts about the case for me is that all of GZ’s vital signs were normal when the EMT checked him at the scene a few minutes after the murder.

        Yet, we were supposed to believe that he had been assaulted and almost beaten to death.

        Nonsense!

        • Rachael says:

          It really is hard to imagine ANY circumstance where his vital signs would be normal in this scenario, even in the most calculated setting. it is just NOT human. Chilling is right.

        • Mojo says:

          His vital signs were normal after killing someone. That’s what’s most significant. Only a psychopath or sociopath would be capable of killing someone and acting like it was nothing more than squishing an ant.

  8. fauxmccoy says:

    interesting and good to know. thanks, fred!

  9. Two sides to a story says:

    In fact, there are 94 federal judicial districts in the US, so it would be difficult for Fogen supporters in FL to influence federal jury selection.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_federal_judicial_district

    • Two sides to a story says:

      Looks like these cities are included in Florida’s Middle District

      Fernandina
      Fort Myers
      Jacksonville
      Live Oak
      Ocala
      Orlando
      St. Petersburg
      Tampa

      Jacksonville, Tampa, St. Pete, and Ft. Meyers tend to have more liberal voters than Seminole County, so a federal jury composition would likely be different than the 6-woman jury that let Fogen walk.

  10. bettykath says:

    I meant to ask on a previous thread but didn’t. What are the requirements for number of jurors in a federal criminal trial.

    I’m concerned that a federal trial could end up the same way the state trial did with a half dozen people from that same jury pool.

  11. MDH says:

    The F’in coons statement kind of brings back memories of bad things long past over hills and far away.

    When I was a child in Detroit, I used to play with a police officers son who used that term frequently. It was said kind of drawn and slurred so it kind of rhymed with cones.

    Anyhow, when the 1967 riot had us all under curfew, I remember the kid happily remarking that daddy was out shooting coons. After the riot was over this family went to Florida because daddy got a job in an area where N…..gers were kept in place.

    I agree with the professor. I don’t think it is punk either.

  12. Xena says:

    The FBI has had an ongoing investigation since last year, with a break during the trial. Back around Oct.-Dec., O’Mara tried getting the documents of the investigation but failed.

    It took 5 years for the DOJ to bring a case against a couple accused of committing a hate crime. We shouldn’t rush them as long as they are ferreting out information that puts nails in Zimmerman’s coffin.

    • Rachael says:

      Amen. The longer it takes, the more they will find, and the fact that it is ongoing indicates (to me anyway) there is something there. So take your time DOJ. It will be worth waiting for.

      • Two sides to a story says:

        The DOJ knows damn well all those conspirators are running around yakking. I’m sure they’re collecting all sorts of juicy info.

      • Xena says:

        @Rachael. Indeed! Hopefully, the feds will conduct discovery into Zimmerman’s participation at Kokopelli’s Gym. Something doesn’t sit right. Adam Pollock testified that Zimmerman had learned nothing, then later took credit for saving Zimmerman’s life by teaching him to shrimp. On the video of Zimmerman destroying Shellie’s iPad, he takes an aggressive, boxing stance.

        If Zimmerman couldn’t pay his rent and credit card bills, how was he paying for gym membership? If a diet was all it took for Zimmerman to lose weight, why did it not work after Zimmerman stopped attending the gym? Something smells fishy.

        • MDH says:

          And George admitted he lost weight by hitting a heavy bag. Hitting a heavy bag is a great way to get fit. I was appalled at the stereotypes used in the trial. Trayvon was stronger and fitter because he was leaner and athletic looking. That flies in the face of everything I have learned in 25 years of going to iron pumping gyms.

          Stronger men are short and stocky.

          Lean physiques are a function of genetics, fitness and diet. I have met many a ripped guy who had no endurance vs. guys with some adipose who could go like hell.

          Ability to punch is tertiary to winning a street fight. What about the grapping advantages that shorter, stockier stronger man have? I saw many a fight where a puncher was made to eat dirt by a good grappler.

          George was shorter, stockier and bigger than Trayvon.

          George was engaged in an activity that promotes stamina,

          The fact that a gym expert did not address what I stated above leads me to believe they were lying for him. The gym is located in a hood that is 80% registered Republican.

          • Xena says:

            @MDH. Thanks for that info.

            Even before it was revealed that GZ attended Kokopelli’s, I saw his background as a bouncer to give him an advantage over Trayvon.

          • Two sides to a story says:

            His age should have been an advantage as well. Teen-age boys often don’t have the determination and stamina of men in their late 20s, 30s, and 40s.

        • MDH says:

          The testimony by the gym owner flies in the face of established exercise science. Some examples:

          It takes about five years for a man to reach his strength peak once he reaches peak testosterone levels. The peak is reached normally around the age of 18. So one reaches peak strength at about age 23. The peak can be held, if one trains regularly, well into one’s third decade of life. No wonder pro athletes are mostly done by age 40.

          A persons size is directly proportional to their weight. So the 2D cut outs proving that Trayvon was “bigger” are an exercise in who failed at science. And the jury failed big time.

          So the notion of the bigger stronger young Trayvon putting down the weaker older George is pure bunk. At 27, George could easily be at his peak of strength and stamina.

          Leverage.

          Bigger, shorter stockier men are stronger because they have an advantage in muscle mass combined with shorter lever arms at the point of force application.

          So this notion of cut or lean guys with lanky frames being strong is not seen in the strength sports.

          Louis Cyr, Paul Anderson and Vasily Alexeev were the strongest men of their eras. Not a ripped abdominal to be seen on any of them.

          Leverage in fights.

          Trayvon had the worst possible garment to wear in a fight. A hoodie is made out of a tough loose material that an opponent can grab and hold to control his victim. If Trayvon was the street thug he was falsely accused of being, he would have shed that garment before making the leap from those wee shrubs he was hiding behind to attack George the innocent. Or it was all BS.

          Which, IMO, it was.

          • fauxmccoy says:

            MDH — i agree with your assessment in every possible way.

            my brothers may have reached their full adult height at around age 20 (6′ 2″ and 6’3″ respectively) but they were still developing upper body muscle mass until at least 23. trayvon clearly had little in the way of upper body muscle mass. zimmerman did, even if there was a layer of fat covering it.

            i did my share of weightlifting along with a physically demanding job. although i was in my late 20s/early30s and never ‘thin’ according to any standard, i was strong. at 5’10” and weighing 175 i wore a size 10/12 which some would consider ‘plus’ size, but at my height, getting into any smaller size looked ridiculous. what i did have was strength, endurance and considerably more muscle mass than trayvon would ever have.

            in regards to the ‘thug’ argument, you are right. not only would trayvon (if indeed he were a thug and i will never believe that) have lost that hoody, he would have been carrying a decent blade on him and steel toed shoes to kick the crap out of anyone he had gotten onto the ground. (do not ask me how i know.)

            ok, i do not mind telling you how i know — i worked in a rough part of san francisco where i found myself in more street fights than i care to admit, mostly from strange guys thinking it was ok to grab my ass at bus stops in the later hours of the evening. i knew my way around in that realm. i was damn glad to have my steel toe work boots and a blade, even if it was just a produce knife.

          • MDH says:

            @fauxmccoy

            Our neighborhood thug would down his victim and then kick them repeatedly. His mates or neighbors would have to pull him off to prevent grave damage. I still remember when one of his victims came into the party store I worked at to use our phone to call his parents. His face was bloody and swollen; and he had a dazed look of complete shock. He told me that this guy pushed him off his bike, kicked him in the head and then threw the bike on him.

            And sissy George wants sympathy for his boo boos?

            He gets none from me.

            Hell, I had more head trauma from a V handle that fell on my head. I put my thumb on the blood spewing out of the cut for five minutes, applied a bandage and continued my work out.

            I have learned from the GZ trial that there are a lot of people who live sheltered lives totally insulated from the real world.

            And con man George played them for the marks they are.

            One of my co-workers who had to do a lot of walking alone at night wore the hard toed boots and carried a knife.

            That leads to another thing about George.

            Creeping up in a car on a lone walker at night in a hood that is really dangerous is a recipe to get your car filled full of bullet holes.

            Real thugs would eat George alive.

          • fauxmccoy says:

            @mdh

            yup, what you said.

            here’s a big clue … ‘real thugs don’t wear khakis and sneakers’ 😉

          • Mojo says:

            MDH – I am tall and lean, 6’4″, 190 lbs. When I was 17 I was 6’4″, 170 lbs. When I was younger and got in fights I relied on my speed and athleticism, but the most important thing I always kept in mind was don’t let the other guy get his hands on me or my clothing. Because once that happened I was at a huge disadvantage from shorter guys who outweighed me by 20-30 pounds. You are spot on with your assessment

  13. tesspowell says:

    You’re exactly right. It was like the Emmett Till trial, no intention of conviction. Unfortunately, the DOJ’s hands are almost tied and this investigation will turn out in a similar vein, it’s just a show.. I hope minorities get smart and realize, no one is going to give us the right to not be racially targeted, profiled murdered or unjustly prosecuted. It’s going to take a new civil rights movement, organized and lead.

  14. Rachael says:

    I am very glad to hear this. How they can say race was not involved and it was not a hate crime is beyond me.

    Here is what is happening right now where I live:

    http://q13fox.com/2013/10/05/jblm-soldier-killed-in-stabbing-could-be-a-hate-crime/#axzz2h3dZuVyH

    They are saying this is a hate crime against a white kid because a car with 5 black males “After leaving a motel party, the Geike was walking along Pacific Highway Southwest with two other active duty soldiers when someone in a car shouted out a racial slur — something about them being white.”

    I do not know what this “something about them being white” was. I can’t imagine it was more offensive than effing *coons, which is undeniably what was said by GZ.

    Not that it is one is less, one is more – the whole idea that ANYONE should make remarks about anyone’s skin color, sexual preference or what have you should EVER be tolerated, but what stands out to me is here they are ready to treat this as a hate crime so quickly because of some undisclosed “racial slur” (something about them being white) while GZ can call “them” assholes and effing *oons and no one blinks.

    • Rachael says:

      Well they just said they will not be charged with a hate crime. They will be charged with murder one and there is more involved than I know at the moment but it is not a hate crime. Of course they say that NOW after getting all the racists hyped up about it.

  15. Amp says:

    I think the Defense has a trump card to play to show that it was not Zimmerman who profiled Travon at all. They will finally admit that someone called Zimmerman to check out Travon ie Taffe. Shellie stated that there is no doubt about him not profiling him because she knows someone called him to check him out. So the actual profiler was not the shooter at all. I do believe Zimmermann is prejudice against blacks and had I’ll will in his heart when he followed him.

    • Rachael says:

      So GZ only pretended to have a thing against blacks because he was so desperate for friendship that he went along with Taaffe? Oh, they may well have been in it together, but there is no way, IMO, to let GZ off the hook. Taaffe is scum, the scummiest they come, but he didn’t pull the trigger – he may as well have, but I’m just saying, GZ is an adult and responsible for his own actions, and if he is/was so mentally ill he wasn’t, he had no business carrying a gun.

  16. Two sides to a story says:

    Francis, Francis, Francis. With friends like you, who needs enemies?

    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/08/frank-taaffe-george-zimmerman-racist-white-voice

  17. MichelleO says:

    GEEZ, this is still such a sad story—-I can’t take it anymore.

  18. Trained Observer says:

    A bright spot to learn here that Holder has paused to make this announcement during the shutown frenzy with debt ceiling issues looming. Bravo.

    As for the state strategy that didn’t work for you, professor? Didn’t work for me either. Am betting we have much, much company in a continued demand for justice for Trayvon.

  19. Kate says:

    Most of those people are salaried workers that will get that money back. They should be working anyway.

  20. Ezz-Thetic says:

    The prosecution most definitely threw the case!

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