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Monday, July 15, 2013

Not Guilty - Really?

Attorney Mark O'Mara appeared surprised at the uproar over the defense verdict in the George Zimmerman trial because legally it was the correct verdict. The outcry that George Zimmerman got away with murder was not substantiated by the facts. Under Florida law, George Zimmerman is immune from criminal and civil suits.  The matter is over.

The federal government, however, could look for violations of Trayvon Martin's civil rights. They started to do so and then stepped back when the case proceeded in state court. Pressure by the NAACP may reopen that investigation. A NAACP petition calling for federal prosecution of George Zimmerman was signed by over 225,000 people in just a few hours, crashing their site.

Race relations is a sore in our psyche, but this case was determined to be about something else. Despite media insistence to the contrary, this case was too specific to Florida stand your ground laws to judge it through the lens of race.

The fact that the case has opened up a dialogue about race is key. Discussions need to be broadened to include all the prevailing problems that young black men have in our society and not be mired in a case where the facts don't fit. That would be the best legacy for Trayvon Martin. It's a starting point. Really.