If it weren’t for the Florida news market in the Orlando and Tampa Bay area, George Zimmerman would be almost forgotten. Recently, I remember being so disheartened after the 10/1/14 Washington Post reported that the DOJ would not be going forward with any civil rights charges against George Zimmerman.
In response, I wrote a blog about how important it was to honor the memory of Trayvon Martin by voting for Charlie Christ in Florida as he publicly stated that he would challenge the Florida, “stand your ground” law. Later, I was depressed when every tea party republican emerged victorious in the 2014 November Florida elections. The coup d’état was when our Florida Republican Governor Rick Scott won his reelection by 1%. This meant there would be virtually no chance to legislatively end the “stand your ground” law.
After a period of time had passed, I discovered that on 10/2/2014, Letitia Stein of Reuters had contested the Washington Post assertions in her blog titled, “Civil rights charges unlikely for George Zimmerman which provided me some hope that Trayvon Martin’s family might still see justice prevail.” Ms. Stein did contact the DOJ for verification and she commented that a DOJ department spokeswoman Dena Iverson countered the 10/1/2014 Washington Post article by stating, “The investigation into the shooting of Trayvon Martin is active and ongoing.” I had wondered if the Washington Post story wasn’t a plant by DOJ sources.
She also wrote: “The U.S. Justice Department on Thursday declined to comment directly on a Washington Post report that officials are unlikely to bring civil rights charges against George Zimmerman, who was acquitted after the 2012 shooting death of an unarmed black teenager in Florida. Citing unnamed officials, the Post reported that a federal investigation has not found enough evidence to bring federal charges against Zimmerman, who was acquitted of murder last year in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, near Orlando. The Post reported on Wednesday that an investigation by the justice department’s civil rights division, which began two years ago, “technically remains open, but it is all but certain the department will close it.”
The Orlando Sentinel on 11/12/14 published an article by Jeff Weiner, titled, “Former Zimmerman supporter appears for grand jury testimony.” He describes how George Zimmerman’s pal, Frank Taaffe, former neighbor, co captain of the neighborhood volunteer security team, and media proponent on multiple TV talk shows, is now turning coat on his past friend. In November 2014, Frank Taaffe has been subpoenaed by the Orlando grand jury which has been convened to decide if there is sufficient evidence to bring a “civil rights” indictment against Mr. Zimmerman, the Caucasian watch captain who fatally shot the unarmed, African American, 17 year old, Trayvon Martin who was returning home after shopping for snacks at a local store, on 2/26/2012 in Sanford, Florida.
Jeff Weiner notes, “The grand jury (November 2014) is believed to be hearing testimony in the civil rights probe into 17-year-old Trayvon’s shooting in Sanford. Zimmerman said he shot the teen in self-defense. He was found not guilty of second-degree murder at trial last year… Many believed that Trayvon was racially profiled by Zimmerman. Taaffe said he now counts among them. “In my heart of hearts, I do believe that.”
Mr. Weiner added the following comment, “Taaffe said FBI agents also have asked him about comments he made while Zimmerman’s jury was deliberating. Taaffe claimed to have been tipped off about the jury’s discussions, which are supposed to be secret.”
In short, Frank Taaffe has informed the press that he will not be supportive of his past friend. Over the past couple years he has had a change of heart after he has lost two family members and his daughter is now serving in the Marines.
GQ has published an article in their October 2014 magazine, by Amanda Robb, titled, “Zimmerman Family Values” She details how the family has been attempting to reinvent their image. There have been discussions about exploiting their notoriety by starting businesses such as some type of reality show. For some reason, George Zimmerman was not excited about having to deal with the media again. The family is suffering from fear to their security. For example, George Zimmerman’s sister, Grace recently purchased another gun. Mr. Zimmerman is unemployed and lives temporarily off the good will of others. The following are some excerpts regarding her interview with the brother, Robert Zimmerman Jr.:
“Until his little brother, George, shot and killed an unarmed black teenager on the sidewalk of a Florida gated community more than two years ago, Robert Zimmerman Jr. was “the family fuckup.” He used the phrase with me a lot, but the first time was in October 2012, at a dark back table at the Algonquin Hotel’s Blue Bar in Manhattan, six months after what all the Zimmermans call “the incident.” He was downing a double gin and soda, and he was wearing a Hugo Boss suit, “diamond” earrings from Kohl’s, and the remnants of airbrush concealer from a quick appearance on Fox News’s Geraldo at Large. He went on to name all the ways he was a lousy namesake for his father, Bob, a former Army sergeant, and a disappointing son for his mother, Gladys, a fierce, devoutly Catholic first-generation immigrant from Peru. “Unemployed. College dropout. With a DWI and a boyfriend.”
The family did develop a plan for a media campaign starting with their favorite news outlet, Fox News. “Immediately, though, there were problems. First, Fox News expected the brothers to fly to New York. That would require George to show his ID at the airport, possibly to a Black person. No way, Robert said. Even worse, the network wanted them to fly on February 26, the second anniversary of the incident. Robert tried explaining to a Hannity producer why that couldn’t work: “It is like 9/11 for my family! We can’t travel together that day—it’s like having the whole royal family travel together!” Robert had a better, safer plan: He wanted Fox News to pay for the brothers, plus a full security detail, to drive the 1,100 miles from central Florida. About halfway, they’d need three hotel rooms—one for Robert, one for George, one for the security team—at a place with room service so that George wouldn’t have to be out in public.”
According to Amanda Robb, Fox News declined the above offer. It is worth mentioning that the only news paper outlet still extensively covering the news of the 11/2014 George Zimmerman federal grand jury hearing, has been the Orlando Sentinel. What a difference a year makes! The good news is that there is hope.
The Ferguson case of the unarmed, young, Black man, Michael Brown being shot by the White police officer and the case of the of Trayvon Martin being shot by the White neighborhood security volunteer have many similarities. Please remember that the neighborhood watch captain, George Zimmerman had the immunity of a police officer with the Florida “stand your ground” law and his best friend who was at his side for most of the time is an air marshal and a former police officer of the Sanford Police Department. Both victims lay on the ground for hours. Both had whatever negative backgrounds that could be discovered on the victims, leaked to the press within hours after their deaths with the intent to paint them as “thugs.” As soon as the toxicology report was completed, the information that both had been smoking marijuana was leaked to all the media outlets. The police investigation, itself was less than stellar.
Both shooters were in a position to wait for enough gathered evidence to be assured that as they told their version of events, that there wouldn’t be any glaring holes. In both cases, many in power pushed for a grand jury hearing. It was the Florida governor who assigned the Trayvon Martin case to a prosecutor who would not resort to the grand jury process, that this strategy was stopped. Both shooters argued self defense and fear of their unarmed victims. Both got out of their cars to pursue unarmed, young, Black older teens when they could have simply waited for back up which arrived on the scene soon after the shooting. The list of common strains continues. It is as if whenever there is a police shooting or unintended death of their target, that there is a playbook of what to do, which is set into motion.
Butterfly 7, USA Today, NBC News, ABC News are all reporting that George Zimmerman was arrested Friday evening 1/9/15. The following are excerpts from USA Today posted on 1/10/15 by Lindsay Deutsch:
George Zimmerman, the Florida man who was acquitted in 2013 of the shooting death of unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin, was arrested in Florida late Friday night on charges of aggravated assault with a weapon.
According to Seminole County booking documents, Zimmerman, 31, was arrested by the Lake Mary police and was booked at the John E. Polk Correctional Facility at 10:10 p.m.
He is being held without bond and will appear in court at 9 a.m.