From Trial of George Zimmerman:

Cops' Testimonies Show Their Hostility for Trayvons of the World

July 3, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


Some observations from the second week of George Zimmerman's trial.

The trial of George Zimmerman, killer of Trayvon Martin, has entered its second week. Monday and Tuesday, prosecutors for the State of Florida continued to call their witnesses to the stand.

These included two Sanford Police Department officers who "interrogated" Zimmerman, testimony from two expert witnesses who had examined some of the evidence, and a longtime friend of Zimmerman's.

Two recordings of Zimmerman's initial interrogations were played in the courtroom. One was an audio recording of the first interrogation at Sanford police headquarters made the night Zimmerman murdered Trayvon; the other was a video of Zimmerman walking police through how he claimed things went down on February 26, 2012, the night he killed Trayvon with a shot to the heart.

Two things were immediately evident through the recordings and the police testimony. One is that not only was Zimmerman's testimony full of self-serving and self-contradictory lies, his lies were in no meaningful way challenged by the police. In fact, the basic sense of these interrogations was that the police were helping Zimmerman work out his story.

They were assisting him in getting the details straight, like they would do for a fellow cop who killed someone. As one of these cops said to Zimmerman, "These are some of the things you're going to have to answer." At one point, Chris Serino, the main detective in this case, essentially recapped Zimmerman's entire testimony for him. And guess what—Zimmerman agreed that, yes, that was exactly what had happened.

Boiling with Hostility for the Trayvons of the World

But the main thing about these cops is that they boil with contempt and hostility towards Trayvon Martin and the Trayvons of this world, and sympathy for the Zimmermans. The first cop to question Zimmerman, Doris Singleton, didn't turn on the video recorder in the interrogation room because, she said, she didn't know how. Recording testimony in murder cases is cop 101—but this cop "didn't know how." However, she was able to assure the prosecutor that Zimmerman, the man who had just killed a teenager with a bag of candy in his hand, "exhibited no hostility".

A bit later in her "interrogation," she almost ended up on her knees in a prayer session with Zimmerman, gushing on about how terrible Zimmerman, a fellow Christian, must feel about taking someone's life. Zimmerman told Singleton he was worried about "god's commandment not to kill." She assured Zimmerman (and remember, this is in the course of a supposed police interrogation of someone who had just blown a hole in the chest of a 17-year-old Black youth) that "god did not intend for that to mean that you could not defend yourself."

Detective Serino, a prosecution witness, delivered the most damaging testimony of all: on Monday he told the court he believed Zimmerman's story. Tuesday morning, the prosecution objected, and the judge ordered this remark of Serino's stricken from the record. But as every lawyer commenting on the case has said, the damage was done.

Establishing Zimmerman's state of mind, in particular whether he has a "depraved mind showing no regard for human life" is crucial to the charges of second-degree murder he faces. Serino was so hostile to Trayvon and sympathetic to Zimmerman that he said he thought Zimmerman was not expressing "ill will" but rather was simply "generalizing" when he muttered, "Fucking punks! These assholes! They always get away!" before setting off to confront Trayvon.

A big part of Zimmerman's defense is his claim that he felt his life was in danger. He claimed that Trayvon was banging his head on the sidewalk—and Zimmerman's lawyer said in his opening remarks that the concrete was Trayvon's "deadly weapon." He claimed he was being punched repeatedly in the face, to the point blood from his nose was dripping back into his lungs.

But Dr. Valerie Rao, a forensic pathologist for Duval County, brought one of the few moments of clarity to this week's proceedings so far. She pointed out that Zimmerman's minor scrapes were "insignificant" and were "not consistent" with what would be expected from someone who was punched repeatedly in the face or had their head banged on the sidewalk. Zimmerman did not suffer serious trauma, Dr. Rao testified—he only needed a few band aids.

A Police Cover-up

But the jury is being presented with a jumble of evidence and little or no basis to sift through it and arrive at the truth. The police, like George Zimmerman, see someone like Trayvon Martin—a Black youth in a hoodie, walking down the street—and immediately conclude he's "acting suspicious," he's a "fucking punk," one of the "assholes who always get away."

This is not just because individual cops are racist—much more fundamentally, it's because they serve and enforce an entire system of exploitation and oppression that has deeply embedded oppression of Black people as one of its cornerstones. And in today's America—in the land of mass incarceration and criminalization and a generation of Black and Latino youth being turned into a generation of suspects—millions of people are conditioned and trained through an endless media barrage to look at youth like Trayvon Martin as "fucking punks." What happened when Sanford police interviewed George Zimmerman in February 2012 was a police attempt at what would be for them a routine cover-up of the murder of Trayvon Martin.

But Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, Trayvon's parents, persevered in getting at the truth of what happened to their son; the call for Justice for Trayvon Martin resonated among millions of people, and a powerful upsurge of struggle swept the country.

And now George Zimmerman is on trial for second-degree murder.

The prosecutors in this case cannot confront the police witnesses with the fact that they, along with the rest of the law enforcement establishment, are complicit in justifying and covering up the murder of Trayvon. To do that would throw into question the entire nature and role of the police—the enforcers of a system of oppression. It is this whole system that needs to be challenged in a growing movement for revolution, as people everywhere fight for justice for Trayvon.

As Revolution wrote last week, "Right now, American society—with the whole world increasingly taking notice—is polarizing. Two sides are lining up—one upholding the right of the Trayvon Martins of this world to live and flourish and, if they are attacked, to have justice... and the other upholding the supposed rights of people like George Zimmerman to kill people like Trayvon with impunity. This should be clear, but every day the powers-that-be work to cloud this, so we must all insist on this basic truth."

Trayvon did not have to die
We all know the reason why
The whole system's guilty!

For more, see "The Stakes of the Trayvon Martin Case... and the Need to SEIZE THE TIME!" and "The Trial of George Zimmerman; the Persecution of Trayvon Martin"

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