Jeantel: “I Told Trayvon, [Zimmerman] Might Have Been A Rapist.”

Screen-Shot-2013-07-15-at-6.09.50-PM-300x198One of the most damaging moments for the prosecution in the trial of George Zimmerman trial was the inexplicable decision to lead with Rachel Jeantel, a friend of Trayvon Martin’s. Jeantel proceeded to admit to previously lying and then gave conflicted and at points unintelligible testimony. Her statement that Martin called Zimmerman a “cracker” further helped the defense in balancing the derogatory statements of Zimmerman. After the verdict, Jeantel has made statements that seem unhinged and again raise the question on why the prosecutors would place her so prominently in their case in chief. The latest controversy is a new allegation from Jeantel that she warned Trayvon that Zimmerman might be a gay rapist. She is not the only person associated with the trial who seems to be courting the press in the case with disastrous results.

In an interview with Piers Morgan, she said “People need to understand, he didn’t want that creepy ass cracka going to his father or girlfriend’s house to go get — mind you, his little brother is there. Mind you I told you, I told Trayvon, [Zimmerman] might have been a rapist.”

In a truly bizarre interview, Morgan asks Jeantel to school him on the correct spelling and meaning of such terms as “cracka” and “nigga.”

Jeantel called the verdict “BS” and said “Well, the jury, they see their facts. My thoughts of the jury, they old, that’s old school people. We in a new school, our generation, my generation. So –”

Morgan then appears to turn into a cultural anthropologist and asked clinically:

“Let’s talk about ‘creepy ass cracka.’ People have said that that is a phrase used by black people, cracka, to describe a white person. Is that true?

JEANTEL: No! Like I said —

MORGAN: How do you spell it, first of all?

JEANTEL: Cracka.

MORGAN: There’s no ‘e-r,’ right?

JEANTEL: No, it’s an ‘a’ at the end.

MORGAN: C-r-a-c-k-a.

JEANTEL: Yeah. And that’s a person who act like they’re a police [officer], who, like a security guard who acting like — that’s what I said to them. Trayvon said creepy ass cracka.

MORGAN: It means he thought it was a police or a security guard?

JEANTEL: Yeah, he acting like the police. And then he keep telling me that the man is still watching him. So, if it was a security guard or a policeman, they would come up to Trayvon and say, ‘Do you have a problem? Do you need help?’ You know, like normal people.

Once again, it is unclear why Jeantel did not emphasize the concern over a male rape on the stand. One could almost feel the prosecutor cringing at the interview with so many questioning their judgment in relying so heavily on Jeantel.

While on the subject of people behaving badly from the case (a rather long list), there is juror B-37 who announced in an interview that she was going to write a book and had enlisted an agent. She even named her agent as Sharlene Martin. After an outcry over the effort to profit from the case (not to mention a pretty limited foundation for a book). Martin tweeted that juror B37 had regained her sanity and dropped the plans for a book (that was going to be co-written by her attorney husband). She explained that the isolation of being sequestered “shielded me from the depth of pain that exists among the general public over every aspect of this case.”

Really? It took this long to figure out that there was pain over the verdict. What tipped you off after you arranged for an interview, went to the interview, and announced your book? Was it the mass protests in various cities or continuing coverage on television. Ironically, she actually proved the accuracy of West’s disastrous joke in his opening statement: “Knock, knock. Who’s there? George Zimmerman. George Zimmerman who? Congratulations, you’re on the jury.” The joke was bizarre first because you should never cut jokes in a murder trial opening statement with a dead teenage boy. Second, if the jury got the joke, they would realize they were the punch line. The point is that only morons or cave-dwelling recluses would not know anything about the case. Well then walked in juror B-37.

Source: Real Clear Politics

259 thoughts on “Jeantel: “I Told Trayvon, [Zimmerman] Might Have Been A Rapist.””

  1. I could be mistaken, but I believe that most gated communities in Florida strictly prohibit gay rapists.

  2. Now!
    This is funny.
    Alternatively it will be very frightening for any defendant – or for any lawyer, be they defence or prosecution.

    B37 on Jeantel (in part):

    “I think she felt inadequate toward everyone because of her education and her communication skills. I just felt sadness for her,” the white, female juror told Anderson Cooper

    Yes. It is unfortunate. Well that’s how those people are, how they live and stuff. Bad communication skills.

    It is fortunate for society that well educated people such as BDLR and B37 have excellent communication skills. They can not only present themselves clearly, but they can also understand fully what another educated person is saying. Justice will be served thanks to good communication skills.

    Cooper asks B37 about Jeantel’s credibility.
    She says :

    Most important thing was the time that she was on the phone with Trayvon. So you basically hopefully if she heard anything she would say she did……

    Yes indeed. One would basically hopfully hopefully …eh…that.
    But… let’s stop there for a moment and look at what the prosecution and defence knew about the possibilities of “the time that she was on the phone with Trayvon”

    The NEN ended at 7:13:40
    The Martin/Jeantel call dropped at 7:15:43 ( On MOM’s 10-ft-wide timeline even)
    Lauer’s 911 call *was picked up* at 7:16:11
    The Event Report for the 911 call shows that the system detected the incoming call at 17:16:00 and that the dispatcher picked it up at 7:16:11

    Work it back.
    Lauer had completed dialling and the call started ringing at 7:16:00
    Before that a number of things had to happen.
    She had to notice the noise – mute her TV – listen – decide that a 911 was appropriate – get to the phone – dial.
    There was a delay in there – a problem with phones. She thinks maybe 30 seconds. This sounds reasonable – particularly considering the delay.
    The fight was noticed by her about 7:15:30. It might have started a bit earlier. She had to become aware of the noises above the TV.

    It seems clear that Jeantel could have heard the leadup and beginning.
    Fight starts very close to 7:15:30
    Martin/Jeantel call drops at 7:15:43
    There is a strong probability that Jeantel would have overheard the beginning of the fight – as she says she did.

    Back to B37

    Most important thing was the time that she was on the phone with Trayvon. So you basically hopefully if she heard anything she would say she did but the time coincides with George’s statements and testimony of time limits and what had happened during that time.
    AC: Explain that
    Well because George was on the 911 call, while she was on the call with Trayvon and the times coincide and I think there was 2 minutes between when George hanged up from his 911 call to the time when Trayvon and Rachel had hung up.
    So really nothing could have happened because the 911 call would have heard the non emergency call that George had called ..heard something happening before that.

    This woman feels sadness for Jeantel because she thinks Jeantel felt inadequate toward everyone because of her education and her communication skills.
    This woman …on a high-profile TV interview with Anderson Cooper, just said “… but the time coincides with George’s statements and testimony of time limits and what had happened during that time.
    Well because George was on the 911 call, while she was on the call with Trayvon and the times coincide and I think there was 2 minutes between when George hanged up from his 911 call to the time when Trayvon and Rachel had hung up.
    So really nothing could have happened because the 911 call would have heard the non emergency call that George had called ..heard something happening before that.”
    Luckily for herself, her family, friends, children, grandchildren, etc…her face was blanked out.

    The prosecution might have clearly explained the timings involved with the calls. It was absolutely vital to aid Jeantel’s credibility that they did so very, very, very clearly.
    Shock horror!! One can not depend on the jury to work such things out for themselves.

    Incidentally, B37 can not remember much about the opening statements. Why even bother making them?

  3. Joy,

    You can let it rest…if you like.


    Rachel Jeantel and Juror B37: 2 women, 2 tales, 1 trial
    by Adam Serwer, MSNBC | July 18, 2013

    Rachel Jeantel’s face lit up when describing how she and Trayvon Martin would sometimes talk on the phone all day. “He was a calm, chill, loving person. Loved his family, definitely his mother,” Jeantel said on CNN. “And a good friend.”

    Poised and confident, the 19-year-old Jeantel came off differently than she did anxiously testifying before a Florida court about the last moments of Martin’s life. In a post-trial interview, a juror said bluntly that on the stand, Jeantel ”wasn’t credible.”

    “I think she felt inadequate toward everyone because of her education and her communication skills. I just felt sadness for her,” the white, female juror told Anderson Cooper in an interview earlier this week. While Jeantel spoke at length about Martin, the juror–who has insisted on remaining anonymous—was clearly moved by another person, George Zimmerman. Zimmerman shot and killed the 17-year-old and unarmed Martin in February, 2012. He said he acted in self-defense after he was attacked by Martin. A jury acquitted him of committing a crime.

    “I think George Zimmerman is a man whose heart was in the right place, but just got displaced by the vandalism in the neighborhoods, and wanting to catch these people so badly, that he went above and beyond what he really should have done,” said the Juror, identified only as Juror B37.

    Listening to the back-to-back interviews which aired Monday, it is hard to believe these two women—different backgrounds, different ages—were in the same courtroom.

    Jeantel knew the victim like only a best friend could. The juror was a stranger to Martin who sat in judgment and anonymity. But she left the trial believing she understood and could relate to the defendant. “Do you feel like you know him?” Cooper asked. “I do,” juror B37 responded. Then: “I feel like I know everybody.”

    Jeantel told CNN’s Piers Morgan she was “angry” Zimmerman had been acquitted. Juror B37 was forgiving. “I think he just didn’t know when to stop. He was frustrated, and things just got out of hand.”

    The divide between these two women, their perceptions of the case and the two men involved, reflect the same gulf on display nationally in the aftermath of Zimmerman’s acquittal. If America is having a “conversation” about race, it’s happening in different rooms. The vast majority of black Americans are certain race played a role in Martin’s death. Another poll shows that a majority of white Americans believe it did not.

    Juror B37 told Cooper that she thought race had nothing to do with it. ”I mean, just because he was black and George was Spanish or Puerto Rican, I don’t think it had anything to do with this trial, but I think people are looking for things to make race play a part in this trial.” Zimmerman’s father is white and his mother is Hispanic, Zimmerman himself has identified as Hispanic.

    Jeantel told Morgan on the same network later that night that race had everything to do with it. “It was racial. Let’s be honest. Racial,” Jeantel said. “If Trayvon was white and he had a hoodie on, would that happen?”

  4. No!
    Stop with the racist female jury cr*p!
    It’s nonsense, isn’t it?

    If I am to believe B37 in her interview, 3 of the 6 considered Zimmerman guilty of at least manslaughter.
    B37 was one of the 3 who came away with ‘not guilty’ (of anything).

    B37 admits that she thought Zimmerman should not have gotten out of the truck. She thinks he should not have done what he did.
    Presumably the 3 non ‘not guilty’ jurors thought the same. That’s 4 (at the very least) who considered that Zimmerman should not have gotten out of the truck, etc.

    B37 asked if she would be hapy for Zimmerman to be NW in her community said ‘yes – but on the assumption that he had learnt his lesson and would not act that way in future.
    See? She thinks he scr*wed up but he’s now reformed. He would not do that again.

    Ooh! Cut to Hannity Interview

    HANNITY: Is there anything you regret? Do you regret getting out of the car to follow Trayvon that night?
    ZIMMERMAN: No, sir.
    HANNITY: Is there anything you might do differently in retrospect now that the time has passed a little bit?
    ZIMMERMAN: No, sir.

    “Houston37, we’ve had a problem.”

    I’ve seen people assert that the biggest mistake made by the prosecution was to put all of Zimmerman’s various statements and interviews into vidence. The theory is that zero view of Zimmerman’s story this would have forced the defence to put Zimmerman on the stand – and therefore reveal himself as a White/Hispanic DeeDee in terms of credibility.
    This ignores the mistake of getting a buffoon to prove an unprovable M2 by trying to use shouting as evidence.

    As I understand things, the biggest mistake (even bigger than the M2/buffoon mistake) was to let the defence get the “initial aggressor” instruction removed.
    “Following is not aggression” – but was it not something a lot more complex than simple following behind someone in the case?

    “Vote with your hearts” my arse!

    What got the 3 ‘minimum manslaughter’ jurors to change?
    My bet is in the particular set of jury instructions that they ended up with.

    If they could not consider what led up to the fight, then they were left with a fight with some mysteries. Presumption of innocence. Reasonable doubt. Not Guilty. Thank you and good night!

    Can any of the real lawyers her comment on the actual relevance of the “initial aggressor” instruction here?

  5. Trayvon Martin Family Attorney: ‘The Biggest Mistake Was To Ignore Race’
    By Judd Legum
    Jul 18, 2013

    In a press conference immediately after George Zimmerman was acquitted, State Attorney Angela Corey declared “this case has never been about race.”

    The legal team for the Trayvon Martin family disagrees. In an interview with ThinkProgress, Natalie Jackson — one of three lawyers representing Trayvon Martin’s parents — said the prosecution’s “biggest mistake was to ignore race.”

    Jackson emphasized that she thought Corey and her deputies were skilled, passionate about the case and pursued the strategy they thought would work best. But Jackson also believes that the state’s decision to ignore the role race played in the case was a major strategic error and may have allowed Zimmerman to escape a guilty verdict.

    By deliberately avoiding any discussion of race, Jackson said, the state made “everyone feel comfortable and when everyone feels comfortable bad things happen.”

    Throughout the trial, the defense subtly leveraged racial issues to their advantage, according to Jackson. She said a picture of Martin that defense attorneys frequently showed the jury, where he is shirtless, was designed to play into “stereotypical fears people think white women have of black men.” Jackson would have objected to its use.

    Jackson would have also objected to the testimony of Olivia Bertalan, who testified that Zimmerman helped her after two black men in their late teens broke into her home in August 2011. She later related her experience to Zimmerman. Jackson believed the purpose of Bertalan’s testimony was to “group black boys” and “would have done everything possible to strike her.”

  6. Zimmerman Trial Juror b37 Reconfirms Glaring Juror Racial Bias
    By earl ofari hutchinson
    OpEdNews Op Eds 7/17/2013

    George Zimmerman trial juror b37 flatly said that there was no doubt that Zimmerman feared for his life when he killed Trayvon Martin. When she said that, she reconfirmed two deep and troubling facts about the Zimmerman trial and the criminal justice system. One is that she and the other white jurors bought the contention Zimmerman’s defense attorneys and legions of his backers ruthlessly and relentlessly drove home. That is that Martin was the assailant and Zimmerman the victim. The even more troubling fact is that she reconfirmed again the glaring racial bias that deeply plagues the jury and criminal justice system when a black is both the victim as was Martin, and in a perverse leap of logic by Zimmerman defenders, the defendant as was Martin.

    The Zimmerman trial jury was with one exception all-white. The one juror that was the exception was a non-African-American. That jury reflected the terrible reality that when a black is the defendant or perceived as Martin was as the defendant in a trial with an all-white or a jury with no blacks on it and the victim is non-black or the defendant is white they are far more likely to convict a black defendant than a white one. Florida is one of the worst offenders when it comes to routinely convicting black defendants and acquitting white defendants

    One month after Martin was slain by Zimmerman in March 2012, Duke University researchers examined records of more than 700 non capital felony cases in the state from 2000 to 2010. They found what has long been known and that’s that the race of a defendant and victim play a huge role in how a jury is likely to decide a case. Black defendants by a double digit margin were more likely to be convicted than a white defendant. A major reason for this was that a significant percentage of the jury pools had no blacks on them. The study found that when juries had even one black on it white and black defendants were convicted at the same rate. The researchers drew one inescapable conclusion and that’s that all-white juries are not only more prone to convict black defendants but that despite court rulings that bar exclusion of jurors or potential jurors because of race, a major number of juror pools and thus juries continue to be all-white.

    This amounts to a not so subtle form of jury nullification of the Sixth Amendment right to a trial by a fair and impartial jury. The centerpiece of that is the concept of a jury of a defendant’s peers. All-white juries hardly meet that constitutional standard.

    The Zimmerman trial jury was certainly no aberration. It was consistent with the findings that juries in Florida as in many other states are likely not to have any African-Americans seated on them, and that when the defendants are African-American they are routinely convicted. Juror b37’s frank admission that she and the other white jurors thought Zimmerman was under assault, feared for his life, and thus had the right to use deadly force to defend himself was horribly consistent with the findings that juries are much more likely to find whites or non-blacks that beat, maim or kill blacks to be within their rights to defend and or likely to acquit them of charges. This was obviously true in how Zimmerman was depicted as the victim, not Martin, in the minds of the white jurors.

    The juror bias study was also consistent with another study that found that whites that claim they kill or maim a black under the stand your ground law are far more likely to either not be charged with a crime or if charged to be tried on lessor charges. Or they are more likely to be acquitted than a black that claims they maimed or killed a white under the law.

  7. And just when you thought Ted Nugent couldn’t say something dumber . . .

    Ted Nugent: George Zimmerman Should Sue Trayvon Martin’s Parents For Emotional Suffering

    I’m all for free speech, Ted, but just because you can say something doesn’t mean you should say something. You aren’t paid because you’re a genius. You’re paid because you’re a guitar player. Maybe you should stick to the guitar playing and leave the thinking to us adults who know how to play our instrument – the human brain. I say this as a (former) fan and guitarist. Seriously, after years of hearing your insane ridiculous pronouncements I’m finally forced to say STFU. And I say that in the nicest way possible. Have a nice day.

  8. Trayvon Martin’s Parents ‘Devastated’ by Not Guilty Verdict
    Good Morning America–abc-news-topstories.html?vp=1

    The parents of Trayvon Martin felt “shock” and “disgust” when a Florida jury ruled Saturday night that George Zimmerman, 29, was found not guilty in the shooting death of their son.

    “I really didn’t believe that he was not guilty,” Sybrina Fulton said today on “Good Morning America.” “My first thought was shock, disgust.”

    Zimmerman had been accused of second-degree murder for shooting Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old, Feb. 26, 2012, in Sanford, Fla. He said from the beginning that he had shot Martin in self-defense, but many questioned his account of the incident.

    “I think people are forgetting that Trayvon was a teenager so he probably thought as a teenager,” Fulton said. “I really do believe he was afraid because he did call George Zimmerman creepy. So he was afraid and if you are 17 years old and you are afraid, you may not know what to do.”

    The verdict from the all-female jury of six was met with a wave of public outcry, including protest marches across the country.

    “As parents understanding how they reached the verdict, I’ll never grasp that concept,” said Martin’s father, Tracy Martin. “Just as loving parents and God-fearing people, we just continue to pray that whatever was in their heart was what they intended to do. But we didn’t feel it was fair and, of course, it was devastating.”

  9. “To ask black people to respect the rule of law is an exercise in missing the point, not to mention an insult.” (Brittney Cooper)

    Yes, Yes, and (b)YES(/b)

    Many years ago I was down south marching in Dr. King’s non-violent manner. I had taken all the workshops and training in non-violent protesting and was marching arm in arm with friends when a fat, sweating, newly deputized resident approached us with a bat. My training deserted me and I punched him in the nose drawing blood. He was stunned and didn’t continue moving towards me so I ran like he!! to the middle of the pack and was hidden by fellow marchers. The Man never found me but I was in a heck of a lot of trouble anyway because I had violated all the tenants of non-violent protesting. The leaders were not at all pleased and I was sent to more workshops and seminars … lovingly, of course.

    Gotta be honest … it really pisses me off when people tell African Americans to remain calm, don’t “riot”, follow and respect the rule of law … makes me want to punch somebody in the nose.

  10. Now that, Elaine, is a good argument for racism in the verdict.

    If you’ll re-read what I was saying, it was about elitism in the initial preferential treatment of Z, not about the verdict. No one is denying systemic racism is neither real nor a problem. It’s just not the only problem. As I mentioned to Blouise, it is no surprise that two exclusionary social problems – elitism and racism – can (and do) feed one another. At their heart, they are both anti-egalitarian ideals.

  11. White supremacy, meet black rage
    How does black life come to have value in a white supremacist system, where the rules only apply to us?
    By Brittney Cooper
    (Brittney Cooper is an assistant professor of Women’s Studies and Africana Studies at Rutgers University.)
    Jul 14, 2013

    Yesterday, six women in the state of Florida, five of them white, made clear that the inherent value of black life and black personhood is legally indefensible.

    The legal sanctioning of George Zimmerman’s murder of Trayvon Martin gives veracity to an argument that Chief Justice Roger B. Taney made in 1857: A black person has “no rights which a white man is bound to respect.”

    No, George Zimmerman is not white. But his assumptions about black men are rooted in the foundational assumptions of white supremacy and his treatment by the justice system have conferred upon him privileges usually reserved for white men. The malleability of white supremacy for non-black bodies says something about the singular power and threat of the black body in this kind of racialized system.

    Though much of the mainstream media who have covered this case have convinced themselves that race did not play a role in this trial, a black kid is dead because being young, black and male, and wearing a hoodie in the rain is apparently a crime punishable by death.

    When I think of the jury in this case, five of them white women, I am convinced that at a strictly human level, this case came down to whether those white women could actually see Trayvon Martin as somebody’s child, or whether they saw him according to the dictates of black male criminality.

    (I’m fairly sure that Pauli Murray, the famed African-American civil rights attorney and feminist activist who successfully dismantled the all white, all-male jury system in the case of White v. Crook (1966), a decision that made an all-female jury possible, is somewhere turning over in her grave.)

    Now that we have a verdict, it is clear that they didn’t see a young man who could be their own child, because white women’s sons aren’t stalked, profiled and deemed unworthy of being in middle-class neighborhoods. But young black male criminals are exactly the kind of people who plague the white imagination and spur white flight, gated communities and heavy policing.

    Some will say that I shouldn’t pick on the jurors. They were only working with the evidence they were given. I say there’s enough blame to go around. Certainly the prosecution didn’t do Trayvon any favors.

    All these things considered, the verdict is frankly pretty predictable. So, too, then is black rage.

    Unabashed, unchecked white supremacy will always lead to unabashed, unchecked black rage. Call it the laws of physics.

    My rage is made all the more sure by those who are “encouraging” black people not to “riot.” They urge us to follow and respect the rule of law.

    Because, of course, it is black people who need to be reminded of the rules.

    Even though it is we who peacefully assembled by the thousands all over the country and marched in order to turn the wheels of due process. And it is we who waited patiently for 15 months for this case to be brought to trial. And it is we who have yet again been played for fools as we waited fervently for justice to be done.

    On the other hand, George Zimmerman deputized himself, sought a confrontation and then became judge, jury and executioner for a kid who committed no crimes.

    To ask black people to respect the rule of law is an exercise in missing the point, not to mention an insult.

    Almost immediately upon hearing the verdict, I was reminded of Ida B. Wells, who penned these words in an 1892 pamphlet titled “Southern Horrors” several months after three of her friends were lynched with impunity in Memphis:

    The lesson this teaches and which every Afro-American should ponder well, is that a Winchester rifle should have a place of honor in every black home, and it should be used for that protection which the law refuses to give. When the white man who is always the aggressor knows he runs as great [a] risk of biting the dust every time his Afro-American victim does, he will have greater respect for Afro-American life.

    Though her calls for armed and vigorous self-defense strike a chord with me in this moment when I’m not feeling particularly pacifistic, I am more intrigued by the intrinsic question at the heart of her statement.

    How does black life come to have value in a white supremacist system, if not through the use of violence?

    Rather than preaching to black people about not rioting, these are the kinds of questions we should be asking and answering. What alternatives are there when the system fails? It should be clear by now, that despite centuries of being disappointed by the system, African-Americans believe in the value and potential of this democracy more than even white people do. We shed our lives for it; sacrifice our dignity to it; and internalize our anger in the face of it.

    Still we are spat upon and mocked, our children and loved ones killed, our anger swiftly policed and contained.

    I wish I had answers to soothe my worries, optimism to soothe my rage.

    I do know a change had better come. Because as James Baldwin said in the epigraph to one of my favorite collections of his essays, “God gave Noah the rainbow sign. No more water. The fire next time.”

  12. Fear and Consequences: George Zimmerman and the Protection of White Womanhood
    Jessica Valenti
    July 16, 2013

    My first week of college, I had a heated debate about abortion with two new friends—both were white, and one, Nancy, was extremely pro-life. I was feeling pretty proud of myself for having such an “adult” conversation—we disagreed, but everyone was being respectful. Then my other pro-choice friend asked Nancy what she would do with a pregnancy if she was raped. I will never forget what Nancy said: “I think it would be cute to have a little black baby.” When we expressed outrage at her racism, Nancy shrugged. It never occurred to her a rapist would be anyone other than a black man. (DOJ statistics show that 80 to 90 percent of women who are raped are attacked by someone of their own race, unless they are Native women.) When this young woman imagined a criminal in her mind, he wasn’t a faceless bogeyman.

    I hadn’t thought of this exchange in years, not until I was reading the responses to George Zimmerman’s acquittal—particularly those about the role of white womanhood. When I first heard that the jurors were women, I naïvely hoped they would see this teenage boy shot dead in the street and think of their children. But they weren’t just any women; most were white women. Women who, like me, have been taught to fear men of color. And who—as a feminist named Valerie pointed out on Twitter—probably would see Zimmerman as their son sooner than they would Trayvon Martin.

    Brittney Cooper at Salon expressed the same sentiment: “I am convinced that at a strictly human level, this case came down to whether those white women could actually see Trayvon Martin as somebody’s child, or whether they saw him according to the dictates of black male criminality.”

    And indeed, Anderson Cooper’s interview with juror B37 sheds light on who was considered deserving of empathy and humanization. Hint: it wasn’t Trayvon Martin. As Igor Volsky of Think Progress pointed out, “B37” used Zimmerman’s first name in the interview frequently and twice used the phrase “George said” even though Zimmerman didn’t testify. She also indicated that she wasn’t moved by Rachel Jeantel’s testimony because of her “communication skills” and that “she was using phrases I had never heard before.”

    Perhaps most tellingly, though, “B37” told Cooper that Zimmerman’s “heart was in the right place, but just got displaced by the vandalism in the neighborhoods and wanting to catch these people so badly that he went above and beyond what he really should have done.” (The phrase “above and beyond” is interesting, given it’s generally understood as a positive.) To her, Zimmerman was a protector. Sure, maybe he went a bit overboard but “Trayvon got mad and attacked him,” and Zimmerman “had a right to defend himself.”

    This juror’s comments cannot be divorced from our culture’s long-standing criminalizing of young black men, and white women’s related fears. As Mychal Denzel Smith pointed out here at The Nation and on MSNBC’s Up With Steve Kornacki, defense attorneys stoked this fear deliberately and broadly.

    To my disgust, O’Mara literally invoked the same justification for killing Trayvon as was used to justify lynchings. He called to the witness stand Olivia Bertalan, one of Zimmerman’s former neighbors, who told the story of her home being burglarized by two young African-American boys while she and her children feared for their lives. It was terrifying indeed, and it had absolutely no connection to the case at hand. But O’Mara presented the jury with the “perfect victim,” which Trayvon could never be: a white woman living in fear of black criminals. Zimmerman had offered to help her the night her home was robbed. Implicit in the defense’s closing argument: he was also protecting her the night he killed Trayvon Martin.

    They carefully made Martin—the victim—into that not-so-faceless bogeyman. Now, I don’t know what was in the jurors’ hearts—but the story the defense told and that juror B37 parroted is not a new one. It’s a story that ends with fear trumping empathy and humanity. (A fear that even now is being grossly defended as justified.)

  13. Blouise,

    You’re the very first person I’ve ever suggested that book to that already had it. By the condition you describe yours in, I’m going to assume you found it as interesting and valuable as I did. 😀

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