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New DOJ Function: Whipping Up Hate

The News Scan relays a report that the Department of Justice spent your tax dollars to whip up hate against a state defendant.  Of course it's not just any defendant.  It's George Zimmerman, the white/Hispanic fellow now on trial in Florida for killing a black teenager, Trayvon Martin.

I was in DOJ and in the US Attorney's Office for along time, both in career and political positions.  I find this story astounding, and grounds for demanding the Attorney General's resignation.  That the Department of Justice would support street demonstrations whose sole purpose was to incite prejudgment of a criminal defendant is beyond reprehensible.  Those running the Department who, in their prior (and future) lives as high-priced defense lawyers, bellowed at the "perp walk" and other government behavior they said was aimed to prejudice the defendant, should be hanging their heads in shame today.  Anyone care to bet whether they are?

Let's  be clear about what DOJ was doing.  It was not, contrary to its brazenly false claims, seeking to "calm racial divisions."  It was seeking to inflame them, which is why one of the demonstrations it backed was led by long-time fraudster and race huckster Al Sharpton.  And it was seeking to inflame them for a purpose, to wit, to curry favor with the most loyal part of the Administration's political base by trying a white man via the new "due process," race pandering street marches.

Zimmerman is probably going to be acquitted, but I don't blame the state prosecutors for putting him on trial.  There was a reasonable basis (although not by much) to suspect that he acted criminally when he shot to death the unarmed teen.  But DOJ's behavior is beyond excuse.  It's not lynching, but it grew up on the same street and has the same body odor.


Since the investigating police department did not think a crime was comitted, I don't think there was any basis for the prosecution, especially given the empty probable cause affidavit. All the evidence supported a claim of self-defense.

Decenyevolves: if Martin had been white and Zimmerman black, there is no question Zimmerman would be convicted and likely very harshly sentenced, federale86:


And I agree with what one US attorney noted. It sure sounds like Zimmerman is guilty of manslaughter.


"[If Martin had been white and Zimmerman black, there is no question Zimmerman would be convicted and likely very harshly sentenced."

That's pure speculation, obviously.

"I agree with what one US attorney noted. It sure sounds like Zimmerman is guilty of manslaughter."

Is there some reason other than racial animus toward Zimmerman that now, for the first time I can recall, you line up with the prosecution side?

And do you approve of DOJ's efforts to poison the jury pool? Is there any other instance you can cite in which you supported prosecution-assisted street marches against the defendant?


I have no idea what will happen in the Zimmerman case, but I was responding to the suggestion that there was "no basis for the prosecution" and that "all the evidence supported a claim of self-defense."

My first statement is speculation and overstatement for that matter, but I do think the former Assistant US Attorney who I linked to hit the nail on the head in this one. I find that I agree with some prosecutors and disagree with others, and agree with some defense attorneys and disagree with others, as I would think would be the case with you, assuming you are a fair-minded person. Anyway, his observations are well worth quoting at some length:

"I am not a proponent that the evidence demonstrates beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman maliciously pursued and attacked the teen, Trayvon Martin, because he was black. That should be irrelevant to the legal case.

But, I am saddened to say that if the teen had been white I doubt anyone would seriously consider that a man carrying a loaded handgun could be innocent of killing with that gun a white teen armed only with Skittles candy. But, because the teenage boy was black, the defense has sought to create a plausible scenario of self-defense sufficient to argue reasonable doubt, without mentioning anyone’s race. In other words, the self-defense defense might work because the teen was black.

Let’s examine the undisputed evidence:

1. The man thought the teen looked suspicious.

2. The man called the police to report his suspicions about the teen.

3. The man was told by the police not to chase and pursue the teen.

4. The man decided to chase and pursue the teen anyway.

5 . The man was carrying a loaded gun.

6. The teen was not carrying a gun.

7. The teen was not carrying any weapon.

8. The teen was carrying candy.

9. The teen was not committing any crime.

10. The teen was not trespassing, as he was walking toward his father’s condo.

11. The man and the teen met in a physical confrontation.

12. The man and the teen fought, wrestled to the ground, and punches were exchanged.

13. The man shot the teen with his gun.

14. The man shot the teen while both were on the ground.

15. The shot from the man’s gun killed the teen.

16. There is no evidence that the teen was committing a crime or about to commit any crime.

17. But for the man chasing and pursuing the teen, there would have been no physical confrontation.

18. But for the physical confrontation, there would have been no fight.

19. But for the fight, the man would not have shot the teen.

20. But for the shot, the teen would be alive.

The man’s actions created a course of conduct that led to a dangerous situation: the physical confrontation and the fight. The dangerous situation subjected the man and the teen to the risk of death or injury, as the man was carrying a loaded gun.

Manslaughter is defined as: “The killing of a human being by the . . . culpable negligence of another, without lawful justification . . . ”

Does the evidence support a finding of guilty of manslaughter beyond a reasonable doubt?

I believe it does. But for the man’s negligence in carrying a loaded gun and chasing and pursuing the teen, after being told not to by the police, there would have been no physical confrontation and the teen would be alive.

No reasonably careful person would do what the man did, and that should be obvious to everyone.

And, that is without considering anyone’s race."

Also, for a less conspiracy based theory of why the Justice Department intervened to try to manage and tamp down racial conflict in the case after anger started manifesting in Danford, I recommend the following piece in Slate Magazine, rather than whatever Lou Dobbs, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity are trumpeting:


As Dave Weigel concludes in that piece,

"If you think the government should materialize when some racial controversy starts boiling, you have no problem with the CRS. But if you think Obama and Holder are habitual race-baiters, the CRS’s Sanford adventure fits into a pattern. Instead of nailing the New Black Panthers, Obama’s saying, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon,” and Holder’s calling America “a nation of cowards on race.” That’s why they went after Zimmerman. That’s why you can’t trust the Obama regime.

“I think stoking the racial stuff is the way Obama was raised,” Rush Limbaugh told his listeners this week, after telling them about the CRS documents. “He was raised to believe this country was founded unjustly and immorally and slavery this and slavery that. This country, he's got a chip on his shoulder about it, and he's here to square the deal. And Holder, too.”"

Decencyevolves --

I still cannot recall a single instance before now when you lined up with the prosecution, and you cite nothing specific. So while it may be that, somewhere and at some time, you did so, I don't see anything to undermine my belief that you have never before done so here.

I also think your quoting this is telling: "If you think the government should materialize when some racial controversy starts boiling, you have no problem with the CRS."

That is a study in avoiding specifics. What the CRS actually did was fund ONE SIDE of a racial controversy. When CRS is there facilitating Al Sharpton, of all people, the notion that it's seeking to "soothe" racial tensions is beyond preposterous. Sharpton has MADE A LIVING, literally, of stoking racial tensions, and that's what he was doing here, too. Specifically, he was leading a march (or marches) designed to inflame public sentiment against the defendant, George Zimmerman.

In other words, DOJ, the nation's most powerful prosecutor, was, through CRS, financing racially charged street demonstrations that it knew or should have known would poison the atmosphere generally and, specifically, the jury pool.

I ordinarily look for ways to support the prosecution, but it simply can't be done for something as obviously unethical as that. I unequivocally condemn it. Don't you?

To quote the Weigel article further:

"The Community Relations Service was created 49 years ago, by the Civil Rights Act, at a time of steady conflict between the government and local law enforcement and white citizens groups. Its original mission was to swoop in and mediate when communities start roiling over “actions, policies, and practices that are perceived to be based on race, ethnicity, or national origin.” . . . . Trayvon Martin was killed on Feb. 26, 2012. The Stanford police (i.e., Bill Lee) handed the case over to the state on March 12. That was when the media frenzy started to build. On March 23 and 24, students at 34 Miami schools walked out of class to protest Zimmerman’s non-arrest. The Judicial Watch documents have the CRS workers on the scene after this, starting on March 25 . . . . The DOJ did mediate; the result was peaceful rallies, after which a police chief resigned and Zimmerman was charged."

Did CRS, for the grand sum of $5000 according to Judicial Watch, "organize" these rallies that were already in progress when they arrived?

No. Here's a more rational review of what happened, citing articles from non-partisan local papers:

"Though a 2012 Orlando Sentinel article described the role Community Relations Service played as “secretive,” their work in Sanford, Florida was innocuous. DOJ sent staff at the height of community tensions over police mishandling of the case, when large-scale protests demanded justice for Martin. The same article described how DOJ staff simply taught civil rights organizers how to peacefully manage large crowds and ensured the safety for people expressing their First Amendment rights."


As CNN noted "CRS conciliators are frequently seen at large marches and rallies, and have been present at countless protests, including those that occur every four years at the Democratic and Republican political conventions."


Funny thing. That sounds like the folks from CRS were doing their jobs, doesn't it?

I also notice that you don't take any issue with what I just said on the merits of the Zimmerman case. So I guess we agree on that Bill! Cause for hugs, congratulations and handshakes all around, isn't it?

What we're going to agree on is that your last paragraph is snide and disrespectful bullshit for which you are going to apologize or get blocked.

Get moving, hotshot.

Fair enough. The snideness was unnecessary and you deserve more respect than that. You found the tone offensive with some justification, so I apologize. Of course, taking offense is one way not to deal with the merits of what I've written, and blocking me would be even more effective. You haven't disagreed with the analysis of the merits of the Zimmerman case, preferring ad hominem commentary on me to tangling with those points at all. In my view, you also haven't done a persuasive job of showing misconduct by CRS. So the ball is in your court.

That's a non-apology apology, but I'll let it go. And no one is going to block you for substance. The problem is straying from substance to wise-guy stuff.

The ball is not in my court and never was. It was in the jury's court, and the jury has spoken. It was better acquainted with the evidence than you (or I), so I will defer to it. Will you?

If a point be made of it, however -- and as I have noted in my most recent entry -- it would have been extremely difficult for the jury to find beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman could not have had an objectively reasonable belief that he was in imminent danger of grave bodily harm or death. By themselves, the photographs of his swollen and bloody face, and the bloody marks on the back of his head, made it very, very difficult for the jury NOT to doubt the prosecution's version that Zimmerman was the officious aggressor throughout, and shot the physically superior Martin simply out of racial bigotry or spite. The pictures were of a guy who was getting the crap beaten out of him.

It will be interesting to see how the usual defense mouthpieces react to this. When Casey Anthony got a scandalous acquittal for murdering her two year-old, the liberal line was, hey, that's how the system works. Better that 100 guilty defendants go free, etcetera, etcetera. We'll soon see if they have the same accepting attitude in this case, where the evidence of legal innocence was far stronger than in the Casey Anthony fiasco.

I suspect we'll find out soon enough, when Al Sharpton gets his next infusion from CRS. The guy is a real racial peace-maker, not so?

Al Sharpton's involvemnt in the Tawana Brawley episode was incredibly unsavory, and I understand people who are offended by him, but somehow, he seems to have moved past that for many people. The fact that he has attached himself to these protests, as he does in all of these situations, didn't make the protests over the refusal to initially prosecute Zimmerman illegitimate.

Zimmerman was acting recklessly, arming himself and pursuing an unarmed youth who had every right to be where he was against the advice if the police. A tragic and thoroughly needless death resulted from his actions. I was glad to see him prosecuted, but I'm not bothered to see him acquitted. Proof behind a reasonable doubt is and should be a high standard.

The only people who know for certain what transpired between Zimmerman and Martin before the fighting started was the two of them. Zimmerman's attorney wisely decided not to have him testify, as was his right. He won't have that option in a civil case, and we may get a better sense of his credibility then, although even then there are likely to be many unanswered questions. Vigilantism is a nasty thing, and it's shame that an unarmed youth died as a consequence of it. That's the larger picture for me.

I am still thoroughly unconvinced that CRS did a thing wrong in this situation. The protests were ongoing and potentially volatile before they arrived. Happily, they didn't spin out of control. To the extent CRS helped with that, good on them. They don't deserve vilification at the hands of paranoid right wing media figures who have been diligently hunting for Democratic scandals, most of which have been pure hot air, since Bill Clinton was elected in 1992.

I agree in part with your comment at 6:48 a.m., with the following qualifications.

1. Big Al was more than "involved in" the Brawley "episode." He orchestrated a vicious racist hoax by falsely accusing a white prosecutor of raping a black teenage girl. He has never apologized or come close to apologizing. He refused to pay the civil judgment the prosecutor won against him; it was paid for him by his pals.

He has "moved past" it only for those who saw nothing wrong with it to begin with. You can't even start to "move past" your sins unless, at the minimum, you admit them. He hasn't. But Obama has him as a honored White House guest.

2. I didn't say and don't think the protests against Zimmerman were illegitimate. What was illegitimate was DOJ's funding to any degree whatever maneuvers certain to poison the jury pool. That is unethical behavior for the prosecution.

3. I agree with the first two sentences of your second paragraph, but they are not on point to the specific evidentiary fulcrum about which the jury had to decide: Did the state prove BRD that Zimmerman, at the moment he shot Martin, could not have had a reasonable fear of imminent grave bodily harm or death? The evidence left a reasonable doubt, if not considerably more than that, that Zimmerman could have had such a fear. That alone was all that was needed for an acquittal (which is why I did not respond specifically to the list of 20 facts you put up).

Self defense is an affirmative defense under Florida law and its unusual, but not unheard of, for a defendant to sustain one without testifying. His attorneys were fortunate to prevail without his testimony, although I think their charge of reverse racism based on Florida's charging decision is a bit ridiculous.

How reckless were Zimmerman's actions? Reckless enough for a manslaughter conviction? Not in the jury's judgment ultimately and that is good enough for me. The judgment is not as out of the park as the OJ Simpson verdict or the Simi Valley verdict on the officers who beat Rodney King that preceded the LA riots that's for sure.

The jury pool wasn't poisoned, not nearly so, and to the extent that CRS got involved in a potentially explosive situation and helped to make it less so, the system worked.

In fact, for better and for worse, the system has worked as it's supposed to generally. If George Zimmerman finds himself facing a whopping civil judgment for the extraordinary harm caused by his incredibly bad decisions, that may be the most anyone can hope for. I hope that people don't raise large funds for him for his civil defense and any judgment, but in this racially polarized world, I'm not sure that my hopes on that score will be satisfied.

Decency, your contentions 4, 12 and 16 were never proven during the trial. It was never clear that Zimmerman "chased" and "pursued" Martin. The prosecution did not put on any evidence showing a "chase" or "pursuit". In fact, the defense quite conclusively proved (and the prosecution did not refute) that Martin was roughly 30 seconds away from his dad's place when he first told prosecution witness Ms. Jeantel that there was a "creepy-ass cracker" following him. However, four minutes passed from the "cracker" report to the initial reports of screaming by a neighbor who soon thereafter called 911.

In other words, the evidence indicates that Martin had more than enough time to get home if he had really been the scared "child" the prosecution made him out to be. Plus, he could have called his mom, his dad or, God forbid, the police, or even had Ms. Jeantel call the police, his dad or his mom. Moreover, prosecution witness Jeantel testified that Martin would've told her if he was going to fight someone. This jarring remark sort of indicates he had done this before and kind of indicates that he had actually told her he was going to beat up the cracker, which would go some way toward explaining Jeantel's extreme reluctance to testify in a case on behalf of her supposedly murdered friend.

Your twelfth contention is also way off the mark. There was absolutely no evidence that they "exchanged" punches. An eyewitness recounted seeing Martin on top of Zimmerman pummeling him and testified to seeing no exchange of blows--it was one-sided according to the eyewitness' testimony. Plus, the physical evidence showed Zimmerman had suffered lacerations, bruising and a busted nose, while Martin had suffered only a scraped knuckle (of course, other than the fatal gunshot wound). There's no evidence that Martin was punched at all, whereas there's ample evidence that Zimmerman was getting the stuffing beaten out of him.

Your sixteenth contention is also wrong. The evidence strongly indicates that Martin was straddling Zimmerman, beating him about the head and bashing his head against the sidewalk. So, it seems to me Martin was committing some sort of crime (aggravated assault or attempted murder) when he got shot.

On a side note, I'm sure that the prosecution was sorely disappointed that Zimmerman had never used a racial slur. Indeed, if one is to believe Ms. Jeantel's testimony, it was actually Martin alone who had demonstrated racial animus by his use of the word cracker. It is remarkable how this has been virtually ignored by all the usual outrage merchants as well as our inappropriately meddling President.

Zimmerman certainly pursued Martin against the advice of the police. There is nothing to suggest that Martin was the one who initially confronted Zimmerman rather than vice versa, and he idea doesn't make alot of sense. Arming yourself and confronting a stranger against the advice of the police is a reckless and incredibly foolhardy action.

We don't know what Zimmerman said to Martin. We do know that Zimmerman, armed with a revolver with hollow point ammunition, presumed Martin was engaged in a crime when he was simply visiting his father. Zimmerman was involved in an altercation with him and put a hole in his chest within a matter of a minute or two. Whether or not Zimmerman should have been convicted of a crime, if you find his actions defensible as a moral matter, I don't know what to say precisely.

The same former prosecutor who I quoted at length above said this as well:

"Perhaps I have a vantage point because I have teenage boys. I think of how our sons would react if they were being chased and pursued by a stranger at night. I have no doubt that if our sons felt that the man was trying to hurt them and they could not flee, that they would confront the man, and, if they felt threatened, fight in self-defense. I think the teenager in the Zimmerman case was doing the same."

One can quibble with the statement. It was dusk, not at night, and we don't know that Zimmerman chased Martin, he just armed himself and pursued him against the advice of police. Do you really not get the outrage at the senseless act of violence that resulted directly from this reckless act? Whatever Zimmerman said to Martin, and frankly we will never know, coming to blows was the wrong course for Martin. But I don't want armed vigilantes shooting unarmed youths in my neighborhood. I feel less safe, rather than more safe, at the presence of people with mindsets like Zimmerman in my community.

He gets and deserves little sympathy from me and the Martin family deserves quite alot.

Zimmerman's own account to the police was that the struggle started when Martin noticed his gun:


If this is true, fighting Zimmerman was a stupid and impulsive act, but may have been motivated by Martin's sudden and quite understandable fear if an armed, and ultimately lethal, stranger. Zimmerman precipitated this tragedy through his reckless acts. His actions are at least worthy of condemnation, if not criminal sanction.

I think this incident is an excellent example for some sort of gun control / weapons control or whatever you want to call it. From what I've read when Zimmerman accosted Martin, Martin was not committing any crime, he was merely walking down the street. I do not think we should encourage nor condone this type of activity. If I am correct from a factual standpoint, then please let me know, I do not claim to have followed the ins and outs of the trial.

After that, apparently the jury believed that Zimmerman's actions were justified under the law - that is the way it goes.

I'm sure there will be a civil suit and we will learn later what Zimmerman, if anything has to say.

I do not think racism was at play here - George Zimmerman shouldn't be allowed to carry a firearm and I wouldn't want to live next to him, and I am white. There is no reason for someone to get shot over all this.

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