Essay about George Zimmerman

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Soc. 4101; Sociology of Law
Professor Gabrielle Ferrales Race and the George Zimmerman Trial Ever since the Trayvon Martin case came to national attention, George Zimmerman has been described by some as having racially profiled the 17-year-old before he was shot and killed. Different media sources have voiced out their opinion on this case and how it should have been handled differently. In this paper, the role of the media in influencing how the society viewed who should be tagged the victim and the perpetrator tied to the issue of race, in this case will be emphasized. The first question that was raised in the media after this case broke out was if this case had anything to do with racial profiling. This issue is a key factor in influencing how the society viewed and judged this case. There were many arguments about whether or not Trayvon Martin was racially profiled by George Zimmerman. Mark Nejame, a legal analyst and contributor of CNN opinion, argued that this case was not a case of racial profiling. He said that
“There's a difference of opinion about whether racial profiling was actually involved, but a key question that is often overlooked is the distinction between profiling by a citizen and profiling by a member of law enforcement. That distinction is likely to be crucial in determining the direction the case may go.” (Nejame, 2012). Essentially, racial profiling is the use of an individual's race or ethnicity by law enforcement personnel as a key factor in deciding whether to engage in enforcement such as stop, search, arrest or investigation. The practice is controversial and is illegal in many jurisdictions. “The issue of racial profiling has been bandied about often in discussions of Martin's shooting. As with many things concerning the case, much misinformation has circulated.”(Nejame, 2012). Zimmerman was not a law enforcement agent, he was a neighborhood watchman but most importantly, he was just a civilian, operating under different legal standards than those applied to the police. Just because he was a neighborhood watch captain does not attach law enforcement status to him. While Nejame argued that this case was not about race, CBS Miami along with Dr. Larry Capp, a member of the Miami community relations board, argue that the case was all about race. CBS Miami wrote “In a society that elects and re-elects an African American as president, it still stigmatizes young black men as something to fear, a society where black men are presumed to be guilty of something.”(CBS Miami, 2013). They are saying in this quote that Trayvon Martin was racially profiled in a country that claims to have denounced racism and have voted for a black man as their president. CBS Miami also published Dr. Capp’s argument in which he stated that he didn’t agree with the jury’s verdict. “I was surprised and disappointed, like most people. I thought that the manslaughter charge was sufficient to stick but unfortunately that didn’t happen.”(Dr. Capp, 2013). Dr. Capp spoke the minds of many citizens in the country concerning this case. A lot of people thought that Zimmerman was going to be charged with at least manslaughter if not murder, because he killed a black teenage boy who posed no threat whatsoever to Zimmerman’s life. University of Miami law school Professor Donald Jones also agreed with Dr. Capp as he stated “I had a sense that this was a miscarriage of justice. A tragedy, a tragedy, not just for Trayvon’s family but for America itself.”(Professor Jones, 2013). Zimmerman killing Martin without any evidence of threat to his life should have called for first degree murder and its punishment but instead he was acquitted and that was why Professor Jones called the verdict a miscarriage of justice. He went ahead to talk on how the verdict was not just a tragedy for Trayvon’s family but also for the country. He said that “One of the things that was very