Zimmerman case rips open racial wounds

July 19 – eNCA speaks to International Relations Expert, Brooks Spector, on the acquittal of George Zimmerman. Video: eNCA
UNITED STATES, Los Angeles : Americans angry at the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the death of black teen Trayvon Martin stand on train tracks to block trains in protest in Los Angeles, California July 14, 2013. Photo: Robyn Beck

JOHANNESBURG - The acquittal of George Zimmerman, accused of murdering a 17-year-old black youngster Trayvon Martin, has continued to generate anger in the United States.

Zimmerman (29) shot Martin during a confrontation in February last year. His defence was that he shot the youngster in self-defence.

Martin's parents described their shock at Zimmerman's acquittal. They said the jury needed to have had more information about their son.

The entire case now has legal experts recommending a revision at some of America's law. 

Speaking to eNCA, International Relations expert Brooks Spector said some of the reforms being looked at includes the 'Stand your ground' law which allows people who are not police officers to carry around a firearm and to confront a person whom they fear might attack them and use lethal force if necessary. 

In his defence, Zimmerman said he believed Martin's posed a threat to him. The youngster had been wearing a hooded jacket at the time of his fatal shooting. He was also unarmed.

"The prosecution in this case didn't do it's job particularly well (in proving that Zimmerman exceeded the limits of the law).

"There's a lot of commentary over the fact that the State medical examiner, who was supposed to testify on the State's behalf, was so inept that many people felt that the State's case was weaker after he testified than before," said Spector.

"And by contrast the defences witness, who testified on medical issues: Where were the wounds and how did they arrive and what was the nature of Zimmerman wounds and how where they inflicted, was a better witness and made his case stronger after he was finished."

Spector also delved into details of US law pertaining to murder, hate crimes and racial profiling.

He said US President Barack Obama's statement that citizens should trust the judicial system, was indicative that racial tension in the country was still a reality.

"This case has metaphorically ripped the scab back off of a wound in America that is, really, never too far from the surface. The question is, how do black and white American necessarily deal with each other?

"In the case of Trayvon Martin, the argument was that he was wearing one of those hooded sweat shirts which is a 'symbol, a badge and an emblem of a young criminally-inclined black man.'"

Watch the full interview here, or in the gallery above.

eNCA

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