Category: RTM News Reel Written by News One
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder faces a tough decision as civil rights group petition the Department of Justice to press federal civil rights charges against George Zimmerman, 29, who was found “not guilty” on second-degree murder and manslaughter charges Saturday night by a jury of 6 women — 5 white and one Hispanic — for the Feb. 26, 2012 killing of unarmed Black teen, Trayvon Martin.
NAACP President Ben Jealous released a statement making it plain that we are “not done demanding justice for Trayvon Martin”:
“The most fundamental of civil rights—the right to life—was violated the night George Zimmerman stalked and then took the life of Trayvon Martin. We ask that the Department of Justice file civil rights charges against Mr. Zimmerman for this egregious violation,” said the NAACP in a petition released Saturday night. “Please address the travesties of the tragic death of Trayvon Martin by acting today.”
On CNN Sunday, Rev. Jesse Jackson called the verdict “Old South justice” and...
Last Updated on Sunday, 14 July 2013 19:40
Category: RTM News Reel Written by News One
Six women found George Zimmerman, 29, “not guilty” on all charges for the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin and the slain teen’s parents have spoken out about the verdict:
“God blessed Me & Sybrina with Tray and even in his death I know my baby proud of the FIGHT we along with all of you put u [sic],” tweeted Tracy Martin. “Thanks to everyone who are with us and who will be with us si [sic] we together can make sure that this doesn’t happen again. Even though I am broken-hearted my faith is unshattered I WILL ALWAYS LOVE MY BABY TRAY.”
Lord during my darkest hour I lean on you. You are all that I have. At the end of the day, GOD is still in control. Thank you all for your prayers and support. I will love you
Last Updated on Sunday, 14 July 2013 05:09
Category: RTM News Reel Written by News One
In a twist straight from the Plantation Chronicles, Black fans of disgraced chef Paula Deen are joining forces not speak out against the racist and hostile work environment she maintained for her employees, but to chant “We Forgive You, Paula Deen” in the middle of Times Square.
Not only are they organizing the rally, they are doing so because “the African-American community” forgives her.
The word Paula used was horrible. She has admitted that what she said was wrong and hurtful. She gave an extremely heartfelt apology and I forgive her, my family forgives her and the African American community forgives her. We have all made at least one mistake that we wish never happened. Paula Deen should not have to continue to suffer for one mistake.
Myself and over 100 of my friends are gathering in New York city on Friday, August 16, 2013 to have a “WE FORGIVE YOU PAULA” rally in Times Square right outside of the Good Morning America studio during t
Last Updated on Friday, 12 July 2013 06:59
Category: RTM News Reel Written by CBS News
A Florida woman who fired warning shots against her allegedly abusive husband has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Marissa Alexander of Jacksonville had said the state's "Stand Your Ground" law should apply to her because she was defending herself against her allegedly abusive husband when she fired warning shots inside her home in August 2010. She told police it was to escape a brutal beating by her husband, against whom she had already taken out a protective order.
CBS Affiliate WETV reports that Circuit Court Judge James Daniel handed down the sentence Friday.
Under Florida's mandatory minimum sentencing requirements Alexander could receive a lesser sentence, even though she has never been in trouble with the law before. Judge Daniel said the law did not allow for extenuating or mitigating circumstances to reduce the sentence below the 20-year minimum.
"I really was crying in there," Marissa's 11-year-old daughter told WETV. "I didn't want to cry in court, but I just really feel hurt. I don't think this should have been happening."
Alexander was convicted of attempted murder after she rejected a plea deal for a three-year prison sentence. She said she did not believe she did anything wrong.
She was recently denied a new trial after appealing to the judge to reconsider her case based on Florida's controversial "Stand Your Ground" law. The law states that the victim of a crime does not have to attempt to run for safety and can immediately retaliate in self-defense.
Alexander's attorney said she was clearly defending herself and should not have to spend the next two decades behind bars.
Alexander's case has drawn support from domestic abuse advocates - and comparison to the case of neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, who has claimed a "Stand Your Ground" defense in his fatal shooting of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin.
Last Updated on Friday, 12 July 2013 10:01
Category: RTM News Reel Written by Michael Pearson and Greg Botelho, CNN
It all comes down to this: after more than a year of impassioned public debate, months of sometimes heated legal wrangling and some three weeks of trial, the men trying to put George Zimmerman away and those seeking to keep him free faced off Thursday in closing arguments of his second-degree murder trial.
If things go as planned, the six-member jury could have the case as soon as Friday.
And when they do, they'll have more than one charge to consider in deciding the fate of the 29-year-old former neighborhood watch volunteer, who acknowledges shooting 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in 2012.
Judge Debra Nelson ruled Thursday that jurors will be allowed to consider manslaughter instead of the original second-degree murder charge against Zimmerman. But she denied prosecutors' request to let the jurors also consider third-degree murder in their deliberations.
Prosecutors argued that charge on the theory that Zimmerman had committed child abuse when he shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012. Nelson questioned a requirement in Florida law that would have required jurors to find Zimmeran intentionally committed child abuse.
"I just don't think the evidence supports that," she said.
Before Nelson's ruling, defense attorney Don West reacted angrily to the proposal, accusing prosecutors of springing the theory at the last minute and calling it a "trick."
"Oh my God," he told Nelson. "Just when I thought this case couldn't get any more bizarre, the state is seeking third-degree murder based on child abuse."
But Nelson agreed to allow the manslaughter charge after prosecutors argued that Florida law requires its inclusion.
In arguing unsuccessfully against the manslaughter charge, West told Nelson that Zimmerman believes that because the "state has charged him with second-degree murder, they should be required to prove it, if they can."
Prosecutors sought the additional charges to give jurors more options should they find Zimmerman didn't commit second-degree murder when he killed Martin.
Zimmerman, who did not testify, has said he shot Martin in self-defense. Prosecutors say he racially profiled the African-American teenager, following him through his Sanford, Florida, neighborhood despite a dispatchers' request not to, and then killed him without provocation.
Zimmerman is Hispanic.
In other issues, attorneys also argued over a defense request that Nelson tell jurors that following someone isn't a crime.
"You are absolutely allowed to follow, especially if you want to tell the police, that cannot be considered provocation, carrying a licensed firearm cannot be considered a threat," West argued.
But Nelson said there's no Florida law that explicitly says following someone is not illegal, so she couldn't tell the jury that it's part of the law.
She also denied the defense's request to instruct jurors about how they should view circumstantial evidence.
No testimony from Zimmerman
Zimmerman, who has spoken publicly about what happened that night, kept trial-watchers waiting until the very last minute Wednesday before announcing he wouldn't testify in his own defense.
After a series of testy exchanges with West, Nelson asked Zimmerman to say for himself what he wanted to do.
"After consulting with counsel," Zimmerman replied, he'd decided "not to testify, your honor."
Moments later -- and after Nelson refused a request from Zimmerman's team to dismiss the case before the jury could weigh in -- the defense rested its case.
Lawyer wrestles with foam dummy
The prosecution had once stated its intention to call up to three witnesses in the rebuttal phase of the trial but did not call any. One potential rebuttal witness was not called because the judge ruled prosecutors couldn't pursue one line of questioning. Another was ruled out because the prosecution wasn't certain the witness was available. The exclusion of the third potential witness wasn't explained.
That left Zimmerman's father, Robert Zimmerman, as the last witness in the widely watched trial.
He testified -- like his wife, Gladys, had earlier in the trial -- that he believes it was his son who was screaming on the infamous 911 recording of the altercation that ended in Martin's death.
Contrast their testimony to that of Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton, who said she was "absolutely" certain that the panicked voice was that of her son. The late teenager's brother, Jahvaris Fulton, made a similar declaration in court.
The fatal gunshot
Absent a chance to hear directly from Zimmerman, the star Wednesday may have been a foam dummy.
Prosecutor John Guy and defense lawyer Mark O'Mara both grappled with the life-size model inside the courtroom, working to show rapt jurors the competing versions of what happened the rainy night Martin was killed.
Assistant State Attorney John Guy brought out the dummy in an effort to demonstrate that it would have been difficult for Zimmerman to retrieve his handgun from his pocket with Martin straddling him, as defense attorneys have argued was the case.
The fatal gunshot, Guy reminded defense witness Dennis Root, was fired at a 90-degree angle into Martin's body.
Police urge calm as verdict nears
"Wouldn't that be consistent with Travyon Martin getting off of George Zimmerman and George Zimmerman raising the gun and firing it?" Guy asked Root, a use-of-force expert.
"It could be consistent with any kind of movement ... We weren't there so the info that we have is George Zimmerman's statement," he said.
Later, O'Mara straddled the dummy himself, pounding the back of its head against the carpeted courtroom floor, demonstrating how he says Martin gave Zimmerman the head wounds seen in police photographs from the night of the shooting.
In trial, it's a jury of millions
Last Updated on Thursday, 11 July 2013 14:01
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