Dozens protest Florida verdict

Speakers at Capitol relay fears for their children

Monday, July 15, 2013
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Over sixty people congregated for peaceful activism on the steps of NYS Capital on Monday morning for a four minute moment of silence in memory of Tavon Martin. Pictured is Corrie Terry speaking about the case before the moment of silence.
Photographer: Marc Schultz
Over sixty people congregated for peaceful activism on the steps of NYS Capital on Monday morning for a four minute moment of silence in memory of Tavon Martin. Pictured is Corrie Terry speaking about the case before the moment of silence.

— More than 60 people stood in silence on the steps of the state Capitol Monday morning to protest the jury’s decision to clear George Zimmerman in the shooting of Trayvon Martin.

Some wore hoodies, as Martin did on the night he was fatally shot. Some held signs that expressed their outrage.

“Standing in grief with his mom,” read one. “March for Trayvon — justice now,” demanded another.

The silence stretched on for four minutes — the same amount of time it took Martin to bleed to death after he was shot, according to protest organizer Corrie Terry.

Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain, was cleared of all charges Saturday in the Feb. 26, 2012, shooting of the unarmed black teenager in Sanford, Fla.

He wasn’t arrested for more than a month following the incident because police insisted that Florida’s “stand your ground” law on self-defense prohibited them from bringing charges. The law allows people to defend themselves — with deadly force if necessary — if they fear that someone intends to kill them or cause them bodily harm. Under Florida’s law, someone essentially does not have to attempt to retreat from an aggressor before taking deadly action.

Protesters at the Capitol on Monday demanded that justice be served and relayed their fears for their own children.

“We have enough of our own killing. We don’t need laws that justify continued killing of African-American males. It is wrong. There should be no more bloodshed in this country at the expense of African-American males,” Terry shouted into a bullhorn, after the period of silence had concluded. “We should all be very afraid because this man who makes a decision about who is scary and who is not scary has been given back his gun and given freedom.”

Winell Jones of Albany was brought to tears as she addressed those gathered on the steps, sharing her worries for her autistic son.

“If he’s accosted or someone grabs him, he wouldn’t know how to respond and I am deathly afraid that someone will take that as him being disorderly and just disobedient and someone could take his life,” she said. “I knew that I would have to protect my son but I didn’t know that I would have to protect my son by not allowing him to grow up and have the civil liberties that we are afforded by the United States Constitution. I understand that this constitution was not written for people who look like me but the amendments and the laws that [were enacted after] that constitution were supposed to protect me and my son and our future progeny.”

A 12-year-old boy in a hoodie stood at Monday’s protest holding a sign that read, “I am Trayvon.” His 10-year-old sister held one, too.

Their mother, Carol Hamilton of Latham, said she’s had to teach her children that they are judged by the color of their skin.

“You have to kind of go out of your way, above and beyond, like maybe you can’t wear a hoodie or maybe you have to be overly respectful or always respectful, so that if someone says ‘hold your hands up,’ you hold your hands up. Someone says ‘freeze,’ you freeze because there’s always a misunderstanding,” she said.

The protesters on the Capitol’s steps merged their voices to sing “Ella’s Song” by Bernice Johnson Reagon.

“We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes,” they sang.

The freedom yearned for at Monday’s gathering — freedom from racial profiling and the violence that sometimes results from it — won’t come without a mass movement, said activist and documentary filmmaker Ira McKinley of Albany, who was at Monday’s protest.

Film explores challenges

For the past three years, he has been working on a documentary titled “The Throwaways,” which explores the challenges facing black males in America, including mass incarceration and police violence.

McKinley said he was once beaten up by a police officer, and that his father was shot and killed by one.

The verdict in the Zimmerman case has him very upset. “To me it feels like it’s legal to shoot an African-American. I feel like it’s genocide, to tell you the truth. I feel like the system is set up not to succeed.”

He recalled a comment the co-producer of his documentary once made: “This is like America with three Ks.”

“That’s how some of us feel,” he said. “We’re scared to walk down the street at night. We’re scared that anytime you walk down and see police you’re going to get stopped and frisked.”

Deidre Hill Butler, associate professor of sociology and director of Africana Studies at Union College, called the verdict in the Zimmerman case shameful, but added that she was not surprised by it.

Florida’s “stand your ground” law is a troubling one, with racist undertones, she said.

“We have to have the courage to take the time to listen and then to act upon kind of reshaping policies and laws that are long-standing and imbedded in inequality and racial issues,” she said. “I believe that Trayvon Martin was put on trial, not George Zimmerman. The characteristic of being a young black male was on trial and the history that goes with that.”

Stereotypes helped to seal the verdict in the case, agreed Alice Green, executive director of The Center for Law and Justice in Albany.

“We think of particularly African-American males as inherently criminal and almost less than human and we react to them in that way,” she said.

Young people are having a hard time coming to terms with the verdict, she said.

“They were expecting a different result and so we have to listen to them. We have to help them understand how the system works, how racial profiling works, what the stereotypes are,” she said.

The center is putting finishing touches on a program based on the Zimmerman case, which will teach young people their legal rights and how to handle racially motivated confrontations, she said.

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July 16, 2013
1:43 a.m.
pnotto says...

Why aren't these people protesting the death of another 17 yo teen in Chicago who was a victim of a gang related shooting recently because he would not join a particular gang in that city. What about the civil rights of Darryl Green, who btw was killed at the hands of another black youth who tried to recruit Mr. Green into his gang. Instead Mr. Green pays with his life. I ask where is the fanfare, the marching, the protesting, the rioting, and the property destruction for Mr. Green. The simple answer is that it doesn't fit the agenda of race baiters/hustlers like the Justice Brothers (Reverend's Al and Jesse) nor does Mr. Green look like Barrack Hussein Obama's son (if he had one). The fact of the matter is that these race baiters/hustlers are hypocrites who pick and choose what cause they will pursue so as long as it meets their agenda criteria. Another fact is that their race cards have become over drawn and cannot handle the debt limit they have accumulated so they are desperate and have to put the fire out by using gasoline. American's are tired of having our country pulled apart by the Justice Brothers and the President just to gain political favoritism to push a moldy rotted agenda that 70% of the people in this country want no part of. This is what happens when you interject race and politics into the Criminal Justice System where the yield you get are cases forced upon people who have to make the right but sometimes unpopular decisions to keep the system purged of bias where the only evidence that is put forward is based around emotion and nothing more.

July 16, 2013
6:13 a.m.
reader1 says...

As if you cared about what happened to Daryl Green. You bring this up simply to play the racial tit-for-tat. These are two separate issues.

Taking race completely out of this and it is still very troubling. This was not Zimmerman's residence or even a location were he was compelled to be. In fact, he was advised by the public safety dispatcher not to follow Martin. This was case of someone involved in the Neighborhood Watch, armed with a deadly weapon, acting as a police officer and a citizen winds up dead.

The case was overcharged in my opinion, should have probably been a negligent homicide or a reckless endangerment, but the jury dealt with the case they were given.

Ultimately, a private citizen was given the benefit of doubt that would typically be afforded to a police officer. Race totally aside - I'm uncomfortable with a situation in which private citizens, armed with deadly weapons acts as the police and kill a private citizen who was not committing any crime. And, if you want to consider the assault a crime, remember - had Zimmerman not disregarded the public safety dispatcher's directions - there would have been no assault.

July 16, 2013
11:37 a.m.
pnotto says...

Yes, reader1 people like me do care about kids like Darryl Green doing the right thing by trying to stay out of trouble. You are right they maybe two separate issues but these issues point to the same target of abuse of power and hypocrisy of the US Justice Department trying to make hey out of a tragedy for political gain which seems to be something the current President and AG like to do and people like you approve of which is shameful on your part. Your side are the ones injecting race into these instances just like your bud's in the media slanting the Zimmerman story from day one to make him look like a monster and Martin like an angel. The problem is that dopey liberals like yourself and the rest of the folks on the left can't tell the difference between fact and fiction even when confronted with the truth. If you would have bothered to follow the case instead of listening to the slanted version of the media's take on this you might know a few facts. First, Zimmerman as an employee of the HOA had every right to be in that development and Martin did not, which means he was trespassing on private property in a gated community. Second, the laws are different here in Florida than in NYS where Zimmerman was properly trained as a neighborhood watch representative and licensed to carry a firearm in this state. So if you are uncomfortable with this please stay in NY. Third, its true he should had heeded the advice of the dispatcher but he had a lawful job to perform. Fourth, it was Martin who started the confrontation when asked by Zimmerman what he was doing in this development.

July 16, 2013
11:38 a.m.
pnotto says...

Continued from above:
Fifth, it was Martin who made the aggressive move toward Zimmerman and Zimmerman was justified under Florida law to defend himself, which he did. Sixth, if the media would have performed an act called responsible journalism and showed the current photos of Martin, instead of ones taken when he was 12 yo you would see that Martin was no child and was bigger and stronger than Zimmerman. This along with the other facts about Martin's criminal history was voided out by the media on purpose again to make Zimmerman look like the troll Martin would have been painted in the proper light as a person looking to break the law. Seventh, when the police inventoried Martin's personal effects a screw driver was found in his possession and the blade tip of the screw driver matched pry marks made on the patio doors to several homes in that development which had been burglarized by a suspect who fit the description of Martin. Plus the markings on the blade tip of the screw driver made by paint scrapes also matched the patio doors to these homes that were pried open with a screw driver. Lastly, reader 1, you need to go back to law school and brush up on your street law expertise, I am a retired police officer of 21 yrs in the Albany area from my vantage point, you have no idea how the Criminal Justice System works. The first thing any law student knows is that you cannot charge anyone with any crime if there is no evidence to back it up and your stab in the dark at the other crimes Zimmerman should have faced in your legal expertise mind would have neither stood up in court as well. So what happened in the Zimmerman case is what you get when your side forces a criminal trial through protesting like children and threatening civil disobedience. The death of Mr. Martin is a tragedy but Zimmerman was acquitted. End of discussion. Next time brush up on your home work before you spout off ignorance and idiotic opinion.

July 16, 2013
1:49 p.m.
reader1 says...

You do not know what my political beliefs are or what my level of education is, but, if it makes you happy to throw out tags like liberal - then go for it.

Who said it should be referred to DOJ?

Like I said, had he listened to the trained professionals this whole incident would have been avoided.

17 years old is a kid in my book.

And, you have no idea what happened, other than GZ's version of events, which you seem willing to accept.

Private citizen made determination, based on appearance, of reasonable suspicion then by disregarding trained experts' advice got himself into a situation he could not handle which ultimately ended with him shooting a 17 year old. That's a problem.

But, I'm sure you are the expert you claim to be and I'm sure you had an exemplary police career and were well respected by your peers.

July 20, 2013
12:22 a.m.
pnotto says...

I don't have to know what your political beliefs are. I just have to read and interpret the writing style and the lack of original thought which yields the decision on my part that your a Leftist plain and simple. The problem with you folks is that you see life's experiences through convoluted distorted vision or AKA "rose colored gasses" then offer a ridiculous notion that this is what the truth should be and the way life is. Well it isn't! You Leftist's always base your knee-jerk reactions around emotion instead of the facts behind an issue. This is where you are wrong again my friend. The sour grapes community which you seem to be one of wants to disagree and disparage the jury's verdict. Just like a child does when he/she doesn't get their way. If you would have followed the trial, which you apparently did not you would know why the jury came to its decision. Additionally like all Leftist's, you presume to know all for which you are wrong again. If you would have bothered to look into what the use of force laws are in Florida, you would find out they are vastly different from NYS and Zimmerman was justified in what he did. Also you don't seem to have cognitive recall because I mentioned in my earlier posting that Zimmerman should have stayed in his truck and waited for the cops to respond. As far as your notion as who is demanding the case be looked at by the DOJ, well my friend it is your side in the sour grapes community that has a tough time with accepting life's hard blows to where you hope this time you'll get the right answer. Well guess what, it didn't happen then and it won't happen now! Even with all the marching, the demonstrations and protesting your side delivers, it is not going to change the out come with what happened. As tragic as it is for Zimmerman and the Martin family. Another aspect you failed to look into is that Mr. Martin fit the description of a burglary suspect who had broken into numerous homes in that development. This, plus when the evidence tech's inventoried Martin's belongings they found a screw driver that matched pry markings on the doors to the homes plus the paint transference's onto the blade of the screw driver also matched that from the different doors of the home's that were burglarized. This information could not be let out of course and had to be squelched not being reported upon by your buds in the media because they needed an Ogre in Zimmerman to crucify as being the villain. Do you see where I am going with this reader1, or do you need further explanation at a simpler level.

July 20, 2013
8:12 a.m.
reader1 says...

Oh well, I seem to have met another person who cannot communicate absent childish name calling. If you cannot behave, then you really should not come to sites like this. Your rants are embarrassing.

I'm a leftist? You have no idea what my political beliefs are. Does it make life more manageable for you to reduce everything down to these simple categories? People must either be a leftist, liberal, conservative - life is not that simple, at least not for most people.

RE: the verdict, you are not a careful reader - I wrote the jury voted on the case they were given and the case was overcharged. And, if as you agree he should have stayed in the car - then maybe a negligent manslaughter or reckless endangerment charge would be more appropriate.

RE: the DOJ - I don't think I mentioned that. DOJ will look at and not take this case. They have been asked to look at it, they will, but I would be shocked if they took it. Criteria does not fit.

Again, you seem unable or unwilling to understand that people may have a problem may trouble with one or all aspects of the case. The point being - some might think a murder 2nd guilty verdict was the right outcome, others like myself do not. Unfortunately, it is all or nothing with you.

You mentioned having police experience, if you hadn't said that I certainly would not have assumed it by your comments. You seem obsessed, almost delusional when it comes to people on the left, liberals to the point where you seem to see them everywhere.

NW is not his job, he violated the NE Manual and the training given to him by the Sanford PD.

Make things simpler - you seem unqualified to lecture anyone about the criminal justice system. And like I said, we'll just have to take your word you were a police officer for 21 years. If true, Thank God you're retired.

October 9, 2013
4:52 a.m.
pnotto says...

This is true but I will tell you reader1 for the last time please read the transcript of the trial because like all leftists you don't know your ass from your elbow. The only reason this case went forward is due to political pressure from the race baiters/race hustlers who need these incidents to happen to further their sick perverted agenda. Even one of the prosecutors even mentioned off the cuff that the state was not going to win the case to get any kind of conviction with what they had to prosecute Zimmerman on. But if you followed the trial you would have known this fact. But instead you spit up info that was proven false and impossible to attain where you try and act like you are a wealth of information when you are not. As stated if you were really up to date with this trial you would actually see beyond your nose that this whole issue was based 100% around that which was politically and racially motivated and fueled by the very race baiters/race hustlers who say they want justice but have to stir the storm that riles people's emotions and opinions with hate to try and reach their objective. Just look at a case called Tawana Brawley, remember that one and what the adjudication was in that instance. Sadly, these same people that use gasoline to put out the fires of injustice are the same retards and dim wits such as yourself that belong to and lead your party and happen to call themselves America's moral guide posts.

October 9, 2013
4:53 a.m.
pnotto says...

Continued from above;
I doubt you will find any Conservative(s) who does such things as your heroes in your party do. Only mentally deficient socialists like yourself would follow people like this just like in the story of the Pied Piper where you follow the leader(s) who have to institute hate and division in this country and stack the deck against some poor slob who acted in self defense. This is especially so when it comes to understanding issues like we just saw in the Zimmerman trial. If you would take your rose colored glasses off you could once and for all see the world in all its reality. As far as me communicating with you in gutter level name calling I will say you morons on the left invented the act so when I use it on you like your dim witted leftist buddies do to Conservative(s) you don't like it and run and hide as the cowards that your species are like. Just like any moronic leftist you base your retorts and useless rhetoric around feelings and emotion instead of facts and statistics that is why you foolish people can never win an argument or debate against any Conservative because you nit wits live in Disney World and are severely devoid of something called reality. Lastly, your right I am glad I am retired so I don't have to deal with dickheads like you and your leftist buddies any longer. Who, btw made my job that much harder because you people hold up the very same people who destroy this country and those who serve no legitimate purpose in society except to suck off of the nipple of society for their sustenance at the expense of us, the tax payers while giving nothing in return. You call them victims instead of leeches.

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