Monday 19 March 2018

Three members of Trayvon jury believed killer was guilty

Protesters accuse the system of racism after the acquittal of George Zimmerman
Protesters accuse the system of racism after the acquittal of George Zimmerman

Philip Sherwell New York

THREE of the six jurors in the George Zimmerman trial believed that he was guilty of murder or manslaughter when they retired to consider their verdict, one of the all-female panel has admitted.

The juror, who appeared on CNN in silhouette to maintain her anonymity, disclosed how the three were talked out of convicting Mr Zimmerman for killing Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager, during more than 16 hours of deliberations.

During jury selection, the same woman described the dead teenager as a "boy of colour" and called the killing "an unfortunate incident that happened". Her comments will stoke further controversy after she described how jurors found the laws "very confusing" and struggled to follow the judge's instructions.

She also appeared to show sympathy for Mr Zimmerman, whom she frequently referred to as George, and disparaged the chief prosecution witness as lacking credibility because of poor education and communication skills.

Protests against the verdict continued for a third night and turned violent in Los Angeles. Plans for demonstrations in more than 100 cities this weekend were unveiled as civil rights leaders increased pressure on the Justice Department to bring federal hate crime charges against Mr Zimmerman. Veteran civil rights leader the Reverend Al Sharpton called yesterday for a 'Justice for Trayvon National Day of Action" on Saturday.

The 29-year-old neighbourhood watch volunteer shot dead 17-year-old Trayvon after calling police because he thought the teen was acting suspiciously as he walked through a gated community in Sanford, Florida.

He was cleared after defence lawyers argued that he had shot Trayvon in self-defence after the schoolboy attacked him. The juror, known only by her panel identity of B37, said she was one of three who supported clearing Mr Zimmerman. Two others believed he was guilty of manslaughter and one of second-degree murder.

She said Mr Zimmerman was "a man whose heart was in the right place," but believed that he did not show good judgment and should have stayed in his car when asked to do so by a police dispatcher rather than following Trayvon.

On one crucial point of contention, she said most, if not all, of the six jurors believed it was Mr Zimmerman who could be heard calling for help on a recorded 911 emergency call.

Trayvon's mother and brother testified that it was Trayvon's voice screaming, while Mr Zimmerman's parents and several friends swore they recognised it as Mr Zimmerman's. Juror B-37 told Mr Cooper that the panel, five of whom were white, did not believe that race was a factor. (©Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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