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Provoking, Pursuing and Profiling

A bad verdict, a bad law and a bad outcome in the Trayvon Martin case

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How can George Zimmerman claim he shot Trayvon Martin in self-defense when, in fact, Trayvon was defending himself from Zimmerman? How can Zimmerman claim he was standing his ground when, in fact, it was Trayvon who was standing his ground? And why was Zimmerman's version of the events leading up to the shooting accepted as gospel truth without question or investigation? Did they even check for blood on the sidewalk upon which Zimmerman claims to have been beaten?

The fact is, Zimmerman racially profiled Trayvon and wrongly identified him as a possible criminal. He followed Trayvon. He might even have confronted Trayvon and tried to detain him. For all we know, Zimmerman pulled his gun on Trayvon prior to the fight, and that's what prompted Trayvon to attack him.

Regardless, Zimmerman's actions were those of an aggressor, and his actions provoked the fight that he was losing. But just because he was losing a fight that he started didn't give him the right to shoot and kill someone. You can't claim self-defense when you are the aggressor.

The jury got it wrong. The prosecutor did a bad job. The judge provided inadequate guidance to a confused jury that wanted to convict for manslaughter. The justice system failed. Again.

Chris Wenmoth lives in Santa Rosa.

Open Mic is a weekly op/ed feature in the Bohemian. We welcome your contribution. To have your topical essay of 350 words considered for publication, write openmic@bohemian.com.

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