What if George Zimmerman was a Police Officer?Submitted by Marc Clair on Mon, 07/15/2013 - 15:45
It is not my intention with this post to judge the innocence or guilt of George Zimmerman. A jury has acquitted him of charges for the murder of Trayvon Martin. The jury has seen and examined the evidence more than I nor any online armchair juror has. Rather it is reaction of the media and the public at large over the case that I find interesting, if not perplexing.
Over at the Lew Rockwell blog, Butler Shaffer makes an interesting observation about the closing argument the prosecution made in their case against Zimmerman:
Toward the end of the state’s summation, it was said that if a person wanted to do what George Zimmerman did “you’d better have one of these” (whereupon a photo of a policeman’s badge was projected onto the screen).
When the prosecutor refers to “what George Zimmerman did” he is likely referring to his activities as a private citizen participating in his local “Neighborhood Watch” program. It was under this auspice that Zimmerman was operating when he called 911 and reported what he saw as the suspicious behavior of Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman was operating as part of a voluntary organization of neighbors who have gathered together to protect their neighborhood, which had been subject to a series of burglaries.
The implication here is not that Zimmerman did anything wrong by finding Martin’s behaviors suspicious, nor by reporting that activity or keeping an eye on his movements. Zimmerman’s real sin was not having “the badge”. Because he was a private citizen and not an employee of the State, Zimmerman’s actions leading up to the incident with Martin were somehow less valid than if he were a “certified” member of law enforcement.