Even pampered upper middle class black kids (with the physical abilties of a cub scout)often depict the rough image of the hip hop culture. Doesn't mean much what's in his facebook page if such is the depiction. Martin certainly had no record of hoodlumism, disciplinary problems at school or a police record. Zimmerman DID have a police record and, if I'm not mistaken, was once arrested for assaulting a police officer. Frankly, if Trayvon was white, and Zim Black, there's no way Zim wouldn't have been arrested. And neigbors themselves had complained about him. He was a loose cannon.<quoted text>
From what I've heard regarding this case, it would seem that Zimmerman did indeed have a racist "attitude" toward blacks. If it is concluded that he committed a crime in shooting Martin, then this attitude should be examined by the judge/jury to determine if hate crime statutes apply.
However, your outline for presumption of guilt wouldn't hold up in court.
1. he followed, but did Martin turn and attack? When questioned, did he go off physically on Zimmerman? The fact of following doesn't confirm then that Zimmerman was the aggressor in any physical confrontation.
2. He had a gun. Martin had what ability as a fighter? He certainly portrayed himself in Facebook photos as a menacing thug type. If Zimmerman, as one witness asserts, was in fact on his back, yelling for help, had a bloody nose and blood on his head, then the use of a gun is in fact consistent with Florida's "stand your ground" law, however much we may dislike that law.
3. Faced with imminent and likely physical damage from an assailant, I will shoot his ass, even if he's armed only with a flower. We cannot reasonably expect Zimmerman to allow himself to be injured by an assailant because they're unevenly armed. Again, even without "stand your ground", existing self-defense provisions in the law would exonerate Zimmerman.
Since we don't have transcripts of what was said nor video images of the event (yet, at least), we cannot reasonably conclude which scenario is the correct one. And we therefore cannot impugn the motives of either Martin or Zimmerman.
Interesingly enough, neighbors say that it was a child's voice they heard screaming for help. We don't know much about the witness who supposedly saw Zim bloodied and bruised. The jacket which Zim supposedly wore which would have had grass stains on if things happened as he and his mysterious witness claims, has been reported as lost. I hope they find it soon. I don't recall for certain, but the gun may lso be now missing; and I'm not sure ballistics tests were done.
If a stranger who is not an officer, and does not identify himself as an officer, physically accosts you on the street, you're entitled to try to escape him (as some cell conversations suggeest Martin attempted to do) or to reply with force, which he may or may not have done.
Face with imminent harm from an assailant you may be entitled to resort to use of firearms--though it's a stretch to claim self-defense given the obvious physical advantages a Zimm had without a gun. Unfortunately, Zimmerman himself would have been the assailant since he started the altercation--in DEFIANCE of police orders!
Even by the lunacy of that stand your ground law I doubt Zim has much grounds.
But a larger issue is suggested to me by the questions: If Martin were white, and Zim Black, with everything else we know about the two being the same, wouldn't Zim be in jail. Would anyone ask why the white child (with no record) was wearing a hoodie or sagging pants? Would there be this persistence in trying to find something "thuggish" about him to defend a black assailant witha police reoord? Or wondering what the 140lbs white kid's fighting abilities were?