Saturday, March 31, 2012

Demand "Justice" But Beware The Rush To Judgment In The Trayvon Martin Case

There are many disturbing questions surrounding the shooting of Trayvon Martin, many of them outlined here.  A rigorous independent investigation geared towards answering these questions and determining the extent to which George Zimmerman committed criminal acts is essential.  But as rallies today by civil rights groups and others "demand justice" and call for Zimmerman's "immediate arrest," I want to urge caution.

The disparity in treatment between young African Americans suspected of criminal conduct and George Zimmerman, who we know shot and killed Trayvon Martin, is stark and I share the frustration and the outrage of the protesters.  But, I remain very uncomfortable with the demands and petition drives calling for Zimmerman's arrest and prosecution (not to mention the vigilante response) based only on the selected facts to which we, the public, have become privy. 

There are very good reasons to doubt the good faith of local law enforcement and the prosecuting agencies in this case, and we should certainly be demanding justice.  But we can't know yet what a just response is.  We should await the findings of the special prosecutor -- which may very well spur more legitimate questions and demands -- rather than rush to judgment now based on the limited information filtered down to us from the media.

Far more often than not, in the wake of a tragic death it is the suspicious-looking African American in the hoodie for whom there is this kind of clamor for "swift justice."  

[Stop Racism, Not HoodiesThe Right Continues To Play To Stereotype]


Memphis Johnny said...

I totally agree! Justice will prevail if people will let it.

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