There are definitely signs that the national outcry about the Sanford police department in Florida simply letting George Zimmerman go with physical evidence still on his body, and the loaded gun he had used to shoot Trayvon Martin dead still in his possession is forcing the resolution most Americans want to see.
With Rick Scott now making the case a state issue, and with Sanford City Manager Bonaparte Norton having Sanford police chief Bill Lee step down-temporary or not, I tend to think that temporary is more for Lee's benefit, I think there's a good chance he won't be back in any case-clearly things are going in the right direction, which of course is the criminal investigation and trial of Robert Zimmerman for his actions. The idea that the Sanford police had decided that they had no basis to question Zimmerman's own explanation was absurd.
What's interesting is that with Zimmerman's attorney Craig Sonner speaking out yesterday he said that while his client is arguing that this was self-defense he seems to think that they won't use the infamous Stand Your Ground law to argue for his innocence. Sonner says the thinks that's mostly applicable to a home invasion scenario and that his client will be arguing from the age old legal defense of simply self defense.
From the point of view of Zimmerman this is probably very wise as that law is very polarizing and has a very bad reputation right now. However, it does beg some questions. From what we've heard since this case broke, Stand Your Ground has been used in a much broader way than simply defense of your home and property, even drug dealers have used it as a defense.
Especially problematic, is the fact that Stand Your Ground is the reason cited by the Sanford police for why they had to accept Zimmerman's version of events.
Sonner insists that his client is not a racist and that it's wrong to make this about race, that Zimmerman was actually a big brother to young black men and black women. Of course this doesn't prove that it wasn't a race issue. The anecdotes that Zimmerman's friends and family never thought of him as a racist hardly settles the matter.
Unfortunately, Mr. Sonner cannot simply declare questions about racism out of bound. The reality is that we have those conversations with the police where he mentioned race, seemed to be preoccupied with blacks.
The big problem is the question of the "vacuum." If not Trayvon's race, what was it about him that Zimmerman found so threatening that he shot him-while unarmed-dead? At a trial, Sonner will have to explain what the perceived threat was if not race and a jury will decide if this is reasonable. We get that Zimmerman was very threatened but was this anxiety reasonable or was it due to an inordinate fear of black people?
This is a question for a trial to figure out. Mr. Sonner simply cannot rule this question out of bounds before a trial. The real outrage is the way Zimmerman was allowed to leave with physical evidence and how the Sanford rested on his word alone. Zimmerman does deserve a fair trial as anyone else does, but he does not deserve to be able to avoid a trial. Hopefully we will have one soon. The American people demand this.