Our Time Press

Reactions in Bedford- Stuyvesant and Beyond to George Zimmerman’s Not Guilty Verdict

KAZEMBE BATTS was at a barber shop in Brooklyn when he heard the verdict for George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin’s killer.
While K was hopeful George Zimmerman would be convicted, the verdict, he says, came as no surprise.
“It reminded me of the Bernhard Goetz incident with regards to Zimmerman’s perception that Trayvon was a criminal.” Goetz, dubbed the “Subway Vigilante”, shot four young men who were allegedly trying to mug him on a NYC subway train. The incident set off a nationwide debate on race and crime, and the limits of self-defense.
“The Zimmerman verdict saddens and disappoints me, but it does not shock. The very first bad sign was the jury selection: no one on the jury was black.
“Zimmerman claimed that Trayvon Martin was holding him down on the ground. That’s irrelevant. Zimmerman followed Trayvon, who was unarmed. That was injustice to the highest degree.”

HARRIET G., an airport employee, heard the verdict while sitting with a friend in Mirrors on Grand Avenue. The former paralegal initially wanted to become a professional lawyer so the case interested her from its tragic beginnings in 2012. She told us the prosecution didn’t prove its case, but “the law is the law.” But it’s not so easy for Harriet to be very objective. She revealed how just a few months ago she left her post for a few minutes after spotting Trayvon’s mother walking through the terminal. “I just ran after her and hugged her very tight.”

JOANNA G gave this message:
Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing is a film about the death of the American Dream. Just as the dreams, hopes and future of Trayvon Martin were ended tragically by unnecessary violence.
Filmed in 1989 and set in the Bed-Stuy of the preceding decade, Do the Right Thing depicts explosive ethnic confrontation between Italians, Jews, blacks and gentrifying whites.
The Radio Raheem character, like the large majority of Black youth, is the victim of misplaced hatred which vigorously target the young-African-American-male demographics.
We need to start talking about this – before a thousand more Sal’s Pizzerias, or a thousand more Bedford-Stuys, go up in flames as well.
RIP Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Darius Simmons, JeRean Blake, Is the killing of these children justifiable homicide in America?
To all the mothers and grandmothers: We must protect our children. Hold their hands tight. I don’t want my children to be afraid of people, but understand that there are people who are evil and will hurt you without conscience. Note: Skittles should be sponsoring some outreach or grassroots initiative that gives scholarships to black children.

TISH JAMES was the first to inform us of the news: “Did you hear?” She was emerging from her car as we walked past.
“Hear what?”
“The verdict.” There was no need to go further: her face told the story. We were thinking that there’s a blessing in having a Public Advocate with a law degree, compassion and fire.
(Bernice Elizabeth Green)

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