Zimmerman Acquittal: The Aftermath


July 23, 2013 – Mark Sawyer, chair of the UCLA Interdepartmental Program in Afro-American Studies, professor of political science, director of UCLA’s Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity and Politics, and a Bunche Center affiliated faculty member, was interviewed on “The O’Reilly Factor”  about President Obama’s recent comments on race and racial profiling following the not-guilty verdict in the Trayvon Martin case.  Click HERE.

Meanwhile, black leaders and activists continue to spar over President Obama’s stances on the reality of the “New Jim Crow,” drone warfare, NSA surveillance of American citizens, and economic justice for the poor.  Professor Cornel West’s public criticisms of Obama have been particularly controversial.  Click HERE for his recent interview on Democracy Now!

July 20, 2013 – Brenda Stevenson, UCLA professor of history and African-American studies and Bunche Center affiliated faculty member was quoted in an Associated Press article about President Obama’s recent remarks on the Trayvon Martin case.   Click Here.

July 18, 2013 – CNN reports on President Obama’s comments on Friday as he tried to explain why African-Americans were upset about last week’s acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.  Obama lowered expectations for federal charges in the case.  Click  HERE.

July 16, 2013 — Amid protests in over 100 cities across the nation, today’s LA Times offers a tone deaf editorial entitled, “Why try Zimmerman?”  The Times editorial questions whether there is enough evidence to convict George Zimmerman in a federal trial, arguing that “not every tragedy or bad judgment is proof of a crime, much less a federal civil rights violation.”  Really?  How about permitting evidence about race into the case that the Florida judge excluded?  Click HERE.

July 15, 2013 — In Professor Robin D. G. Kelley’s powerful opinion piece in the The Huffington Post, he discusses how the criminal justice system is designed to protect white citizens while criminalizing all others, particularly blacks.  He demands that this system be challenged for true change to occur.  Click HERE.

July 15, 2013 — Click HERE for The Root’s coverage of different takes on the Zimmerman acquittal.


July 13, 2013 — Six women jurors, fives whites and one minority of unidentified race/ethnicity, acquitted George Zimmerman of murder charges in the tragic shooting death of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin.

In an era in which the denial of race is a dominant discourse, the judge in the case ruled that Zimmerman’s “racial profiling” of Martin could only be referred to as “profiling” in the trial, setting the stage for a jury with no identifiable blacks to find Zimmerman not guilty of the charges.  Combined with Florida’s “stand -your-ground law” and a definition of self-defense that probably wouldn’t pass the plausibility test in fiction, the invocation of this discourse enabled a verdict that sends a profoundly dangerous message.

June 21, 2013 — Six women jurors, five whites and one minority of unidentified race/ethnicity, were selected to serve in the trial of George Zimmerman for the shooting death of black teenager Trayvon Martin.  Read the Huffington Post’s account of the jury selection process HERE.

June 9, 2013 — The highly anticipated trial of George Zimmerman for the shooting death of black teenager Trayvon Martin is set to begin in a Florida courtroom.  Defense efforts to place the deceased teen on trial for alleged marijuana use and other run ins with authority thus far have been barred by the trial judge.  Bunche Center Director Darnell Hunt discusses the significance of the trial for Black Los Angeles.  Click HERE for the audio.

July 6, 2012 — With the help of supporters, George Zimmerman posts $1 million bond and is released from jail while he awaits trial.  Click HERE for story.

April 10, 2012 —The (racial) divide in opinions about the Trayvon Martin case seems to be crystallizing.  While black leaders and the Martin family recently held a rally in Los Angeles to mark the two-month anniversary of the shooting, Zimmerman’s attorney announced that a website created to raise money for the shooter’s defense raised more than $200,000.

“These assholes…They always get away.” — Click HERE for portions of the 911 call from TYT.  Not that we needed a reminder of the continuing significance of race in America, but the tragic killing of Trayvon Martin has sparked a nationwide debate over racial profiling, character, and criminal “just us.”  An opinion poll shows that while most black Americans feel the shooting is emblematic of  contemporary racism in America, most whites see media coverage of the case as excessive.  Bunche Center Director Darnell Hunt comments on some of these issues HERE, in an Our Weekly article.  Writer and UCLA alumna Erin Aubry Kaplan tackles the significance of President Obama’s comments on the matter HERE, in a Los Angeles Times op-ed piece.



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