Zimmerman has been receiving death threats and as a result, has gone into hiding. He and his wife have cut off their phones and only a few relatives know their whereabouts. The New Black Panther Party, an African-American organization who took their name from the radical group popular in the 1960s has put a $10,000 bounty on Zimmerman.
Zimmerman has yet to be arrested for the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. A grand jury is scheduled to meet April 10 to review the evidence in this case which has sparked civil rights movements around the country. The murder of Trayvon Martin has turned into a case about race and George Zimmerman’s attorneys and family are doing everything they can to prove that Zimmerman is not a racist and the shooting was not a hate crime. A friend of Zimmerman, Joe Oliver, who is African American, appeared on TODAY with Craig Sonner, George Zimmermans lawyer. Oliver said, “I’m a black male and all that I know is that George has never given me any reason whatsoever to believe he has anything against people of color.” Sonner said, “The incident that transpired is not racially motivated or a hate crime in any way. It was self-defense.” Sonner also said, “George Zimmerman suffered a broken nose and has an injury on the back of his head. He was attacked by Trayvon Martin.”
Though it seems that the murder of Trayvon was, in part, the consequence of racial profiling, whether George Zimmerman is racist or not racist does not negate the fact that an innocent teenager is dead. Interviewing Zimmerman’s African-American friend about how Zimmerman feels about him as a black man is a waste of resources; we should be asking Zimmerman’s friends questions about his temperament, if he has a violent background, if he has a history of substance abuse, mental illness or even symptoms of PTSD that could cause him to easily feel threatened. These answers can help piece together what actually happened on February 26.
George Zimmerman’s possible racism has nothing to do with the heart of this case. Jonathan Capehart of the Washington Post said it best, “His [Zimmerman] liberty makes a mockery of justice when others have gone to prison for less.”