The jury has not yet returned a verdict in the George Zimmerman murder trial, but some African Americans are already calling it a win for the defense.
“A lot of the people who come in here believe that Zimmerman is going to walk,” Shawn Wood, the owner of a barbershop in Sanford, Fla.’s Black community, told BET.com. “They think that the defense has convinced the jury that Zimmerman acted in self-defense.”
This resignation is not unique to Sanford, the city where the fatal encounter between Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin occurred. BET.com asked several Black trial watchers for their thoughts on the case, and many said that they felt Zimmerman’s lawyers have gained an advantage over the prosecution.
For some, their feelings were the result of distrust in a criminal justice system that they said values the lives of White Americans over those of Black Americans, while others mentioned the difficulty in arguing a case with no eyewitnesses in which one of the two key individuals is dead.
According to BET.com, the African Americans they talked to overwhelmingly believe that Zimmerman is guilty, however several lack trust in the ability of a mostly White jury to see the case from the point of view of a Black American.
“I think Zimmerman is going to walk… The defense has been able to manipulate the case in a way that will allow the jury to feel they should give him a pass,” Ryan Tucker, a senior majoring in psychology at Southern University in Louisiana told the website. “At the end of the day, a 17-year-old kid was killed when he was doing nothing, and the guy who shot him had a history of calling the police about African-Americans walking around in his neighborhood — and he had a gun. I don’t know how a jury can ignore that. But they just might.”