Rod Verdeen, attorney for Rachel Jeantel, 19, the prosecution’s key witness in the George Zimmerman‘s murder trial, says that the experience has been traumatic for her, but not as traumatic as losing her close friend:
Trayvon was one of the few guys, okay, and this is what, I mean, this ripped, tore my heart apart. She said he was one of the few guys that never made fun of me, about the way I dressed, about the way I talked, about my hair, about my complexion, you know, about my weight.
Jeantel was the last person to speak with Martin on the night of February 26, 2012, 5 minutes before he was gunned down by George Zimmerman, 29.
In addition to the usual racists, some “concerned” Black people have taken to social media to voice disgust at her inability to code-switch and her “ghetto” demeanor. They have also ridiculed her skin color and weight, in addition to laughing at her inability to read and write cursive English — even though Creole and Spanish are her first languages.
“Her father is from the Dominican Republic, her mother is Haitian, and she speaks English,” said Verdeen. “She doesn’t read cursive well, but then again the officer that was testifying the other day on the stand couldn’t read cursive well either. She was sitting there, you know, struggling over a letter. All right? They don’t teach that in school today. All right, so when I hear these folks jumping all over her and castigating her in the court of public opinion, it makes me say to myself, now see this is why people do not want to come out and be witnesses in cases when they see things happen because they’re going to be ridiculed and just castigated in the court of public opinion.”
But Jeantel took the emotional abuse from Zimmerman’s defense team, particularly Don West, to honor her friendship with Trayvon, Verdeen said.
“[Trayvon was] very nice to her,” said Verdeen. “Trayvon was a handsome little boy, all right? He was a cute kid. You know, and so here’s a young lady who’s infatuated with the fact that somebody like Trayvon Martin befriended her and then she was just struck at the fact that their friendship was the way it was and they texted each other all the time. They called each other all the time, you know? And this is the way she communicated with them, you know.”
Read more of the interview at Black American Web, including how Jeantel knows that Zimmerman lied about the words he claims that Trayvon used that fatal night.