Sunday, September 15, 2013

Lake Mary, Florida, Police Chief Agrees, George Zimmerman Is Another "Sandy Hook" Waiting to Happen

George Zimmerman's name came up today during a church sermon. The guest speaker said that Zimmerman's latest incident shows him to be a volatile man, dangerous man. "You do believe that it was Trayvon Martin calling for help, right?," he asked. The question was rhetorical. The speaker had said that gated or otherwise, a neighborhood without genuine neighbors is a hood with hoodlums, meaning Zimmerman. The tale of "The Good Samaritan" was his scriptural reference.

The mention of GZ caused me to look up the latest news on him because the last I'd heard was that there had been a domestic violence incident and his estranged wife Shellie and her father, whom GZ allegedly punched in the nose, refused to press charges. The two are going through a divorce.

I was not surprised that Shellie Zimmerman refused to press charges; however, I saw men on Facebook who declared that she must have been lying about George becoming violent if she dropped the charges. I told someone else that more than likely Shellie had been pressured by her and Zimmerman's attorney to drop the charges. Divorce attorneys urge women to drop domestic violence charges with statements such as, "If he goes to jail, he won't be able to work and pay support." So, the woman drops the charges but later is subjected to accusations that she lied because she dropped the charges.

In any event, the latest news on Zimmerman is that Lake Mary, Florida, Police Chief Steve Bracknell (pictured above) says in an email to Santiago Rodriguez, a concerned citizen, that he agrees with Rodriguez's assessment that Zimmerman is a "ticking time bomb" and another "Sandy Hook" waiting to happen. Bracknell also says that Zimmerman did indeed punch Shellie's father in the nose. Furthermore, Bracknell believes Zimmerman had a gun that day, but that GZ hid it in his car, which the police did not have the authority to search.

He also says in the email that he wants nothing to do with the Zimmermans and that in his town, he wants officers to follow the law. He reminds Rodriguez that it was his department that gave Zimmerman a $256 ticket earlier this year for speeding.

You can read more about the exchange at the Guardian and also at Think Progress. Bracknell has confirmed that he wrote the email. You may read the unedited emails at Scribd.

Zimmerman was acquitted earlier this year for shooting and killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, a black teen who was unarmed and walking back to the home of his father's girlfriend in Sanford, Florida.

If find this latest news all the more tragic and telling: tragic because a young man--a boy--is dead, and his killer walks free to create mayhem, and telling because soon after the Trayvon Martin murder broke as a national story, it became clear that Zimmerman had had not only a history of violence but also an obsession with becoming a police officer. He had been rejected, however, reduced to being a wannabe with neighborhood watch.

GZ also has a proven history of claiming the other person was the aggressor after the other person presses charges or, in Martin's case, winds up dead. Did the prosecution bring any of this up at trial? Was it deemed irrelevant information by the judge?

I have always thought that the racist behavior in Trayvon Martin's case was--first--GZ's decision to racially profile Martin and to get out of his vehicle and follow him and--second--the Sanford Police Department's decision to believe GZ's version of the story, take away Trayvon Martin's body, and not even bother to find out whose child he was. Their decision to believe GZ was not due to some great confidence in GZ as an upstanding, mentally stable citizen but due to their own racial bias. They too easily believed that any black boy, even one talking on a cell phone while carrying a bag of Skittles and a bottle of tea, is most likely a violent criminal deserving of death.

So, I see Bracknell's treatment of Zimmerman more in line with typical police behavior when police officers really want to follow the law and protect their communities. After hearing evidence of Trayvon's murder with the rest of us and now after watching how Zimmerman's behaved since acquittal, they think something is wrong with him and he bears watching. They don't like the way GZ eagerly takes matters into his own hands. They think he's a guilty man.

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