“Holder's Hot Pursuit Portrays Reverse Racism
Ramesh C. Reddy
happens, human nature is to look for justice! It has been no
different in the George Zimmerman case where Zimmerman was accused
and charged for the tragic death of 17-year old Trayvon Martin. The
problem Attorney General Eric Holder and many protestors have is
that justice was not served because Zimmerman was acquitted of
second-degree murder and manslaughter charges on Saturday, July 13,
2013 by a six-member jury of his peers.
Many protestors across the nation have
been very upset that Zimmerman is free while the family and friends
of Martin are in bondage to the pain of losing Martin without
Zimmerman paying for it.
It is a tragedy when anyone loses their
life and it becomes exponential when the party responsible for the
death is not held responsible. Hence the outcry to bring federal
civil rights criminal charges against Zimmerman.
But is this the ethical way to go?
Holder should know the importance of
upholding the law even if he does not agree with the final decision.
It is not his place to second guess the jury and get the Justice
Department involved especially since the Justice Department has a
policy of not involving itself in state matters unless there is
According to the Pittsburgh
Post-Gazette, the policy says, ‘State courts incompetence,
corruption, intimidation or undue influence’, can justify the filing
of federal charges following an acquittal, as can a jury’s disregard
for the evidence or the emergence of new information! “
There are no allegations that any of
this occurred on the state level for the Justice Department to get
involved. Usually, federal criminal civil rights charges are filed
when it is a racial issue. However, the state prosecutors did not
even make this into a racial issue.
Florida State Attorney Angela Corey who
prosecuted Zimmerman said, “This case has never been about race….”
Now if the Justice Department gets
involved and makes this into a racial issue because of pressure from
special interest groups, they are not doing their job ethically.
It is so sad and a tragedy that Martin
died in a confrontation with Zimmerman but Zimmerman was using the
state’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ law that allows a person to defend
themselves, if they believe their life is in danger, even if it
involves deadly force.
It is the responsibility of the state to
prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt, that Zimmerman is guilty
of second-degree murder and manslaughter, as the burden of proof but
there was reasonable doubt in the minds of jurors so they could not
convict Zimmerman. No jury in their right mind would have convicted
Zimmerman based on this burden of proof so he was acquitted in light
of the ‘Stand Your Ground’ law.
Does that mean he is not guilty of the
murder of Martin?
We cannot say that because an acquittal
does not mean a person is not guilty of a crime but only that the
evidence heard by the jury was not beyond a reasonable doubt to
convict. Zimmerman may or may not be guilty of second-degree murder
or manslaughter, for only God and himself know the motive that
transpired that night whether it was self-defense or not.
What we do know is, according to our
laws even if people believe Zimmerman got away with murder, a
defendant cannot be put in a position of double jeopardy.
The Fifth Amendment to the U.S.
Constitution states, '....Nor shall any person be subject for the
same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb....."
There are those who would want you to
believe it is not double jeopardy to retry Zimmerman on a federal
level and they are partially right.
"In rare instances a person may be tried
for a different crime based on some of the same facts which were
used to try him/her when he/she was acquitted. A prime example is
the use of the Federal Civil Rights Act to charge a person with
violation of another's civil rights by killing him, after a state
murder case had resulted in an acquittal, as happened in the 1994
trials for the death of civil rights leader Medgar Evans and freedom
riders Andrew Goldman, Michael Schwerner, James Chaney, and Viola
For the most part the federal government
does not get involved if a state government prosecuted someone and
they were found not guilty.
"The U.S. Department of Justice has
developed an internal restriction on pursuing a prosecution after
state prosecution has failed. Federal prosecutors under this
restriction may only pursue a second prosecution under compelling
reasons, and the prosecutor must obtain prior approval from the
assistant attorney general prior to bringing the prosecution. This
restriction is called the "Petite Policy," named after the U.S.
Supreme Court's decision in Petite v. United States"
Holder should adhere to this policy when
it comes to Zimmerman otherwise he is putting Zimmerman's freedom at
risk especially since there is no compelling reason to get
away from the 'Stand Your Ground' law. Also the compelling reasons
have to be very narrow as stated earlier regarding the policy.
If Zimmerman is guilty, even though
acquitted, justice will be served one way or the other because a
guilt ridden person’s conscience will not let him be at peace.
“Anyone tormented by the guilt of murder
will seek refuge in the grave; let no one hold them back!” (Proverbs
When it comes to the law, we cannot
become vigilantes under the disguise of justice to get our revenge
one way or the other. It is not our call no matter how painful the
outcome is when we believe it is the responsibility of the courts to
uphold the law. Sometimes that means even the guilty go free because
of the burden of proof requirement but
“Vengeance is mine saith the Lord!”
We need not look further than the
heinous double homicide that O.J. Simpson was charged with and
prosecuted for. However, Simpson was acquitted by a jury of his
peers because the burden of proof: ‘Beyond a reasonable doubt’ was
It is my opinion that justice still was
served even though it was delayed justice because he was found
guilty in a wrongful death lawsuit causing him to declare
bankruptcy. Not only that but later he was charged and prosecuted
for armed robbery which he was convicted for. Now, Simpson is in
prison for more than 33 years.
The point being is if Zimmerman has a
criminal mind and is guilty of anything beyond self-defense against
Martin that caused his death, then justice will be served one day
even if it is delayed justice. But, let me reiterate that it is not
the Justice Department’s role to get involved since there was no
impropriety even if the National Association of the Advancement of
Colored People (NAACP) wants to make this a racial issue filing a
petition for federal criminal civil rights charges.
What irks me is the decision of Holder
to get involved in this particular case because of the pressure he
is receiving when the Justice Department did not get involved in the
O.J. Simpson case. Even more than that, it is the conflict of
interest that is brewing in this whole tragedy.
It is important to mention that President
Obama, who is black, appointed Attorney General Holder, who is
black, who wants to get justice for the tragic death of Martin, who
is black! It is also important to mention the amount of time Holder
spent talking to the NAACP about the Zimmerman case. Therefore, Holder is not fit to prosecute this case
on a federal level because of the conflict of interest!
The Justice Department cannot pick and
choose who to prosecute and who not to prosecute on federal criminal
civil rights charges just because of their own personal experiences
such as what Holder shared with the NAACP.
Under the Clinton Administration,
President Bill Clinton, who is white, appointed Attorney General
Janet Reno, who is white, who found out that Simpson was acquitted
of the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend
Ronald Lyle Goldman, who are both white. Reno did not ask the
Justice Department to pursue federal criminal civil rights charges
What is worse is that the NAACP did not
even get involved to give justice to the families of Brown and
Goldman when they are all about civil rights.
NAACP President Benjamin Jealous wrote,
“The most fundamental of civil rights – the right to life – was
violated the night George Zimmerman stalked and then took the life
of Taryvon Martin. We ask that the Department of Justice file civil
rights charges against Mr. Zimmerman for this egregious violation.”
If the NAACP sees the right to life as
the most fundamental of civil rights, where was the NAACP to file a
petition on behalf of Brown and Goldman?
They did not get involved because to
them the ‘right to life’ as a fundamental of civil rights is
one-sided. It only applies when the victim is black otherwise they
should have intervened. Not only that but to evoke the ‘right to
life’ as a fundamental of civil rights makes them so hypocritical
because the NAACP has shown ardent support for abortion.
Will the NAACP agree that everyone who
has had an abortion should be charged federally with civil rights criminal
charges because the ‘right to life’ was violated?
We know the answer is ‘No!’
My point being is that there seems to be
no consistency with the NAACP or Justice Department unless it
involves their own. This is reverse racism at best by the NAACP or
Holder if they continue to pursue for federal criminal civil rights
charges against Zimmerman.
My favorite employment mentor, who is
black, has influenced me greatly when it comes to perception and
consistency. He is a general manager of a well-respected company who
has helped me to rise in the ranks.
He would say something to the effect, ‘Ramesh,
it is very important to be consistent across the board when it comes
to discipline or rewards so there is no perception of impropriety or
discrimination. When we are not consistent is when we open ourselves
to all kinds of problems.”
It is this philosophy that is applied by
me to Holder’s pursuit of the Zimmerman case because there is no
consistency with the Justice Department or the NAACP which Holder
Based on an individual’s perception, it
can be clearly seen that reverse racism is at work from the Justice
Department regardless of who is at the helm.
Are the deaths of white victims Brown &
Goldman or the innocent deaths of those that have been aborted any
less significant than the black victim Martin?
If we are honest, we will say that all 4
are deaths that are tragic without justice as we want to see it!
But that cannot cloud our sense of
ethics to be consistent with the justice of discipline. We cannot
have a double standard based on race for justice because then it
becomes reverse racism. In this case, it is against Zimmerman.
In conclusion, the Justice Department
and NAACP should back of in pursuing federal criminal civil rights
charges against Zimmerman because the state has shown that the
prosecution was not race based and the defense has shown that
Zimmerman was defending himself against Martin using Florida’s
‘Stand Your Ground’ laws.
Taking of a life is tragic whether it is
in self-defense or not but as a society we have come to accept the
fact that self-defense can probably cause people to lose their
lives. Many police officers kill in the line of duty in self-defense
but we do not hear cries for federal civil rights criminal charges
against every officer based on ‘the fundamental basic civil right of
‘right to life’. It does not happen.
If Zimmerman is guilty, justice will
take its course!
Let it however be in
a civil court trying him for wrongful death because then the burden
of proof is only preponderance of evidence that has to be met. If
‘Stand Your Ground’ law of self-defense cannot be applied in the
‘wrongful death’ suit, he will be found guilty of the tragic death
The Justice Department of the Obama
administration under the helm of Holder is already blemished and
this act will only add on to the blemish.
Allegheny County of Pittsburgh that
voted heavily for President Obama has majority of citizens who don’t
believe that Zimmerman should be charged federally on civil rights
criminal charges according to a News Radio KQV AM 1410 listener poll:
According to the Tribune-Review, when
asked, ‘Do you believe the Justice Department should file criminal
civil rights charges against Zimmerman for the shooting death of
Martin?’ the results showed 230 (8 percent) people who said ‘Yes’
and a whopping 2,604 (92 percent) who said ‘No’.
For the many antagonists that are
against Zimmerman there are also proponents for the support of
Zimmerman who don’t want him to be tried federally. Based on my
reasons, I stand with those that said ‘NO’! You should too if you
agree with the reasons!
Speaking out against federal civil
rights criminal charges against Zimmerman does not ever negate the
fact that a tragedy occurred in the Martin family’s life and
Zimmerman will have to live the rest of his life knowing he took the
life of a teenager even if it was in self-defense.
If this case irks you and upsets you
very much, you should watch ‘ A Time to Kill’ which will raise more
questions for discussion especially the
of the movie.
Still let us not tarnish the court
system of the state by trying to recharge Zimmerman.
Ramesh C. Reddy can be reached
and will publish all letters to the editor in due time!