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Justifying Zimmerman’s racial profiling, Richard Cohen lashes out at black ‘culture’ and ‘Barry Obama’ on the lip of Harlem

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Richard Cohen, the one-time liberal Washington Post columnist (who has skewed right with Israel), is weirdly and irascibly tough in this column welcoming the not guilty verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman for the Trayvon Martin killing in Florida last year. I see the column is getting mocked widely, and many are describing Cohen’s argument as racist. Cohen moves on from statistics showing the high percentage of urban shootings alleged to be committed by young black men to angry, crude generalizations about Martin being justly “suspected because he was black,” and meditations about Barry Obama’s life “on the lip” of Harlem:

Martin was wearing a uniform we all recognize [a hoodie]…

I’m tired of politicians and others who have donned hoodies in solidarity with Martin and who essentially suggest that, for recognizing the reality of urban crime in the United States, I am a racist…

The problems of the black underclass are hardly new. They are surely the product of slavery, the subsequent Jim Crow era and the tenacious persistence of racism. They will be solved someday, but not probably with any existing programs. For want of a better word, the problem is cultural, and it will be solved when the culture, somehow, is changed….

At one time, I thought Barack Obama would bring the problem into the open and remove the racist stigma. Instead, he perpetuated it. In his acclaimed Philadelphia speech on race, he cited his grandmother as “a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed her by on the street.”

How about the former Barry Obama? When he was a Columbia University student living on the lip of then-dangerous Harlem, did he never have the same fear?

There’s no doubt in my mind that Zimmerman profiled Martin and, braced by a gun, set off in quest of heroism. The result was a quintessentially American tragedy — the death of a young man understandably suspected because he was black and tragically dead for the same reason.

The Post is defending the column. I wonder if Cohen, reportedly 72, is thinking about retirement, and so he feels the need to bust loose before he hits the pasture. Thanks to Max Blumenthal.

Philip Weiss

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63 Responses

  1. Woody Tanaka on July 16, 2013, 2:58 pm

    “Martin was wearing a uniform we all recognize [a hoodie]…”

    This is really disgusting bigotry on Cohen’s part. No, a hoodie is not a “uniform” of black offenders, as he suggests. It’s what one wears when one is outside when it is raining, as Trayvon Martin was when he was walking to the store that night. I don’t know whether Zimmerman racially profiled Martin or not, but one thing’s for sure, Cohen surely did.

    • Woody Tanaka on July 16, 2013, 3:13 pm

      And Cohen went even further. Talking to Politico, he stated, “”A hoodie. It’s what’s worn by a whole lot of thugs. Look in the newspapers, online or on television: you see a lot of guys in the mugshots wearing hoodies.”

      Of course, it’s also worn by people — like Trayvon Martin — who are out in the rain don’t want to get wet. What a bigot Cohen is.

      • Philip Munger on July 16, 2013, 5:07 pm

        Rachel Corrie in hoodie:

        Cohen could have said “A hoodie. It’s what’s worn by a whole lot of thugs and terrorists.”

      • joecatron on July 16, 2013, 9:29 pm

        Without knowing the story behind that particular picture, I suspect it was a stopgap hijab. Somehow, I doubt Cohen would smile more favorably on that.

      • joecatron on July 16, 2013, 9:27 pm

        What police department lets you wear a hoodie, or any non-religious headgear, when posing for a mugshot?

      • Woody Tanaka on July 17, 2013, 6:51 am

        “What police department lets you wear a hoodie, or any non-religious headgear, when posing for a mugshot?”

        Richard Cohen’s racist fantasy PD, of course.

    • marc b. on July 16, 2013, 4:52 pm

      I sympathize with cohen, woody. whenever i see a middle-aged to oldish, ivy-educated white guy writing moralizing Op-Eds for the NYT or WaPo I understandably suspect that he’s an idiot.

      • Donald on July 16, 2013, 4:58 pm

        “henever i see a middle-aged to oldish, ivy-educated white guy writing hectoring Op-Eds for the NYT or WaPo I understandably suspect that he’s an idiot.”

        It’s a useful heuristic that will serve you well in life, enabling you to save time that might have been wasted reading the output of morons.

      • marc b. on July 16, 2013, 5:33 pm

        and yet I still periodically waste my time on the likes of cohen or frideman, Donald. something about a car crash or other disasters. just seem to draw your attention.

      • ritzl on July 16, 2013, 5:25 pm

        @marc b. Big :D LOL

    • piotr on July 16, 2013, 5:29 pm

      Like ritzl I have a hoodie. I also have an experience of living for 6 months near the inner city of Chicago where I had to have a number of walks etc. and I found it helpful to “look native” (in Chicago winter this is not a hoodie).

      As a fan of mental experiments, I wander if it would be OK to randomly stop and frisk Richard Cohen if he would fall into a profile of while collar criminal: three piece suit, self-satisfied expression, and perhaps exhibiting unnecessary politeness, so characteristic of con artists?

    • Tzombo on July 16, 2013, 8:37 pm

      It’s either racism or classism. Cohen would probably be driving to the store.

  2. Chu on July 16, 2013, 3:02 pm

    After watching a lot of the courtroom testimony and reading articles, it became clear that Zimmerman’s story was seemingly consistent, as the neighbor and detectives both verified his claims. He was attacked and was the one getting the beating from a 6′-0″ seventeen year old (intially he was made out to be a 12 year-old with some skittles and pepsi in hand).
    I assumed when the trial started that he was going to be convicted, but for how long was the question. It showed that I had already decided that he was guilty, which is why so many are protesting and angry right now – I don’t think they heard the testimony. They were presented with a lot of inaccuracies and now they are reeling about it. All of these female jurors making a unanimous decision about this case, must have felt some sympathy for Travon, but the state didn’t prove it’s case. Hardly a racial case.
    Remember Sean Bell? That was ten time worse. But that was the NYPD establishment, so the news was afraid to incite racial tension then. This was the summer case of 2013, designed to draw all that racism and gun rights out so pundits have something to talk about other than the real topics of the day. NSA spying. Even Obama commented on the Travon case today – playing politics when required – that’s our transformational president at work.

    • Woody Tanaka on July 16, 2013, 3:50 pm

      My problem with the case is the fact that he could press a self-defense claim without having the burden of proving it and without having to take the stand. As far as I’m concerned, if he is going to say through his lawyer that Martin attacked him, but it was Martin that ended up dead, then Zimmerman should have had to take the stand and be questioned and cross-examined by the State. Otherwise the jury is simply speculating.

      Since he admitted to killing the only other person who had first-hand information on that question, I would have no problem putting the onus on him to prove that his self-defense claim was valid and if he couldn’t do it, then he should be sent to jail.

      • Chu on July 16, 2013, 6:25 pm

        great idea. But the laws don’t require the person to take the stand in the case you described.(imagine OJ forced to take the stand) Although they did replay Zimmerman’s testimony when at the police station. This was a win for the Zimmerman defense team – he gets to explain his side of the events (on video) while not having to be cross examined.
        Also during the testimony of the detective, he had said to Zimmerman that someone had a tape of the entire event – bluffing to see if Zimmerman would sweat and change the events, but he was relieved and said ”thank god. I was hoping somebody would have videotaped it.’

    • American on July 16, 2013, 4:05 pm

      The state couldn’t prove it’s case because of Fla.’s Stand Your Ground Law which says you may shoot someone “if you feel threatened”….. even IF THE OTHER PERSON IS UNARMED.
      It leaves the “feeling threatened” up to the judgement of the shooter.
      I didnt watch all the trial but imo there was no questioning of whether or not the shooters ‘fear for his life’ was ‘reasonable’ in the fight between the two.
      That is why this whole case stinks.
      I have no doubt there was racism involved in this–very obvious in the Fla police and DA offices–no doubt that Zimmerman did profile.
      This is the third Stand Your Ground killing in Fla.
      In a prior one a black man was the shooter. A white man had taken his children to a public park across from the black man’s home and was letting them skateboard on the basketball court. The black man objected to the noise they were making and walked over to the park carrying his gun in his hand and told the white guy to get his kids off the court, the white guy jumped him when he saw the gun and the black guy pulled the trigger and killed him.
      I didnt follow up the story and dont know if he was charged with anything or not, but would be interesting know if there were differences in how the killings were handled.
      IMO in the long haul more people will be killed by nitwits and malcontents carrying guns than lives saved by allowing nitwits to walk the streets carrying guns.

      • Woody Tanaka on July 16, 2013, 4:29 pm

        “The state couldn’t prove it’s case because of Fla.’s Stand Your Ground Law which says you may shoot someone ‘if you feel threatened’….. ”

        That’s why a defendant should not be able to envoke that law without taking the stand. how can a jury assess what a shooter was feeling without him being questioned and cross-examined?

      • ritzl on July 16, 2013, 5:34 pm

        @WT, and the obvious corollary, the dead person cannot testify. Any decision in SYGL questions is already weighted toward the survivor.

        It may not be constructive to analogize this case with the I/P conflict, but there are so many similarities. The truism that history is written by the victors is in full effect in both circumstances. How to compensate for that, in terms of justice sought and received?

      • Chu on July 16, 2013, 6:53 pm

        It depends on whose side of events you believe. If you buy into the Zimmerman defense team, he was being pummeled and his nose broke, and head smashed into the concrete. The marks indicate that this happened. I would say if he was jumped by Trayvon and sucker-punched, breaking his nose is more than ‘feeling threatened’.
        Also the neighbor who saw the fight, very credible to both sides, helped the defense of Zimmerman.

        The other case you mention is Trevor Dooley, the 71 year old who shot and killed a 41 year old father in front of his 8 year-old daughter. Convicted for eight years he appealed and served 7 months.

        The Castle doctrine is a more fitting rule, where stand your ground can be applied in any setting. When that 71 year old walked off his property and flashed a gun in his waist, he is on public property. Looks like he was itching for a fight, when you come out to a basketball court in broad daylight with a pistol.

      • joecatron on July 16, 2013, 9:35 pm

        “The state couldn’t prove it’s case because of Fla.’s Stand Your Ground Law”

        Nonsense. These urban legends really don’t quit once they start.

        The actual context of the Martin/Zimmerman case is, shall we say, less convenient to affluent liberals and the paid thugs they employ in both the public and private sectors.

        I’m just conspiracy-minded enough to suspect that’s why we’ve heard much more about irrelevant silliness like “stand your ground” laws instead.

    • American on July 16, 2013, 4:52 pm

      Consider a different ending.
      Martin followed and confronted by man who did not identify himself as either a cop or neighborhood watch guy. Zimmerman said he ‘reached into his pocket for his cell phone’ when he was face to face with Martin but ‘forgot which pocket he had put his phone in. Martin see the guy who has been following him reach into his pocket and ‘feels threatened’–he also has a gun and shoots Zimmerman and claims self defense.
      How do you think the Fla, police, Da and jury would have called that case?

      If a strange man was stalking you, and when you stopped to confront him and confronted you and reached into his pocket for something—-how would you react?
      I have always suspected that Zimmerman let his gun be visible to Martin and that’s why Martin jumped him…and thats probably not the reaction Zimmerman expected from Martin seeing his gun. Letting his ‘suspect’ know he was armed would be in keeping with Zimmerman’s desire to be regarded as some kind of big dick law authority and hero.

      Whatever, maybe Zimmerman will get some vigilante justice.

      • Chu on July 16, 2013, 7:03 pm

        Why do you believe he flashed his gun? It was dark and raining so he likely would not have seen it?
        Zimmerman should have identified himself as a neighborhood watch guard and he should have had a flashlight if he was a guard for this community (apparently he said the batteries were dead). Having a flashlight makes you appear as a nightguard, while tracking someone in the dark of night leads one to believe they are being hunted.
        The problem is he is out patrolling the yards acting like an officer of the law, but lacks the proper visual identity to act as such. It’s why officers wear a certain color and hat.

      • American on July 17, 2013, 12:47 pm

        ‘The problem is he is out patrolling the yards acting like an officer of the law, but lacks the proper visual identity to act as such. It’s why officers wear a certain color and hat.’….Chu

        The problem was Zimmerman wasn’t mentally fit or suited to be a watch guy or in any other position of authority or enforcement to begin with..
        He had already been rejected by the Police Dept when he applied to become a police officer.
        He had already been fired once before from his job as a security guard for being “overly aggressive”.
        He had already been charged with domestic violence by his ex wife for beating her.

        See any red flags there?
        I see a guy with severe issues who if allowed to run around with a gun was going to eventually cause exactly what he caused.

        When a friend of mine who volunteered for the mental health help line at the local clinic had to take a whole battery of psychological tests to determine if he was suitable for the position. I imagine Zimmerman failed the same kind of testing when he applied to the Police Force and thats why he was rejected—he should have taken No for an answer to his wanna be authority issues and this wouldn’t have happened.

      • bilal a on July 17, 2013, 12:24 am

        @americans vigilante justice already beginning, “this is for trevon f__ker” :

        agent Christina Dudley said she was walking to her car just before 9 p.m. when she saw several young black males and two black females chasing a 37-year-old Hispanic man west on North Linwood Avenue past East Fairmont Avenue.

        “One of the boys had a handgun out and it was pointed at the back of him,” Dudley said in an interview

        They caught up to the man at the corner of Fairmount and N. Streeper Street, and the male with the gun beat the victim with what appeared to be his gun while others kicked and stomped him, Dudley said.

        “They were just yelling and calling him names as they ran after him, but once they were hitting him and after that they started yelling, “This is for Trayvon, [expletive],” said Dudley, who heard the chant repeated multiple times.

      • American on July 17, 2013, 12:13 pm


        well obviously that kind of thing is not what I meant.

      • amigo on July 17, 2013, 6:58 am

        “Whatever, maybe Zimmerman will get some vigilante justice.”American

        Not he if he wears a Hoodie.

      • LeaNder on July 20, 2013, 1:20 pm

        Thanks American. Strange to see all parrots here, in one case it is no big surprise =K.

        Nothing odd with a burglar suspect who turns into a killer machine in a couple of seconds? “Tonight you gonna die!” Homie? When was the last decade American youth used that term?

        The equivalent to PEP, the PEAAR, progressives except for African American rights?

        In a nutshell:
        7:15:43 Rachel Jeantel’s call to Trayvon is interrupted.
        7:16:56 shot.

        Trayvon Martin had exactly 1 minute and 13 seconds to figure out what this creepy ass cracker was all about.

        It’s a pity the prosecution did not make this a real good case. … They would have had more and for whatever reason surrendered to easily. But there you go. I am glad I will not ever be judged by a handpicked jury with no intend to look beyond the glossy charts and videos. I will also never forget Mark O’Mara’s response to a peremptory strike: They are trying to strike three white women.

        For starters GZ never parked in front of the club house not one minute plus or minus, n e v e r. So why did he say he did? There is much more.

        Concerning the imbeciles here that now want to justify GZ’s behavior by pointing fingers at whoever’s response. Nothing to add. Exact that whoever raises allegations of irrational moral indignation, should maybe first look into a mirror.

      • LeaNder on July 20, 2013, 1:24 pm

        Sorry, I should have proofread. But was too angry to reading all these parrots here, parroting other parrots.

    • Krauss on July 17, 2013, 6:43 am

      It showed that I had already decided that he was guilty, which is why so many are protesting and angry right now – I don’t think they heard the testimony.

      Yeah, similar situation here.

      I actually took time to read/watch in detail and not just get outraged and/or drawn in by the Hive Mind on leftist blogs(which is easy to do, mind you!).

      I also came to the conclusion that it was a close call. There was really just one crown witness who stated quite clearly that the black assailant was on top on the who was screaming, had his hips locked down and rained down punches.

      If your head is on the pavement, the head has nowhere to go and the damage becomes that much greater. Most of the photos on Trayvon Martin are when he was 12 and looks innocent. His 17 year persona, where he is an aspiring rapper/gang member and photographs himself with gold teeth or pistols, is not something we get to see. He was already 5’11 inches tall at that point.

      In short, he was more than a match for Zimmerman and in the heat of the moment, after being punched with no end and feeling real panic, both of them try to reach for the gun and it becomes a “who’s fastest” call. Zimmerman probably felt “it was him or me”. If Trayvon would have reached and gotten the gun faster than Zimmerman, would he have shot?

      It’s just entirely possible.

      People have already judged Zimmerman at the outset, as you said, as did I. But the more you read the finer details, and not just rely on press reports, the more you realize that the issue is far more complex than the shouted slogans suggest.

      • lysias on July 18, 2013, 3:39 pm

        And the jurors were much more immersed in the details of the case than any of us is ever likely to be.

  3. ritzl on July 16, 2013, 3:56 pm

    I have a “hoodie.” I wear it. Sometimes at night. Sometimes at night walking around. Sometimes at night walking around in neighborhoods not my own.

    Signed, a middle-aged white guy.

  4. miriam6 on July 16, 2013, 4:09 pm

    On the subject of ‘racial profiling’ aren’t you Philip Weiss guilty of the same offence?

    If you are claiming Zimmerman MUST be racist on the basis of NBC report that claimed Zimmerman said on the 911 emergency call made to the police that the ‘suspect ‘ ‘looked black’ , then , well.. NBC were proven to have DOCTORED the tape.

    In fact Zimmerman ONLY said the ‘suspect’ ‘ looked black’ AFTER the police dispatcher asked Zimmerman what race the ‘suspect’ might be.

    If you are saying Zimmerman MUST be racist because CNN falsely claimed Zimmerman used a racial insult, when in fact a CNN audio expert later ascertained that in fact Zimmerman had remarked ;

    ‘its’ f*****g COLD’

    again you are wrong because CNN admitted later, that just like NBC that they got THAT wrong too.

    April 6, 2012.

    A “seasoned” NBC News producer was responsible for deleting a segment of the 911 call between a police dispatcher and George Zimmerman so as to suggest that Zimmerman may have targeted teenager Trayvon Martin because he was black, Reuters reported Thursday night, citing two sources at the network.
    The wire service said that the network regarded the producer’s action as a very bad mistake but not deliberate.
    The unedited recording of the conversation reveals that Zimmerman remarked that the teenager was black only when the dispatcher asked him, “Is he black, white, or Hispanic?”
    An unnamed NBC News producer also told Reuters that the network’s reporters in Florida who have been working on the story were at first “in shock” over the editing of the tape and are now “furious” over the incident.
    NBC has apologized for the misleading report, which first aired on the Today show, but the apology has not appeased critics of the network, who have demanded a full explanation of how the edited tape was able to get past editors, producers, and other news overseers.
    Meanwhile, CNN has acknowledged that it probably erred when it reported that during the 911 call, Zimmerman referred to Martin as a “f***ing coon.”
    A CNN audio expert who used software to enhance the call has determined that Martin actually said “f***ing cold,” referring to the unusual Florida weather that night.

    – See more at:

    George Zimmerman 911 call edited: Can NBC be trusted?

    Tuesday, 03 April 2012 19:01

    NBC completed an investigation into allegations that the network doctored the George Zimmerman 911 tapes from the night Trayvon Martin was murdered.

    In a statement via The Washington Post, NBC stated that “during [NBC’s] investigation it became evident that there was an error made in the production process that we deeply regret.”

    “We will be taking the necessary steps to prevent this from happening in the future and apologize to our viewers.”

    In the edited version of the 911 tape, which aired on the Today show on March 27, the company removed the 911 operator asking Zimmerman what race Martin was.

    Consequently, Zimmerman is heard on the edited tape as saying “This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black,” as reported by Digital Journal.

    In reality, Zimmerman states that the guy looks like he’s up to no good, speculating that the man, who later turned out to be 17-year-old Martin, was on drugs. The dispatcher then asked whether Martin was black, white or Hispanic.

    In a statement via The Daily Caller, Media Research Center president Brent Bozell was not happy at the self-conducted internal investigation, comparing it to “[former President Richard] Nixon investigating the Watergate tapes.”

    a rather typically self-important OVER statement by said hack, but, nevertheless..

    “NBC is guilty of deliberately lying to the viewing public, and NBC is going to be in charge of investigating itself?”

    Bozell would rather that NBC’s parent company, Comcast, conduct the investigation.

    “This is a massive breach of the public trust,” he said. “NBC is guilty of dishonestly fanning the flames of racial hatred in America by doctoring tapes. NBC cannot be trusted with the investigation.”

    Weiss, as a self- appointed guardian of the TRUTH shouldn’t you be equally concerned about the outright lies told by CNN and NBC in their reporting of the case, given the way such lies could affect the legitimacy of the outcome of the trial of Zimmerman , either way , or could further inflame racial tensions.

    I think that’s the bigger issue here.

    As far as I can see Richard Cohen was expressing an OPINION, whether he is right is wrong , is for subjective opinion to discern.

    Cohen didn’t doctor the truth as CNN and NBC were shown subsequently to have done, objectively speaking.

    Perhaps its only when elderly’ Zionist’ journalists speak their minds that you disapprove.

    Incidentally, exactly WHEN did Americans of Hispanic/ Latino descent become ‘white’?


    When it suited the media, anxious as they are and were to fit the case, and the tragic death of Trayvon Martin into the simplistic, newspaper- selling, TV adverts – selling, sensationalist,’ black versus white’ racism mould.

    • Donald on July 16, 2013, 5:09 pm

      It’s sometimes interesting to read a few of the comments before reading the original post. I did that here and find that there’s little connection between your rant and Phil’s rant. Phil trashes Richard Cohen, and there is certainly plenty to trash him about. (I’ve never seen Richard Cohen, as opposed to Roger Cohen, referenced except in connection with some incredibly stupid thing he has said in his latest column.) You want Phil to focus on some other aspects of the case, such as the media mishandling. Fine. Start your own blog and focus on it.

      The best piece on the trial that I’ve seen, btw, is this characteristically thoughtful one by Ta Nehisi Coates. I wasn’t always a big fan, but he impresses me more and more–


      • American on July 16, 2013, 6:09 pm

        @ Donald

        That is excellent article by Coates. And even aside from the racism issue this example he gives should scare the pants off everyone about what the gun fetish fanatics have bred. Too many mental cases in our society to allow people to carry guns out of their homes:

        ”In November, black youth Jordan Davis, a 17-year-old Jacksonville resident, was the only person murdered after Michael Dunn, 46, allegedly shot into the SUV Davis was inside several times after an argument about the volume of music playing.

        According to Dunn’s girlfriend, Rhonda Rouer, Dunn had three rum and cokes at a wedding reception. She felt secure enough for him to drive and thought that he was in a good mood. On the drive back to the hotel they were residing at, they made a pit stop at the convenience store where the murder occurred. At the Gate Station, Rouer said Dunn told her that he hated “thug music.” Rouer then went inside the store to make purchases and heard several gunshots while she was still within the building.

        Upon returning and seeing Dunn put his gun back into the glove compartment, Rouer asked why he had shot at the car playing music and Dunn claimed that he feared for his life and that “they threatened to kill me.” The couple drove back to their hotel, and claim they did not realize anyone had died until the story appeared on the news the next day.

        After killing Jordan Davis, Michael Dunn ordered a pizza.”

      • American on July 16, 2013, 6:32 pm

        Here’s some more on that case.

        Michael Dunn remains adamant in police interview after killing Jordan Davis
        The trial is tentatively scheduled for September.
        Posted: April 9, 2013 – 11:14am | Updated: April 10, 2013 – 1:12pmPhotosVideo Back Photo: 1 of 2 Next

        WILL DICKEY/The Times-Union

        Michael David Dunn said “that sucks” when told he faced a charge of murder.
        Back Photo: 2 of 2 Next Jordan Davis
        By Charles Broward & Larry Hannan
        NOTE TO READERS: The video content (to the left) related to this story contains language and content that some viewers may find offensive or disturbing.

        The day after he fatally shot 17-year-old Jordan Davis, Michael David Dunn explained to Jacksonville police how well his life had been going — working a great job and living in a house on the beach in Brevard County with the “love of his life” and their new dog. He said the last thing he needed was trouble.

        Later, detectives, who had traveled to Brevard when Dunn was tracked down from license plate information, informed him he was being charged with murder.

        “That sucks,” Dunn said before the Jacksonville officers left the Brevard Sheriff’s Office interview room, which is when he slumped over, put his hands over his face and wiped an eye.

        Until then, the father who had been in town for his son’s wedding had remained almost without emotion while explaining his actions in the shooting during a nearly two-hour interview with police. The State Attorney’s Office released the video of the interview Monday.

        Dunn’s trial date was set Tuesday for the week of Sept. 23, though that schedule may prove to be too ambitious.

        State Attorney Angela Corey, who is personally prosecuting the case, asked for the week of Aug. 12 while defense attorney Cory Strolla said he would need at least six months to prepare for trial.

        Circuit Judge Suzanne Bass gave Strolla less than he asked for and said she wanted to move forward.

        Dunn, 46, is accused of shooting Davis while at a Southside gas station near Baymeadows Road when he opened fire on a Dodge Durango with four teenagers inside after complaining of their loud music and saying he saw a gun. Davis was killed, and police did not find a gun at the scene.

        Dunn faces a first-degree murder charge and three attempted murder charges.

        In the interview, the detectives told him it was luck that Davis was the only one hit. One of the final four shots he fired at the SUV as it began to pull away from him passed just by the head of the driver and into his overhead visor.

        It was his actions in getting out of the car and firing those shots as the vehicle pulled away that police questioned the most.

        “Honestly, sir, I’m at a lost to justify what I did in the second volley, other than to say I thought they were going to be shooting back, and I was keeping them from doing that,” Dunn said.

        Dunn had remained adamant throughout the interview that he thought he saw one of the teenagers begin to lift a shotgun up and get out of the SUV, parked just feet away from his car. He repeatedly told the detectives, “I never been so scared in my life.”

        In recalling the event, he said he had been polite in asking the group to turn their music down, and that the boys complied, to which he thanked them. But he said the youth in the rear passenger seat, presumed to be Davis, was “getting really agitated” and became “livid.”

        Unsure whether he was hearing the music, now turned back up, or if it was the teen, he heard threats against his life and then saw the boy open the door to get out of the SUV, he said.

        That’s when he said he reached into his glove box and took his Taurus 9mm out of its holster.

        “Quicker than a flash, I had a round chambered in it and I shot.”

        He said he shot four times through his window, and then stepped out and fired the final four shots as the SUV began to pull away, making sure the boys kept their heads down.

        The detectives said the boys agreed that Davis had cursed at him and reacted in defiance but he had never threatened his life.

        Police said none of the witnesses reported seeing anyone get out of the SUV, other than the driver when he got out to get gas.

        And when the detectives informed him for the first time that a gun was never recovered from the scene and that the vehicle never left the parking lot, Dunn reacted with surprise.

        “Did he have a stick?” he said. “Because he stuck something up.”

        The detective told him there was no gun and that he took the dispute “from zero to 100 without hitting 50.” He asked him if, looking back, he thought he overreacted.

        “Sir, from where I was sitting, a shotgun was coming at me,” Dunn replied. “… I think I would do the same. I hope I would not be afraid to do the same.”

        Dunn said he went back to his hotel, ordered out for pizza and later left to head back to Brevard County. He said he wanted to be around people he knew when he called police, which he never did.

        Dunn was not at Tuesday’s hearing. He remains in jail after Bass denied bail last month


      • ritzl on July 16, 2013, 6:35 pm

        Thanks Donald. Great article about what’s Right vs. what’s the law. In this case the Law completely overshadowed what’s Right. My sentiments, obviously.

        But my question is that when the FL legislature reconsiders its Law, will they re-write (or consider re-writing it) based on this outcome? Will they consider this outcome just?

        To me, the answers to those questions at least suggest avenues (or certainly hopelessness on the downside) and/or receptiveness in the US legislative process for justice, or maybe just change, change for the better, in the I/P conflict.

        Just a thought…

      • Shingo on July 17, 2013, 9:55 pm

        I did that here and find that there’s little connection between your rant and Phil’s rant.

        That appears robe the standard MO of Miriam. Throwing everything, including the kitchen sink, into her comments, then running away and refusing to further engage anyone

        Drive by trolling.

      • miriam6 on July 18, 2013, 12:16 pm

        Aah, Shingo.

        If anyone is ‘ guilty’ of ‘trolling’ it is YOU.

        Up until now you have shown NO interest in this thread.

        The topic at hand is about George Zimmerman and his trial.

        A subject you have hitherto shown NO interest in, no interest whatsoever.

        No comments from you about it at all until now, and even then, you have nothing , certainly nothing interesting to say, about the actual subject in hand.

        Instead, you choose to use this thread to make yet another attack on me.

        An ad hominem attack, rather than DEBATING the ISSUE, you surely are the very definition of a ‘troll’.


        George Zimmerman 911 call edited:

        Can NBC be trusted?

        I take it then, you have no problem whatsoever with the fact that NBC and CNN engaged in some ‘racial profiling’ of their own and FALSIFIED news reports to make Zimmerman fit neatly into the ‘white racist’ stereotype.

        Phil Weiss claimed, assumed that Zimmerman has racism, my comments pointed out that if Weiss’s rush- to – judgement was based upon misleading CNN and NBC reporting of the case , then Weiss is mistaken in his judgements about Zimmerman’s ‘racism’ because CNN and NBC falsified news reports suggesting racism on Zimmerman’s part.

        It’ s time to put up or shut up Shingo.

        Would you now care to actually comment on Weiss’s article?

      • miriam6 on July 18, 2013, 4:58 pm

        Donald, please explain in what way exactly does pointing out the fact that the media, in this case CNN and NBC, LIED about Zimmerman, in order to paint Zimmerman as a die-hard racist, constitute a ‘rant’?
        In fact, My comments bore a very clear and direct factual relation to P. Weiss’s piece which was about ‘racial profiling’.

        As for Ta -Nehisi Coates article, essentially attacking George Zimmerman’s ‘ right to a fair trial ‘ i can’t say I found the piece by Coates ‘ thoughtful’ exactly, nor as impressive as you apparently did. Indeed , I found it to be something of an illiberal – by- a -supposed- liberal-‘rant’ AGAINST the VERY IDEA that Zimmerman ought to have even been ALLOWED a fair trial.
        Perish the thought!
        Perhaps Coates would have preferred a trial by media, in which case the outcome might probably have been rather different!

        In true, rather over-stated – throwing-the-baby-out-with-the-bathwater-style Coates implies that the trial verdict of ‘not guilty’ recorded in Zimmerman’s trial represents a sort of coup d’état against justice for American blacks itself, perpetrated by a gang of (presumably shady cabal) conservative white supremacists .
        By reaching back into the late 19th century(!) , again, in true throwing-the-baby-out-with-the-bath-water-style Coates certainly wants it to seem as though little has changed , when it comes to rights for blacks in America , – an absurd, ahistorical notion.
        Coates , time and time again, likes to goes some way back in American history in his attempt to prove his thesis , as laid out in his article, to prove a ‘pattern’ by linking together quite separate incidents involving black Americans , to prove his ultimate ‘Truth’ that African Americans can never win justice for themselves.

        Back to 1898 in fact!

        (In November 1898, the first and only successful Coup D’etat to occur on US soil took place in Wilmington, North Carolina. The local, conservative Democratic Party forcibly toppled the city’s duly elected government, including two African American Aldermen.)

        Coates article states;

        There has been a lot of complaint that “stand your ground” has nothing to do with this case. That contention is contravened by the fact that it is cited in the instructions to the jury. Taken together, it is important to understand that it is not enough for the state to prove that George Zimmerman acted unwisely in following Martin.
        Under Florida law, George Zimmerman had no responsibility to — at any point — retreat. The state must prove that Zimmerman had no reasonable fear for his life.

        Coates seems to believe that the jury OUGHT to have read’ racist motives ‘ into Zimmerman’s foolish decision NOT to retreat , anyway ; despite clear instructions to the jury that the question was to establish reasonable doubt that in fact Zimmerman did or did not fear for his life .

        Moreover, it is not enough for the jury to find Zimmerman’s story fishy.

        Again and again Coates attacks Zimmerman’s right to a fair trial:

        Again the jury instructions:
        George Zimmerman has entered a plea of not guilty. This means you must presume or believe George Zimmerman is innocent.

        Coates states;

        To overcome George Zimmerman’s presumption of innocence, the State has the burden of proving the crime with which George Zimmerman is charged was committed and George Zimmerman is the person who committed the crime.

        George Zimmerman is not required to present evidence or prove anything.It is to the evidence introduced in this trial, and to it alone, that you are to look for that proof.

        Presumably Coates feels that extraneous evidence about historical legal injustice ought to have been presented to the jury.

        Clearly, contrary to American law, Coates is frustrated that Zimmerman was not expected to provide evidence dis-proving his guilt , and wishes that the burden of proof be shifted more forcefully ,if not entirely onto Zimmerman’s shoulders, and not only that , but the burden of America’s ENTIRE fraught racial / racist history ought to be placed on Zimmerman’s trial, too .

        However, in fact, the presumption of innocence until proven otherwise, is an extremely important defence of rights the individual has against the encroachment of an authoritarian state on the said individuals rights.

        Coates continues his attack on yet another legal safeguard, put in place to protect an individuals rights,
        in this case,’ trial by one’s peers’.

        Here again, he goes back to his thesis that little or nothing has changed historically speaking when it comes to the improvement of African American lives.

        The injustice inherent in the killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman was not authored by a jury given a weak case. The jury’s performance may be the least disturbing aspect of this entire affair.

        The injustice was authored by a country which has taken as its policy, for the lionshare of its history, to erect a pariah class.

        The killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman is not an error in programming. It is the correct result of forces we set in motion years ago and have done very little to arrest.

        With this passage Coates seems intent , perhaps unwittingly ,on setting up the working class jury and working-class Zimmerman as a ‘pariah class’, instead.

        Who’s really promoting prejudice?

        By Sean Collins.

        When is the Presumption of Innocence Triggered?

        During the investigation phase, the authorities need only establish a sufficient cause to arrest, and sustain a charge.
        They do not need to establish the arrested’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. However, it is during this time that the arrested is most likely subjected to a violation of his rights, such as the right to remain silent or the right not to be forced to make any statement against himself, and therefore his right to be considered innocent until a final decision is reached.




        In the United States, the term burden of proof comprises two separate burdens. The burden of producing evidence (or the burden of going forward), and the burden of persuasion…cont.


        One of the remarkable innovations of the English common law (from the Angles and Saxons, but also employed in Normandy prior to the Norman Conquest in 1066), it is a group of citizens called to hear a trial of a criminal prosecution or a lawsuit, decide the factual questions of guilt or innocence or determine the prevailing party (winner) in a lawsuit and the amount to be paid, if any, by the loser…cont.

        beyond a reasonable doubt

        adj. part of jury instructions in all criminal trials, in which the jurors are told that they can only find the defendant guilty if they are convinced “beyond a reason- able doubt” of his or her guilt.
        Sometimes referred to as “to a moral certainty,” the phrase is fraught with uncertainty as to meaning, but try: “you better be damned sure.” By comparison it is meant to be a tougher standard than “preponderance of the evidence,” used as a test to give judgment to a plaintiff in a civil (non criminal case)

        reasonable doubt

        fundamental protection for a person accused of a crime, which requires the prosecution to prove its case against the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt. This is opposite from the criminal law in many countries, where the accused is considered guilty until he/ she proves his/her innocence or the government completely fails to prove its case.

    • MRW on July 16, 2013, 7:01 pm

      Put a sock on it, miriam. An unarmed teen was killed by a 27-year-old man who was told to stay in his car because police were on their way. But the 27-year-old had a gun….

      • Krauss on July 17, 2013, 6:49 am

        First of all, both reached for the gun. Zimmerman was just faster. And you seem to pretend as if he reached for the gun for no reason.

        I wonder if you’d serenely allow your brain to be pounded into the pavement and just let it happen because you wouldn’t want to stereotype anyone!

        Also, if you had actually read the details/testimony of the court(and not just relied on 2nd hand blog comments), you’d have known that the MMA trainers who were called to witness basically all agreed that in a fight, Zimmerman would have lost(which he also did). A 17 year old, tall and fit male is no joke. Especially for a pudgy, short and soft wannabe neighbourhood watch.

      • Woody Tanaka on July 17, 2013, 9:16 am

        “First of all, both reached for the gun. Zimmerman was just faster. And you seem to pretend as if he reached for the gun for no reason.”

        How do you lnow that both reached for the gun? Zimmerman was too cowardly to take the stand so there is no tested evidence of his claims.

      • miriam6 on July 17, 2013, 9:59 am

        [email protected]:

        An unarmed teen was killed by a 27-year-old man who was told to stay in his car because police were on their way.

        Which was more or less the question I asked on another thread…

        Personally I’m surprised Zimmerman couldn’t have been held to account for IGNORING the advice of the police (dispatcher) to STAY in his car and, because Zimmerman did the opposite, I wondered if therefore he might have been held responsible for obstructing a police investigation.

        If Zimmerman had done what he was instructed to by the police, tragedy might well have been averted.

        What is curious to me is that Zimmerman was apparently warned by the police NOT to approach the ‘suspect’, and yet Zimmerman suffered no legal penalty or charge for going against the specific police instruction to stay put and avoid approaching the so – called- ‘suspect’.
        How does American law stand on the question of American citizens taking matters into their own hands at a point at which the police are already involved ,though not actually at the scene, so therefore, surely, the would- be -vigilante could be said to be obstructing the police , particularly when the would-be vigilante has been warned to leave the matter to the police.

    • libra on July 17, 2013, 6:15 pm

      miriam6: On the subject of ‘racial profiling’ aren’t you Philip Weiss guilty of the same offence?

      I don’t know about that Miriam but when Phil writes “I wonder if Cohen, reportedly 72, is thinking about retirement,…” I think you might be on safer ground with an accusation of agism.

      And surely one to bookmark in case Phil is still torturing you with Mondoweiss in a decade or so’s time. Though hopefully you’ll finally have made it to Australia by then and have better things to do than getting yourself all worked up over some old hack’s blog.

      • miriam6 on July 19, 2013, 12:38 pm

        Belatedly I will accuse Weiss of ageism, then.

        Thanks Libra.

  5. American on July 16, 2013, 4:11 pm

    ”understandably suspected because he was black and tragically dead for the same reason.”

    “understandably” suspected?
    enough said –the ‘understandably’ is his racism.

  6. DICKERSON3870 on July 16, 2013, 5:05 pm

    RE: “Justifying Zimmerman’s racial profiling, Richard Cohen lashes out at black ‘culture’ . . .”

    MY COMMENT: Bill Keller’s comments were almost as bad. Thom Hartmann was criticizing them this afternoon on his radio program.

  7. William Burns on July 16, 2013, 5:29 pm

    Richard Cohen has done more than any other individual to combat the pernicious stereotype that Jews are smart.

    • Krauss on July 17, 2013, 6:49 am

      No, that award goes either to Abe Foxman or Alan Dershowitz.

  8. DICKERSON3870 on July 16, 2013, 5:36 pm

    RE: “I see the column is getting mocked widely* . . .” ~ Weiss


    [EXCERPT] . . . Politico later asked Cohen about the hoodie “uniform” that he described Martin as wearing the night he was killed.
    “It’s what’s worn by a whole lot of thugs,” Cohen said.
    “Look in the newspapers, online or on television: you see a lot of guys in the mugshots wearing hoodies.” . . .

    MY COMMENT: A “whole lot of thugs” also wear shoes, Mr. Cohen! ! !
    I might also mention that “thugs” like Bernard Madoff, Jeffrey Skilling, and Jack Abramoff never wore hoodies!

    • ritzl on July 16, 2013, 6:26 pm

      …wear shoes…

      Big, out the nose, snort Dickerson. :)

      But in all seriousness, spot on.

    • piotr on July 16, 2013, 10:42 pm

      I commented that one should frisk Richard Cohen as falling into the profile and behavior of white collar criminals.

  9. MHughes976 on July 16, 2013, 6:04 pm

    Cohen seems to be arguing that this was not race profiling but costume profiling. The young Obama, he says, would have felt the same frisson at the sight of a young man, perhaps even a young white man, dressed in this way in that sort of place. One of the many things I’d like to ask in response to this argument is whether an incident where a middle class black man, an imaginary Obama grown (say) not into a President but a local businessman, with property to his name but rather insecure, gets into a fight with a young white man threateningly dressed, and kills him, the reaction would be roughly the same.
    Like others here I can see that the connection with the ME is tenuous but maybe still not 100% absent.

    • American on July 18, 2013, 12:49 pm

      ‘an incident where a middle class black man, an imaginary Obama grown (say) not into a President but a local businessman, with property to his name but rather insecure, gets into a fight with a young white man threateningly dressed, and kills him, the reaction would be roughly the same.””…..MH

      My reaction would be the same regardless…..who was the *initial aggressor*, as in following the boy without actual ’cause’ , except hoddie profling, and approaching and confronting him and was deadly force *reasonable and necessary*. IMO it was not reasonable or necessary.
      Unfortunately the SYG law is so f’ed up Zimmmerman couldnt be convicted of manslaughter which is what he should have been convicted of.

      • MHughes976 on July 19, 2013, 6:08 pm

        Well, yes. I must say that it always seemed to me that it was Trayvon Martin rather than George Zimmerman who was ‘standing his ground’, ie was the initial victim of aggression.

  10. MRW on July 16, 2013, 6:55 pm

    Giordano Bruno in a hoodie, and look what they did to him. Burned him at the stake in Campo d’Fiori, Rome on Feb 17, 1600. He had the temerity to claim the earth revolved around the sun, and way before Galileo proclaimed that our planet and sun are part of an infinite number of them throughout the universe. Bruno is why Galileo chose house-arrest.

    EDIT: To THIS DAY, the Catholic Church declares him a heretic.

    • Shmuel on July 17, 2013, 4:21 am

      EDIT: To THIS DAY, the Catholic Church declares him a heretic.

      Although the Church has apologised (or “asked forgiveness” or something like that) for his conviction and execution.

  11. Citizen on July 17, 2013, 6:37 am

    The case went national and international due to the background element of profiling.
    The FBI investigated whether there was evidence of Zimmerman being a racist. It found no such evidence. Holder now says he will now do a second investigation to see if Zimmerman was motivated by racism under Civil Rights law.

    Beyond the arrest or monitoring, and stalking of one for “walking while black” POV, there echoes federal agencies’ profiling of Arab Americans, and locally too, e.g., NYPD. Also, e.g., border states’ local police stop & frisk, accusations of profiling legal Mexicans, and profiling using stop and frisk in urban areas in the “war on drugs” leading to the heavy disproportion of young black men sitting in prison for possessing a bit of weed, etc;
    and US drone targeting policy of male arab men, and Israel’s profiling of Palestinians, and, even Arab Americans and American “Israel haters,” and the non-reciprocal visa waiver program being pushed by Israel Firsters in the US Congress.

  12. Citizen on July 17, 2013, 8:08 am

    Here’s a detailed article giving you a good dose of the black POV of the Zimmerman trial and the current state of America’s racial divide:

  13. kalithea on July 18, 2013, 10:15 am

    What this case has done is to bring latent racism out of the closet. Here’s how I see the verdict: the Stepford wives, who were repulsed by the teenage black girl who spoke the truth too plainly and who, in their “superior” opinion, didn’t appear credible, found the pillsbury doughboy innocent and so the killer in the fat suit is now breathing and living freedom while the boy in the hoodie with survival instinct was cut down for walking and looking suspicious and found guilty for being tall and fit for his age.

    And don’t give me “the law made me do it” bit. Anyone with half a brain knows the SYG law stinks of racism and there was enough ill-will and racial profiling there to find the doughboy guilty of manslaughter.

  14. wondering jew on July 19, 2013, 10:58 am

    Zimmerman was a wannabe cop, wannabe superman neighborhood savior, who was asked by the dispatcher, are you following him on foot? and when zimmerman said yes, the police dispatcher said, “we don’t need you to do that.” and at that point zimmerman stopped being someone who had a right to profile and do police work and became an a’hole following another human in an attacking fashion and I don’t care if the kid was wearing a hoodie or whatever, Zimmerman started a war in the street and the only reason he did it was because he was an a’hole and was wearing a gun. I don’t know what the law is. But I know who is an a’hole who spilled innocent blood and that’s George Zimmerman.

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