Where There Is No Justice… We Must Find Peace

EDITOR’S NOTE; After a hiatus from published writing, Author Ivan Sanchez returns with his latest opinion piece. Welcome back, Ivan.

Several months back I put the pen down and told myself I wasn’t going to write anymore freelance articles. The reasoning behind my decision was simple. Media, especially social media now moves so fast that before I finish writing this next sentence, the reader has already moved on to the next breaking news story.

There is no time for anyone to digest my words, no fruitful discussions leading to positive insight or progressive change.

So there was no reason to waste my energy or time trying to enlighten, educate or inspire anyone with my writings any longer.

My change of heart recently came in the form of watching the Zimmerman case over the last few weeks and coming to the realization that many of my respected peers on social networks had all but gone crazy prior to day one of testimony.

The black hoodies were everywhere, the hash tag #justicefortrayvon was used in every other posting and the calls for Zimmerman’s death if acquitted began to grow stronger and louder with each passing day.

It was as if I was witnessing a modern day call to the lynching of a man who hadn’t yet had his day in court. And as a minority myself who has often screamed, “Where is our innocent until proven guilty,” this wasn’t sitting well with me morally.

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Furthermore, it seemed like the same hypocritical behavior we’ve often cried foul about in our law enforcement, political and government officials.

So I refrained from snapping a photo wearing a black hoodie for a profile picture. Refrained from commenting on anyone’s status updates, though there were some that tested my patience. And most importantly I held any and all comments back for the past year.

I chose instead to wait for the day when I’d be able to draw my own educated conclusion. A conclusion as to what, in my opinion, transpired on that tragic night, once I’d actually heard, digested and processed all of the arguments and evidence being presented in the courtroom.

A conclusion I’ll share a little later in this article.

Over the last several weeks I’ve felt this profound internal desire to shake everyone and make an argument that regardless of this verdict, there can truly be no justice, if there is no peace in our hearts.

But where do you begin such an argument in writing about a tragic situation on a national scale that has pushed your people to the brink of rioting and even more tragedy and self-destruction?

For me, I went to the only place I’d go if given one opportunity to bring someone into the discussion. I went to the writings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. And in doing so, I found a prophetic statement he’d made back in the summer of 1965.

In June of 65, while giving a sermon at the Temple Israel in Hollywood, Dr. King stated, “We’ve been in the mountain of war. We’ve been in the mountain of violence. We’ve been in the mountain of hatred long enough. It is necessary to move on now, but only by moving out of this mountain can we move to the promised land of justice and brotherhood and the Kingdom of God. It all boils down to the fact that we must never allow ourselves to become satisfied with unattained goals. We must always maintain a kind of divine discontent…”

“We must always maintain a kind of divine discontent…”

And in living in this place of discontent as Dr. King reminds us, our restless longing for better circumstance cannot co-exist in a place of hatred.

So why the calls for rioting, for violence and even for death in the same sentence as your calls for justice?

There can be no justice in that vain for Trayvon Martin or his family. There can only be more hatred and more death, prolonging this vicious cycle of ignorance, lack of compassion and a true lack of understanding what justice truly is.

And what is justice truly?

Well that’s something only we can answer, within ourselves. However, if your definition of justice is a good old fashioned lynching, then I implore you to seek help immediately.

Can there ever truly be justice over the tragic and untimely death of a child?

I’d say no. Because regardless of this verdict, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin will never get to hold their son again.

But there must be peace, if any of us are to live another day and learn from these tragedies in hopes of not repeating them.

I only pray that Trayvon’s parents will find peace within their hearts before they themselves leave this earth.

And for the record… I am Trayvon Martin…

Perhaps more so than the many of you who have taken to utilizing the tagline as a cliché and a way to earn cool social networking points?

I was exactly Trayvon Martin (R.I.P) back in 1989 as a sixteen-year-old minority who had just lost a friend to murder in the Bronx. I was Trayvon when I found myself in the beautiful landscape of Virginia Beach mourning my friend’s loss.

I remember one night as if it were only yesterday. I threw on my hoodie and my headphones, listening to a cassette-tape of reggae envisioning my boy Chippy (R.I.P) scatting along to his Jamaican homeland music as if he were still alive.

I was Trayvon as I walked very slowly through my mother’s plush community, with tears hidden behind the rain literally running down my face, while I contemplated what my next move in life should be.

It wasn’t just pouring outside; it was more like a monsoon with heavy rains soaking right through my clothing. And to the nervous eyes watching, and believe me some watched closely, I should’ve had no business being out there observing all the beautiful homes. Even if I was just wondering if I’d ever grow-up to acquire any of these things.

I was Trayvon as I thought about what I’d become when I grew up or fail to become if I didn’t change my ways.

The only difference is no one accosted me on that night or questioned me as to why I was there.

But if anyone had, I most certainly would’ve been ready to throw blows if I felt threatened, concerned, confused or disrespected in any way.

After all, this culture of ours teaches us nothing if not to be respected at all times.

And if someone had approached me that night and things took a deadly turn for the worst. Who is to say I wouldn’t have equally been responsible for any altercation, though I was simply minding my own business to begin with?

That’s the thing about circumstance. It just happens. No warning. No insight as to how it will play out.

With that said… Man years later I became George Zimmerman.

I moved out to Virginia Beach, became a professional and very much enjoyed raising a family in a community that looked out for itself.

On many occasions I’ve appointed myself the neighborhood watch guy. Involved myself in situations that were about to become worse, such as teenagers getting ready to fight in the neighborhood, stepping outside when I’ve heard domestic disputes hoping my presence would calm the situation, etc.

In my mind I was always simply being an engaged, invested and concerned citizen. Knowing firsthand what happens when a community stops looking out for itself after seeing my old Bronx neighborhood transition from community to crime-ridden.

And it is on that premise that I can very much relate to the actions of Zimmerman on the night of the unfortunate circumstance that ended in tragedy.

I can’t in good faith believe that a man heading out to Target decided that instead of checking for the red dot specials, he’d much rather choose to end the life of a teenager that night, forever altering the course of his own life.

And I can’t buy into this force-fed, neatly packaged theory that race had anything to do with the tragic circumstance that transpired that night.

From the circumstance of Zimmerman wanting to protect his neighborhood, to the circumstance of him spotting a hooded up Trayvon, to the circumstance of Trayvon deciding to walk through the neighborhood at that exact time, perhaps contemplating on his own future. To the circumstance of Trayvon feeling threatened enough to raise his fists, to those final tragic circumstances when both of their paths intersected, an altercation ensued and the final shooting that ended one young life and altered another life forever.

In my educated opinion tragic circumstance, not 2nd degree murder and certainly not a racial killing led to the untimely death of Trayvon Martin.

If there is any peace or justice to come of this tragic circumstance, it should be a lesson to us all about community, about educating our youth, about tolerance, about understanding and most importantly about communication.

Had Zimmerman and Martin simply been able to have a respectful conversation with one another, there would be no tragedy.

Had Martin not labeled Zimmerman a, “Creepy ass cracker,” and Zimmerman not labeled Martin as, “These assholes always get away,” perhaps they could’ve had a respectful dialogue that would’ve led to smiles as opposed to fisticuffs.

Perhaps Martin could’ve said, thanks for looking out for my father’s neighborhood instead of throwing that punch. And perhaps Zimmerman could’ve welcomed Martin to the neighborhood as opposed to shooting him to death.

Unfortunately as a society, we’re not yet ready to move from the mountain of war, the mountain of violence or the mountain of hatred.

And as Dr. King said, “only by moving out of this mountain can we move to the promised land of justice and brotherhood…”

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I pray that as this verdict is revealed, you’ll speak to your neighbors, your friends, your family and you’ll ask them to find the peace needed to bring about true justice and lasting change for Trayvon Martin.

Not a continuation of the destruction, violence and war we’ve all grown accustomed to.

Desecrating the Memory of César Chávez

Latino Rebels is honored to welcome Charles P. García as a regular contributor. García is a nationally-recgonized writer and leader. His writings can be found in outlets such as CNN, Fox News, and the Huffington Post. He is the co-founder of the Latino Rebels Foundation and will be co-hosting Latino Rebels Radio with our publisher/founder, Julio Ricardo Varela. This is Charles’ first piece for LatinoRebels.com, and we are thrilled to have him in our group.

In 1971, César Chávez moved his home and the headquarters of the United Farm Workers union from Delano to La Paz, a property encompassing 187 acres in the Tehachapi Mountains of eastern Kern County, California. Kern is the fifth-largest county in California with nearly 50% of its population of Mexican American descent. When he died in 1993, as was his wish, Chávez was laid to rest in La Paz.

On October 2012, President Barack Obama traveled to Kern County to establish the César E. Chávez National Monument to honor a leader determined to bring the concerns of Latinos to the forefront of the national political debate. Through his grassroots efforts to fight injustice in all its forms, Chávez became a national icon, inspiring political power through his slogan “Sí, se puede” (“Yes, we can.”).

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La Paz

What would César Chávez say if he knew that in the city of Bakersfield, less than 30 minutes from La Paz, Latinos are being systematically terrorized by Kern County police? Why are the police doing this, and why do Americans know the names Trayvon Martin and Rodney King, yet are oblivious to the names José Lucero and David Sal Silva?

Next week begins the murder trial in the death of Martin, whose name and photograph in a hoodie are easily recognized by Americans. The public’s familiarity with Trayvon came into the national consciousness when a number of high-profile African American citizens —including Reverend Al Sharpton, Reverend Jesse Jackson, and President Barack Obama— called for a full investigation.

King’s beating by officers of the L.A.P.D. is another such incident that gained national prominence due to the media’s release of a citizen’s videotaped footage. There was a national outcry for a criminal conviction, and even former Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley said at the time, “The men who beat Rodney King do not deserve to wear the uniform of the LAPD.”

That brings us to José Lucero and David Sal Silva, two 33-year-old men living in Bakersfield. José and David’s deaths resulted from the failure of leadership by Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood, an absolute disgrace to all the good men and women who wear the law enforcement uniform.

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Place where David Sal Silva died in Bakersfield. CREDIT: Nicholas Belardes

On December 18, 2010, Kern County Sheriff deputies Ryan Greer, Jonathan Juden, Daniel Willis, and Angelos Gonzalez went to José Lucero’s home, in response to repeated 911 calls from José claiming that a female friend was being assaulted in Lancaster.

José, a recovering drug addict who struggled with mental health issues, was living at the home of his elderly parents, Florencio and Lilia Lucero. Prior to that moment, reports indicated that he was on the road to recovery, but on that day he had relapsed. Witnesses testified that José appeared to be mentally unstable, either as the result of drug use or a prior head injury. The deputies decided to take José into custody for abuse of the 911 system.

Their arrest strategy was to pepper spray him, beat him with batons, and electrocute him with their Taser guns. The decedent’s elderly parents were horrified as they witnessed the entire incident.

Pepper spray causes intense pain, involuntary closing of the eyes, considerable tearing, as well as temporary paralysis of the larynx, which causes subjects to lose their breath.

The Taser X26 used by the Kern County deputies deliver a 50,000 volt charge. It uses compressed nitrogen to propel a pair of “probes” —aluminum darts tipped with stainless steel barbs connected to the X26 by insulated wires— toward a person at a rate of over 160 feet per second.

The manufacturer maintains that the full 50,000 volts do not enter the victim’s body; rather, it claims the X26 only delivers a peak voltage of 1,200 volts into the body, and an average current of 2.1 milliamps for 5 seconds. As a comparison, the electric chair administers 2,450 volts at about five amps for 20 seconds.

When the deputies became violent, José hid behind his father for protection, but the police ordered Florencio Lucero to step away, making José an easy target for two of the deputies to shoot him with their Taser guns.

The impact is as powerful as it is swift. The electrical impulse from a Taser instantly overrides the victim’s central nervous system, paralyzing the muscles and rendering the target limp and helpless. In addition, removal of the barbed probes requires hospitalization so that a doctor can remove the probes with a scalpel.

Medical experts report that just one five-second Taser jolt can set off irregular heart rhythms, leading to cardiac arrest. Individuals with mental problems, heart conditions, or abusing certain drugs have a higher risk of death.  Once the steel barbs are lodged on the body, the officer can deliver continued electricity by pulling the device’s trigger again.

The following video shows a dozen police officers in training being shot —just once— with a Taser gun during a training session. Note that the barbs did not enter their skin but pierced a vest on their back.

This training video shows the painful result of just one Taser blow, even when the victim is held in the protective grasp of two colleagues. For safety reasons, most police department policies recommend no more than four jolts with a Taser.

According to data collected by Amnesty International, at least 500 people in the United States have died since 2001 after being shocked with Tasers. In November 2007, the UN Committee Against Torture released a statement saying “use of Taser X26 weapons, provoking extreme pain, constitutes a form of torture, and… in certain cases, it could also cause death.”

José Lucero, who was unarmed and could easily have been taken down by four police officers, was electrocuted with the Taser 29 times, within a six-minute period. 29 times. At five seconds per Taser, that is a total electrocution time of two minutes and 25 seconds! What kind of sick person would do that to another human being?

And if you think it couldn’t possibly get worse, the police pummeled José mercilessly with their batons 33 times, which, coincidentally, is the number of times Rodney King was clubbed by the police.

The typical police baton is simply a steel pipe, the use of which can have lethal consequences. Like brass knuckles, it can crack your head open, break your bones, and cause permanent injury to your bodily organs. In the case of Rodney King, the bones holding his eye in its socket were broken, and he suffered eleven broken bones at the base of his skull.

These four thugs masquerading as law enforcement officers certainly have nothing on the most heinous torturers of our times. Not surprisingly, their actions are aided and abetted by Sheriff Youngblood’s assurances that this “arrest” was handled in accordance with department policy.

Instead of excising this malignant tumor from the police force by filing criminal charges against all four deputies, Youngblood allows the cancer of police brutality to metastasize into the culture of the sheriff’s office by doing nothing.

José’s parents awaited the impartial results from the coroner’s office on the autopsy and cause of death. The Coroner’s Office is not limited to the examination of the deceased, but it also includes interviews with family members and other witnesses to assist with the determination.

Imagine the surprise of José’s parents when the coroner reported their son’s official cause of death was cardiac arrest following police restraint in association with methamphetamine intoxication.

But now get this. Who do you think is the Kern County Coroner?

Humor me. Just take one guess?

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Sheriff AND Coroner Donny Youngblood

That’s right, Sheriff/Coroner/Public Administrator Donny Youngblood. All three positions were consolidated in 1995 by the Board of Supervisors. Coroner Youngblood was elected in November 2006 to wear these three hats, after retiring as a Commander in 2002, the culmination of his 30 years at the Kern County Sheriff’s department.

Coroner Youngblood decides the cause of death of the innocent victims who die while in the police custody of Sheriff Youngblood. Nice. It’s like Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde coming to life in Kern County.

And for a judge and jury, this was just too ridiculous a lie to swallow.

In November 2012, after three-and-a-half weeks of trial and five hours of deliberation, a unanimous jury found that the County of Kern, the Kern County Sheriff’s Department, Deputy Ryan Greer, Deputy Daniel Willis, Deputy Angelo Gonzalez and Deputy Jonathan Juden were liable to Florencio and Lilia Lucero for the wrongful death of their son. For witnessing this brutality in their home, the court found negligent infliction of emotional distress resulting in an award of $4.5 million in total damages.

And what happened to the four deputies involved in this brutality? Nothing. According to Sheriff/Coroner Youngblood, they did nothing wrong, so all the deputies stayed on the force.

And that’s how on the night of May 7, 2013, Deputy Ryan Greer met David Sal Silva, the 33-year-old father of four beautiful young girls. One day Deputy Greer should explain to Makayla, Catelyn, Chelsea, and Eli why he and his gang of savages beat their father to death for simply passing out on the sidewalk after a very tough day.

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Unlike Lucero, however, Silva’s in-custody death was seen and recorded by several eyewitnesses.

Ruben Ceballos awoke around midnight to sharp cracks and piercing screams. The 19-year-old rushed to the kitchen door and saw Kern County sheriff’s deputies beating David Silva in the head as he lay still on the ground.

“I saw two sheriff’s deputies on top of this guy, just beating him,” Ceballos said. “He was screaming in pain … asking for help. He was incapable of fighting back—he was outnumbered, on the ground.  They just beat him up.”

And then there’s 34-year-old Salina Quair who was just leaving the Kern Medical Center, and saw David die. It turns out that David had sought help a little earlier from the substance abuse center at the Kern Medical Center. Unfortunately, a security guard saw that he was intoxicated and asked him to leave. David barely made it across the street before passing out.

Ironically, Salina called the police on the police.

Not only did Salina witness the savage execution and call 911, she also videotaped it with her phone and testified that the deputies were beating David to death with their batons when he was already unconscious.

“There’s a man laying on the floor and your police officers beat the shit out of him and killed him,” said Salina. “I have it all on video camera.”

She continued shouting into the phone:

“I am sitting here on the corner of Flower and Palm right now and you have one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight sheriffs. The guy was laying on the floor and eight sheriffs ran up and started beating him up with sticks. The man is dead laying right here, right now.”

Another witness, Jason Land, said he was so traumatized after seeing the murder, he didn’t know what to do. Jason said the police acted like “animals” when they brutally beat David to death right in front of him. He went to a local news station to tell his account. A few hours later, police arrested him and charged him with being on PCP, which was a lie, and according to Jason, the deputies tried to intimidate him to change his story about what he witnessed.

According to other witnesses, the first deputy to arrive found David passed out on the ground and gave him a knuckle rub on the chest and ordered him to wake him up. He got up on his knees, but being intoxicated he then fell on his face. How could anyone possibly interpret his inability to get up as “resisting arrest?”

So who did this deputy call for back-up to help him with this passed out unresponsive man resisting arrest? The back-up was a K-9 German Shepherd police dog released from his car in the attack mode that ferociously sunk his sharp teeth into David’s flesh, who was only wearing a t-shirt, shorts and sneakers. The autopsy revealed deep bites on his legs, arms, hands and torso. Even for days after the attack, you could see David’s blood all over the ground.

This unprovoked attack by a vicious animal must have suddenly awoken David from his drunken stupor because he began to fight for his life by trying to choke the dog before it killed him. And that’s when the other “law enforcement” officers arrived to savagely kick him and beat him over the face, head, and neck with their bone crushing steel batons.

The police department identified the seven deputies involved in David’s death as Sgt. Douglas Sword, Deputy Ryan Greer, Deputy Tanner Miller, Deputy Jeffrey Kelly, Deputy Luis Almanza, Deputy Brian Brock, and Deputy David Stephens. Two California Highway Patrol officers also responded, but haven’t been identified. All the officers are still working.

Silva’s uncle described what he saw after seeing his nephew’s body at the coroner’s office. “Bruised up face, chin, ear, busted lip, broken nose, black eye, all marks all over his face,” he explained.

It is completely absurd that these animals have not been arrested, strictly on the testimony of the many eyewitnesses to this completely unprovoked execution of an intoxicated man passed out on the sidewalk.

The cover up began immediately after the crime.

At 2 a.m. deputies began knocking on witnesses’ doors, detaining them for hours and demanding they turn over the footage on their cellphones.  Is anyone really surprised that the most incriminating videos are missing from the mobile phones when they were finally returned?

Sheriff/Coroner Youngblood held a triumphant press conference on May 23 during which —contradicting the eyewitnesses— he said that only three deputies delivered blows to David Silva and none to the head or neck.

Sheriff Youngblood declared everything about Silva’s “arrest” was handled in accordance with department policy. Coroner Youngblood declared David Silva’s death as “accidental,” with the official cause of death listed as “cardiac hypertension.”

These absurd conclusions are no more believable then those made when José Lucero was tortured to death.

The day after Youngblood held that press conference, Silva’s father Sal went on Los Angeles radio to express his outrage: “Although they murdered my son, they say, well, he died of natural causes. Really? Don’t believe your eyes, don’t believe your ears, don’t believe the witnesses, don’t believe anything, but believe what the sheriff, our good sheriff, has to say. As far as I am concerned [the sheriff] is an accomplice to murder.”

Fortunately, in the case of David Silva there are numerous impartial and credible eyewitnesses who even without the help of their sabotaged videotaped footage, can recount in their own words what they saw and heard that night.

It’s sad that this evil lurks in the shadows of the César Chávez National Monument, and we all desecrate the memory of his life by doing nothing.

This week César Chávez is being honored in a series of events in Riverside, California culminating in the Saturday unveiling of a memorial and statue in his likeness. It will join existing statues there of other civil rights icons such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi.

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If Chávez’s life is to stand for something, it should stand as a beacon for our country’s citizens to take action against injustice, and especially against the evil residing in Kern County, which affects everyone, not only Latinos.

This two-minute video taken in May 1972 on Day 19 of Chávez’s 24-day hunger strike at Santa Rita Center in Arizona should be required viewing for all of us. In this video, César is joined by Coretta Scott King to link the solidarity and commitment of the civil rights movement to the cause of Latino farmworkers to organize an effort to recall then-Gov. Jack Williams and protest an Arizona law limiting the rights of farmworkers.

We see Coretta, César, and other African American leaders and Latinos joined together, singing hand in hand, committed to social change through peaceful non-violence. “Nonviolence is not inaction. It is not discussion. It is not for the timid or weak… Nonviolence is hard work. It is the willingness to sacrifice. It is the patience to win,” César Chávez reminds us. You also see the movement’s slogan,”Sí, se puede” (“Yes, we can”) on the walls, the same slogan President Obama adopted as the motto for his presidential campaign.

And to honor the last moments of José Lucero and David Sal Silva’s valiant fight for their lives against overwhelming odds with a posthumous eulogy, I dedicate to them “If We Must Die” by Jamaican-American poet Claude McKay. It was written about the 1919 Harlem race riots and served as a call to action to all African American men that it was time for them to stand up for their rights.

If We Must Die
If we must die, let it not be like hogs
Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,
While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,
Making their mock at our accursed lot.
If we must die, O let us nobly die,
So that our precious blood may not be shed
In vain; then even the monsters we defy
Shall be constrained to honor us though dead!
O kinsmen! We must meet the common foe!
Though far outnumbered let us show us brave,
And for their thousand blows deal one deathblow!
What though before us lies the open grave?
Like men we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack,
Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!

***

CharlesGarcia-AvatarCharles Garcia, CEO of Garcia Trujillo Holdings, has served in the administration of four presidents.  He is the best-selling author of two leadership books and was named in the book “Hispanics in the USA: Making History” as one of 14 Hispanic role models for the nation books. Follow him on Twitter: @charlespgarcia

Shellie Zimmerman Booked on One Count of Perjury

NEWS RELEASE

SEMINOLE CO.  (June 12, 2012) – Earlier today, the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) was contacted by investigators with the Office of State Attorney Angela Corey, Fourth Judicial Circuit, who advised a warrant had been issued for Shellie Zimmerman, 25 years of age. 

At approximately 3:30 p.m., deputy sheriffs with SCSO arrested Shellie Zimmerman at the location she was residing in Seminole County and transported her to the John E. Polk Correctional Facility.  She was booked on one count of perjury.  Bond is set at $1,000.  She is currently in the process of posting bond. UPDATE 5:05 PM EST: Sheillie Zimmerman has posted bond and is now out of the facility.

Designated media staging areas are in place at the jail.

Questions regarding the perjury charge should be directed to the Office of the State Attorney, Fourth Judicial Circuit.  Zimmerman’s location at arrest is exempt pursuant to 119.071(4)(d)1e and confidential pursuant to Judge Lester’s order.

Daily Caller picture of George and Shellie Zimmerman that has been circulating online this past week.

Here are the official documents regarding the warrant and the arrest.

George Zimmerman Incarceration Information

NEWS RELEASE


General Information

George Zimmerman remains at the John E. Polk Correctional Facility (JEPCF) on a no-bond status and is currently being housed in administrative confinement.  He has been placed in this status (segregated from the general population) due to the high profile nature of the case.

Zimmerman’s cell is designed to hold two inmates and is approximately 67 square feet.  It is equipped with a toilet and two beds.  A mattress, pillow, bed sheets, and blanket are provided.  No photos will be provided of his cell or of any other cells inside the JEPCF.

Inmates housed at the JEPCF are not provided access to televisions and are not permitted to use or possess tobacco products.   Inmates are provided access to books and magazines from the facility’s library cart. They may also have books and magazines delivered directly to them from the publisher of the periodical.  Bibles are also permitted.


The JEPCF assesses a $10 booking fee and a $3 per day subsistence fee.  This fee is deducted from the inmate’s trust account.


The JEPCF has a design capacity of 1396 inmates.


Health Assessments

At no time will the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office discuss medical screening or mental health assessments.  All records associated with an inmate’s medical care are confidential and exempt.


Recreation

Inmates are scheduled for three hours of recreation time per week.


Meals

Inmates are provided three meals per day, with an average daily calorie count of 2,834.  Serving times typically start at 4 a.m. for breakfast, 10:30 a.m. for lunch and 4 p.m. for dinner.


Commissary

Inmates are permitted to purchase items from the commissary once a week. The costs of the items purchased are debited from the inmate’s trust account.  Only persons enumerated on the inmate’s visitation list are permitted to contribute to inmate’s trust account.  Zimmerman has purchased $79.84 in items and has a balance of $41.16. The items that Zimmerman purchased last night are attached to this release. An inmate’s current trust account balance is posted online at the same page as their booking photo.


Visitation

Zimmerman’s visitation log is not available at this time as his attorney has advised of an intent to file a motion for Protective Order.


Jail Surveillance Video

Jail surveillance video is expect and confidential per F.S. 281.301.  The sound recordings of inmates phone calls are not public record subject to release. Bent v. State, 46 So.3d 1047 (4th DCA2010).


Inmate Phone Calls

The sound recordings of inmatephone calls are not public record subject to release. (Bent v. State, 46 So.3d 1047 (4th DCA 2010)).

Zimmerman in Custody and Charged With Second-Degree Murder of Trayvon Martin

Special prosecutor Angela Corey announced this evening in Jacksonville that George Zimmerman is being charged with the second-degree murder of Trayvon Martin. Corey made her announcement in a live stream that was very likely seen all over the world.

Corey also confirmed that Zimmerman was already in custody, having turned himself in after being charged with the crime.

Here is a video link of the first part of the press conference. SEE PRESS CONFERENCE HERE.

Eyewitness to Martin Shooting Tells CNN That Zimmerman Was the Aggressor

Early today, CNN's Anderson Cooper's page ran an interview of the eyewitness who heard a confrontation on February 26 between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin. Her account below tells that Zimmerman was the aggressor.

Here is the video of the interview. As for the eyewitness, this is what CNN posted:

This eyewitness account brings us closer to understanding what really happened. We at AC360 have been trying our best to stick to what is knowable about the case, and discard what can only qualify as speculation. We have confirmed she is in fact a resident of the gated community where the shooting took place. We have confirmed she was present that night; she called 911 after witnessing a scuffle that resulted in gunfire and a dead 17-year-old boy. Her account is credible, and she has recounted her experience with police. She spoke to us last week on the air, on condition we preserve her anonymity. Tonight she came in person to our bureau for an interview, and she had a lot more to say. She spoke with Ashleigh Banfield about what she saw and heard the night of February 26. To conceal her identity, we are showing her only in shadow.  

ABC NEWS: Enhanced Zimmerman Video Shows Injury to Head

This is what ABC News is reporting now after enhancing the video of the George Zimmerman surveillance tapes.

The report from ABC News can be seen here.

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When Journalists (Or News Entertainers) Crap On Each Other: Morgan/Touré Debate Overshadows Martin Tragedy

Piers Morgan's interview with George Zimmerman's brother, Robert Zimmerman, Jr., which appears below, has led to an journalist ego fight between Morgan and MSNBC's Touré. Our take? Enough of journalists interviewing other journalists and sniping at each other. News has really become entertainment.

And dear Piers, having the Zimmerman Publicity Train on your show does lead to some questions about credibility. You kind of handled it kind with a softballs (no pun intended). Let's focus on the tragedy and leave your egos at the door. But even though Touré got quite patronizing and unprofessional at times, he was right. Morgan's interview was a fluff piece. He just let Zimmerman's brother ramble and ramble, and really never challenged him consistently. In the end, Zimmernan's brother said something quite telling: the entire reason why George Zimmerman was not arrested is all based on his own story and word.

The full snipefest is seen here.

While the Nation Focuses on Trayvon, The Murder of an Iraqi Woman Grips Southern California

For the last two weeks, online media has been focused on the death of Trayvon Martin, as more and more people keep asking for the state of Florida to do the correct thing: charge George Zimmerman with a crime. It appears to us that that is a distinct possibility, but it might not happen until after the April 10 grand jury date being scheduled for this incident, but who knows? It could happen next week, too.

In the meantime, another horrific tragedy has occurred in Southern California, and now social media might begin to pay more attention.

This week, TIME's Nina Burleigh asked a simple question in her piece: Where Are The Protests Against the Killing of Shaima Al Awadi? The killing of this Iraqi woman is a chilling tale of American jingoism and racism gone bad. Burleigh writes:

Forty thousand Iraqis live in El Cajon, California, where this week, Shaima Al Awadi, a devout Muslim mother of five, died after being beaten inside her home with a tire iron and left next to note reading “Go back to your country, you terrorist.” Coming on the heels of the Trayvon Martin killing in Florida, there would seem to be many parallels between the two crimes—the hate speech, the prejudice, the innocence of the victims. A One Million Hijabs for Shaima Al Awadi page has even been launched on Facebook, but it’s doubtful that the movement will really catch on because Iraqis still considered dangerous infiltrators in the eyes of Americans…..

The police in El Cajon are still looking for Al Awadi’s killer, whose family reported that they had found a similarly menacing note tacked to their door a week before the attack, which they had dismissed as a joke. The hijab is not the hoodie—yet. Police do not profile muslim women as they most certainly do black men. But only when we see people for their humanity and not their clothes or religious beliefs are we living up to the principles on which this country was founded and should now be evoking.

 

As with any incident that might be viewed as being unjust, social media does not instantly make something viral. It takes some time for the awareness to build and tonight, just two days after the TIME was published, we are seeing signs that this story might gain more interest. For example, the Facebook page has 9,151 likes, but MORE IMPORTANTLY, 8,046 people are talking about it tonight. That is an outstanding Facebook ratio. And tonight at the University of North Carolina, this powerful picture was taken and is starting to be shared on social media: ere is just one example, taken at the University of North Carolina:

The Trayvon Martin Case: What America Should Be Talking About

Beyond Race: The Issue IS Skin Color

The Lethal Consequences of Colorism in a Pigmentocracy

The Trayvon Martin case is one people of all ages and cultural backgrounds are connecting strongly with. An awareness somewhere in the subconscious is moving people to sign petitions and participate in marches as a way of expressing overwhelming feelings of sadness and frustration. But as of yet no one is focusing on the real problem. The problem is not as simple as those blaming race would have you believe.

The problem is not black and white because it also affects Latinos, Asians, the Indigenous and every culture in existence today. Stop leaving other cultures out of the conversation because the problem IS about COLOR. The issue of Colorism in America needs to be addressed today because a person's color, hair texture, shape and size are not costumes that can be taken off. Until we begin the discussion of how colonialism is still to this day negatively affecting a color traumatized society we cannot collectively begin to heal. 

When we lost our beloved Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. we failed to continue his work. Americans moved on without dealing with issues stemming from colonialism. An important part of Dr. King's work was changing the negative perception of the word Black. This is the work we must continue today. 

The United States of America's strength comes from its diversity. Corporate-owned mainstream media has erased the fact the United States of America today is a multiculturally diverse country setting the stage for such a tragedy to happen by teaching us to deny reality. American society is exposed to television and movies before being enrolled in an educational institution. The great majority of people are waiting for a brave super hero to swoop in and save the day keeping anyone from having to think or get their hands dirty.  That's what movies teach us, not to worry about anything because one person, usually portrayed by a white male, will rescue us and make things right again. But there goes that pesky denial again because things have never been right. Ask any person of color.

Source: https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml

To arrive to the point where an entire society can begin to heal we must dig deeper and deal with America's historical truth. There are people who have become hardened and numb as this is just the latest, one of countless cases where color prejudice ends with the murder of a child. Justice in one case is not enough

Countless others

Aiyana Jones

Wendell Allen

Ramarley Graham

So let us speak intelligently placing emotions aside and discuss the facts. Any idea that equality exists among all Americans in 2012 can be dispelled with statistics. See the following table:

Prison Statistics 2012

            Blacks in Prison: (37.5 %)

            Hispanic in prison: (34.6 %); Citizenship: Mexico (18.4 %)

Top 3 Offenses:

            Drug Offenses (48.7 %)

            Weapons, Explosives, Arson (15.7 %)

            Immigration (12.1 %)

[Source: US Dept. of Justice Federal Bureau of Prisons ]

Government Employment Statistics

Federal Employees: Black (18%)  Hispanic (8%)

[Source: US Office of Personnel Management]

Members of Congress: Black (8.1%) Hispanic (5.7%)

[Source: US Government Statistics]

Education Statistics

Percentage of 16- to 24-year-olds who were high school status dropouts in 2009:

Blacks (9.3%) Hispanic (17.6%) White (5%)

[Source: National Center for Education Statistics]

Percentage of public school students in 9th through 12th grade who had ever been suspended or expelled in 2007: Blacks (49%) Hispanic (26.5%) White (17.7%)

[Source: National Center for Education Statistics]

Poverty Statistics

Number and percentage of people in poverty 15 to 24 years old 2009:

Blacks (31%) Hispanic (26%) White (14%)

[Source: National Center for Education Statistics ]

 
To frame the problem we have today we must revisit history. American history does not begin with Columbus but our problems today stem from his landing. American territories had long been populated with indigenous civilizations with their own history of political, religious and social systems.  European colonization of the Americas begins during the mid 1400's when Columbus lands in the Caribbean. Natives were violently and systematically stripped of their rights, expression of language and religious beliefs.  Along with these atrocities was the enslavement of millions of Africans uprooted and transported to the Americas. It is 600 years of physical and psychological abuse effecting society today.

 

Important words to begin the discussion.

Colonization

a method of absorbing and assimilating foreign peoples into the culture of the imperial country, and thus destroying any remnant of the foreign cultures that might threaten the imperial territory

Genocide

the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group

Oppression

the act of subjugating by cruelty, force, etc. or the state of being subjugated in this way; the use of authority, law, or physical force to prevent others from being free or equal

To have no authority or control is to be oppressed.  A look at statistics is clear proof that people of color are still oppressed in 2012. 

White Privilege

a right, advantage or immunity granted to or enjoyed by white persons beyond the common advantage of all others

The problem is we are not discussing how regardless of race people who look white or have lighter complexions earn privilege. The privilege of having one's personhood and individuality respected, receiving the benefit of the doubt and some human compassion. George Zimmerman, a light-skinned Latino was clearly given the benefit of the doubt when he claimed self-defense even though there are many factors stacked against him such as: he was told not to pursue anyone and had a history of paranoia against people of color. Certainly there are other factors at play here that would allow one human being to kill another.

If you can name it you can change it.

Colorism

prejudice or discrimination in which human beings are accorded differing social treatment based on skin color;  the phenomenon of lighter-skinned people discriminating against darker-skinned people within their own ethnic groups such as idealizing blonde hair and the whitest skin

Shadism

a form of skin tone bias that identifies groups and individuals on the basis of their degree of pigmentation

The phenomenon of Colorism is happening among all ethnicities. It is a product of colonialism endorsing self hatred and self destruction.  

Pigmentocracy

a term adopted recently by social scientists to describe societies in which wealth and social status are determined by skin color. In a Pigmentocracy, the value of skin color is internalized by society as a whole, leading to feelings of low self-worth in people with darker skin and to feelings of superiority in people with lighter skin.

Examples of this can be seen across all media platforms, the more famous a person gets, the lighter they become. (Examples:  Sammy Sosa, Michael Jackson, actors and actresses who dye their hair blond and use color contacts or are edited in media to look a certain way.) 

In this case it is how media blames the victim by suggesting his clothing and general looks were grounds for provocation. Unscientifically associating negative traits to physical qualities creates emotionally abusive situations. Wearing particular clothing, walking in certain places, acting in particular ways are in no way an invitation for violence or justification for murder. 

Terms used incorrectly in this case:

Racism

(1.)the belief that races have distinctive cultural characteristics determined by hereditary factors and that this endows some races with an intrinsic superiority over others which is NOT supported by science. (2.) abusive or aggressive behavior towards members of another race on the basis of such a belief.

Race

the non-scientific classification of a group of people on the basis of common history, nationality, or geographic distribution

Racism and race are old unscientific terms used to create separatism and justify segregation. These terms no longer work in today's America, a culturally diverse society. A great example is the latest Census form. Fifty million American Hispanics have a hard time checking one box because their heritage includes, European, African as well as Indigenous ancestry. Until that is changed there will never be an accurate census.

Terms that should be used in this case:

POC

an abbreviated term for People of Color

Prejudice

an adverse judgment or opinion formed beforehand or without knowledge or examination of the facts.

Bias

prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair.

Prejudice and bias are all of the presumptions made in this case for or against Trayvon Martin.

What we must do is embrace change not hate.

Understand change does not rely on one person but a huge collective of individuals who dare stand up for what is morally right is merely the beginning.

  • Stop supporting products and companies that are toxic to society by perpetuating negative stereotypes referring to any particular color as bad.
  • Demand equal and fair coverage on all media platforms. Do not permit people of color to continue being under-represented, negatively depicted and narrowly portrayed.
  • Stop voting for government officials who do not have your best interest in mind or support the eradication of cultural diversity. 
  • Begin demanding accountability from government officials and everyone in positions of authority. Yes, people can make mistakes but being a better person means being able to correct them. If they cannot, another qualified person should be given the opportunity.

  • Vote them out of government. There are old, out of touch government officials enacting laws that would set this country back to the 1950's and possibly the dark ages.  Write them and let them know your opposition. Even better prepare yourself and run for office.
  • Education. 
  • Parents and children must demand higher standards from our educational institutions. Educational institutions must do better than providing textbooks full of one sided views and incomplete history.

Once we start the conversation we can begin to eliminate the psychological damages of Colorism. We can begin to love our individuality and special qualities to open our eyes to our valid contributions to America. We can begin to heal and build a stronger America.

Are you upset about this case? What will you do with your awareness?

You can find your local government representative here: US Government Representatives