Lisa Bloom's Suspicion Nation: The Inside Story of the Trayvon Mart...

Inside Lisa Bloom’s Latest Book, Suspicion Nation

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February 26, 2014 at 10:08 am  •  Posted in Lisa Bloom's Posts by  •  11 Comments

Below is an excerpt Lisa Bloom’s just released book, Suspicion Nation: The Inside Story of the Trayvon Martin Injustice and Why We Continue to Repeat It

The opinions expressed here represent those of Lisa Bloom and not necessarily those of Avvo.com.

Introduction

The Sixth Juror

Maddy had had it. The trial wasn’t over, but she was out of there. Rules or no rules, she was leaving. “If they had to put me in jail for going home, then put me in jail.” Three weeks of sequestration with five white women who didn’t understand the first thing about her, who demeaned and mocked and trivialized her, was more than enough.

As the only minority juror in the nation’s most watched and most racially charged case in decades, she was done.

As a thirty-six-year-old olive-skinned Puerto Rican woman, Maddy had been doubly lonely since the first week of trial. (Most juries in America have twelve members; Florida has six-person juries in all but death penalty cases, and in this case all six were female.) Judge Debra Nelson had ordered the six women sequestered, requiring them to leave their families for the duration of the trial, booking them in a local hotel under the careful watch of the sheriff’s deputies, with occasional phone calls and weekly visits with family members. But Maddy had isolated herself even further, mostly staying in her room, away from the other jurors, securing herself from their words and cruel laughter and judgments about her.

She had no idea how bewildering and hurtful it would all be, nor how huge this trial was for Sanford, Florida, and the nation, which became captivated by the explosive case. On February 26, 2012, the night that Trayvon Martin was shot, Maddy wasn’t even living in Florida, but in faraway Chicago, with her husband and seven children. Who had time to watch the news about a crime in a distant state? Between work and raising her family, Maddy was busy. Besides, the news was depressing.

She got the weather on her phone, and that was all she felt she needed to know.

Just four months after Maddy and her family moved to central Florida in early 2013, Maddy’s jury summons appeared. She couldn’t believe it. And she’d just had a new baby girl. She could have easily evaded jury duty by saying she was breastfeeding, she learned, but she refused to lie, because lying is wrong.

As a nursing home caregiver, Maddy had no experience with the American court system, which seemed alien to her, conducted in a harsh foreign tongue. While being questioned at length by meticulous defense attorney Don West during jury selection, she felt confused and intimidated—

Was she on trial? What had she done wrong? Why did he keep asking her what TV shows she watched, what newspapers she read? Was he accusing her of lying? Of being stupid? “They made me feel so guilty of something I didn’t even do,” she said. Only bad people had to go to court, she believed—just being in the courtroom made her feel like she must have done something wrong. “I don’t know who George Zimmerman is, I really don’t!” She kept telling them, but they kept asking anyway, the same question from different angles, because they wanted to be sure to seat jurors like Maddy who had not been tainted by pretrial publicity. It was exhausting her. The unnerving way Don West looked directly at her, as if he could read her mind—she’d never experienced anything like it and hoped never to feel so cross-examined again. “He scared the hell out of me. I cried when I came out [of jury selection],” she said.

“There he is!” other jurors whispered to her when they first saw stone-faced George Zimmerman, the accused murderer, across the small courtroom. They already knew more than she did. Who? Maddy thought, knowing that she was already falling behind. Business suits were so alien to her that she called them tuxedos. “I believed anybody who’s got a tuxedo on is a lawyer,” she said. So she concluded that Zimmerman, in his suit, was a lawyer too.

Assistant state attorney John Guy began the proceedings with,

“Fucking punks! These assholes, they always get away.” Rattled by the obscene language, Maddy did not hear the explanation, that these were Zimmerman’s words on his recorded police call, which he made upon seeing Trayvon Martin for the first time, words that would become important later, so the prosecutor was using them now for dramatic effect.

All she knew was that the solemnity of the courtroom was shattered as the first attorney to speak at the trial was unnervingly profane. During his defense opening statement, Don West awkwardly tried to break the tension in the courtroom with a knock-knock joke:

Knock knock!

Who’s there?
George Zimmerman.
George Zimmerman who?
All right, good, you’re on the jury.

Maddy didn’t understand the joke: “I just didn’t get it.” Who was George Zimmerman? Why did everyone in the courtroom except her seem to know all about him? Was he one of the lawyers, or the one accused of the shooting? But he’d admitted to the shooting, right? So why was a trial happening?

                  “I felt naive and dumb from the beginning,” Maddy said. And her gnawing unease mounted each day the trial went on.

*                *                *

No other case in recent memory grabbed and held the American public’s attention like the Zimmerman murder trial. CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC covered the proceedings extensively, throughout the court day, with soaring ratings, blowing out all other news coverage in order to broadcast opening statements, the testimony of key witnesses, and then, as viewers couldn’t get enough, all witnesses. CNN’s sister network, HLN, broadcast every moment of the trial, gavel-to-gavel, beginning to end. Many cable evening news shows covered the trial and only the trial, night after night, poring over every lame joke, analyzing juror body language, or replaying each smackdown of counsel by the judge.

Prime-time specials were devoted to analyzing the trial. Network television— NBC, CBS, ABC—covered the story daily on morning shows and nightly on national news programs. Print media, highbrow and low, from the New York Times to TMZ.com, published thousands of stories about the proceedings, from pretrial wrangling over screams on a 911 call through the final Saturday late-night not-guilty verdict. The public’s demand for stories about the trial was insatiable and continued well after its unsatisfying conclusion. Outside the United States, the world watched any of the three million YouTube videos that were posted about Zimmerman, mainly chunks of the trial.

For once, this intensive coverage was worthy. The public, especially African-American journalists and activists, had clamored for the media to pay attention to the story since shortly after February 26, 2012, when it became known that Trayvon Martin, a seventeen-year-old boy walking to a friend’s home carrying only his cell phone, Skittles, and an Arizona watermelon drink, had been gunned down by a neighborhood-watch coordinator named George Zimmerman. Then Zimmerman’s recorded call to the police was released, and we learned that he had looked out the window of his SUV and described Trayvon, a stranger to him, as “a real suspicious guy” who was “up to no good,” adding, “these assholes, they always get away” and “fucking punks.” (I refer to adults by their last names and minors by their first names throughout this book.) To many, Zimmerman appeared to have racially profiled Trayvon and shot and killed him based on the deepest, ugliest stereotypes still embedded in the American psyche: that blacks are criminals, dangerous—“they” get away with their crimes— “they” must be watched, followed—those assholes. Most of black America grasped immediately that a boy was dead from those prejudices.

Despite the strides America has made in the civil rights movement, eradicating Jim Crow laws, teaching tolerance, and electing an African-American president, racial inequality endures, as the shooting vividly illustrated. Any false belief that we lived in a post-racial America was shattered, as mothers of black boys spoke out about the excruciating warnings they privately gave their sons: don’t run, especially from police; don’t carry anything in your hands; don’t talk back to authority figures. Yet Zimmerman was not police, and Trayvon was not running or speaking to him (at least not initially), nor was he holding anything in his hands. Many African-American commentators spoke about the personal pain they felt in hearing Trayvon lumped in with “these assholes” and “fucking punks”—that recorded language confirming their fears that they were constantly misjudged, stereotyped, suspicious merely for walking while black.

Some of white America was hostile to the idea that this case was significant. In a nation, sadly, with so many shootings, why did this one catch fire? Because a “bottom-up” grassroots movement insisted on it. The black community had heard it all before, too many agonizing times, the one about the unarmed dark-skinned man gunned down because he touched his waistband, or reached for a doorbell, or the cell phone in his hand had magically transformed into a gun in the eyes of his shooter. The community remembered Kimani Gray, Kendrec McDade, Timothy Russell, Sean Bell, Oscar Grant, and dozens of other names of young black men, weaponless, feared, gunned down, their shooters usually freed or facing only minimal sentences. Bruce Springsteen said, “Trayvon Martin is Amadou Diallo,” invoking the unarmed African immigrant gunned down by New York City police in 1999, holding only his wallet, and sang, “you can get killed just for living in your American skin.” Oprah Winfrey and others compared Trayvon to civil rights icon Emmett Till, the fourteen-year-old black boy, also returning from a store with candy, who was shot in the head in 1955 in another small Southern town by a stranger with easy access to a gun, who, like Zimmerman, raised substantial funds for his legal defense fund and was quickly acquitted.

State and local officials spoke out, even at the highest levels. In no other state criminal case has President Barack Obama weighed in— twice—as he did here. First, in March 2012, carefully handling his comments about the matter, as it was then an open criminal case, he said only: “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon Martin.” No sympathetic words were offered to Zimmerman. Identifying with Trayvon, our first African-American president, who generally avoided talk of race, understood that racial profiling was at the heart of the case.

After the acquittal in July 2013, as demonstrations erupted in dozens of cities nationwide, President Obama shocked the Washington press corps by making unannounced, seemingly off-the-cuff comments on the case. Speaking in the most personal terms we’d heard from him on any subject since he took office, President Obama upgraded his connection to the story, mirroring the popular “I Am Trayvon” placards at demonstrations: “When Trayvon Martin was first shot, I said this could’ve been my son. Another way of saying that is, Trayvon Martin could have been me, thirty-five years ago.”

He continued: “There are very few African-American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were shopping at a department store, and that includes me.” President Obama spoke about hearing locks click on car doors while crossing the street, something he said he personally experienced before he was senator, and of women nervously clutching their purses while in elevators with African-American men like him.

Seeming to attempt to explain the black outrage about the acquittal, President Obama said: “I don’t want to exaggerate this, but those sets of experiences inform how the African-American community interprets what happened one night in Florida. It’s inescapable for people to bring those experiences to bear.”

Understand our history, President Obama seemed to say. Understand that we are still living it. Grasp our pain that racial profiling happens, and it can end in death—death of our children.

For many, the Florida verdict was a beginning, not an end. A civil rights movement was reignited, and a bright media spotlight shined on racial profiling not only in Florida, but also in New York City and nationwide. Stand Your Ground laws, which expanded traditional self-defense doctrine to allow those who felt threatened in virtually any location to use deadly force even if they could have escaped without violence, were decried, even though the law should have been inapplicable in the Zimmerman trial. Calls came for stricter gun laws, including prohibiting neighborhood-watch volunteers from carrying firearms. Yet deep divisions about race, guns, and Stand Your Ground still fester since they were put into motion when Zimmerman, on a rainy Florida night, decided to ignore the police recommendation to stay in his car, and instead ran after, as he put it, “this kid.”

A verdict that could have provided accountability, vindication, and healing did not happen. But we are a nation of laws. The outcome would have to be accepted if the trial was fair. The community would have to just move on if Zimmerman’s acquittal was based on the evidence at trial.

But that was not the case. Because the same suspicions and unexamined biases that Zimmerman harbored in one way or another coursed through the significant players in that courtroom: the defense attorneys, prosecutors, judge, and jury.

 

 

Click here to read more.

Lisa Bloom, Avvo Legal Analyst

About 

Lisa Bloom is the founder and managing partner of The Bloom Firm, a civil and criminal general practice law firm. Admitted to practice in all state and federal courts of California and New York, Lisa partners with local attorneys nationwide to bring justice to clients all over the U.S.

Lisa Bloom is a legal analyst for Avvo.com and NBC News, and the author of three books, Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World, Swagger: 10 Urgent Rules for Raising Boys in an Era of Failing Schools, Mass Joblessness and Thug Culture, and SUSPICION NATION: The Inside Story of the Trayvon Martin Injustice and Why We Continue to Repeat It.

11 Comments

  1. Sonia Haseeb / March 19, 2014 at 12:59 pm / Reply

    Hello ,

    My family me my wife and my daughter got B1/B2 visa from Karachi Pakistan.

    I briefly describe my story that what happened to me and my wife at port of entry to US at Vancouver airport at this time my daughter is not with me, i am Pakistani citizen and currently living in Winnipeg as a permanent resident of Canada, on 14 Dec 2013 i tried to enter USA first time on my B1/B2 visa for three 3 days trip to las Vegas and then followed to Pakistan, i had three days hotel reservation with returns tickets to Pakistan , which was booked by me last night 13-12-2013, They denied me and my wife to enter in US due to unavailability of lease agreement of my Winnipeg apartment and they continuously asked me that why i booked the tickets and hotel reservation last night, they continuously asked me same questions till 9 hours, In my luggage i have carry my educational documents, my family pictures and my pakistan property documents as well , i also want to informed you that recently i moved my legal funds from canada to china as i have a huge import business in Pakistan and these funds are already declared to canadian immigration authority,these funds placed in my canadian account from last 3 months after 3 months we were invest in china because we can’t find a good business in Canada and they also inquiring me about these funds because i carried my bank statement with me, i also showed them my import documents against these funds, i also offered my apartment management details for verification but they did not accept in fact i tried to satisfied them that i am a true visitor and i also presented my job letter to them about me and my wife doing a security officer job in Winnipeg Canada, i informed them that i signed lease agreement of my apartment till September 2014 and have a auto loan from TD bank of Canada as well and i am going to Pakistan for picking up my daughter and want to meet my mother because she is upset and missing me but they took the decision not to entered in USA and gave us 2 options either we withdraw the application or they will ban us for 5 years so eventually we were withdraw the application

    Then after 3 months i reapplied for B1/B2 visa from the same Karachi Office and they refused it and do you believe that they took the passport of my daughter and also cancelled her visa also, now how to resolve it? What are my options now how i will get US visa again.Please help me out.( in the whole process i lost huge money because las vegas hotel reservation with tickets was nonrefundable)

    Looking forward for early and positive reply from your side.
    Thanks

    • Gillian Amas
      Gillian Amas / March 20, 2014 at 8:53 am / Reply

      Hi Sonia,

      You’ll want to ask this questions on our website or contact an attorney directly. Our attorneys do not answer via the blog, but they will in the forum here: http://www.avvo.com/ask-a-lawyer

      Hope this helps,

      Kindly,

      Gillian
      Ask a Lawyer and Get Expert Answers at Avvo.com
      http://www.avvo.com
      Post a question (anonymously) and get free legal advice direct from experienced lawyers near you.

  2. carmel gillis / March 17, 2014 at 11:05 pm / Reply

    Hello Lisa, you are my favorite, I always watch u and Nancy grace. Lisa i have had this matter now for a while. I really believe u are my final answer.

    In 2004 I was awarded a money judgment for $42k plus. The debtor not only never paid me
    a penny but purchased a property for $720k. This same buyer had no credit, just filled bankruptcy,
    no job/ or income and got this loan through Long Beach Mortgage. This loan was obtained in 2006.
    What i fail to accept was the amount of fraud that was committed by the buyer, the seller, the notary,
    and the title company.

    The money judgment was for non payment of rent’s the buyer found another opportunity with the help of the
    above to turn a transaction where a property value increased by $127% simply to make it a healthy payday for all
    then foreclose on the property, never to have paid any mortgage.

    How can the same title company be awarded bankruptcy? Bankruptcy should be a ‘no no’ when staff commits fraud
    that puts the company in bankruptcy, if award, thorough investigation and audits need to be done to ensure checks and
    balances are in order.

    Not only have i tried to ask a simple question, but i refuse to sit back and let this matter go untold. Stephen, I pray
    with your help i can find justice and bring this fraud, corruption to the open.

    Stephen, as you can see from the above attachments, there is a closing statement clearly with
    the breakdowns, the title company send me a letter letting me no that i have zero claim against them.
    They took the liberty of submitting the bankruptcy attorney’s information that handles the case.

    I just received an email with a letter from them saying they have no record or finding of this said
    transaction.???

    Carmel

  3. Tiffany Marie / March 16, 2014 at 11:23 pm / Reply

    Lisa Bloom I did not know you answer questions online regarding criminal cases.

  4. sanjay / March 9, 2014 at 6:56 pm / Reply

    How to contact you for legal advice as My father was a US citizen and petitioned my file Sept 13,2003
    > under category F- 3 i, e married son and family . My case approved on Sept
    > 29, 2010 by NVC . Unfortunately my father died in August 2012 in india. Now
    > my case file is moved. I have no my immediate relative in US. But my mother
    > sister and uncle, USA citzen had been in US for more than 30 years. Can she
    > or her children be my substitute sponsor. Please advice

    • Gillian Amas
      Gillian Amas / March 10, 2014 at 3:54 pm / Reply

      Hi Sanjay,

      Please post this question to our free Q&A forum where an attorney can answer. Avvo attorneys do not provide advice via our blog, but they will when asked on Avvo.com. Here is the link to the forum to get started: http://www.avvo.com/ask-a-lawyer

      Thank you,

      Gillian
      Ask a Lawyer and Get Expert Answers at Avvo.com
      http://www.avvo.com
      Post a question (anonymously) and get free legal advice direct from experienced lawyers near you.

  5. sam west / March 8, 2014 at 6:05 pm / Reply

    Someone has a restraining order against me but they want to talk to
    me. Can they do that in the state of california?

    • Gillian Amas
      Gillian Amas / March 10, 2014 at 3:56 pm / Reply

      Hi Sam,

      Please post this question to our free Q&A forum where an attorney can answer. Avvo attorneys do not provide advice via our blog, but they will when asked on Avvo.com. Here is the link to the forum to get started: http://www.avvo.com/ask-a-lawyer

      Thank you,

      Gillian
      Ask a Lawyer and Get Expert Answers at Avvo.com
      http://www.avvo.com
      Post a question (anonymously) and get free legal advice direct from experienced lawyers near you.

  6. Michael E Piston / February 26, 2014 at 5:23 pm / Reply

    If the purpose of this excerpt was to inspire one to read the book, it failed, at least as to this potential reader. Nothing in the excerpt caused me question my perception that the Zimmerman prosecution illustrated nothing other than the principle that the burden of proof is upon the prosecution to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Given that the prosecution had nothing but speculation to overcome Zimmerman’s claim that Martin was killed in a struggle for his gun, it is hardly surprising that the jury held that it failed to carry this burden.

    Cited from: Lisa Bloom’s Suspicion Nation: The Inside Story of the Trayvon Mart… http://nakedlaw.avvo.com/lisa-bloom/inside-lisa-bloom-suspicion-nation.html#ixzz2uTuq6ijy

  7. Michael E Piston / February 26, 2014 at 5:17 pm / Reply

    If the purpose of this excerpt was to inspire one to read the book, it failed, at least as this potential reader. Nothing in the excerpt caused me question my perception that the Zimmerman prosecution illustrated anything other than the principle that the burden of proof is upon the prosecution to prove the defendant’s guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

  8. Salsassin / February 26, 2014 at 4:15 pm / Reply

    Great journalistic shtick, but hardly a worthy legal analysis.

    From the get go, Lisa Bloom shows she has completely her impartiality or the ability to play devil’s advocate to her own biased conclusions. I will go over some claims of fact that she makes that are not actually fact but assumptions.

    Let’s begin with her claim that Martin could not see Zimmerman’s gun because it was clipped in his lower back. This clearly shows me that she did not pay attention to the depositions. Zimmerman states that his gun was concealed in his waistband on his side, not his back. And in a struggle, it could easily have revealed itself. This was a big failure I noticed of her legal analysis, she didn’t know her facts.

    Google YouTube George Zimmerman Re-enactment (Full Video). It is 12:26 minutes long and scroll to minute 10.

    “That is when my jacket moved up and I had my firearm on my right side hip.”

    Reenactment begins in 10:21. Not from back, but from side.

    Next Bloom claims that Zimmerman stated “fucking punks.” Actually, the recording only has “fucking..” and something unintelligible. Some media vied to make racial claims such as ‘coons’. Others claimed it was ‘punks’. Zimmerman himself didn’t remember what he said, but when presented with those two choices, he assumed he must have said ‘punks.’ Further clean-up of the sound actually led a leading audio analyst to determine he said ‘cold.’ It turned out it was a cold rainy night. Any assumption of fact to what he said that night, is speculation.

    Bloom claims that Martin was just walking to a friend’s home. This clearly shows she is not really savvy on the fact. Martin was heading to his father’s girlfriend’s house. What isn’t mentioned is that a walk from 7/11 to that house, which should have taken only about 15 minutes, turned out to last a lot longer, even before encountering Zimmerman. Time that allows for further speculation as to what Martin was doing that night. We may never know, but to claim for a fact he was innocent or guilty of any suspicious activity as a fact would be fraudulent.

    Bloom’s next biased claim is that Zimmerman stated that ‘these assholes, they always get away,’ because of a racially prejudiced perception of Black men. There is no evidence for this claim. Zimmerman actually came from an integrated family and neighborhood and had extensive interaction with African Americans in both his friends and family circles. His statement was clearly related to the fact that his neighborhood had been extensively burglarized and that burglars were constantly getting away. Zimmerman clearly stated that it was Martin’s walking between houses, slowly in the rain and looking at houses that causes the suspicion. In fact, Zimmerman didn’t mention race in his call. It was the dispatcher who asked him to identify a race. It is only then that Zimmerman first speculates that he is Black, “I think he is black.” and then confirms it when he gets a better look. “He is a black man.” It would not be hard to infer that Martin had already set off his suspicions before he had determined what facial features he may have had.

    I found it ironic that Bloom ranted about how Blacks and Hispanics are overcharged in the system, but she selectively forgot that Zimmerman was a Hispanic Afrodescendant who had as much African and Indigenous ancestry as he had European. The problem is that Bloom did her analysis with the media that had already lynched Zimmerman in the court of public opinion. Her book was written in a classic case of group think mentality, not an unbiased review of the facts.

    Bloom kept on showing her bias when she claimed that Zimmerman was gloating that Martin’s killing was God’s plan. The actual statement was an answer to Hannity who asked “Do you feel you wouldn’t be here for this interview if you didn’t have that gun?” and got Zimmerman’s response was “I feel that it was all god’s plan and for me to second guess it or judge it..” That is a far cry from gloating and a clear case of Catholic dogma. When tragedy strikes, Catholics usually say, it is God’s Plan. As in, you can’t second guess God. Everything happens for a reason, whether you like it or not. This was not gloating but a simple admission that what happened was out of his control.

    Bloom makes another claim that is another darling of the media. That innocent black people are constantly gunned down by scared White people claiming self-defense. And she blames it on Stand Your Ground laws. Only one problem, any serious analysis of the statistics of intergroup homicides by state does not show that African Americans are getting shot in any more significant way in states with SYG laws than in states without them. Furthermore, studies by psychologists such as Joshua Correll on implicit bias in police shootings found that while it is true that police will accidentally shoot black unarmed men quicker than unarmed white men, this implicit bias is seen in the same degree in Black police as white police, and even more telling, in the same rate in Black civilians. White people are not more prone to shoot a Black stranger that might possibly have a gun. Virtually all groups in the United States seem to have this implicit bias. This cannot simply be attributed to White racism then. Nor to SYG laws. Something else must play a role. Could the fact that, while criminals are a small minority of the African American population (which is only 13% of the US population), these criminals commit almost 50% of the violent crimes and murders in the nation play any role? I would state that the crime wave itself is a subconscious cause for the implicit bias that affects so many innocent African Americans shot accidentally by police and civilians of all ancestries.

    Bloom then makes a claim that Martin was just a mild mannered kid. She must have forgotten that if character were to enter the game, Trayvon Martins telephone texts and other media would have come into play. His describing fights he had been in and punching and breaking a person’s nose would not have quite shown a mild mannered quiet kid. A 17 year old that had been suspended multiple times from school and who texted about how his own mother had kicked him out of her house. Again, did Bloom look at all the evidence as she claimed?

    Bloom continues her barrage of claims stated as facts when she states that the dispatcher told Zimmerman that he didn’t need to follow Martin and that Zimmerman continued following anyway. Zimmerman actually acknowledged the dispatchers suggestion and continued a conversation with him for over a minute in which he stated that Martin had run away. No evidence has been presented by any eye or ear witness that can show that Zimmerman continued following after that conversation. What he did or did not do is mere speculation until the 911 calls with John Good stating that Martin was mounted on top of Zimmerman, seemingly moving his arms like he was delivering blows.

    Bloom also uses selective amnesia when stating that Martin was fearful of Zimmerman saying that Martin stated Zimmerman was creepy. What Martin actually seems to have said, per Jeantel, is “Creepy Ass Cracka” Which could either be a racist slur stating that he was a Creepy ass White person in a derogative form, or that he was a creepy gay person in another derogatory form. Cracka is racist slang for a White person, and Ass Cracka is a derogatory term for homosexuals. Yet later in the book she mentions the whole quote showing her selective bias.

    Bloom also fails to note that when doing phone call time comparisons that Martin running when on the phone with Jeantel actually matches the point in time Zimmerman reports that Martin ran in his conversation with the dispatcher. This running is followed by Zimmerman speaking for over a minute with the dispatcher.

    Bloom does show some legal expertise when she admits that Zimmerman never followed to any degree that amounted to stalking.

    Bloom then follows with a legal analysis of the use of self-defense. She errs greatly here. She claims that, one, Zimmerman stated that he had his gun in his back. A claim I already refuted. Then she claims that Martin couldn’t have seen the gun, which is not necessarily true as our eyes do adjust with time even to dimly lit areas and the gun could have reflected some light when exposed during the fight. Furthermore, we simply don’t know what type of contact Martin had with his body against the hip that carried the firearm. It is quite possible he felt it while straddling Zimmerman. More importantly, she bases her analysis of Zimmerman’s reasonable fear of imminent great bodily harm only on the possibility of Martin acquiring the gun. Zimmerman didn’t need to have Martin aware of his gun to have a reasonable fear of imminent harm. The fact that he claimed he was straddled and getting his head slammed against the concrete, even if not producing permanent damage at the moment, would be enough to claim a fear of imminent harm if the next blow to his head was allowed to happen.

    Bloom’s inaccurate analysis of the Martin’s position is further evidence of her lack of impartiality. Zimmerman pushed or extracted himself from beneath Martin and then rolled him over to his stomach. That is enough movement for the distance of Martin’s body to the sidewalk. Bloom’s claim’s that the distance proves Martin was lying is just biased conjecture not based on fact.

    Bloom would then claim that race played a role in Zimmerman profiling Martin because many of the prior burglars and suspects had been African American. While the background of the prior burglars is true, and could have played a factor in Zimmerman’s determination, there is no evidence that conclusively proves this. In fact, Zimmerman called the police dispatch for people of many different ethnic groups, not just Black Americans. He called about Hispanics and White people as well. And the phone call in the day in question seems to show that Zimmerman was not sure of what ancestry Martin belonged to when he mentions he thinks he is Black, and then later makes the assertion that he is Black when he gets a better look. If he knew he was Black and profiled before making the call, then why would he be unsure of his answer to the dispatcher’s racial question, and why would he have to confirm it a minute later?

    Bloom claims that Zimmerman had a simple syllogism. Two prior burglars who victimized the neighborhood were Black, and Trayvon was Black. She completely obviates the fact that Zimmerman states that Martin was walking in between houses, that he was walking slowly in the rain and that he was looking at houses. Furthermore, Zimmerman in a later interview that predated the court case, clarified that Martin was looking at a house whose owner he knew, and did not look like Martin, and that the house had been targeted for burglary before. That, in itself was sufficient cause for a guarded suspicion. The very reason people usually call the police to investigate.

    Bloom then makes the fake claim that all of Zimmerman’s calls to police dispatch were about African Americans. This is simply not true. She even goes to claim he called about a 7 year old black kid going to school. She failed to mention he was alone and walking close to heavy traffic.

    Next Bloom attacked the forensic evidence claiming that Dr. Bao was misused and that he had evidence of lung puncture that would have made Martin speaking after the shot impossible. That is inaccurate. Any investigation of pneumothorax will tell you one of the results is difficulty breathing, and difficulty in speech, but not impossibility. Especially not a short sentence burst immediately after. She also claimed Dr. DiMaio failed to do any actual experimentation to show if the claims of stippling and leaning over were possible. Unfortunately for her claim, forensic analyst Michael Knox did exactly that and showed how it could have happened.

    Next, Bloom explores Jeantel. She tries to claim Jeantel is trilingual, but fails to mention she is hardly articulate in Haitian Creole or Spanish. She understands some, pero no habla la lengua como gente de barrio. She is definitely not fluent. She definitely speaks in Black vernacular, as Bloom notes, but Bloom fails to note what she is saying. Martin complained that a man was watching him something that is not illegal). Martin refers to him as a ‘creepy ass cracka’. Jeantel then informs him that he might be a rapist. Now, what could Martin’s frame of mind be? He obviously dislikes the person watching him. Profiling him as a creepy white person, or a homosexual. And Jeantel makes him think he might be a rapist as well. Could this fear have led to Martin’s attack? Possibly. And Bloom still failed to note that by Jeantel’s testimony and the time stamps of her calls Martin ran before Zimmerman was even off the phone call with the dispatcher. Just like Zimmerman had described.

    I could go on and on about the many mistakes in this book but I will just say that it was slick journalistic writing with great prose and an entertaining reading but it is very political and falls short on the facts. She is obviously lobbying for the repeal of SYG laws.

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