CIVIL RIGHTS activists took to streets in cities across the country in protest over the not guilty verdict of George Zimmerman. The verdict now releasing the stay on Zimmerman’s defamation suit against NBC Universal, which James Beasley, Zimmerman’s attorney, has now stated will move forward “in earnest asap.”
According to Zimmerman attorney James Beasley, the case against NBC News was stayed pending the outcome of the criminal case. Now that’s out of the way, and Beasley is ready to proceed. “We’re going to start in earnest asap, we just have to get the stay lifted which is a ministerial act,” says Beasley, a Philadelphia lawyer, via e-mail.
When asked how the not-guilty verdict affects the civil case against NBC News, Beasley responded, “This verdict of not guilty is just that, and shows that at least this jury didn’t believe that George was a racist, profiling, or anything that the press accused George of being. That probably doesn’t get you that much but it’s simply time for us to start the case and hold accountable anyone who was irresponsible in their journalism.”
To recap, the tape played on the air had been edited, with two employees fired for the actions, which was alleged to be unintentional. There is no evidence yet that NBC Universal sanctioned the editing. Another wrinkle with the lawsuit now is that George Zimmerman is a public person, which raises the bar considerably on defamation.
The edited version played on the air by NBC Universal of George Zimmerman: “This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.”
The full tape was as follows:
Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. Or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.
Dispatcher: OK, and this guy — is he black, white or Hispanic?
Zimmerman: He looks black.
The quote above by Zimmerman’s attorney Mr. Beasley is highlighted in bold because this is not what the jury found in their not guilty verdict. In fact, as I’ve already written, if the prosecution had argued racial profiling, not by playing the race card but by simply quoting Zimmerman himself, as well as the conversations he had with people like Olivia Bertalan, the outcome of the trial could have been different.
The fact that the state didn’t emphasize racial profiling and that George Zimmerman followed Trayvon Martin based on preconceived suspicions he had because Martin was wearing a hoodie and was African American is reason that the Obama Department of Justice could bring a civil rights case against George Zimmerman, though it wouldn’t be easy.
Therein lies your answer as to whether A.G. Eric Holder will move forward. There has never been one glimpse of moral courage under Eric Holder’s leadership.
President Obama has also never chosen to wade into the racial divisions in our country or wanted to fight for African Americans overtly citing civil rights. His statement after the not guilty verdict seems to close the door on any further discussion on the obvious racial components still untapped in the killing of Trayvon Martin.
Thinking that Obama’s statement was distancing himself so that the DOJ could bring civil rights charges against George Zimmerman, who clearly racially profiled Trayvon Martin, would be hoping for moral courage from a president who has not shown any towards the subject of race since he was elected. If that sounds harsh, I make no apology. Whatever Barack Obama once was a citizen advocate he lost a long time ago.
The ongoing investigations by the DOJ is unlikely to lead to civil rights charges unless the public outcry forces the Obama administration’s hand. The outpouring that would require hasn’t been met yet.
The Obama administration will not bring a civil rights case for the fight alone. They must be certain they will win.
“…fucking punks. These assholes, they always get away.” – George Zimmerman