After sixteen months of national debate over racial issues and gun laws, the man accused of shooting 17-year-old Trayvon Martin last February in Florida is standing trial. Though having plead not guilty to charges on second-degree murder, former night watch volunteer George Zimmerman and defense team will argue self-defense claims as authorities paint it as a case of racial profiling.
Prosecutor John Guy’s opening statements, which commenced Monday (June 24), were laced with F-bombs, Fox News reports.
“Fucking punks,” Guy said in open court, quoting Zimmerman’s words to a non-emergency police dispatcher. “These assholes, they always get away.”
“Those were the words in that grown man’s mouth as he followed, in the dark, a 17-year-old boy who he didn’t know,” Guy continued. “And excuse my language, but those were his words, not mine.”
The defense is expected to convince the jury that race was not a factor in the case. “We’re trying so hard in this case not to make it what everybody outside the courthouse wants it to be,” defense counsel Mark O’Mara said.
Also generating headlines is the jury itself as only six women were chosen to participate. “Anyone can use a firearm to defend themselves against a larger, stronger assailant,” Cord Byrd told CNN. “I think the women will understand the self-defense aspect of this case.”
Since the death of their son, parents Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin have been seeking justice for Trayvon, making the race issue and holes in Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law known throughout communities all over the country.
Before opening statements began, Martin’s mother told the press, “I ask that you pray for me and my family because I don’t want any other mother to experience what I’m going through.”—Anthony Centeno