With the widespread national media coverage of the Treyvon Martin shooting, facts can be easily misconstrued and bring about prejudices on the case in its entirety and also George Zimmerman. What was tragic incident turned into a highly publicized phenomenon. Facts and specifics of the case should be private and the amount of time from indictment to trial is detrimental to a fair trial, a sixth amendment right under the United States Constitution.
The circumstances surrounding Martin’s death, combined with the initial decision not to charge Zimmerman after detainment and questioning by police, along with a query and examination of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law led to national and international attention directed towards the Treyvon Martin case. A subject of race is called upon, had the murdered been a different race other than African American, would the case have been as publicized?
Public demand regarding police conduct and allegations of racist motivation for the shooting led to Zimmerman’s arrest. Rodney King was pursued by police for suspicion of drinking past the legal limit and intoxication. He was not compliant with police and as a result, he became the victim of police brutality. He was hit 56 times by a baton, kicked 6 times, swarmed and handcuffs and cordcuffed by five or six police officers. Rodney King survived police assault and sustained non-life threatening injuries from police officers.
The Los Angeles district attorney charged four officers with the use of excessive force. Koon, who was the supervisory officer at the time, was charged for “willfully permitting and failing to take action to stop the unlawful assault. ” The original judge was replaced and the new judge changed the venue and the jury pool because of suspected contamination of the original jurors by media coverage. Three officers were acquitted but could not decide on one of the charges for Powell.
After the riots, the investigation was reinstated and obtained an indictment of violations of federal civil rights against the four officers. This trial focused on the evidence as to the training of officers instead of just relying on the videotape of the incident. King took the stand and described the events that happened to him. Officer Powell and Sergeant Stacey Koon were found guilty and sentenced to 30 months in prison while Wind and Briseno were acquitted of all charges.