A lawfully impaneled jury found George Zimmerman not guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter in the death of Trayvon Martin. The State of Florida failed to prove Zimmerman committed any crime. The government used the full force of its powers to investigate and prosecute Zimmerman and didn’t prove its case to the jury. That’s the way the system works in the United States.
I’ve read of the outrage by those who feel that Zimmerman got away with murder because he’s white and Martin was black. To them, it’s all about a black man not getting justice in the white world.
Now there are calls for the U.S. Department of Justice to go after Zimmerman because of the jury’s verdict over of what is being called a racial bias by Zimmerman toward Martin. If I remember correctly, it was Martin who made the derogatory racial statement regarding Zimmerman.
Black kids are killed everyday in the United States, often by other black kids. Rarely is there an outcry. President Barack Obama’s adopted hometown of Chicago is murder central when it comes to such crimes and a murder rate that’s out of control.
Some could say no one cares when a black person is murdered. Some could say no one cares when most anyone gets murdered except their friends and family.
I watched, read and listened with interest as people in Arizona jump on the “get Zimmerman” bandwagon over Martin’s death.
It kind of puzzles me because I have yet to hear the same people with different political and social agendas utter even the slightest peep about the unsolved murder of Daron Gibson, the nineteen-year-old black man who was gunned down in Tempe seven years ago this month. Not a peep. Not even a peep when it was reported by KPHO Channel 5 last December that Tempe police detective Tony Trow, who was assigned the case, “stored evidence from five cases in his garage to hide his unfinished work. That included case notes, crime scene photos and even original recordings of interviews. The report from that investigation said those items had been tossed together in cardboard boxes.”
Trow went so far as to tell Daron’s grieving mother, “Neither I nor the Tempe Police Department have given up on this investigation in any way. In fact, I have spent a lot of time on this case often at the expense of time in working other cases.”
If you ask me, Trow flat-out lied to the poor woman.
Trow, who is white, was suspended and returned to duty. Daron’s killer remains free and for all we know he has killed again.
When two white Arizona State University students were murdered in 2010, Tempe pulled out all the stops to track down and successfully prosecute the killers who happened to be Hispanic and black.
I personally find the handling of the Gibson murder case extremely offensive and borderline criminal. At least in Zimmerman case the police did their job as best they could and they supplied the information to the prosecution and a trial was held. There was justice, according to the laws of Florida and the United States.
Because of serious police misconduct there will probably never be justice for in Gibson’s murder.
We can argue all day long if race was involved in the outcomes of the Zimmerman trial, the botched investigation of Gibson’s murder or the successful investigations and prosecutions involving two prominent, white ASU students.
To me, murder is murder and a death investigation is the highest priority and responsibility a law enforcement agency can undertake. All lives are precious and it’s the government’s responsibility to protect it and seek justice when one is taken.
So to those in Arizona who think Trayvon Martin didn’t get justice in Florida, I ask them to also think about the clear lack of justice in the Tempe murder of Daron Gibson.
• Retired Mesa master police officer Bill Richardson lives in the East Valley and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.