First of all, it’s very tragic what has occurred in Florida and we must allow the police to conduct their investigation without the constant race baited distractions. The “Castle Doctrine” is to protect private citizens from wrongful arrest by law enforcement. For years the common citizen has gone to jail first then released. Now law enforcement must prove their case before an arrest. Remember, when you were arrested and then released. The arrest was added to your arrest history to follow you the rest of your life, now it isn’t so!
I’ve been in the security industry for many years and I can tell you without a doubt that this would not have happened to me. The goal of private security or a neighborhood watch group is to OBSERVE and REPORT, to provide real time intelligence and probable cause to law enforcement. You will win some and lose some. If you can’t except that, you don’t belong in the neighborhood watch group. Now if a felony or breach of the public peace is witnessed, it’s a judgment call. There is nothing wrong with being armed will on neighborhood watch, everyone needs protection.
In the case of George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin several scenarios are possible and should be completely investigated.
1.) Mr. Zimmerman reported suspicious activity and after being advised to not follow and complied waiting near his vehicle was engaged by Mr. Martin after he noticed he was being watched. It’s my understanding that Mr. Martin was on a 5 day suspension from school. I read that those records are now sealed. Why? If this is the case Mr. Zimmerman was in his rights and should have full protection under the “Castle Doctrine” better known as the “Stand Your Ground” law.
2.) Mr. Zimmerman reported suspicious activity and after being advised to not follow disregarded that advise. At one point Mr. Zimmerman lost sight of Mr. Martin and sometime later reacquired his location and approached him. Mr. Martin not knowing who Mr. Zimmerman was felt threatened and resisted. There is the possibility that Mr. Martin tried to flee the encounter and Mr. Zimmerman attempted to detain him. Mr. Martin was on his cellphone talking with his girlfriend when the encounter physically escalated and the call was dropped. It’s important to note that Mr. Zimmerman has no legal right to detain or obstruct Mr. Martin’s movements. If Mr. Zimmerman did he was in violation of Florida law and should have no protect under the “Castle Doctrine”.
Now what do I believe happened? I believe George Zimmerman called 911 when he first sighted Trayvon Martin and lost sight of him. We know now that Trayvon Martin was aware of Mr. Zimmerman and that his girlfriend on the cellphone advised him to run and he elected to walk fast and succeeded in getting away from Mr. Zimmerman. It’s important to note that Mr. Martin has no idea who Mr. Zimmerman is or what his intentions are. Mr. Zimmerman after losing sight of Mr. Martin reacquired him and approached him. Mr. Martin’s girlfriend on the phone stated that Mr. Martin asked Mr. Zimmerman, “Why are you following me?” and Mr. Zimmerman replied, “What are you doing around here?”.
At this point I believe Mr. Zimmerman attempted to detain Mr. Martin until police arrived and Mr. Martin not knowing who Mr. Zimmerman was resisted. I believe Mr. Martin assaulted Mr. Zimmerman with the mind-set of self-defense not aggression. I believe Mr. Zimmerman believes he acted in self defense but in reality he violated the law be unlawfully detaining Mr. Martin. If that is the case, Mr. Zimmerman would have no relief under the “Castle Doctrine” in my opinion. Might the girlfriend have lied? I don’t think so. First of all her story isn’t very colorful and what I mean is that a common person would have no problem believing her because it appears to be just fact of what she heard.
It’s very important for all of us to understand what the “Castle Doctrine” means. We have the right to defend ourselves without retreat. Do we really need some liberal DA deciding our fate? Do we go to jail first as was the norm before the “Castle Doctrine”? No, we should have the right to defend ourselves, neighbors or families without threat of being sued or prosecuted as long as we act within the “Castle Doctrine”.
All Florida has to do is prove Mr. Zimmerman attempted to detain Mr. Martin and it will allow the DA to prosecute Mr. Zimmerman under Florida law. For Mr. Zimmerman to detain Mr. Martin he would have had to witness a felony committed by Mr. Martin and he did not.
Shannon (N5KOU) McGauley
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