The Trayvon Martin Case has been off the news for a good amount of time recently, ever since Martin's shooter, George Zimmerman, posted his $1 million bail. Zimmerman now awaits trial, and news from the case will likely remain less than notable in the meantime.
However, readers with a long memory may recall that after the shooting initially happened, the FBI undertook an independent investigation, presumably on the off-chance that this was a hate crime. Now, the evidence appears to be in, and it shoots a gigantic hole in the theory of Zimmerman's detractors that he was a racist loose cannon just waiting to go off. Reuters reports:
FBI interviews with dozens of friends, coworkers and neighbors of George Zimmerman found no evidence that the accused murderer of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin was a racist, according to new documents released on Thursday.[...]
FBI agents investigating whether race was a factor in the shooting spoke with Sanford police officers, Zimmerman's bosses and colleagues, friends, neighbors and others to determine if he had ever shown any racial prejudice.
In one interview detailed in the evidence, Sanford Police Detective Christopher Serino, the lead investigator in the Martin case, told the FBI he did not believe Zimmerman's shooting of Martin was motivated by race.
"Serino believed that Zimmerman's actions were not based on Martin's skin color (but) rather based on his attire," according to a report.
Serino told investigators that members of local gangs, who called themselves "Goons," frequently wore "hoodies," or hooded sweatshirts, and he believed Zimmerman "took it upon himself to view Martin as acting suspicious."
Martin was wearing a hoodie and returning from a convenience store when Zimmerman called a 911 dispatcher and said the teen looked suspicious and then followed him.
This answers many different questions. The existence of a local gang that called themselves "goons" puts to rest forever the smear that Zimmerman had used the racial slur "c**ns" while still on the phone with 911 dispatchers. It is far more likely - assuming Zimmerman wasn't commenting on the unusually cold weather - that the quote was actually "f**king goons." The report also vindicates Fox News anchor Geraldo Rivera, who originally blamed Martin's attire for his death.
Moreover, ironically enough, the only group Zimmerman was shown to have any prejudice towards was actually fellow Hispanics. From an Associated Press report:
The FBI has been probing the handling of Martin's death for any civil rights violations, but the agency hasn't released any findings.
Zimmerman's ex-fiancée told FBI agents that he had never exhibited any prejudices. She "observed Zimmerman as he socialized and played basketball with white, black and Hispanic men," the FBI report said. "Zimmerman's friends were from all of these racial groups."
The only exception, however, were when he once went on MySpace and was critical of Mexicans, saying when he lived in Virginia they pulled out knives and messed with people's cars.
"I don't miss driving around scared to miss Mexicans, walkin on the side of the street, soft as wanna be thugs messin with peoples cars when they aint around," one entry said.
This is not to say that the report is all good news for Zimmerman. The FBI apparently did find enough evidence to suggest that Zimmerman was "overzealous" and had a "hero complex," and suggested he be charged with manslaughter. This charge would be far less severe than the charge of second degree murder that Zimmerman currently faces in Court, but it still suggests that the neighborhood watchman was guilty of doing something wrong.
And indeed, he may well have done. The trial of George Zimmerman for the shooting of Trayvon Martin has yet to begin. The trial of George Zimmerman as a racist pig is, however, mercifully concluded.