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The Trayvon Martin case: Is George Zimmerman guilty or innocent?

Updated on July 11, 2013

Trayvon Martin's death

The Trayvon Martin killing has taken the nation by storm, sparking tensions worldwide about the events and motives for the night that led to a teenager’s death. Trayvon Martin, a seventeen year-old from Miami Gardens, died while visiting his family at the Retreat at Twin Lakes in Sanford, Florida on February 26, 2012. Carrying only a snack, the Nation wonders why a teenager was killed.

What made Trayvon Martin such a threat to George Zimmerman, a twenty-eight year-old watchman for the community at the Retreat at Twin Lakes? Was this killing an act of self-defense or was George Zimmerman a murderer?

Millions are protesting the teenager’s death, calling the case an unjust killing at the hands of a vigilante killer. With details of the events still being gathered, the world is still waiting for answers. Why was Trayvon Martin killed without any charges brought against the shooter, George Zimmerman?

George Zimmerman's actions

George Zimmerman defended his actions with Florida’s Stand your ground law of 2005, claiming his life was in danger and his only option was to shoot Trayvon Martin. He claimed that Trayvon Martin attacked him first and he shot the teenager to save his own life.

The case grabbed the Nation’s attention and differences of opinions over what individual rights were violated and/or protected in the Trayvon Martin case. He made the choice to shoot Trayvon Martin and now the Nation is questioning the legality and choice of George Zimmerman’s actions and if he violated the law. Was George Zimmerman acting with the legal realm of Florida’s Stand your ground law of 2005?

The escalation of events that led to the killing, questionable and possibly preventable, is now at the center of this case. Was George Zimmerman acting in self-defense or was he acting as a vigilante killer that went too far? The right to protect yourself is a right given to all, but when is it considered an illegal act or a crime? Did George Zimmerman act in the realm of the law when he shot Trayvon Martin? Or, was George Zimmerman acting as a Vigilante and who judged Trayvon Martin wrongfully by his appearance and right to freely walk in the neighborhood, without persecution?

Is George Zimmerman innocent?

See results

George Zimmerman's decision

Justice is intended to be fair and unbiased, free from opinions and the interests of individual definitions of the law. To uphold the Law is a perspective that is defined differently by each person, but the law is written to limit each person’s abuse of the intended meaning. The law’s written definition is expected to protect an individual’s right, and allow justice to overcome individual opinions of what the law states.

Decisions by an individual determine the engagement to the law, but discretion to enforce the law determines the engagement to a crime and if the act was considered a crime. Discretion is a necessary element for the law, but dependence on individual discretion can misplace the meaning of the laws . Society entrusts the law with the burden of providing a ruling of what is right or wrong when a law is applied in a crime.

When George Zimmerman became Trayvon Martin’s judge and jury, he decided to follow a ‘suspicious person up to no good’. The decision to profile the teenager and initiate the confrontation began with George Zimmerman’s decision to interpret the law’s meaning and shoot him. When he shot the teenager, did the law overlook Trayvon Martin’s right to walk down the street without being profiled? Does the law only protect certain individuals from protection under the law?

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    • profile image

      nike 4 years ago

      I think george zimmerman should dye his skin black and change his name

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      brian 4 years ago

      All cops and security guards should have a black face for protection from racial politics.

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      Zdzislaw Lukowski, M.D. 4 years ago

      The Trayvon Martin innocent child Murder by George Zimmerman-Blood-Thirsty-Killer !!!

    • profile image

      tim 4 years ago


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      middleground 4 years ago

      I can not believe that this case is about race. George does not even appear to be a white man. To me it is about right from wrong. Florida has a stand your ground law. Why was Trayvon Martin not allowed to stand his ground when confronted by a complete stranger. George was thanked for his duties as a "neighborhood watchman" and told not to approach him. At this point, when Trayvon was approached, he defended himself. At the time of the incident the teenager troubled or not was buying candy, not climbing in a window! We all whether black, white, or Hispanic teach our children to defend themselves against harm. I tell my daughter if a stranger approaches to kick and scream. Should she be shot for kicking a perverted old man in his balls. When you confront someone you have to be prepared that you may be over powered. Which is why he was asked to wait for police. Zimmerman initiated the immediate danger therefore should be charged.

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      D Matt 4 years ago

      Interesting that Tracy Martin initially says screaming was not his son's however, changed his tune just prior to settlement of $1 million wrongful death claim paid by the HOA.

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      SirTrollsAlot 4 years ago

      Ill bet this really hurts you all now that we know Z will wall

    • profile image

      Chelo 4 years ago

      My predictions, zimmerman will go home, manslaughter 5 years in jail and probation time

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      Bud 4 years ago

      Zimmerman will not be found guilty. Martin was a criminal, was thrown out of school for drugs and violence. Plus he wore the uniform of a criminal, a hoodie!

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      george again 4 years ago

      TM had every right to be walking as he was. GZ had every right to wonder who he was. The problem was with the confrontation. That is where the facts need to be revealed to determine fault.

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      George 4 years ago

      WOW! Just like many of your posts, one or both Martin and Zimmerman failed to use fundamental principles in the exchange. GZ had every right to wonder who was walking around slowly close to the buildings. He did not recognize TM as a resident of the community that had experienced at least 9 burgleries in the last year. You bet if in my neighborhood if we experienced this kind of activity I will be looking close at everyone I do not recognize. We will see what comes out in court but both of them could have identified themselves and avoided the confrontation. Who ever became violent first is the guilty one. Most of you are racist hoodlums yourselves by the tone of your posts.

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      fix the world 5 years ago

      Treyvon cries for help breaks my heart. How could Zimmerman shoot an innocent child walking home from the store. Zimmerman should be put to death.

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      quickvue 5 years ago

      What a sad scenario we have come to. Race relations in America is still an issue no matter how we say it isn't.. I cannot imagine someone walking home minding their business and then ending up dead. I do not know all the sentiments of George Zimmerman but I do know he is a liar. I think he is lying about everything. There are only three that know what happened that nite, unfortunately one of them is dead. Georege should be held responsible....If he escapes the legal system he still has to answer to God.. He should have stayed his obese behind in the car.......Liar Liar pants on fire. I smell something burning.......What a waste of money on this guy.... God help us all..

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      girlygirl615 5 years ago

      Okay, I am not sure who to believe at this point because all the facts are murky. Trayvon Martin pictured above is an inaccurate depiction of what he now looks like which makes me suspicious of these articles. I do not think it was right for his life to be taken, however, perhaps theres more to the story then meets the eye. You people are judging to harshly based on biased articles. Stop calling people racist when you TRUTHFULLY don't know it or not. If a black guy kills a white guy no one assumes that's because the black guy was racist, so therefore it is not acceptable in this situation. Anyway, God bless Trayvon and George and let justice reign!

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      who cares 5 years ago

      this fool need teww be in prison dgaf forr 25 years 2 life frr frr

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      shaunshakira 5 years ago

      why isn't he guilty or in jail 55% thinks hes innocent wellll........hes not wtfreak common sense

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      bernard 5 years ago

      if george would have stayed in his car this would have never happened, it is as simple as that.

    • ib radmasters profile image

      ib radmasters 5 years ago from Southern California

      how about a follow up once the case has been decided in court.

      One thing for sure, he will never be innocent, the best he can hope for is not guilty. There is a difference.

      The law doesn't have innocence, you plead, Guilty, Not Guilty, or Nolo Contendre ( another form of guilty)

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      NSX MAN 5 years ago

      What's really sick is there are individuals on other hubs creating nonsensical justifications for zimmerman! I hate bringing race up but sometimes it's why people do the things they do. I once said if Trayvon was white WHITE zimmerman would have been arrested on the spot!! So of course some individuals on aother hub called me a RACIST unreal!!

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      quickvue 5 years ago

      Yes he did judge him by his looks. Let us say there was no George Zimmerman, then Trayvon would still be alive. He said he look suspicious. He is up to no good. Something is wrong with him... I just pray the truth comes out..... Justice is needed......

    • miakouna profile image

      miakouna 5 years ago

      Thank you for the response. I do think that George Zimmerman judged Trayvon by looks. I do think he was in the wrong. He initiated the situation by following Trayvon Martin. I hope Trayvon Martin's family geets justice for the untimely death of their child because he did not deserve to die at the hands of a man that decided to play cop, judge, and jury that day.

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      quickvue 5 years ago

      It is good to see that non-blacks are commenting on here saying that Zimmerman is guilty due to the evidence produced. I am a black male but I am trying to make sense without bringing race into this tragedy but I cannot because Trayvon was black. Trayvon was doing nothing wrong but yet Zimmerman was supposedly justified in using his 9mm to kill the teen...why didn't Zimmerman run away.. I will tell you why because he had the gun... Why wasn't Zimmerman screaming because he had the gun.. why is Trayvon dead? You got it.. Because Zimmerman had the gun.. If only manslaughter Zimmerman should be charged.. He created this situation not Trayvon.. I believe Trayvon was fighting for his life..

    • prettynutjob30 profile image

      Mary 5 years ago from From the land of Chocolate Chips,and all other things sweet.

      Great hub,such a horrible tragic end to such a young life.

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      knight4444 5 years ago

      Thank you Jean your absolutely correct! did anyone notice that a company is selling a gun shootingtarget poster of Trayron on the internet? it's selling like hot cakes!!! racism is alive and well in america!

    • Jean Bakula profile image

      Jean Bakula 5 years ago from New Jersey

      I live in NJ, but don't understand why Zimmerman was not taken into police custody immediately. A person was dead, and Zimmerman had a gun. The gun should have been taken away on the spot. Zimmerman should have been questioned and held at the police station to make a statement, or get a lawyer. I understand this "Stand Your Ground" law works differently than I'm used to in my state. But it seems this young, teenage boy should have been stopped and maybe questioned. Not killed. Zimmerman was told by 911 operators not to pursue Martin, so he did have a course of action he was supposed to follow. Why should anyone feel sorry for him? I'll be watching closely too, but in my eyes he's already guilty. There is much closet racism in this country, and if Zimmerman walks, I am afraid things will get ugly. When one person in an altercation is dead, nobody should be out on bail.

    • pagesvoice profile image

      Dennis L. Page 5 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border

      Voted up and interesting. There are certainly many questions yet unanswered in the Trayvon Martin case. First of all, if someone is on a Neighborhood Watch they are not supposed to be carrying a firearm. Also, Zimmerman was told by law enforcement not to pursue young Martin. Now we have the shooter making a public apology to the Martin family while on the witness stand, in front of the whole country. He is obviously looking for a sympathetic ear and it appears he has found many in his corner. Zimmerman then goes on to tell the judge his family is destitute and because of this the court sets bail at only $150,000. Now we learn the Facebook account set up for Zimmerman has over $200,000. in it and still the judge doesn't revoke his bail. With racial undertones hiding just beneath the surface, I like so many others will be watching the outcome of this trial with cautious optimism.

    • Eugene Hardy profile image

      Eugene Hardy 5 years ago from Southfield, Michigan

      Perhaps I still have a little faith left in our legal system, and it is my hope that the evidence will prove Zimmerman guilty of at least manslaughter and he serves every minute of the sentence.

      But if he is found innocent, then others will use this stand your ground law the wrong way and everyone will be carrying a pistol to automatic rifles and blood will run in the streets....

    • profile image

      knight4444 5 years ago

      george zimmerman is a murderer point blank

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      Sergio 5 years ago

      We need justice but don't think have are going to get it in this system. But I do know that in the new world it will be justice because God had said it. The rock, perfect is his activity, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness, with whom there is no injustice, Righteous and upright is he. Geroge is going to have to answer to what he did if he don't change his ways he might get off with men judgement But not with Jehovah God judgement count on it geroge.

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      Pryor 5 years ago

      I do agree what you said geroge can fool people but he can not fool Jehovah God. Proverbs 15:3 says the eyes of jehovah are in every place, keeping watch upon the bad ones and the good ones.

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      allison taylor 6 years ago

      George Zimmerman is an Undercover RACIST!!!!He MURDERED an INNOCENT child.For all the people,who say he's not racist.Because Zimmerman doesn't APPEAR racist,in your presence,doesn't mean he's not.He has some HIDDEN DEMONS!!Trayvon Martin,is NOT here to DEFEND his self.We are only hearing Zimmerman's LYING story.I will NEVER believe Trayvon approached or attacked Zimmerman.Zimmerman will SAY or DO anything to get away with MURDER!!!Had Zimmerman,listened to the dispatcher,Trayvon would still be ALIVE today!!!He PROFILED,Trayvon,left his house with a gun,and had INTENTIONS of USING it.THE BIBLE SAYS,"EVERY knee shall bow,EVERY tongue confess"Zimmerman can TRY to fool man,but GOD saw what he did.One day Zimmerman will have to stand before GOD,and give an account.Hell is REAL!!He needs to REPENT,seek GOD'S forgivness,instead of TRYING to get away with MURDER!!!We are Trayvon's VOICE!!!I pray JUSTICE WILL BE SERVED!!!Zimmerman is a DANGEROUS,UNDERCOVER RACIST,TRIGGER-HAPPY,WANNA-BE COP!!!Zimmerman is a DANGER to society.We don't want PEOPLE,like ZIMMERMAN,FREE in SOCIETY!!!He is a MENACE to SOCIETY!!R.I.P.TRAYVON,WE LOVE YOU

    • LHwritings profile image

      Lyndon Henry 6 years ago from Central Texas


      Thanks for a well-written article calmly laying out crucial facts in this case. I've voted this Up and Useful.

      In my view, the law in a society run by and for the profit of a few is designed and administered to ensure the maintenance of their rule and the exploitation of the working class for the benefit of the few. In America, this means not only the exploitation of working people as a whole, but the particularly intensive exploitation of the black population, which continues to suffer special discrimination and oppression as a legacy of slavery and the Jim Crow era.

      This rule can only be challenged by mass mobilizations -- ultimately, the highly organized and directed mobilization of key sectors of the working class. Nevertheless, even a more amorphous and less focused upsurge of outrage, such as we've been seeing sparked by anger over the Trayvon Martin case, can offer push-back, and possibly may influence the legal system toward rendering a modicum of justice in this case.

      We can only hope for at least a small victory.

    • profile image

      Guilt Poll 6 years ago

      We've all heard the reports in the media. What do you think? Is George Zimmerman Guilty or Innocent. Take the Poll