Conservatives and the Trayvon Martin Case
Police officers arriving on the scene of an early-evening shooting on February 26, 2012, in the Florida town of Sanford had no way of knowing they were beginning an investigation that would lead to the most racially charged criminal case since O.J. Simpson’s in 1995. At the time, the shooting likely seemed tragic, a bit unusual, but not all that difficult to investigate. An armed neighborhood-watch volunteer, George Zimmerman, shot and killed an unarmed teen, Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman claimed Martin had attacked him without any justifiable provocation.
After a few days of investigation, the state of Florida declined to file charges. Martin’s family began drumming up publicity to correct what they believed to be a terrible injustice. The Republican governor appointed a special prosecutor who filed second-degree murder charges against Zimmerman two months after the incident—pleasing those in the media and on the left who had quickly taken up the cause of the slain teen. He was killed, they claimed heatedly, for the crime of “walking while black.”
About the Author
David French is a constitutional lawyer who served as a judge advocate during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He writes regularly for National Review Online and the website Patheos. This is his first article for Commentary.