Friday, June 28, 2013

Someone Was Murdered, Take 1

Susan and I have a just right-sized retirement house. No room wasted. So my "Boss" chair and ottoman is located in living/TV room. It's where I read the morning paper. Well, since the George Zimmerman trial has started, Susan's been watching it and by osmosis, if not by interest--and I cannot deny there has been more than some of that on my part--I have absorbed a good bit of the court proceedings in Florida. The American legal process is something to behold in its nitty gritty. The prosecution's star witnesses, a 19-year old girl named Rachel Jeantel, daughter of a Haitian immigrant mother and father from Santo Domingo, spent the better part of two grueling days of testimony most of it from the defense attorney about the conversation she had with Treyvon Martin on the night he shot to death in Sanford, Florida.

You will recall that she was on the phone with Treyvon Martin as he was being followed by George Zimmerman and at the early part of the confrontation between them. It is amazing to me that a lawyer can ask the same questions of the same witness numerous times before finally (and mercifully for the viewers and the witness) the judge puts a halt to it. To me, it was perfectly obvious that the defense lawyer was trying to catch her in an inconsistency. One slip, not answering the same question precisely the same way, and he would pounce.

Rachel Jeantel under the gun, Zimmerman trial, Sanford FL, June 27, 2013
It was relentless. Over and over, the same question. And not just two or three times. Eight, ten times. If it had been me, the lawyer would have probably gotten under my thin skin pretty quickly, and I would have been snappish if not downright confrontational after answering the same question two or three times. I personally thought she held up really well under the barrage, but her irritation was at times palpable. I remarked to Susan that this black teenager proved to be every bit the equal of the powerful white, beautifully manicured, impeccably spoken lawyer. She is not highly educated (she's a ghetto black teen, for Pete's sake), she doesn't speak the king's English, but she's not stupid. She refused to be tricked, refused to have words put into her mouth, refused to let her dead friend be blamed for his own death. She knew what she heard on the phone, and she knew what it meant. The bottom line here is: somebody got murdered, and this trial is about holding that murderer to account.

There's a flood of commentary about this witness out there. Here's a sample:

The Nation
The Raw Story
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