The Killing Lies About the Murder of Trayvon Martin
Revolution #265, April 8, 2012
At the beginning it was like a murder scene where cops, authorities, and media mouthpieces didn’t have their story quite together yet. Perhaps they thought things would go like so many times before. Just another Black kid dead, just another family devastated, with no one able to do anything. But this time something struck a nerve already raw with the regularity of Black teenage funerals. This time the truth was there for people to see more clearly.
Seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin, walking home with Skittles and Arizona Iced Tea, gunned down by a wannabe-cop. To George Zimmerman Black youth in hoodies look “suspicious.”
This vicious vigilante murder of an innocent Black youth and the blatant “pat on the back” by the police ignited an outpouring of outrage from coast to coast.
The response to all this, within the powers-that-be, has been contentious. Some politicians and mainstream media figures have donned hoodies and spoken out against racial profiling.
But at the same time there has been a concerted effort to spin a whole narrative against Trayvon Martin, hoping to put a lid on people’s anger—or at least make them question what compelled them into the streets to say, “We are all Trayvon Martin!”
Certain ruling class forces are spreading lies through the media aimed at changing people’s minds about what they correctly saw in the FACTS of what happened the night of February 26. They want to reverse right and wrong, and say that the victim was actually George Zimmerman and the aggressor was Trayvon Martin.
They want to repolarize things, where even if people don’t buy their whole rewriting of what happened, they hope that giving Zimmerman’s story such publicity and authority will put enough “questions” out there to make some people step back a bit. That even if this doesn’t get over completely among the masses of Black people, it will affect broader sections of the population who have been outraged at this murder.
For decades people have been fed a steady diet of the system’s demonization of Black and Latino youth; that these “thugs and hoodlums” are to blame for being unemployed, uneducated, incarcerated, and killed by the police. But then something like the murder of Trayvon Martin comes along and many who have been buying this whole reversal of reality get challenged and jolted. This murder put something that happens every day in communities across this country into the national spotlight. And people stepped forward to stand with the masses and protest what is exactly the kind of thing that happens as a result of the demonization of Black youth.
Poisonous “Evidence” in the Court of Public Opinion
In the court of public opinion this counterattack presents certain “evidence” to demonize and defame Trayvon Martin. It doesn’t say it straight out. But in effect the message is that Trayvon Martin was no “innocent lamb,” and that perhaps he deserved what he got... just like so many other Black youth gunned down and locked up in this society.
So we got to unpack and demolish these LIES.
Lie #1: George Zimmerman is really the victim
There is a lot we don’t know about what happened that night. But some things we do know. We know Zimmerman called 911 and said he had spotted “a real suspicious guy” who “looks like he’s up to no good.” The dispatcher asks: “Are you following him?” Zimmerman says: “Yeah.” The dispatcher says: “OK, we don’t need you to do that.”
But then what happens? Zimmerman ignores the dispatcher’s instructions. And while we don’t know exactly what happened next—and Trayvon Martin will never get to give his account—we do know there was a confrontation, some yelling, and then Trayvon’s life was over.
George Zimmerman’s brother, Robert Zimmerman, was given a big platform on CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight, shown nationally and replayed several times, painting Trayvon as a thug who would have killed George or put him in “diapers for the rest of his life” if he hadn’t been stopped with a bullet through his chest. We are told George was “fighting for his life.”
But the fact is—none of this would have happened if Zimmerman had done what the 911 dispatcher told him to do.
Zimmerman’s family claims Trayvon punched him and that he was “fighting for his life.” Eyewitness accounts and other FACTS that have come out in the case contradict this:
- Mary Cutcher told Dateline NBC that she and her roommate saw Zimmerman “straddling the body, basically a foot on both sides of Trayvon’s body, and his hands pressed on his back.”
- Richard Kurtz, the mortician who prepared Trayvon Martin’s body for burial, told CBS News that he saw no signs of a fight. He said: “We could see no physical signs like there had been a scuffle... The hands—I didn’t see any knuckles, bruises or what have you. And that is something we would have covered up if it would have been there.”
Lie #2: Trayvon Martin was not so “innocent”—he really was “suspicious” and “dangerous”
At the scene of the crime, the police treated Trayvon Martin like a criminal as he lay dead. They did a background check on him but not on Zimmerman. They did a test for drugs and alcohol on Trayvon’s dead body, but not on Zimmerman.
Then, after millions of people around the country did NOT see Trayvon Martin as a criminal, but as an innocent victim, a barrage of headlines hit the news about how Trayvon Martin was suspended from school three times. And we are told:
“...a more complicated portrait began to emerge of a teenager whose problems at school ranged from getting spotted defacing lockers to getting caught with a marijuana baggie and women’s jewelry.” (Miami Herald, March 26, 2012)
We are supposed to do an about-face. Hey, you thought Trayvon Martin was unjustly murdered, innocent, didn’t deserve to die—that it was right for thousands of people to go out in the street to demand justice? Well think again...
He was suspended from school.
He had a bag in his backpack with marijuana residue.
He had a “burglary tool” (a screwdriver).
He wrote graffiti (“WTF”) on a locker.
He had a bunch of jewelry.
He skipped school and was late for class.
Can anyone seriously say this is evidence of a “troubled teen” with a “history of trouble with authorities”? By these standards the vast majority of youth, of all nationalities, are suspicious and criminal. These things make you a criminal? Let alone show that on the night of February 26, Trayvon Martin was “probably up to no good”—and deserved to die!!??? On one level, this is ridiculous. But this is the kind of vicious public opinion being created to get over with a verdict of justifiable homicide.
And look how these suspensions came about: According to the Miami Herald, a school police investigator said he saw Trayvon on the school surveillance camera “hiding and being suspicious.” He said he saw Trayvon mark up a door with “WTF.” The next day the officer searched Trayvon’s book bag to look for the marker and reportedly found some jewelry and a screwdriver he described as a “burglary tool.”
Isn’t this another example of how Black youth are treated like criminals—dogged for looking like you’re “hiding and being suspicious,” having your bag searched for something like a marker, suspended for residue of marijuana. (And to set the record straight, Trayvon Martin does not have a juvenile offender record.)
As Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon’s mother, said: “They killed my son and now they’re trying to kill his reputation.” And for many people, especially the youth, this is just one more unacceptable slap in the face that has only fueled their anger and determination to get justice for Trayvon.
In the face of widespread discontent and protest, especially when there’s the potential for many to question the very legitimacy of this system, the powers-that-be will lash back in many different ways. Through vicious force and brutality. And also ideologically, trying to cool things out with lies and promises, and efforts to channel people’s anger into faith in the system to “correct itself.” But the truth of the matter is this system will NEVER and can NEVER be anything other than what it is: A worldwide capitalist-imperialist system of exploitation and oppression—a system in which white supremacy and the oppression of Black has been part of its foundations from the very beginning.