O’Donnell Interviews Empty Chair After Zimmerman’s Lawyer Walks Off Set

Geraldo Rivera: Trayvon Martin’s ‘Hoodie Is As Much Responsible For [His] Death As George Zimmerman’



Geraldo Rivera provoked outrage on Friday when he said that slain teenager Trayvon Martin was partially responsible for his death because he was wearing a hoodie. The Fox News host later revealed that even his own son was dismayed by the comments.

Speaking on Friday’s “Fox and Friends,” Rivera said, “”I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as George Zimmerman was.”

Martin was unarmed when he was shot dead by a self-appointed neighborhood watch volunteer named George Zimmerman in late February. His death has become a national tragedy, fueled by the police’s controversial handling of the case.

After making his original comments about Martin’s hoodie on Friday morning, Rivera weighed in again in a series of tweets. He revealed that one of his sons disagreed with his stance. “My own son just wrote to say he’s ashamed of my position re hoodies,” he tweeted. Rivera also told Politico that his son, Gabriel, “broke [his] heart” and had said that he had “gone viral for all the wrong reasons.”

However, he maintained that Martin’s hoodie was to blame for his death. He deniedthat he was “blaming the victim” and called it “common sense” for minorities to avoid wearing hoodies. He said that he was “reminding minority parents of the risk that comes with being a kid of color in America.”

Rivera made his original comments to Brian Kilmeade, Steve Doocy and guest host Juliet Huddy. He said that he believed George Zimmerman should be “investigated to the fullest extent of the law” and “prosecuted” if criminally liable, but blamed Martin’s parents for letting him go outside wearing a hoodie.

“But I am urging the parents of black and Latino youngsters particularly to not let their children go out wearing hoodies,” Rivera insisted.

When asked to clarify his remarks, Rivera said that he cautioned his own son against wearing hoodies. He explained, “When you, when you see a kid walking — Juliet — when you see a kid walking down the street, particularly a dark skinned kid like my son Cruz, who I constantly yelled at when he was going out wearing a damn hoodie or those pants around his ankles. Take that hood off, people look at you and they — what do they think? What’s the instant identification, what’s the instant association?”

“Uh-oh,” remarked Doocy, who nodded in agreement.

Rivera argued that avoiding certain types of attire was a necessary deterrent against racial profiling. “It’s those crime scene surveillance tapes. Every time you see someone sticking up a 7-11, the kid is wearing a hoodie,” Rivera said. “You have to recognize that this whole stylizing yourself as a gangster, you’re gonna be a gangster wannabe? Well, people are gonna perceive you as a menace.”

He stressed that Martin was an “innocent” and “wonderful” kid who “didn’t deserve to die.” However, he reiterated, “I’ll bet you money, if he didn’t have that hoodie on, that nutty neighborhood watch guy wouldn’t have responded in that violent and aggressive way.”

Rivera prefaced his “Fox and Friends” appearance with similar comments on Twitter on Thursday night. He had tweeted, “His hoodie killed Trayvon Martin as surely as George Zimmerman,” and “I’m trying to save lives like Trayvon’s-Parents Alert: hoodies can get your kid killed.

Moments before he died, Martin was on the phone with his girlfriend. She recalledhim saying that he put his hoodie up because Zimmerman had been following him.

Geraldo Rivera’s tweets:

His hoodie killed Trayvon Martin as surely as George Zimmerman.

Justice will come to Zimmerman the Fla shooter-but I’m trying to save lives like Trayvon’s-Parents Alert: hoodies can get your kid killed

My own son just wrote to say he’s ashamed of my position re hoodies-still I feel parents must do whatever they can to keep their kids safe

Its not blaming the victim Its common sense-look like a gangsta&some armed schmuck will take you at your word

Its sad that I have to be the one reminding minority parents of the risk that comes with being a kid of color in America–channel the rage

Dem Rep. Bobby Rush escorted from House floor for wearing hoodie in honor of Trayvon Martin

Lucy Madison

Democratic Rep. Bobby Rush, of Illinois, was escorted off of the House floor on Wednesday after donning a hoodie and sunglasses in honor of slain teenager Trayvon Martin.

Rush, who began his remarks in a suit jacket and glasses, lamented the tragic death of 17-year-old Martin, who was killed last month by George Zimmerman, a volunteer member of a Sanford, Florida, neighborhood watch. Zimmerman, who has not been charged, claims he was defending himself.

Martin was unarmed and wearing a hoodie at the time of his death.

“Too often, this violent act that resulted in the murder of Trayvon Martin is repeated in the streets of our nation,” Rush said in his statement. “I applaud the young people all across the land who are making a statement about hoodies, about the hoodlums in this nation, particularly those who tread on our laws wearing official or quasi-official clothes.”

At this point in his remarks, Rush took off his jacket to reveal that he was wearing a hoodie underneath it. He covered his head with the hood, violating a rule in Congress that prohibits wearing hats on the House floor.

“Racial profiling has to stop, Mr. Speaker. Just because someone wears a hoodie does not make them a hoodlum,” Rush added, swapping his spectacles for a pair of sunglasses.

At this point, Rep. Gregg Harper, a Republican congressman from Mississippi who was serving as the presiding speaker of the chamber, called Rush out of order. Rush continued reading a passage from the Bible before being escorted out of the chamber.

The hoodie has become something of a symbol during the national outcry which has followed Martin’s death, especially among those who think the killing was racially tinged. Since then, protesters across the nation have joined in various so-called “Million Hoodie Marches” calling for justice for Martin’s death and decrying racial profiling in America. Several members of the Miami Heat NBA basketball team also recently posed for a photo in hoodies, heads bowed, in tribute to Martin.

Yesterday, Martin’s parents attended a House judiciary forum in Washington, D.C., in which Democratic lawmakers called for Congress to pass stronger laws prohibiting racial profiling, and urged state legislatures to repeal the so-called “Stand Your Ground” laws which have come under intense scrutiny in light of Martin’s death.

Rush’s office declined to comment on the incident further to CBS News.

In Trayvon Martin case, plenty of misinformation

The death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager shot in Florida last month, has riveted the nation and captured much of the online conversation for the past several weeks.

A verified photo of Trayvon Martin. The photo was provided by Martin‘s family. (AP)

But as new details continue to emerge about Martin, his shooter and what happened at the scene, misinformation has spread rapidly online.

The most prominent piece of misinformation was a photo that alleged to be of Trayvon Martin. The photo showed a shirtless boy in sagging shorts, giving the finger to the camera. It was shared widely on social networks, but the most influential posting was onTwitchy, a Twitter aggregation project by conservative commentator Michelle Malkin.

Twitchy later retracted the photo, saying “The photo on the right is not Trayvon Martin.” It is unclear where the photo came from or who is actually shown in the picture — but it is no longer believed to be Martin.

Liberal commentators also pounced on a second photo allegedly of Martin, posted by conservative news aggregator the Drudge Report. This photo shows a boy in a white undershirt. M.J. Rosenberg, a senior policy fellow at liberal watchdog site Media Matters, heavily criticized Drudge for using the “fake” photo in a series of tweets, according toMediaite. Rosenberg accused Drudge of posting the picture for “incitement purposes.”

The Daily Caller, however, has insisted the photo is authentic and that the site had taken it from Martin’s Twitter feed. Fox News also reportedthat the photo was likely real but had been doubted because it was a more recent photo than the ones circulated in the media. (For an example of the age of Martin in photos available to the media, see the photo above.)

Rosenberg subsequently apologized and said he was not sure whether the photo was real or not. The Washington Post cannot verify the photo.

Although fake photos have not circulated of George Zimmerman, misinformation about Martin’s shooter has also spread. The Orlando Sentinel reported Tuesday:

“A school-cafeteria lunch lady and her husband have received hate mail, unwanted visits from reporters and fearful inquiries from neighbors — all because their Sanford-area address is being disseminated on Twitter as belonging to … George Zimmerman.”

The address is not actually that of George Zimmerman’s, according to the Sentinel. The confusion apparently happened because the woman, who is 70, has a son named William George Zimmerman who used to live with her. He is of no relation to Martin’s shooter, the Sentinel reports. The woman and her husband, 74, have now moved to a hotel to avoid danger, according to an account from the couple’s son.

The tweet containing the couple’s address reportedly first came from an ordinary man in California, but the address was spread widely after it was retweeted by film director Spike Lee.

Although the wrong address for Zimmerman may have been a mistake, others on social media appear to have actively sought to spread misinformation about the case.

A Twitter account claiming to belong to actor Will Ferrell,@RealFerrellWill, tweeted a number of times about Martin’s death, according to the Hollywood Reporter. At one point, the account wrote: “R.I.P. Trayvon Martin… For every R-T this tweet gets, $1 will be donated to the #TrayvonMartin Foundation, which helps counteract racism.”

The account later turned out to be a fake. There is no Trayvon Martin Foundation, and the person behind the account was not Will Ferrell, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The Twitter account has now been suspended.

But although Twitter accounts can be suspended, blog posts can issue corrections and watchdogs can apologize, the life span and connectedness of the Internet is such that misinformation will keep on proliferating. On Wednesday, some of the rumors laid out in this post were still being shared as if they were true.

For those who are optimistic about the Internet, however, the hope is that that same connectedness online will ultimately self-correct. Information about misinformation, after all, can spread equally as fast.


Trayvon Martin case: Why hasn’t George Zimmerman been arrested?

The lead investigator into the death of Trayvon Martin reportedly thought George Zimmerman should be charged, but legal analysts say police thought they lacked the evidence to do so.

By Peter Grier, Staff writer / March 28, 2012

A sign with information regarding a neighborhood watch program stands in front of The Retreat at Twin Lakes community in Sanford, Fla., Tuesday. Trayvon Martin was shot dead on February 26 after George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain, believed the young man walking through the gated community in a hooded sweatshirt looked suspicious.

Lucas Jackson/Reuter


Why didn’t the Sanford, Fla., police arrest George Zimmerman after he shot Trayvon Martin Feb. 26? That’s a question that today is more relevant than ever amid reports the lead investigator in the case thought Mr. Zimmerman should be charged with manslaughter for his actions.

George Zimmerman.

Orange County Sheriff’s Office/Reuters

The investigator, Chris Serino, was unconvinced by Zimmerman’s assertion that he resorted to deadly force in self-defense, according to ABC News. Mr. Serino filed an affidavit to that effect on the night of the killing.

But Serino’s superiors, in turn, were apparently unconvinced by Serino’s reasoning. They did not take Zimmerman into custody because of two words: “probable cause.”

“The Sanford police said this is why they did not arrest Zimmerman: they did not have probable cause to believe that he had broken the law,” writes legal analystDave Kopel, research director of the Independence Institute, on the widely read legal blog The Volokh Conspiracy.

Florida’ Stand Your Ground law would have been legally irrelevant to this determination, according to Mr. Kopel. Florida has other statutes that allow the use of force against a criminal attack, as do virtually all states. Zimmerman’s story has been that he was doing exactly that: defending against an assault by Martin. In his version of events, Martin knocked him down, then straddled him and pounded his head on the ground. He did not have an opportunity to retreat, he told police.

On the day of the shooting, Sanford police officials determined that they did not have enough evidence to the contrary to detain Zimmerman. Whether they were suspicious of his story would not have mattered. They would have had to produce hard evidence to the contrary. The “probable cause” criterion is derived from the Constitution and is meant to protect against unreasonable arrest.

“The normal rule in American law is that a police officer must have ‘probable cause’ in order to arrest someone,” writes Kopel.

This does not mean Zimmerman is innocent, of course. Since the shooting other evidence has come to light, such as the assertion by Martin’s girl friend that during a cell phone call he told her he was being followed and was trying to escape. The Sanford police could have botched their initial investigation.

According to CBS News, police interviewed six witnesses in the days following the attack. Nobody said they had seen the beginning of the altercation. None said they saw the shot that ended it.

Martin’s family has asserted that race overlies the case and that if the situation had been reversed, and a black teen had pulled the trigger, the teen would have been arrested that night.

They made this point in a brief appearance Tuesday at a forum organized by congressional Democrats on racial profiling and hate crimes.

“Trayvon was our son, but Trayvon is your son,” Sybrina Fulton, Martin’s mother, told the forum. “A lot of people can relate to our situation and it breaks their heart like it breaks our heart.”

The investigation into the case is now starting over. A new special prosecutor is bringing in witnesses to be interviewed again, as well as revisiting the physical evidence of the altercation. Zimmerman remains free, for now.

But as the Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates notes, the case to be made against Zimmerman “will not be an easy one.”

The point is not whether investigators disbelieve Zimmerman. The point is whether they can prove that he is lying. Given that the other participant in the altercation is dead and unable to testify, that won’t be easy.

“I think it’s worth understanding how difficult it is going to be to prosecute Zimmerman,” writes Mr. Coates.


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