As allegations of racial bias and political cover-up fill the air in the wake of the Trayvon Martin murder, some are now asking who exactly is former Virgina Supreme Court magistrate Robert Zimmerman and is he pulling any strings to protect his suspect son in the police investigation.
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Zimmerman, 64, the father of admitted shooter George Zimmerman, was presented as little more than a shadowy figure in silhouette during a recent television interview, in which he absolved his son of any guilt in the killing and blasted President Barack Obama and Black groups like the Congressional Black Caucus and the NAACP for what he calls efforts to “stir hate” and gain publicity in the wake of the Martin shooting.
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But “shadowy” also describes how some are viewing the older Zimmerman’s sudden involvement in the racially charged killing: Has he crossed the line from protecting his own child to attempting to influence the outcome of the legal process investigating Martin’s death?
In the news clip broadcast by MyFoxOrlando this week, the elder Zimmerman retells the same version of the deadly events his son described to police.
He said his son, who left his car and confronted Martin despite being told not to by police, was jumped by Martin and was pummeled in the face, allegedly resulting in a broken nose and bloodied head due to contact with the pavement.
A recent police surveillance video of an unbloodied George Zimmerman being led into custody has cast serious doubt on Zimmerman’s version of the events, although another reportedly enhanced video, which was released on Monday, now conveniently shows Zimmerman with injuries to the head.
Yet, the Zimmermans account runs counter to reports from eyewitnesses.
Zimmerman retired in 2006. And whether the retired magistrate would have the juice to influence the police investigation in Florida is an open question. But there is little doubt that Robert Zimmerman’s deep knowledge of the criminal justice system may have been used to help his trouble-prone son George.
In Virginia, magistrates perform lower-rung judicial functions, such as whether criminal suspects should be held or should receive bail during probable cause hearings. Though some of their duties overlap those of judges, magistrates are not judges because they lack trial jurisdiction. According to the Virginia Judicial System:
Magistrate duties include issuing various types of processes such as arrest warrants, summonses, bonds, search warrants, subpoenas, and certain civil warrants.
Consequently, there are questions on whether the elder Zimmerman’s judicial background is aiding his son in the Martin shooting, especially in light of the younger Zimmerman’s violent past that included an arrest for fighting a police officer in 2005 and the fact his ex-fiancee sought court orders of protection against Zimmerman.
Thus far, no one has presented a smoking gun showing that former magistrate Zimmerman has done anything more than shoot off his mouth in defending his son in what might be an indefensible crime.
But in the same way it was unsettling how quickly the Sanford Florida Police Chief stepped aside when confronted by critics on his fairness in the investigation, the involvement of a judicial heavyweight from Virginia on the side of the accused killer troubles those of us who seek justice in this case.
I mean, does anyone really think that if the fatal bullet had entered George Zimmerman’s body as opposed to Trayvon Martin’s that sad Feb. 26th day, that the Black teen would have avoided arrest by claiming self-defense?
In addition, the odd and artificial defense of the dubious Joe Oliver in the past weeks has added to the public’s suspicion that George Zimmerman is somehow being both supported and funded by his alliances and connections.
As this case continues to unravel, NewsOne will be continuing to monitor Martin’s murder with the hopes that even highly connected Fathers, such as Robert Zimmerman, will not be able to stop the deliverance of justice in the Trayvon Martin case.