Zimmerman Speech Obama Should Have Given

My fellow Americans:

I am your humble servant. You have entrusted me with the tremendous honor and responsibility to serve you as president. I am not president of black America, Hispanic America or white America. I am not president of liberal America or conservative America. I am president of the United States of America.

Regrettably, as a nation, we have become divided. I confess that I have contributed to this division. For this failure in leadership, I ask your forgiveness.

We were each created equal by a God of forgiveness. It is now time that we do as He commands; that we forgive one another as we are forgiven and that we come together, once and for all, as one America.

With this goal in mind, I ask that every American join me in praying for the family of Trayvon Martin. No parent should have to bury a child. I also ask that you join me in prayer for George Zimmerman and his family. This tragedy has taken an unimaginable toll on both families. Finally, I ask that you join me in praying for national calm and racial reconciliation.

Today I will share with you certain truths that may be difficult for some to hear. But truths they remain.

First among these truths: The death of Trayvon Martin was a horrible tragedy.

But not all tragedies are crimes.

This case should never have gone to trial. Probable cause for charges of second-degree murder did not exist. Unfortunately, it has become evident that charges were filed based upon a purely political calculus, rather than upon the legal merits of the case. This is legal malpractice, and those responsible should be held accountable.

Before charges were even filed I publicly and inappropriately said: “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.” This was irresponsible of me. It was a politically motivated abuse of the presidential bully pulpit. It presumed Mr. Zimmerman guilty until proven innocent. The implication was racially charged and cynical. To the extent that I may have contributed to the spurious filing of charges, I apologize to Florida. I also apologize to George Zimmerman, his family and the American people.

Nevertheless, the trial did go forward and, after 20 days in court and 16 hours of thoughtful deliberation, a jury of George Zimmerman’s peers ultimately found him not guilty. Whether or not we agree, this is our criminal justice system and the system worked as designed.

Justice was served.

Although none of us were there – and few can know for sure – the not guilty verdict indicates that the jury found, based upon the weight of the evidence, that this tragic shooting was, in fact, legally justified on self-defense grounds. This is true whether or not George overreacted by following Trayvon in the first place. Florida’s “stand-your-ground” law was never even triggered.

The jury further found, by all accounts, that at some point during their interaction, Mr. Martin turned, pursued and attacked Mr. Zimmerman without legal provocation. This decision ultimately cost him his life.

How does this make sense? How could this have justified the shooting? Although initially unarmed, witness accounts and forensic evidence suggest that Trayvon punched Mr. Zimmerman, jumped on him and began slamming the back of his head into the concrete sidewalk while allegedly proclaiming, “You gonna die tonight, [expletive].” At this point the sidewalk became a deadly weapon. From this, any reasonable person could conclude that George Zimmerman feared for his life and, therefore, took defensive action.

A needless tragedy? Yes.

A crime? No.

Here is another truth: This case is neither now, nor has it ever been about race. That is, it wasn’t about race until I and others made it so.

There are those who, under the guise of “civil-rights advocacy,” have a tarnished history of exploiting this and other such tragedies for their own political and financial purposes. This is race-profiteering. It is shameless, dishonest and never productive. For the good of our nation, it needs to stop.

Furthermore, much of the media are likewise to blame. It is clear that, for whatever reason –ratings, perhaps – many journalists chose to intentionally fan the flames of racial discord. NBC even went so far as to splice and edit the recording of Mr. Zimmerman’s 911 call to make him sound racist. This may well be defamation per se, and NBC should be held to account.

In reality, the overwhelming evidence indicates that Mr. Zimmerman is anything but racist. He is just as much a “person of color” as am I. He is Hispanic, not white as the media narrative goes. George is half Hispanic, just as I am half black. He is no more a “white Hispanic” than I am a “white black.” This is the theater of the absurd. It’s but another example of the media’s disingenuous bid to sensationalize this case as a white-vs.-black civil-rights clash.

In reality, George Zimmerman’s past strongly suggests that he is color blind. He once went to bat for a black homeless man against the police department he desperately hoped to join. He also has a history of mentoring black children, has dated black women, has black relatives, and is a registered Democrat who voted for me – the first black president in American history. Finally, an extensive FBI investigation determined that Mr. Zimmerman is simply “not a racist.”

I understand that many people are very upset over this verdict. I sympathize with them. My heart also breaks for Trayvon’s family. Still, we are a nation of laws, not a nation of mob rule. Make no mistake, threats to George Zimmerman’s safety and civil rights will not be tolerated and will be investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Moreover, I have instructed Attorney General Eric Holder to cease and desist in all efforts to manufacture federal civil-rights charges against Mr. Zimmerman. There is simply no case and to pursue one would actually violate Mr. Zimmerman’s civil rights.

Let’s get back on track. Let’s return to Dr. King’s dream of an America in which people are “judged by the content of their character,” and not “by the color of their skin.”

It’s time to move on. It’s time to heal. It’s time to come together as “One Nation Under God”.

God bless you.

And God bless America.


About J. Matt Barber
Matt Barber is founder and editor-in chief of BarbWire.com. He is an author, columnist, cultural analyst and an attorney concentrating in constitutional law. Having retired as an undefeated heavyweight professional boxer, Matt has taken his fight from the ring to the culture war. (Follow Matt on Twitter: @jmattbarber).
  • msgttbar

    It is a sad commentary that this will never happen. Our illustratious pResident would never deign to say something with this much common sense. As a nation, we have elected a man without a country who cannot bring himself to acknowledge this country's christian heritage and our roots deeply imbedded in "the rule of law".

  • Disgusted

    It will be a cold day in hell before you hear these words from that arrogant POS. He has been the biggest racist and race divider since LBJ. I fear for my country and cry for what it has become.

    • OLDDAD

      It will be a cold day in hell before Obozzo admits that heisno better than sharpton or jackson and has done nothing but increase racial disharmony in this country.
      He is worth no more than they and belongs in the same jail as they do for inciting to riot and creating violence. He is a race baitor for political gain and doesn't deserve to be in any office in this country let alone the White House.

  • http://Poetlife.com Gerard A. Geiger

    I would be proud of Obama if he had given this speech. There is still time to do it, A statesman knows when to use humility to achieve common good from personal
    And policy failures. This is an excellent timely and much needed speech to
    Save the face and legacy of the man, President Obama.

  • toosmarttovoteGOP

    "Dear Mr. Martin,

    I have a 16-year old son. I cannot imagine losing him because some beast decided to play Lone Ranger.

    And so, with cautious humility, I make this suggestion, this plea.

    Sue the beast. You must.

    I understand you are reluctant to launch another painful trial of uncertain outcome and cost, monetary and emotional. And I know a money judgment won't bring your son home.

    But imagine this: George Zimmerman gets a half-million-dollar book deal and $25,000 a pop to appear at gun shows - plus a fee to put his name on a 9mm semi-automatic. The 'Zimmerman Protector.'

    There's only one way to put this monster out of business: Justice can only come out of the barrel of a lawsuit.

    Only in a lawsuit can you force Zimmerman to the witness stand. That's crucial. In the criminal case, Zimmerman's daddy, a magistrate no less, could say it was poor George yelling for help on that desperate phone call.

    In a civil action, your son's lawyer can say to Zimmerman, "Come on, George, let's hear you scream for help. George, let's hear you scream that this skinny kid is going to kill you. Come on, George, show us how Trayvon somehow grabbed your big fat head while he was taking the gun from your hand."

    A federal indictment won't do that: Zimmerman can't be called as a witness in a criminal case. A federal trial won't disgrace Zimmerman nor stop him from getting rich off your son's corpse.

    A civil trial has none of that "reasonable doubt" crap that can get Zimmerman off the hook with some fantasy story about Trayvon as the dangerous aggressor. Zimmerman's consigliere said it was Trayvon’s own fault he was murdered. The “decision [to get shot] was in Trayvon Martin's hands more than my client's.” Do you want that to be the last word about your son?

    Maybe you don't want the money. OK, then: Set up a foundation and make Zimmerman turn over all that blood money, those book deals and gun show fees, to the Trayvon Foundation. Make him work every day of his lousy life for Trayvon.

    There’s another advantage to civil action. To be blunt, you won't have to rely on painfully befuddled prosecutors like the ones we witnessed in that courtroom. In a lawsuit, you can choose the best legal gunslingers in the country.

    I'm not guessing about that. I asked fearsome Florida trial lawyer Mike Papantonio if he and his partner, civil rights attorney Bobby Kennedy Jr., would take on the case if called. Papantonio said his firm is standing by, ready to help your legal team if asked. And I have no doubt there are other great plaintiff lawyers who would leap to your cause.

    Americans love to complain that there are "too many lawyers." I agree that if some corporate defense lawyers drown in their hot tubs, only their mothers should cry. But it is our unique system of tort law that gives Americans the true Hammer of Justice. Plaintiff lawsuits, even more than government agencies or the FBI, are what keep drug companies from poisoning us and keep dangerous toys from maiming our kids. And, using section 1983 of the federal civil rights statute, it’s the power of the plaintiffs’ bar that stops racist jerks from denying jobs, mortgages and freedoms to people of color.

    And there's one final reason to bring a civil action. Let the word go forth to any Zimmerman wannabe dreaming that wealth and admiration requires only their hunting down another dark-skinned kid in a hoodie: Maybe sick Florida law will keep you out of prison, but you will have your sorry ass dragged onto a witness stand, where you will be ripped up, ruined and busted for the rest of your life.

    So I'm asking you, as one dad to another, stand your ground and sue this killer - for Trayvon and for all our kids.

    With respect,
    Greg Palast"