If there is no justice, there can be no peace. But in the American South it seems white folks suddenly believe that decorum and charm are a proper response to unspeakable acts of violence and unconscionable injustice.
The day before a jury delivered an acquittal in the murder trial of George Zimmerman, Seminole County Sheriff Don Eslinger and Sanford Police Chief Cecil Smith gave a national press conference to appeal for a peaceful reaction to the verdict — regardless of its outcome.
Eslinger, who is white, said, “We will not tolerate anyone who uses this verdict as an excuse to violate the law.”
The veiled threat of an aggressive police response to imaginary civil unrest belies the very logic that led to Trayvon Martin’s death to begin with. For, you see, African-Americans are never protected or served by the law enforcement apparatus — yet they are always subject to its military might.
Sanford police coyly “tolerated” the actual killing of an unarmed black child, but yet refuse to “tolerate” any anger expressed for the acquittal of his murderer.
This is the new Jim Crow realized.
It bears reminding that it was Sanford’s police who first allowed Zimmerman to walk away uncharged — his gun in tote. The story of self-defense seemed logical to them given the brown body lying on the ground. It was their decision not to investigate the case as a crime that led to public outcry, rallies and marches. It is only because of their total failure to do their jobs that the world now knows the name and face of Trayvon Martin.
The complete incompetence (or indifference) of Sanford police is why certain evidence that could have more easily convicted Zimmerman was inadmissible at trial — the most glaring example being their failure to perform a toxicology test on Zimmerman the night he shot Martin. Had they done so, it would have revealed whether he was under the influence of either illegal substances, alcohol or the two prescriptions drugs he had admittedly been taking — Temazepan and Adderall — the side effects of which include hallucinations, insomnia and aggressive behavior.
Instead, Sanford police let Zimmerman walk away, quietly into the night, as he did again yesterday. But the same police now threaten a quick and forcible response to any violence perpetrated in reaction to injustice their own department has engendered.