Potential juror says shooting 'not racially motivated'
SANFORD, Fla. – Out of the four potential jurors questioned by attorneys in the George Zimmerman trial Tuesday morning, none seemed to surprise the court more than B35.
"I don't think it was racially motivated," he said, referring to the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin.
The response caused Martin's father to raise his brows.
B35 is a middle-aged African-American man with a 20-year-old son who is set to start school in Tallahassee in the fall. He is an avid Fox News Network viewer who enjoys watching commentator Sean Hannity.
Despite the fact most of his friends and family are "pro-Trayvon," B35 said: "I don't know what happened. I wasn't there, but I don't think it was racially motivated."
He also said he had a problem with civil rights leaders like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson marching "across the country," for one case, "sabre-rallying to build their own agendas."
Then state prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda asked him: "You mentioned Mr. Jackson and Mr. Sharpton, um, I gathered you didn't agree with what they were saying or doing about the case. Is that accurate?"
"I don't agree, and them rallying all that for one case when we have 47 black people killed in one city on a constant basis all the time," B35 responded. "We don't march about that, but we will march about an individual case that seems to be racial, but we won't march when it's our kids being killed by our own kids. That's why I had a problem with that."
B35 also took issue with U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, who held a rally at Bayfront Park in Miami for Martin and made a speech on the House floor before Zimmerman's arrest.
"I saw a lot of folks there on television," said B35. "I think one of the things that sort of stuck in my mind was, I forget the lady's name, but she had this pink hat on with pink suit, she's one of the senators I think, and she made a statement as if Trayvon was hunted down like a rabid dog and shot and I said that's out of bounds. We don't what, we weren't there, we don't know how that happened and so I really didn't like that, that sticks in my mind the most."
West: "You talking about congresswoman..."
West: "Federica Wilson?"
B35: "I think that's her name."
West: "The hat's pretty obvious, so that's the person you are talking about probably?"
West: "Did you think her comments were inflammatory?"
B35: "Yeah I did, I really did. I didn't think it was necessary to say that the young man was hunted down like a rabid dog and you know, because no one was there but these two guys and I don't believe he was being hunted. Maybe watched but not hunted he just went crazy when they met but I don't think it was intentionally begin hunted down."
"Just because somebody has a particular color of skin or ethnicity doesn't mean they have significant views that you might expect," said Mark Eiglarsh, a Miami-based criminal defense attorney, former prosecutor, and adjunct professor at University of Miami.
He thinks B35 won't make the final cut.
"Without question, it doesn't appear the prosecution would want him on their team," said Eiglarsh.
Rep. Wilson's office issued a statement, saying: "Inspite of being told by a Sanford police dispatcher to stop following Trayvon, George Zimmerman ignored the police dispatcher's instruction and continued to pursue Trayvon. Despite this evidence, Zimmerman remained free. I felt it was necessary to describe Zimmerman's obvious and dogged pursuit of Trayvon to ensure that Mr. Zimmerman was arrested and brought to trial."
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