Defense loses pretrial battle on use of 'racial profiling'

George Zimmerman trial gets into verbiage specifics

SANFORD, Fla. - Attorneys in the George Zimmerman trial disagreed on the use of the term "racial profiling." The judge ruled Friday the words "profiling" and "racial" could not be used together during opening statements Monday.

Defense attorney Mark O'Mara asked the judge to prohibit prosecutors from using words the defense deemed "inflammatory" because he said they would "infect" the jury. He was concerned the terms "racial" or "profiling" would imply association even when mentioned separately.

"When you use the word profiling, it's like peanut butter and jelly," O'Mara said. He added the words "profiling" and "racial" are associated this way "in a case of this magnitude."

Assistant State Attorney John Guy said the term "profiling" is not racially charged. Judge Debra Nelson agreed. Also acceptable were "wannabe cop" and "vigilante" but not "racial profiling," the Seminole Circuit judge ruled.

"There are a number of ways a person can be profiled," Guy said "They can be profiled by their dress, the car that they drive, the location and timing, that they are in a certain place, so that is not a racially charged term."

Guy said the prosecution did not intend to say Zimmerman profiled Trayvon Martin because of race.

During a 911 call before the fatal shooting in Sanford gated community, Zimmerman said Trayvon looked suspicious. Records show a detective said he thought the crime watch volunteer profiled the unarmed teen because of his hooded sweat shirt. 

Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder.

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