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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

July 31, 2013 at 4:23 PM

Self-policing as a person of color

Column not relevant to Zimmerman

George Zimmerman smiles after a not guilty verdict was handed down in his trial at the Seminole County Courthouse, July 14. [AP Photo/TV Pool]

George Zimmerman smiles after a not guilty verdict was handed down in his trial at the Seminole County Courthouse, July 14. [AP Photo/TV Pool]

While I thank Professor Bryan Adamson for his brief autobiographical history of race relations in our country, he misses the point of the Zimmerman verdict. [“Guest column: The racial self-policing that African-American men already do,” Opinion, July 30.]

His experiences as a black man growing up in America likely ring true for many people of color.

Was George Zimmerman guilty of profiling? There is a good chance he was. Did he extend his authority as a neighborhood watchdog? He was probably guilty of that, too. Was he guilty of poor judgment throughout the incident? I think he certainly was. Was he a victim of what Rachel Jeantel called a case of “whoop-ass” by Trayvon Martin? That is also very likely.

But what Zimmerman was not guilty of, and what the prosecutorial team failed to prove, is second-degree murder. What Adamson stated in his column, though it sheds light on a subject worthy of continuing analysis and scrutiny, is entirely irrelevant to the Zimmerman case.

Ronald Bowman, Burien

Resources are available

As a 45-year member of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and in response to letters to the editor and columns on self-policing and Zimmerman-like vigilantes, I’d like to call attention to a valuable resource.

Citizens of color and white citizens, especially males, should know about a wallet -size brochure prepared by the ACLU of Washington Foundation, titled “What To Do If You’re Stopped by the Police.”

The contents cover your legal rights and responses if you’re stopped for questioning, stopped in your car, in your home or if you’re arrested or taken to the police station.

This is useful information for us all.

Dorothy Smith Patterson, Seattle

Comments | More in Politics | Topics: ACLU, bryan adamson, george zimmerman

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