Things That Matter

The Man Who Shot And Killed Trayvon Martin Is Now Suing His Family For $100 Million

George Zimmerman, who shot and killed Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teenager in the gated community of Sanford, Florida, has launched a $100 million lawsuit against Martin’s family, their lawyer and the prosecutors for defamation and “malicious prosecution,” according to the Guardian

In 2012, Zimmerman shot Martin by his own admission. Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” laws, which allow murder in the case of self-defense, meant that there was no initial charge against Zimmerman because police had no way of disputing his claim. However, when audio of Zimmerman’s call to the police revealed he followed Martin despite police orders not to, a public outcry sparked a trial. Prosecutors and authorities argued that the shooting was unjustified in court. 

The lawsuit filed by a rightwing conservative legal activist group known as Judicial Watch claims Zimmerman has PTSD and depression from the trial. 

Zimmerman, who has had multiple run-ins with the law since being acquitted of second-degree murder charges, filed a 36-page lawsuit claims the three parties ruined his reputation. He also claims he lives in fear of public death threats. Zimmerman’s attorney Lary Klayman says prosecutors relied on a “fake witness” who pretended to be Martin’s girlfriend but was really the half-sister of his allegedly real girlfriend. 

The witness in question, Rachel Jeantel was allegedly recruited by the state attorney Angela Corey when Martin’s real girlfriend refused to provide incriminating testimony.  Zimmerman and company believe Jeantel is a fraud largely because of a conspiracy theory propagated by a book and film that claim the Martin case was a hoax, according to the Washington Post

Both pieces of media allege that his case was built on witness fraud. The director of the film Joel Gilbert scheduled a screening of the film in celebration of the lawsuit announcement. 

Zimmerman is also suing for defamation of character.

Zimmerman’s lawsuit says that the civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who represented Martin’s parents, attempted to defame the murderer in his book Open Season: Legalized Genocide of Colored People. 

“I have every confidence that this unfounded and reckless lawsuit will be revealed for what it is, another failed attempt to defend the indefensible and a shameless attempt to profit off the lives and grief of others,” Crump said in a statement.

“This plaintiff continues to display a callous disregard for everyone but himself. He would have us believe that he is the victim of a deep conspiracy despite the complete lack of any credible evidence to support his outlandish claims.”

Zimmerman has struggled with the law on multiple occasions since his acquittal.

In 2013,  Zimmerman was charged with felony aggravated assault after pointing a shotgun at his girlfriend allegedly. The case was dropped. In 2015, he was arrested on charges of domestic aggravated assault for throwing a wine bottle at his girlfriend, allegedly. The case was also dropped, according to the Washington Post. 

The same year, Zimmerman retweeted a photo of Martin’s deceased body with the caption “Z-man is a one-army, according to CBS News. The same year, Zimmerman was suspended from Twitter for posting semi-nude photos of his ex-girlfriend that revealed her personal information including her email and phone number. The caption accused her of sleeping with a “dirty Muslim.” 

In 2016, Zimmerman tried to auction the gun he used to kill Trayvon Martin to raise money to defend police officers from Black Lives Matter and Hillary Clinton, according to the Anchorage Daily News. Since Zimmerman murdered Martin in 2018, he was charged with stalking a private investigator who was working on a Jay-Z documentary about Martin. Zimmerman sent two and a half hours’ worth of voicemails to the private investigator. 

His legal troubles go back even before the shooting. In 2005, he was arrested for a domestic dispute resulting in a restraining order filed against him. In another incident that year, he was arrested for battery of an undercover officer who arrested Zimmerman’s underage friend. 

Crump did not seem to worry at all about Zimmerman’s lawsuit. It appears, he doesn’t have a leg to stand on in court.

“This tale defies all logic, and it’s time to close the door on these baseless imaginings,” Crump said. 

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Seven-Year-Old Jaslyn Adams Fatally Shot In Drive-Thru Of A Chicago McDonald’s

Things That Matter

Seven-Year-Old Jaslyn Adams Fatally Shot In Drive-Thru Of A Chicago McDonald’s

Jaslyn Adams was only 7 years old. Her age and innocence should have kept her shielded from the brutalities of her life and yet, even something as special as her father-daughter date to McDonald’s could not protect her.

While on a drive with her 29-year-old father, Adams was shot at and killed this past Sunday.

Adams was shot multiple times and pronounced dead.

According to reports, employees at the McDonald’s employee saw two men jump out of another car and ambush the Adams family car. The men fired into the car multiple times, striking Jaslyn multiple times in the body and her father in the torso.

A police vehicle at the scene rushed Jaslyn to a nearby hospital. She was pronounced dead at the hospital while her father is still being hospitalized and in serious condition.

No suspects have been arrested.

“It’s really emotional now for my family,”  Tawny McMullen, the victim’s aunt told WBBM. “She was just … sweet and outgoing. Really talkative, really lovable.” McMullen went onto lament how an average regular father-daughter trip to McDonald’s could end in such tragedy. “Y’all, please put the guns down,” McMullen went on to say “My 8-year-old baby says she doesn’t want to go out and play because she is scared that she is going to be shot.”

In response to the shooting, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot underlined how heartbroken she was.

“Our kids want to play. My kids can’t even go out the door because of this violence. Please put the guns down,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot commented. “This unthinkable act of violence has no place here. The epidemic of gun violence cutting our children’s lives short cannot go on.” 

Jaslyn’s death coincides with the recent murder of 13-year-old Adam Toledo who was also a child.

https://twitter.com/search?q=adam%20toledo&src=typed_query&f=image

Toledo was killed on March 29 by a Chicago police officer. Bodycam footage of Toledo’s murders shows “less than a second passed between when the boy is seen holding a handgun” and he was shot by the officer.

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The Colombian City Where Body Parts Wash Up On The Shore So Often It’s Become Normal

Things That Matter

The Colombian City Where Body Parts Wash Up On The Shore So Often It’s Become Normal

Colombia has made incredible progress since the 1990’s when the country was a hotbed for international drug trafficking and guerrilla warfare. Today, modern bustling cities are home to shopping centers, museums, and hordes of international visitors.

However, despite the advancements, the country is still in a delicate peace deal with the main guerrilla oppossition – Las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) – and there are many other paramilitary groups that still operate across the country, including in the main port city of Buenavista.

The city of Buenavista is seeing an uptick in body parts washing up along its shores.

In mid-January, an arm washed up on the city’s shore. It was quickly assumed, by local media reports, that the arm belonged to one of three local fisherman who had most likely been rounded up, killed, and dismembered. The arm had a tattoo on it, connecting it to one of the missing men, Armando Valencia.

And it wasn’t the first time this has happened. According to residents, body parts washing up on beaches is a tragically familiar occurrence. “There were some reports of body parts washing up at La Bocana [a nearby tourist spot]. A head, a leg, an arm,” said María Miyela Riascos, a social leader from Buenaventura, in a statement to VICE News. “Also, they found a man and a woman dismembered in the rural area of Bajo Calima.”

Violence has been rampant in Buenaventura for decades. The city has some of the highest rates of forced displacement and homicide in the country. But seldom has it been confronted by the levels of brutality experienced in the past year.

Criminal groups have long terrorized the city but things seem to be out of control.

So many different criminal groups have terrorized the slums of Colombia’s main Pacific port that residents rarely bother to learn the name of the latest clan in control. They simply call the warring gangs los malos or the bad guys.

Three people have been killed or disappeared daily, and conflict between organized crime has displaced as many as 6,000 people. Videos on Twitter show people fleeing their homes and young men and women patrolling with assault weapons. #SOSbuenaventura has been trending.

Community leaders see darker interests behind the violence, saying the areas where most crimes occur are the same where plans have been laid for a waterfront project, an airport and seaport terminals. “I see the violence as a means of pressure to get us off this area so they can build their projects,” Armando Valencia told The Guardian.

Criminals use “chop houses” to dismember their victims.

Colombian navy special forces on patrol among stilted waterfront shacks in Buenaventura
Credit: Fernando Vergara / Getty Images

The criminals recruit children, extort businesses, force people from their homes and dismember live victims, scattering their remains in the bay or surrounding jungle. Dozens of wooden huts balanced precariously on stilts over the bay have been abandoned by terrorized citizens and taken over by the gangs for use as casas de pique, or chop houses, where they torture and murder their victims.

The chop houses are the most gruesome consequence of a deeply flawed attempt to dismantle rightwing militias, which originally emerged to combat leftwing guerrillas in collusion with state security forces and drug traffickers.

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