Daily Beast columnist Mansfield Frazier has turned the concept of “justice” upside down, arguing that George Zimmerman should be convicted in the shooting of Trayvon Martin merely to avoid race riots.
The case was already heavily politicized even before prosecutor Angela Corey filed a charge of second-degree murder against Zimmerman based upon an extremely thin affidavit. The charge was a shock to most legal experts because of the incredibly high burden of proof for a murder charge that none of the known evidence comes close to supporting.
It was in this toxic political environment that Frazier filed a remarkable op-ed titled “Trial of George Zimmerman Could Trigger Another Rodney King.” The article isn’t incisive in its dissection of the facts of the case. It doesn’t offer cogent analysis of the legal strategies that the prosecution and defense might try to use if the case proceeds to trial. It doesn’t caution fellow journalists to be careful about jumping to conclusions surrounding the case, a low-hanging fruit for any columnist with a hint of competence.
Instead Frazier offers the extraordinary advice that despite a critically — perhaps criminally — flawed prosecution, George Zimmerman should just cop a guilty plea anyway to assuage his violence-prone critics in the black community in an attempt to keep the violent mobs at bay:
As George Zimmerman faces murder charges for shooting Trayvon Martin, it’s worth asking if America is in danger of facing Rodney King, Part II?
That’s what I see down the tracks: If this case goes all the way to trial, it’s a train wreck waiting to happen. The time is now for strong hands to take the helm and steady the ship of state — not to mention our national racial, political and legal discourse. The paramount concern has to be to avert a large-scale racial calamity.
Were you misinformed that the role of the criminal justice system is to fairly and impartially weigh the facts and evidence of a case? Well, now you know better. Mr. Frazier has eloquently argued that racial politics, not guilt or innocence, is the true measure of “justice for Trayvon.”
But the Daily Beast columnist is just getting warmed up and won’t let facts stand in his way:
Look what’s already festering on the streets of Sanford, Florida. On the one hand we’ve got the three stooges of the New Black Panther Party running around Sanford, spouting off crazy ideas and becoming a total embarrassment to more thoughtful and reasoning blacks who simply want justice. On the other we’ve got the equally clownish neo-Nazis, goose-stepping around on their self-appointed mission to protect the white race.
The only problem with statement is that it patently isn’t true. There are no neo-Nazi patrols, and never were. The claim was based on an unsubstantiated phone call from out of state, published by another lazy journalist with shoddy editorial oversight.
Frazier then goes for Zimmerman’s lynching — but at least he does so politely:
We don’t want to go back there. Fortunately Zimmerman’s new attorney, Mark O’Mara, appears to comprehend the broader implications and potential danger of the situation, and seems well qualified to negotiate a fair outcome for his client, and indeed for the rest of us. He has the calm demeanor of a law professor, and speaks in measured, but not calculating, terms. His first comments seemed designed not to convince anyone of his client’s innocence, but rather to take the heated rhetoric down a few notches. He cautioned that everyone should allow the justice system to work.
So what would a fair outcome look like? To my mind, the government offers Zimmerman a plea deal that has him back on the street within this decade, and he accepts it quietly. That seems like a conclusion most reasonable Americans could live with. Of course, no matter how long or short any sentence may be, there will be those who disagree, some vehemently.
If O’Mara were successful in brokering such a resolution, he should be viewed as nothing less than a savior. A protracted murder trial of George Zimmerman is the last thing this country needs right now. America can only dodge so many racial bullets, and a not-guilty verdict in this case could very easily turn the racial cold war into a very hot one.
The language is soft, but the threat is implicit: Zimmerman should be pressured to take a plea deal … or else my people will tear this country apart.
Mr. Frazier’s comment is both a veiled threat and a sad commentary of what he expects from the black community. Similar sentiments are shared in his other articles about the case. Perhaps as a former newspaper editor and current Daily Beast columnist he’s simply come to the point where he expects little of substance from his fellow man.
But at least Mansfield Frazier is honest that he doesn’t want justice in this case, and he doesn’t pretend to be objective like CNN, ABC, or NBC have in their brutally dishonest attempts to profit from racial discord. He’s open about just wanting a conviction at whatever ethical or moral price.
Truth and justice be damned.