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Listen: Trayvon Martin, criminal responsibility age, Uber & breast milk


Playwright and author Gary Earl Ross appeared on the Buffalo Review April 17 to discuss his new play entitled “The Trial of Trayvon Martin

Joseph Kasko

(Buffalo, N.Y.) – This week on the Buffalo Review (April 17) we covered a new play about Trayvon Martin, changes to the law for the age of criminal responsibility and ride hailing in New York and new breast milk depots in the Buffalo Niagara region.

First, playwright and author Gary Earl Ross joined us to talk about his new play entitled “The Trial of Trayvon Martin,” which explores what might have happened if the roles of Martin and George Zimmerman had been reversed.

Next, we spoke with Peter Carey, chief of University Police and adjunct instructor of criminal justice at Buffalo State, about a change in New York law that raises the age of criminal responsibility from 16 to 18 years old.

In the second half of the show, we spoke with Joe Lorigo, majority leader of the Erie County Legislature, about the availability of ride hailing services like Uber and Lyft in western New York.

Finally, Gina Penque, a lactation consultant at Mount St. Mary’s Hospital, joined us to discuss the recent openings of breast milk banks in Erie and Niagara counties.

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One thought on “Listen: Trayvon Martin, criminal responsibility age, Uber & breast milk

  1. So I listened to the Trial of Trayvon Martin segment and I noticed a lot of confirmation bias and inaccuracies that I thought I would point out for consideration.
    First, I haven’t seen the full play so I can’t opine on the intricacies of what ifs created ti create this spin, I can only go by the little I have seen if the trailers and what I have heard on your broadcast. Obviously we don’t know what Trayvon would have said because he is dead, but we do know what the evidence said.
    George stated in a present tense statement at the moment of the police arrival that he was mounted by Trayvon, was screaming for help and was being hit. What corroborated these claims, that night, pictures were taken showing George’s injuries, the 911 calls recorded his screams (but he has no idea there were recordings and the only true eyewitness to the confrontation before the shot described Trayvon on top mounted and beating up George and George screaming. That was the corroboration that allowed George to go free instead of getting arrested and starting the right to a speedy trial clause. With low evidence, police usually won’t arrest if there is no fear of flight and no strong evidence to convict exists yet. Rachel Jeantel’s testimony would surface more than a month later.
    So any claims Trayvon would make would have to overcome: No evidence of him being struck, An eyewitness, John Good, who did not see a gun at any point in the struggle, who saw him in top, who saw him striking and George screaming, the injuries on George, the fact that the recording stated he ran away, yet the fight occurred closer to the car, than the house he was staying in even though the police had a non emergency call that showed Zimmerman having no contact or sight of Martin for over 3 minutes and Martin staying only half a block away. Right there and then there would be enough controversy in the direct evidence for an arrest to be made. The same was not the case with George.
    The George Zimmerman trial was never a Stand Your Ground case because George was mounted and thus had no capacity to retreat. If Trayvon had wrestled the gun away and shot, because of the testimony of John Good, that night, it would be a Stand Your Ground case because Trayvon was the aggressor and the one mounting according to the only eye witness.
    I disagree with the central thesis mentioned, but I will get to that. Gary says that there was no way to see who owned the gun, that is not true. George was a licensed conceal and carry, so there was a record of his weapon, furthermore, he still had the holster in him so that would confirm where the gun came from.
    Going back to the central thesis of Black people at higher risk of getting shot by police, although George wasn’t a police, nor was he White. The premise you gave is that Blacks are twice as likely to get shot by police than Whites. That is accurate, but what many of these studies fail to factor in is poverty rates and crime rates. Most shootings occur in the confluence of poverty and high crime and Black poverty is more than twice the percentage of the poverty in Florida compared to Whites. When you factor in poverty the disproportionality of shooting by ethnicity is no so disparate.
    The governor of Florida was brought up. I remind you that it was the governor that removed the case from the local prosecutor to try the Zimmerman case in the first place as the local prosecutor felt there was not enough evidence to convict.
    Gary brings up the idea that George was stalking Trayvon, but stalking has a very specific definition in law, and following in a car while talking to police is not stalking. On foot George followed for about 30 seconds but then stopped when the dispatcher said it wasn’t necessary and a 3 minute convo occurred where he was not following and stated twice that Trayvon was gone. Anything after that would have been pure speculation with no evidence. The assumption that George cause the whole thing would have been pure speculation and until Rachel’s testimony surfaced over a month later no such claim was there. I guess a what if would be that she surfaced earlier. But even Rachel stated that it was Trayvon who spoke first, and she was only an ear witness.
    Gary then brings up a statement that Stand Your Ground isn’t only for scared White people, but a little research will show that African Americans are actually the recipients of the most awards of SYG in Florida, and, George was a person of color as well. George’s mother is AfroIndigenous, no different than say, Rosa Parks, except Rosa had Irish ancestry as well. Gladys Mesa only had African and Native American ancestry. So George was as White as President Obama. In fact, one of the witnesses after the shot described George as Black at the scene. Assuming he was getting fairer treatment is flawed, instead of considering the amount of corroborating evidence he had that night.
    Gary is right that the picture of Trayvon in his 14th birthday definitely pushed a narrative that would get media attention. That was no accident though. That was a predesigned story with carefully selected pictures that were distributed by a media company hired by Crump and Park, the attorneys for Trayvon’s parents.
    Gary brings up two claims, that George had anger management issues and that he had domestic violence issues. This is just not true. Over 8 years before the Trayvon shooting, George, like many minority kids, encountered under cover cops, he was arrested for trying to help a friend and he commited no violent act. Charges were first lowered to resisting arrest with no violence and eventually dropped. He had to take an anger management class as a result of that bogus arrest. He also had a dispute with his then girlfriend where she tried blocking from exiting her apartment with his phone, and he moved her out of the way, both statements said the same thing, no arrest or charges were made just mutual restraining orders. The only one that had any wounds was George where she scratched him in the face and she claimed it was her dog. This is all documented as it was fully explored by the FDLI and later by the FBI. After that zilch for over 8 years. That is not a pattern.
    If we reversed the rolls though, Trayvon’s double encrypted phone would come into play where he talked about fighting, making people bleed, selling drugs and attempting to purchase an illegal gun. All within the month of the Zimmerman encounter.
    You also have the situation of the stolen jewelry and industrial screw driver in his locker, his suspension and his mother kicking him out of the house. All documented, but not a lot of pattern talking there.
    Gary tells about looking for relevant cases, and there are plenty but not just Black and White. For example Michael Buzz Arnold who had an air pistol, much like Tamir Rice did, and got shot at over 300 times by LA police.
    Gary says that Trayvon Martin sparks the Black Lives Matter movement, which is true, but not the slogan which began with Oscar Grant which a much more legitimate complaint for a killing of an innocent life. Or Jordan Davis for that matter.
    Gary is right that things would have been different if Trayvon was the one who survived the encounter but because the main eye witness statement was that he was the aggressor. If circumstances were similar but the ethnicities reversed the story wouldn’t have been so different, and you who live in NY should know this based off of the Christopher Cervini and Roderick Scott case.
    While i think many of the cases espoused by Black Lived Matter are legit, many other are not, and this claim that the focus should be on Black deaths by cop instead of looking at deaths by cop in for patterns of abuse or negligence. In sheer numbers, Whites die more by police and per capita, Natives do. So all three groups have an axe to grind, and Hispanics are impossible to quantify because most police forces list even heavily indigenous or afrodescent Hispanics as White skewing the numbers.
    Gary is right that we will never know exactly what happened, but we do know the evidence tends to corroborate most his story and little inconsistencies can be explained by imperfect recall.
    Gary incorrect that reaching for a gun, will always leave DNA, weather conditions later handling and that he never got a solid hold of it could all play role in DNA not transferring or being whipped off.
    In Gary’s play the gun is out way before they go to the ground which is highly unlikely as John Good never say a gun or anything resembling that type of struggling. Furthermore, George describing shrimping to get away from the sidewalk actually would uncover his sidearm as to shrimp he has to go to his side and push down on Trayvon’s hips. So a technique coincidentally matches what George describes of being mounted and Trayvon seeing the gun in the struggle.
    If the gun had already been out George would have never taken as much damage as he did, nor would have he been mounted as he would have fired. He didn’t and took a couple of minutes of a beating before he used his gun.
    Gary also seems to conflate Rachel’s testimony which would come much later and this was subject to imperfect recall as well as posterior influence and even coaching vs contemporaneous statements by George and an eyewitness. George was following protocol and called the non emergency number s he had done before. No evidence he ever closed the distance. But the evidence does show the fight ended close to where George exited his car which would be weird if Trayvon was running away and George was chasing him. So the claim he took upon himself powers not given to him is
    Not shown in the evidence and is sheer speculation. But it is interesting that Gary brings up Latinas as they, like George, are also people ‘of color’.
    The height claim is also false as the actors are nowhere near the discrepancy in height betwen George who is Beyonce’s height and Trayvon who would be closer to Jay-Z’s height to get a better perspective. Or Alfonso Ribeiro and Justin Timberlake if you want pudgy vs fit.

    And that research just never seems to come to light.


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