Community reaction was mixed after a Florida judge July 5 set a $1 million price tag for the pre-trial freedom of neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman who is facing second-degree murder charges for killing 17 year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla.
Some Baltimore residents said the $1 million bail set by Circuit Court Judge Kenneth Lester is long overdue.
But others say that Zimmerman misled judges, prosecutors and even his own defense team after admitting he shot the teenager in a sidewalk encounter in Sanford, Fla. in Feb. 26 and should remain in custody until a jury determines what happened when the youth was confronted.
A Perry Hall neighborhood resident Eugene Craig said, “I find appropriate for the crime he has been charged with. My concern is not about the amount of bail he is forced to pay for political reasons, but that he receives equal treatment under the law.
“While bail hearing today will add fuel to the fire around this case, I believe we all should wait for the facts to come out before we jump to any conclusions or deem anyone guilty of any crimes as would be the case if the individual was an African American,” said the 21-year-old college student.
Others want to see Zimmerman punished for misleading authorities. The judge found that at the time Zimmerman initially told authorities he and his wife had few assets and was released after posting 10 percent of a $150,000 bond, he was concealing a defense fund of $155,000.
“A $1 million dollar bail would have been appropriate originally. However, Mr. Zimmerman lied and was caught lying at the bail review hearing, and therefore should not be levied any bail,” said Eric Stewart, a 46-year-old resident of Northwest Baltimore.
Zimmerman’s bail was revoked after prosecutors revealed Zimmerman and his wife lied about their income and assets. Now, if he is not able to post $100,000, he will have to remain incarcerated.
While he was initially allowed to leave the state, according to the Washington Post, he now will be electronically monitored and faces a 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew, if he makes bail. He will not be allowed to open a bank account, obtain a passport or even appear at the local airport.
For some, bail is beside the point. Stacey Thomas, a 35-year-old West Baltimore resident, said the bail decision takes away from the matter at hand: the death of a teenager.
“I feel like he should not have the luxury of having a bail considering that he outright lied to the court. Zimmerman acts as if he is above the law, continues to disrespect the justice system, and has a blatant disregard for human life,” said Thomas.
Dominique Stevenson, a Govans neighborhood resident, questioned whether the bail will help bring any justice to the family. “I don’t like the situation that went down, but I also know the so called- criminal justice system- doesn’t work for Black folks.
“What about the numerous people in Baltimore City that get shot in Baltimore City and nobody gets convicted,” said the 46-year-old.
“I don’t agree with it personally. People with lesser crimes on the regular like drugs don’t get no bail. There’s a disparity when a Black person gets charged for a crime and when a White person gets charged,” said 20-year-old Dondre Roberts, a Hamilton neighborhood resident. “They are definitely showing favoritism because he was a community watch officer.”
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