When I heard that a black unarmed teenager named Trayvon Martin had been shot and killed under Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, I didn’t think that the details could get any more sickening. The fact that 28-year-old George Zimmerman was not charged at all in what read as a senseless killing of a kid seemed like the absolute worst news — until word came over the wires that his killer had gone missing.
How is this case getting increasingly more terrible?
Zimmerman’s lawyers, Hal Uhrig and Craig Sonner, have officially withdrawn as his legal counsel due to an inability to get into contact with him. The New York Times reports:
“As of the last couple days he has not returned phone calls, text messages or emails,” attorney Craig Sonner said at a news conference outside the courthouse. “He’s gone on his own. I’m not sure what he’s doing or who he’s talking to. I cannot go forward speaking to the public about George Zimmerman and this case as representing him because I’ve lost contact with him.”
Zimmerman reportedly made a phone call to the prosecutor, who is nearing a decision about Trayvon’s case, as well as — most strangely — Fox News darling Sean Hannity. In an off the record phone call, Zimmerman apparently gave his side of the shooting, unbeknownst to Zimmerman’s lawyers who had instructed him not to speak to anyone about the case. Both lawyers maintain that they would represent Zimmerman again if he reached out to them, despite that neither gentleman has ever met Zimmerman in person.
Uhrig is quoted in the Times as saying that both he and Sonner are “concerned for his emotional well-being and safety,” suggesting that Zimmerman might even be suffering from PTSD following the high profile nature of the case. Meanwhile, Trayvon’s family and attorney are simply worried that he’ll flee the country.
I don’t have children, but If I did, I can’t imagine I would sleep all that well knowing that such a man was traveling whereabouts unknown by even his legal counsel. Especially knowing that this individual, who doesn’t seem to have hesitated in shooting an unarmed teenager, is “emotionally crippled” and “may no longer be in control of his actions.” Not exactly a reassuring tidbit for parents as they flip through victim-blaming headlines.
Zimmerman’s moment of pause to pay a special ratings boost of a phone call to Fox News isn’t all that reassuring either, as a guy on the lamb most likely chooses his phone calls sparingly. And after dropping contact with even those who are working to secure him a fair trial, the sudden turn to Hannity reads as not only desperate, but chilling.
Perhaps mothers and fathers should take a page from Geraldo Rivera‘s book and keep their children of color out of hoodies for their safety. Because it looks like actually jailing those who pose racially-charged threats to kids is going to take a little while longer.