Powell questions Zimmerman verdict; suggests case will be forgotten
August 25th, 2013
10:53 AM ET
7 years ago

Powell questions Zimmerman verdict; suggests case will be forgotten

(CNN) – A jury’s decision in July to acquit George Zimmerman in the murder of Trayvon Martin represented “questionable judgment,” former Secretary of State Colin Powell said in an interview aired Sunday.

But the retired four-star general, who was the first African-American to serve in the top U.S. diplomatic post, went on to suggest the case wouldn’t have a lasting impact on Americans’ lives.

“I don't know if it will have staying power,” he said on CBS's "Face the Nation."

“These cases come along, and they blaze across the midnight sky and then after a period of time, they're forgotten,” he said.

Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer who fatally shot Martin in February 2012, was acquitted by a jury in July on state criminal charges. The case sparked a nationwide discussion of race. Martin was an unarmed black teenager, and Zimmerman identifies himself as Hispanic.

After the verdict, President Barack Obama delivered a personal statement about the case, delving deeply into issues of race and justice, and connecting the difficulties facing American-American men to situations he himself had faced.

Powell said Sunday he’d like Obama to “be more passionate about race questions.”

“In my lifetime, over a long career in public life, you know, I've been refused access to restaurants where I couldn't eat, even though I just came back from Vietnam. ‘We can't give you a hamburger, come back some other time,’” Powell said, adding that while progress has been made toward racial equality, there is still work to be done.

“We're not there yet,” he said. “And so we've got to keep working on it. And for the president to speak out on it is appropriate. I think all leaders, black and white, should speak out on this issue."

Filed under: Colin Powell
soundoff (59 Responses)
  1. itwasntselfdefense

    Self defense, my eye. Zimmerman picked a fight with Martin–he had absolutely no business going anywhere near Martin. The fight escalated. A weapon appeared. One of the two fighters got shot and died. There was no Stand Your Ground defense available because Zimmerman picked the fight.

    August 25, 2013 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  2. Marcus

    Or RaHoWa dude?
    Anyway, YOU, with a statement like THAT, is accusing others of promoting racial war?

    August 25, 2013 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  3. Cammie

    @Lori says: "And how sad that the black issue has been carried so far that even half black half white individuals almost always consider themselves black! What's with that? "

    What's up with that? White, male, Conservative, bigoted, politicians made it so by ENACTING LEGISLATION:

    On March 20, 1924 the Virginia Assembly passed two laws that had arisen out of contemporary concerns about eugenics and race. The Racial Integrity Act required that a racial description of every person be recorded at birth and divided society into only two classifications: white and colored (essentially all other, which included numerous American Indians) It defined race by the "1 drop" rule defining as "colored" persons with any African or Native American ancestry. It also expanded the scope of Virginia's ban on interracial marriage criminalizing all marriages between white persons and non-white persons.

    Those laws may have been over-turned "legally" but not in the "eyes" and "hearts" of others. If you have a discernible African physical feature....you will be considered/treated as such. Nobody goes around saying, "oh there goes that mixed or bi-racial guy/girl."

    August 25, 2013 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  4. ThinkAgain

    @Zerubbabel: "They will be the new majority, scary huh? Afraid that you will get what you have given for so long? "

    That is exactly what whites are afraid of – because they simply cannot imagine otherwise. Pretty pitiful, huh?

    August 26, 2013 01:27 am at 1:27 am |
  5. J.V.Hodgson

    In a nation full of evangelical and religious fervor that seeps into politics ( the founding fathers said it must not) I believe in "thou shalt not Kill" ( ah I have translators at work of biblical extracts) it says" thou SHALT NOT MURDER" The problem you see is not the litigious America that sees the unimportant differential THE VICTIM IS STILL DEAD.
    TM IS DEAD, ( WAS UNARMED) AND Z WAS... END OF STORY. nothing to do with stand your ground. When Z got out of his car and went to find TM he should have had his weapon drawn already; and said like police have to stop or i'll shoot when TM came out of where he was.
    Me looking at TM and Zimmerman relative size Zimmerman has to be kidding TM could whop him!

    August 26, 2013 02:07 am at 2:07 am |
  6. RomneyWho

    @ GERALD D SEGAL . . . "If Zimmerman didn't have a gun... he would be dead today !"

    Let's keep it real, If Zimmerman did not have a gun, He would have never approached Trayvon Martin At all . . . reason being, Zimmerman, like so many others who side with his actions that night, are sniveling cowards, Period.

    August 26, 2013 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
  7. angrybeatle

    I'm glad Florida did not give in to the pressures of the black racists of the nation. G.Z. was clearly innocent all the evidence proved it. But black America is not satisfied because a black thug was killed by a white man..

    August 26, 2013 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  8. Greg in Arkansas

    If we take race out of the discussion, the only question remaining is:
    How did an armed adult kill an un-armed teen and get away with is....???

    August 26, 2013 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  9. Greg in Arkansas

    "If Zimmerman didn't have a gun... he would be dead today"....???
    If Zimmerman didn't have a gun... he would have probably stayed in his car like he was supposed to and.....no one would "be dead today"...

    August 26, 2013 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
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