Yoshihiro Hattori and Trayvon Martin

I recently read about the case of Yoshihiro Hattori, another shooting death of an unarmed teenager by someone (Rodney Peairs) who claimed self-defense. The Hattori case is like the Martin case, but with far more evidence that the shooter behaved with reckless disregard towards human life. There was also far less potential for riots and civil unrest. Peairs was subsequently acquitted. I honestly don’t believe either killing was racially motivated, but it will be interesting to see the differences in how the cases are resolved. It will show whether facts or political pressure play a bigger role in how our justice system works. Note: the two states in question (LA and FL) have similar self-defense laws, but FL grants even more protection to those claiming it. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of their cases:

What they looked like

Hattori: a 130 lb Japanese teen in a white suit
Martin: a 6′ tall, 160 lb black teen in a dark sweatshirt and dark pants

Why the shooter found them suspicious

Hattori: was a stranger who rang the doorbell on Halloween, prompting the shooter’s wife to panic and tell her husband, “Rodney, get your gun.”
Martin: was an unfamiliar person in a neighborhood recently plagued with burglaries

What they were doing when the confrontation began

Hattori: walking away from the house after no one answered the door
Martin: contested. No eyewitness testimony.

What they were allegedly doing when they were shot

Hattori: laughing, telling Peairs “we are here for the party,” and having an “extremely unusual manner of moving”
Martin: slamming Zimmerman’s head into the concrete and/or punching him in the face

Witnesses?

Hattori: his homestay brother witnessed everything up close, and his testimony agreed with that of Peairs.
Martin: no witnesses to the beginning of the physical altercation nor the moment of the shooting. Existing witnesses corroborate Zimmerman’s version of events (according to police).

Other options for the shooters?

Hattori: Peairs could have remained inside the house, called the cops and continued to observe from the window. He could have shot to wound, rather than kill. These options would not have been less safe than the one he chose.
Martin: contested. Dependent on who confronted whom. No eyewitness testimony.

My conclusion

If Rodney Peairs was acquitted after shooting an unarmed teenager for walking towards him in an “extremely unusual manner,” then George Zimmerman shouldn’t be convicted of any crime based on the facts in his case. If there was reasonable doubt that Peairs committed a crime, there is even more doubt that Zimmerman committed one. I keep hearing the inflammatory and false statement “Trayvon was killed for the crime of walking while black.” Here I’ve found a case where someone was actually killed for walking while Japanese — what, did he move like Samara in The Ring? But even that didn’t get his killer convicted. The Japanese have no equivalent of the Black Panthers, nor do they have a Jesse Jackson or an Al Sharpton. There was puzzlement and petition-signing after the acquittal, but no riots. If Zimmerman is convicted, that will be a pretty strong indication that political pressure is more important than evidence, and that is hardly justice.

Though state attorney Angela Corey claims “We do not prosecute by public pressure or by petition,” the fact that the state attorney’s office and the police chief originally declined to even arrest Zimmerman based on lack of probable cause shows otherwise. Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz claims that Corey’s decision to charge Zimmerman with second degree murder is “irresponsible and unethical” — probably a political move to get re-elected. This is worse than just a senseless death. It’s people capitalizing on a senseless death to further their racial agendas, to get re-elected, and to get on their soap-boxes about gun control and self-defense laws. Furthermore, they demand a senseless trial to senselessly waste tax dollars on something likely to result in the exact state of affairs before the media made this case their pet: George Zimmerman walking free and protesters flooding the streets.

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4 Responses to Yoshihiro Hattori and Trayvon Martin

  1. Emily says:

    “If Zimmerman is convicted, that will be a pretty strong indication that political pressure is more important than evidence, and that is hardly justice.”
    –or it might be a good indication that Florida finally put together a decent jury.

    • dolly says:

      I don’t see a strong legal case based on either precedent or the publicly available evidence. By “decent jury” it is clear you mean “jury that agrees with me.” That doesn’t quite sound like justice either. If you want to argue that there is a strong case against Zimmerman, I’d be happy to hear it.

  2. Bruce E. Stovall says:

    Let’s all be civilized. Teenager walking with skittles. Wannabe security with gun following. Wannabe security calls police, Police advise wannabe security cease following. Every place I go (I am a black man) not following a police order is against the law. But let’s continue and focus on two things. Both anti teenager conclusions. Teenager attacks wannabe security. Teenager shot dead. What was the teenagers motive? Wannabe claims unprovoked attack? Let’s just proclaim wannabe innocent and call that American justice. I hope this conclusion will satisfy all the wannabe supporters but I will tell you this. I don’t want to be in a place where wannabe toters of leathal force can walk around initiating threatening (following or chasing at best) contact. And then when the victim (I am just supposing he felt some what put upon by the wannabe who was at least following him and at best chasing. When caught and scuffle breaks out. Who is in the wrong. I know and you know who is in the wrong so lets just move on and call this America.

    • dolly says:

      Let’s be civilized. If Rodney Peairs was innocent, then George Zimmerman is at least as innocent. If Trayvon Martin was no threat, Yoshihiro Hattori was even less of a threat.

      Both boys died. If our justice system deems the more egregious case not a crime at all, then certainly the more justifiable case should not be considered a crime either.

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