Zimmerman and Scott Case Similarities
Zimmerman’s reason for leaving his car and following (some call it stalking, but the term is factually inaccurate) Trayvon Martin was so that he would not lose sight of him before police arrived. Scott testified that he left his home because he lived in a rather isolated area and the teens would have been long gone by the time police arrived.
Both Zimmerman and Scott made 911 calls although Scott’s girlfriend made the actual call at Scott’s request. These calls went a long way in negating intent; people who are looking for a fight or intentionally want to inflict harm against another, usually do not telephone the authorities and advise them of their location.
Zimmerman got involved with Martin because, as a member of the neighborhood watch, he was trying to prevent crimes in his general area rather than crimes that directly affected him; there was a lot of crime in the gated area where Zimmerman lived.
Similarly, there were a lot of property crimes in Scott’s neighborhood, and by the time Scott got outside, the teens had moved on to someone else’s vehicle and the 42-year-old was not personally being victimized.
Both men were never confronted or victimized at the time they left their car or home to encounter the two teens that would eventually be shot dead.
Both Zimmerman and Scott had legal permits for the weapons they used.
Despite these parallels, the two cases are not exactly the same.
Major Differences Between the Martin and Cervini Deaths
At the time Zimmerman decided to leave his vehicle and follow Martin, he had no proof the 17-year-old was engaged in illegal activity. There was never any evidence that Martin was doing anything other than returning to the residence where he was staying after a trip to a convenience store.
Scott actually observed Cervini and the other two breaking into cars at the time he confronted them, unlike Martin who was simply walking when Zimmerman began following him.
Although Martin had traces of marijuana in his body at the time he died, there is no evidence it affected his behavior that night. Cervini, on the other hand not only had amphetamines and marijuana in his system, but he had more than the legal limit of alcohol in his blood when he died; according to accounts, he got drunk from a stolen bottle of gin.
According to Zimmerman, Martin sucker punched him and knocked his head on the ground before Zimmerman took out his gun and shot Martin. The jury did not have to believe this to acquit him; all they had to decide there was a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman was not acting in self defense when he shot Martin. And there was some physical evidence, namely injuries to Zimmerman’s face and head, to corroborate Zimmerman’s version of events.
The evidence in the Scott case, including that from the defendant, was that there was never any direct physical contact between him and the deceased. In this regard, his use of the justification defense was not nearly as strong as Zimmerman’s. While Zimmerman could not be expected to retreat while Martin was on top of him, slamming his head into the pavement, Scott did not even try to retreat from Cervini, who was unarmed and not in direct contact with him.
Another major difference between the two cases is the media coverage. Although there were a few articles published after Martin was killed that compared the two cases, there was virtually no coverage of the Scott case in 2009, other than by the local media in the Rochester area.
Trayvon Martin vs. Christopher Cervini
Those who are saying that if Zimmerman had been black and Martin white, he would have been convicted, should take a good look at the Scott case.
Despite the fact the verdict in the Scott case resulted in one less African American being incarcerated in an American prison, neither President Obama, nor Rev. Al Sharpton – nor the NAACP have chosen to publicly comment on the jury’s decision.
State of New York. New York Penal Law, Section 125.20. (2013). Accessed July 21, 2013.
State of New York. New York Penal Law, Section 35.15. (2013). Accessed July 21, 2013.
Delaware Politics. Roderick Scott the black George Zimmerman. (2013). Accessed July 21, 2013.
MPN Now. Roderick Scott: “I had to protect myself.” (2009). Accessed July 21, 2013.
The Martialist. Roderick Scott Trial: What’s Wrong with New York? (2009). Accessed July 21, 2013.