George Zimmerman defense attorneys Mark O’Mara and Don West both contend that the shooting of Trayvon Martin had everything to do with self defense and nothing to do with civil rights violations. In fact, O’Mara contends that using the Zimmerman case to try and make a civil rights cause celebre out of it will backfire on Martin supporters.
In the post verdict news conference O’Mara claimed that Zimmerman was never “guilty of anything except protecting himself in self defense.” West added that he thought the prosecution of Zimmerman was in itself “disgraceful.”
O’Mara predicted problems for civil rights activists if they used this case as a rallying cry (see it at 20:56) during his news conference last night,
I kept saying a year ago that I really hope that they don’t. I kept suggesting to Mr. Crump on three separate occasions that we not make this the civil rights case of the century because it’s just not. It’s just not. Did it bring to the forefront the conversation that young black males are treated a certain way in the criminal justice system? Absolutely! Is that positive? Absolutely! Do we need to have that conversation? Absolutely! However, if portending that conversation on top of the Zimmerman verdict is going to affect that ability to have that conversation then shame on them because that conversation needs to be had and now it may not be had because we have sort of artificially separated the two camps, if you will, over this verdict. This verdict still has nothing to do with civil rights.