John R. Lott Jr. finds the case against George Zimmerman lacking. He believes the prosecutor overcharged as part of a plea bargaining strategy. A likely scenario. Many were surprised that she jumped to 2nd degree murder when an earlier prosecutor chose not to charge at all. Lott makes some excellent points, particularly where lack of information from the police report is concerned:
Some extremely relevant information from the police report is completely excluded: There is no mention of the grass and wetness found on the back of Zimmerman’s shirt, the gashes on the back of his head, the bloody nose, or the other witnesses who saw Martin on top of Zimmerman, beating him, before the shot was fired. There is not even an attempt to say that the police report was in error; instead the affidavit just disregards it.
Even if everything in the affidavit is correct, it does not even begin to deal with the most crucial question: Who attacked whom? Even if it is true that “Zimmerman confronted Martin and a struggle ensued,” there may have been no wrongdoing on Zimmerman’s part. “Confronted” does not mean “provoked” or “assaulted.” It could simply mean that Zimmerman followed Martin and asked him what he was doing in the neighborhood. Surely Zimmerman had the right to investigate a strange person in his neighborhood. The police operator’s advice that “we don’t need you to do that” was merely suggestive, not an order to stop. Indeed, the police had no authority to give Zimmerman such an order.
I've quarreled with listeners over Zimmerman ignoring the dispatcher's advice, and yes it is nothing more than advice, to not follow Martin. And there was recently a case where following "advice" from a dispatcher got someone killed. I don't have Lott's expertise here, but it has become personal dogma that when I am armed with a gun, I will ALWAYS retreat from a confrontation to the very last point that I can before using that gun, regardless of what the law says I can do. That's not to second guess Zimmerman; I still don't know what happened here. But you are far less likely to find yourself where Zimmerman does now under my policy.