Roderick Scott — The Black George Zimmerman?

From By Onan Coca/ 22 July 2013

Did you notice during the George Zimmerman trial how the media kept repeating the salacious question “What if Trayvon Martin had been white?” They acted as if this question was the perfect response to Zimmerman defenders. They pretended that this was a question without a “safe” answer, but in reality, the question had already been answered.

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In April of 2009 Mr. Roderick Scott awoke at 3am to the sounds of three young men breaking into cars on his street. He called the police and went down to the street to make sure the young men did not flee before the police arrived. He shouted at the three to “freeze” and told them that the police were coming soon. The three boys stood before the big man obviously considering what they should do.

That’s when Christopher Cervini (17) rushed at Mr. Scott uttering “I’ll get you” or “I’ll get him.” Roderick Scott fired twice, killing the teenager. The trial that followed was again a case of prosecutorial overreach, as they tried to charge Mr. Scott with manslaughter. Fortunately for Mr. Scott, a jury of his peers agreed with him that he did only what was needed to protect himself.


Afterwards the prosecutor opined, “I just hope it’s not a message to this community… that you have the right to shoot an unarmed 17-year-old kid for breaking into a car.” The problem is that Mr. Scott did not shoot young Christopher Cervini for breaking into his car, but for attacking him. While the Cervini family may now be in much pain over the loss of their son, he brought himself to his tragic end through a series of terrible choices. Roderick Scott had every right to protect himself; he did what he should have… and a jury of his peers agreed.


Oh, and Roderick Scott was a 42 year old black man about the size of an NFL linebacker. Christopher Cervini was a skinny, 17 year old white kid with a little bit of marijuana in his system. Scott was justified in the killing of the younger man not because of the crime that Cervini had committed, but because Scott rightfully feared for his own safety.


aclunaacpabsentThere was no “white uproar” over the shooting of a young white man at the hands of a black man with a “hero-complex.” The NAACP didn’t show up to argue that the shooter should be jailed, or that the Justice Department should pursue charges of civil rights violations against the man for killing Cervini. Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and all of the other race hate baiters stayed home for the trial. The trial was treated as a tragic situation that a young man brought on himself by turning to violence.


Which is exactly how the George Zimmerman case should have been treated. The next time someone tells you, “What if…?” You can tell them it already happened, and the outcome was exactly the same… minus the racial tension.

 Roderick Scott: The ‘Black George Zimmerman’ Acquitted of Murder in 2009

From by jaytee3231157, July 22, 2013

Roderick Scott, an African American man, shot and killed Christopher Cervini, a 17-year-old white youth, in 2009.

Scott faced a charge of first-degree manslaughter, and claimed he shot the teen in self defense.

Scott was subsequently acquitted.

All this happened in New York State, which, even back then, had much tougher gun and self defense laws than the state of Florida has.

What Happened? Accounts Differ

According to 15-year-old James Cervini, one of the three, and Christopher’s cousin, Scott shot Christopher after the teen yelled, “Please don’t shoot me, I’m just a kid.” Scott, who testified in his own defense, said he only fired after Christopher came running at him in a threatening manner.

Scott’s attorney, James Parrinello, argued it was likely Christopher went at Scott to give James a chance to get away. James was already bound by two probation orders and the consequences of being charged with breaking into cars would have been more serious for him.

Scott Originally Charged with Murder

Unlike George Zimmerman, Scott was immediately arrested after the shooting and charged with murder. A grand jury later reduced the charge to first-degree manslaughter. The jury deliberated for about 19 hours before rendering a verdict of not guilty on December 18, 2009.

Manslaughter and Self Defense in New York State

Under section 125.20 of the New York Penal Law, first-degree manslaughter is defined as when a person intends to cause serious physical injury to another person and causes the death of that person or a third party. First-degree manslaughter also applies to cases that would otherwise constitute murder but the defendant, at the time the act was committed, suffered from extreme emotional disturbance.

It is clear that at the time Scott fired two shots into Cervini, he intended to cause serious physical injury to Cervini. He would have had to have been convicted of manslaughter unless the killing was justified.

Under New York law, deadly physical force is defined as the use of force that can reasonably be expected to cause death or serious physical injury. Under section 35.15 of the New York Penal Law, deadly physical force is justified if the person who uses it has a reasonable belief that the other person is using or is about to use deadly  physical force against him or her.

In New York, the use of deadly physical force is not justified if the defendant is not in his or her dwelling and they have an opportunity to safely retreat from the situation. The New York Penal Law is similar to the law of Florida in terms of the onus of proof. A defendant need not prove a killing is justified and the jury must acquit unless they are satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that the killing was not justified.


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