Pro-Trayvon Martin activist tries to sit on Zimmerman jury

The attempt failed, but the story doesn't end there. Photo: AP

FLORIDA, June 17, 2013 — A pro-Trayvon Martin activist has failed in his attempt to sit on the jury which will determine whether George Zimmerman is guilty of second-degree murder.

This is one of the latest developments in a long line of controversies stemming from Martin’s fatal February 2012 shooting. The unarmed seventeen-year-old — who had a history of truancy, firearms-related issues, and handling marijuana — was killed by Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain who claims he acted in self-defense after Martin beat him severely.

SEE RELATED: Zimmerman vs. Martin: Racist vigilante vs. street wise thug?

Evidence does suggest that Zimmerman suffered head injuries, though exactly how and why remains a mystery. What can be certain, however, is that the shooting’s aftermath has been a polarizing influence on American social and political life. It has also drawn considerable attention to the oft-overlooked central Florida port city of Sanford, where the shooting took place. 

The activist is one Jerry Counelis, an unemployed middle-aged painter and guitar player. According to WKMG of Orlando, Zimmerman’s attorney, Mark O’Mara, said Counelis “told attorneys that he only decided Zimmerman should have been arrested after he was arrested.” 

A Facebook post by Counelis on March 21, 2012 — over two weeks prior to Zimmerman’s arrest — reveals something quite different. It was made on the page of a left-leaning political group.

Following his first and last name, Counelis wrote: “…..In Sanford…& I CAN tell you THIS. “Justice”… IS COMING!…& I’ll tell you why. The ONLY reason this corrupt CITY Police dept. was stonewalling was because since they KNOWINGLY worked with this Self-appointed “Neighborhood Watch” Security…& KNEW he carried a weapon…They knew they AND the Homeowners Association were Liable for HUGE $$$ damages in court…MINUTES after the shooting occurred.”

SEE RELATED: Robert Zimmerman on media bias and the Trayvon Martin shooting

He went on to state that “with the noise WE made … it couldn’t be covered up. I only hope the Feds go farther than just THIS case in investigating This “Police Force”. The Seminole County “Justice’ System needs an ENEMA….& they just MIGHT GET one!”

Judge Debra Nelson dismissed Counelis from the pool of prospective jurors. 

Counelis claimed that he forgot about writing the message, and said he could have served as an impartial juror. On Friday, he returned to the Seminole County Courthouse and was ultimately removed from the premises by law enforcement officers.

The Orlando Sentinel summarizes a Seminole County Sheriff’s Office report as follows: “Counelis went to the courthouse at about 1:15 p.m. Friday to express concern about his privacy and animosity regarding the way he was treated during the jury-selection process. 

“A court deputy referred Counelis to the clerk’s office if he had a complaint. At that point … Counelis walked into the foyer outside the jury assembly room where other potential jurors waited to be interviewed by state prosecutors and Zimmerman’s defense.

“When deputies asked Counelis to leave….he pointed to the door of the assembly room and said, ‘Do they know what they are in for!’ 

“Counelis was escorted out of the courthouse and told he cannot return until the Zimmerman trial ends unless he has official court business. If he violates that order, Counelis could be arrested.”

A very interesting beginning to a most interesting trial.

Far-left? Far-right? Get realRead more from “The Conscience of a Realist” by Joseph F. Cotto 

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Joseph Cotto

Joseph F. Cotto is a social journalist by trade and student of history by lifestyle choice. He hails from central Florida, writing about political, economic, and social issues of the day. In the past, he was a contributor to Blogcritics Magazine, among other publications. He is currently at work on a book about American society.

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