During an appearance Sunday on CBS’s ‘Face the Nation,” former Secretary of State Colin Powell said the jury verdict that freed George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin was “questionable,” but is not likely to have staying power in the public consciousness.
According to the Associated Press, Powell said cases like Martin’s “blaze across the midnight sky” and are then forgotten.
As we commemorate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 civil rights march on Washington, the first black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and first black secretary of state said the country has come a long way toward racial equality, but King would still demand more work on education, housing and economic opportunities.
While casting doubt on the jury verdict in the Zimmerman trial, Powell appears to have held a different view on the acquittal of O.J. Simpson in the deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.
As reported in the San Francisco Examiner, according to author Justin Raimundo in the book, “Colin Powell and the Power Elite,” Powell suggested O.J. was set free based on evidence — even though the physical evidence against him was conclusive.
As quoted in the Oct. 1995 report, Powell said:
“People will try to suggest that because there were nine blacks on the jury, it was a racial judgement. I think that’s unfair. These are people who can understand the facts put before them.”
After voting for President Obama not once, but twice, Powell has fallen out of favor with conservatives. Sunday’s comments on the trial outcome will do little to heal that divide.