July 12th, 2013

Additional thoughts on that photo of Trayvon Martin.

This morning, I posted a postmortem police photograph of the Miami teen. It is, unfortunately, difficult to avoid on the webpage where it’s posted. Opinion seems divided — and virulent — on whether its publication is clickbait (not my intention) or a critical part of the narrative around his life and death (my view).

But to me, that debate is part of the point. And it’s a debate that is not possible unless the image is accessible. 

Consider an interesting inversion: So often in American culture, we marvel how trial juries are not privy to information that we, as news consumers, can access about the issue at hand. In this case, the photograph was evidence, entered into jury consideration… and today’s debate centers on whether we, as news consumers, should be privy to the same information that is under consideration by this Seminole County jury, which deliberates in the name of The People of Florida.

We were not meant to see this, of course. A decision was made — in part by the court, in part by the simulcasting networks, in part by us — that some of the jury’s information is not for public consumption.

That puts immense pressure on a video shooter someplace in the courtroom, following the action, and in a split second, he makes a judgment error.

People come up short all the time, after all. Occasionally with cameras, occasionally with double-action 9-millimeter pistols.

  1. lennysundahl reblogged this from adamweinstein and added:
    In case you didn’t have the stomach to click-through that last link—and I can’t say I blame you, it’s kinda...
  2. adamweinstein posted this
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Adam Weinstein.
Gawker senior writer.
Formerly of Mother Jones, Fusion, and the WSJ.