Cathy Young's recent column cited Roderick Scott, a black man who shot and killed a white teenager, Christopher Cervini, in Greece, N.Y., in 2009 and was acquitted of manslaughter ["Look deeper at race and self-defense," Opinion, July 23].
This case has been making the rounds on the web, to disprove claims that George Zimmerman would not have gotten away with killing Trayvon Martin if their races were reversed, and to show that there was no national outcry over the death a white youth.
At first glance the two cases have important parallels: adult shooter/teen victim, shooter and victim of different races, self-defense claim and acquittal. But published facts reveal many more crucial differences.
Zimmerman went looking for suspicious people. Scott was at home and was awakened around 3 a.m. by three trespassing teens.
Martin was not doing anything illegal and was a guest in the neighborhood. Cervini and his two accomplices were trespassing on Scott's property and trying to get into his car to steal things. When Scott came outside, the teens were trying to get into a neighbor's car. They were drunk and underage, on alcohol they had stolen. One buddy was already in trouble with the law.
Martin was not under the influence, though he had traces of pot. Cervini was over the legal limit for alcohol intoxication and also had pot and amphetamines in his system, the coroner found.
Zimmerman never identified himself and fired his concealed weapon without warning. Scott pointed his gun at the trespassers and told them to freeze until the cops got there. He said he fired only when Cervini came after him and did not shoot at the other two.
Zimmerman was not charged at the time by the local police. Scott was charged.
Zimmerman did not testify in his own defense. Scott testified, before an all-white jury, and was acquitted.
Bruce Lambert, Hempstead