Rachel Jeantel, Trayvon Martin Case Star Witness: "That's Real Retarded, Sir"

racheljeantel.jpg
Rachel Jeantel, the star witness in the Trayvon Martin murder trial who was on the phone with Martin right before his confrontation with George Zimmerman, is confusing the nation with an accent that seems completely normal to Miamians but apparently foreign to everyone else.

During cross-examination, Zimmerman's lawyers have frequently asked her to repeat herself. Clearly growing tired of the back-and-forth, she replied to one of the lawyers' questions with: "That's real retarded, sir."

Which, as Deadspin points out, led to this chyron on CNN:

ku-xlarge.jpg

Jeantel, 19, is Haitian and Dominican and lives in Miami Gardens. She speaks three languages, but primarily speaks Creole at home.

Watching any amount of her back-and-forth with Zimmerman's "knock-knock joke"-loving attorney George West is just painful. Jeantel punctuates most of her terse answers with a pointed "Sir," while West, seemingly unable to understand her, keeps asking her to repeat herself.

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.

My Voice Nation Help
118 comments
weareallone
weareallone

This has nothing to do with light skinned or dark skinned. Every race has its bad people whether it be white, light skinned, or dark skinned. Honestly our court system fails with the right justice to be served. And us latinos aren't racist. Red necks and white people call us latinos the N word and wetback and spic, we are treated just like african americans. George Zimmerman is just a rotten apple from us Latino people. May Trayvon Martin rest in peace. And don't worry Karma is going to get back at George Zimmerman, because karma is gods work.

fratdawgg23
fratdawgg23

It is embarassing how many white people are compelled to empty their colostomy bag of racial opinions. 


Also, "cracker" is *not* an insult of equal level as the "N" word, period. Sorry, fellow white folks, but we just don't have our own word that has historically been used to denigrate our whole race.  Probably because we have not had similar historical experience as other races.

dtruth
dtruth

One of the biggest problems we have as a people is constantly being misdirected by the the unfair system we live in.  People are getting this all wrong... I know her demeanor and speaking ability is secondary to the actual facts of this trial and what happened on Feb 26.   1.  Trayvon being followed by Zimmerman  2.  Trayvon not committing any crime  3.  Had rights to be in the residential location  4.  Had rights to ask why is this man following him 5.  Has a right to defend himself.  6.  Did not have a weapon.   The defense would want all her antics and personality to be the main focus, not the fact that a grown man was aggressively following a kid who did nothing to be killed for.  A grown man who should have let the police investigate suspicious behavior.  The media is also focusing in on these non issues so that the real issue can be misdirected.  A common trick used by the people in power.

JDSBlueDevl
JDSBlueDevl

I find it unfortunate that the R-word still has as much traction as it does in our language.  It's not a white or black thing, as I hear plenty of white people say the word in the same context.  People just need to think about what they say.

darlingrose13
darlingrose13

I do not find it hard to understand her and it is not her accent. She speaks very softly and that makes it hard to understand. That being said her comment, very punctuated, about "that is really retarded sir" is unfortunate as it is seen as disrespectful and in this setting it is. She should know that much, but kids use this with each other which makes me cringe as I have taught Intellectually Challenged students in the past. Why are they even making such a big deal about her string of "Yes, Sir", "No , Sir"?.  That is the proper way to answer and obviously she was taught that at an early age. I doubt that any attorney could have engrained this in her to sound educated. Yes, she cannot read cursive, we are raising a generation of functional illiterate people who can only print.

As for her testimony, I think she will change her statements to try to bolster her believe that he was murdered for no good reason and the true parts of her testimony will suffer. There will be no justice in this case. George Zimmerman  has been judge, tried and  convicted by the media and some of the agitators in the media. The consternation and public outrage was heightened by national "leaders" doing their ritualistic shows . Trevon Martin has been labeled based on his school records, his use of drugs and having stolen property, but that does not mean he was  up to no good at that moment. There are plenty of teenagers, of all races, that get involved in such behavior and parents are unable or unwilling to reign them in. Parents who make their kids stand by the road with a sign" I am suspended from school because I (had drugs, stole something, got into a fight, was disrespectful to school authorities) those parents are demonized as horrible and capable of creating emotional scars on their kids...BS

I am a teacher, I am black and grew up in the poorest area of the south  and have stayed there to teach. I did not get where I am at by having lax parents, but an extended family that was strict and supportive. These days most kids of all races are given every gadget and expensive shoes, clothing, jewelry but are not aught manners, fairness, hard work and are given very few real expressions of love

Karina Tellez
Karina Tellez

The only reason she's getting grief is because what she has to say is probably the most valuable thing to put Zimmerman away. Typical

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

actually i just re-read OH MARCO ! rubios statement on immigration reform and guess what - that's RETARDed also !

let's make a list of ALL the dumb things we come across here in FLORIDA and put them into columns under:   racist,    just plain stupid, and   RETARDed

a ninteen year old kid i think we can cut her some slack BUT an elected congressional leader - what's HIS excuse ?

Ju'lia Samuels
Ju'lia Samuels

Dana, you get a fucking grip. My comments discussed the possibility of her being traumatized by what she heard and having it affect her accounts of the phone call and influencing her behavior and speech pattern (mumbling) during her testimony. How the hell you heard brave or anything like that is beyond me. And as far as maturity, she is still young so immaturity especially towards the defense who is trying to destroy a dead boy's character is to be expected. UNEDUCATED behavior is a subjective topic. It is IGNORANT to believe that you can safely infer a person's intelligence based strictly on their speech pattern or "behavior." Being that I am a product of the south florida culture, I have seen people who can barely speak english test way better than I ever could and while you may accuse me of ignorance, I am far from uneducated, dumb or incompetent (just so you are clear.) FAILURE to produce a translator or anyone to accommodate her is a failure of the DA, which one could argue is pretty troubling to see them NOT do EVERYTHING in their power to produce a coherent testimony. NOW THAT'S DUMB.

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

this exhibit of seemingly anti-social behavior in this young girl is indicative and illustrative of the REAL differences in what it takes from both BLACK and WHITE to come to the table and understand each other for the benefit of BOTH peoples = there ARE some so disenfranchised that THEY DO NOT KNOW how else to act in public - NO it's not racism IN THE END because i don't think any WHITE person who knows the truth will feel anything other than compassion because ignorance can only be overcome with education

WHITE people will actually help ONCE they realized it isn't just a BLACK act of indifference = it is too obvious that an inadequate education and lack of public awareness exists here

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

detramc,

i have first-hand experience enough to know it is not racism, in the end, since many WHITE people do not really understand the level of immaturity and lack of societal skills some BLACK people have

many many BLACKs, yes as well as WHITEs, do not know HOW TO ACT in public or at a restaurant or in a mixed-race social setting and i have seen this myself and was previously UNaware it could be possible to the extent it was

long story short it was during the aftermath of a hurricane that we, meaning my community, came to assisting and supporting and taking in some less resourced people until they could be relocated and i was amazed at their lack of understanding of something as simple as ordering off a menu in a restaurant and conducting oneself in a mixed setting at dinner in a public facility = once we overcame our shock we diplomatically aided and assisted them and reasoned out the differences

detramc
detramc

I am amazed at the crassness and callousness of so many people who feel free to attack a 19 year old girl who is testifying about speaking to of one of her best friends while he is evading the man who would eventually kill him.

John Roberts thinks racism is a thing of the past, he should read some of these comments because racism is the only reason I can think of that would prevent anyone from feeling compassion for this girl and focus instead on inconsequential lies and to speak of children in such hateful ways.    

It makes me sad.

kenhoopis
kenhoopis

"If i had a daughter she would talk like that.......oh wait:

Barack Obama

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

well there it is ...............this is FLORIDA today.....RETARDED !

a wannabe keystone cop with a GUN who himself had previous run-ins with the law is LICENSED by the state to carry a concealed weapon becomes UNtrained security and UNsupervised enforcement for CONDO-COMMANDOs when he happens onto a SUSPENDed potential drop-out UNeducated and heading towards being UNemployable AND STUPIDITY meets DANGEROUS

i am convinced that had the kid just kept running away buford t fatso justice could never have caught the kid and the whole event would have ended then and there = period = instead the kid is STUPID and comes back to the conflict which escalates since zimmerman wants to show how effective he is at playing cop AND the whole mess gets out of hand within a few minutes

yes indeed, this is FLORIDA today..........totally RETARDED !

turkeysquirts
turkeysquirts

You crazy crackers. Don't you know your facts be raysis an' sheeeeeiiiittt

sfernandez48
sfernandez48

Language Barrier my $%^#..  The Creole accent is unmistakeable..she has a nasty attitude.   

David Sarnoff
David Sarnoff

She's lying and doesn't want to get tripped up by the defense atty's questioning. That's what he's attempting to do by having her go over things repeatedly- looking for inconsistencies in her story so as to discredit her testimony. She has been well prepped by the prosecution and holding up rather well. There is really no language barrier. That's a canard.

David Sarnoff
David Sarnoff

This girl doesn't want to be in the courtroom b/c she's terrified if she doesn't testify in such a way that Zman is convicted, she will be ostracized by the black community. She's smart enuf to kno THAT MUCH !!!!

David Sarnoff
David Sarnoff

U can lead a horse to water, but u can't make it drink ! Dumb unmotivated students in a "better school" still won't produce educated ppl. It's not the teacher's fault: it's the students fault. At Norland, most of the kids don't give a crap. U can't force them to learn other than how to beat the System and get some kind of gov't support. And they don't learn that in SCHOOL.

Yvonne Crespo
Yvonne Crespo

The DA should of went over the questions with her first. She is a product of a school system letting her go on to the next grade without really knowing enough. I feel for this young girl. The School she attends is one of the worst in Miami Dade County. This is a premium example of the need for better quality school system.

Robert Beach
Robert Beach

If thats the star witness, and the best the DA can do, then the DA is in big trouble. What a Kangeroo Court, railroad job..

squigoth
squigoth

You got to love ghetto culture.  That's all I have to say about all this.

Dana Hatred
Dana Hatred

Julia, it is ignorance if you see something and still act in a way of uneducated illogical immaturity. Brave? She may be anxious or even nervous. But she can't read, and obviously can't write, or at least in just saying the words yes sir not mumble and speak properly into a microphone. If she has a problem reading and writing English they would have brought in a translator and done it in another language. This goes down as pure illiteracy. She could write a text to a cellphone but not a letter? Get a fucking grip. And Lowanda, I am not perfect. But if I have to do something I do it to the best of my ability. She can't even clearly speak into a microphone.

Lourdes Diaz
Lourdes Diaz

Wow, this poor girl has been thrust in the public through tragic circumstances. She is obviously unsophisticated, and English isnt her first language. Mocking her and assuming she is lying because she doesnt communicate well, isnt making her look stupid, it makes you look like the idiots you are. The defense attorney isnt winning any points by being condescending and borderline insulting to this girl, he's the one who isnt coming across well, and it will be to his clients detriment.

LoWanda McFadden
LoWanda McFadden

wow..the comments about this brave 19 year old are ridiculous. As if you are perfect in every way. Let's not be distracted.

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

"....................A common trick used by the people in power"

dtruth,

dWHOLEtruth is sometimes MONEY is power - remember OJ ?

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

dtruth,

dWHOLEtruth is IF the kid just kept running away, none of the rest COULD have happened = period

why with distance between himself and zimmerman did the kid return ? why not just keep running away ? comming BACK to the conflict was STUPID = period

NO i do not think the kid should have been killed NO ..............but the kid didn't use his best judgement either and WOULD be alive today had he just kept running - fatso zimmerman would have NEVER caught him

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

as a level headed person i would like to ask YOU why you think the kid didn't just keep running away and not come back to the conflict

it seems OBVIOUS to me that had the kid want to get away from zimmerman the kid easily could have as he had a head start and evidently young enough to outrun an overweight and out of shape older zimmerman

why are ALL these other issues of race and language and uncivility and poverty and human rights arising and having to be SOLVED................when the simple truth is the kid decided to come back to the conflict - NO i don't think the kid should have been killed but this kid wasn't the smartest and here he made a bad choice = period

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

i wouldn't call it GRIEF i would call it MISunderstanding of how wide the disparity actually is between what people think of others in how they act in a civilized society meaning being able to COMMUNICATE and how to ACT IN PUBLIC without reverting to the stereotypical responses

every decent and compasionate person would insist that a lack of education and social skills is what is being displayed and how extremely unfortunate this young womans life will be in the future as unemployable and unproductive and most likely plagued with grinding poverty and serious health issues

that being the case YES indeed her judgement and testimony is faulty and unreliable and her fifteen minutes of fame will soon be ended

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

i think people forget how bumbling BILL CLINTON even was in HIS meaning of "IS" testimony.......bottom line is ANY defense attorney can make someone look stupid on the stand

i think the disconnect here is there are some resourced people who think everything THEY know about societal graces and public interactions are UNIVERSAL among everyone and when these same responses are NOT readily apparent..............then it must be ignorance or bad parents or an "attitude".................when in fact, it is just someone who is NOT trained or experienced or grizzled,  or yes, possibly not MATURE enough yet to know how to act properly...these are not racist deficiencies, these are EDUCATIONAL deficiencies

did anyone remember katie couric tongue-tying sarah palin into foolishly stating she read EVERY daily newspaper printed and circulated by saying "ALL OF THEM" as a response to "which daily newspapers do you read?" - clearly palin was giving a STUPID answer

fratdawgg23
fratdawgg23

@frankd4 Then you should have had empathy for them being raised without the financial ability to have much experience at ordering from a menu. I note you said "community" which can be inferred that you personally did not house any storm victims, but want to join in on insulting them. Typical.

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

@detramc 

i myself think she is just wanting to get in on the gravy train of settlements realizing the parents have already CASHED IN on a MILLION DOLLAR pay-day ms jeantel knows that even more money is coming in civil settlements - and she wants some of it - period

Exiliado
Exiliado topcommenter

@detramc 

There are other reasons, other than racism.

For example, this girl here had information regarding the death of her friend and she never called 911, neither contacted police to provide that information after she learned her "friend" was dead. With friends like her, who needs an enemy?

Also, her attitude in court was plain disrespectful. Did you read the headline?

I still think she's hiding something. I still think she was coached by benjamin crump. And you know what, I am not apologizing for my opinion. I am not apologizing for being unable to feel compassion for her.

Now you tell me where I made a reference to race so you can call me a racist.

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

that IS funny

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

@David Sarnoff 

further i think she wants in on the gravy train the civil settlements will generate and she knows the parents have already CASHED IN on one settlement - its called the HOOD LOTTERY - mothers are taking out TERM LIFE INSURANCE policies on their kids in the hood to CASH OUT after all these throw-away kids were only conceived in the first place to qualify the mother for government subsidies and food stamps and section 8 housing - they don't want their kids but they need them to qualify for hand-outs - and they would never be able to adopt or foster kids getting the same financial benefits because of their criminal records

otherwise if a simply BLACK on BLACK murder happens nobody comes forward = period

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

@David Sarnoff 

these are throw-away kids

their own parents only had them to qualify for government benefits = period

who really cares about their education ?  

if their own parents don't get involved then why should we ?

Exiliado
Exiliado topcommenter

@Yvonne Crespo 

Your grammar is not perfect either, but you're right. Students like this one should be retained in first grade until they learn to read and write properly.

Other than that, maybe what our schools need is better students and better families. Other kids are doing very well, and they go to public schools too.

kirkslade1
kirkslade1 topcommenter

@Yvonne Crespo The DA should have "gone", not "went". You were writing about education? 

dora5132
dora5132

@frankd4 at 17 the part of the brain that controls your decision making abilities are still developing.zimmerman was a 28 year old man he should have used better judgement. he was armed and dangerous and he took a child's life.trayvon had no reason to run at all. zimmerman should have let the police do their job. maybe he will do some running in prison.

ZUBU
ZUBU

@frankd4 

Dude you are so wrong. Zimmerman should have stayed in his vehicle as directed. The kid should not have to run home from some creepy guy. So firsrt and foremost Zimmerman should have not exited his vehicle. If you don't see the causal effect of his actions, then please acquire some formal education.

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

@fratdawgg23 @frankd4 

constructive critcism is not insulting IF it is taken as a learning experience

my point is I WAS SHOCKed at the lack of adult BLACK peoples ability to properly conduct themselves at a public restaurant setting

my response was to quietly have  people i knew who could assist them sit next to them (which reminded me of the way elementary school MILK TOKENs were handed out anonymously not to stigmatize the participants who qualified for free milk vs those who paid cash)

as for housing it was provided by snow bird condo owners who allowed their vacant units to be used while they were up north - of course we had to ventilate the pot smoke residue out afterwards - but the old timers didn't know what pot smelled like so that was a push

IF YOU THINK  advances made by BLACKs are not many many times with WHITE involvement maybe you should take a closer look

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

how could it be otherwise here in FLORIDA ?

after YEARS of cutting education budgets in schools and even the few who make it into a COLLEGE need months of elementary remediation in basic knowledge and skills we have RETARDs all around us here

just try to cross a street or have a conversation or see who is in the library or what level of community participation we have in the arts or JUST look at the level of reporting in our newspapers, raise your hand IF you read a newspaper, or the leading stories in the media...yup we got a $562,ooo,ooo brand new baseball stadium with NO PARKing available and a loosing team............but that's RETARDED !

kirkslade1
kirkslade1 topcommenter

@Exiliado I agree. We live in an age where you are not allowed to correct people. The response is always, "I write when I have to". We are illiterate. We hand out college degrees to everyone making the degrees useless. Most importantly, we are not allowed to be critical or you are called a hater!  

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

@dora5132 @frankd4 

so why wasn't the kid supervised by the PARENTs ?

i blame the PARENTs for not providing the proper positive goals for the kid - where was the FATHER ? where was the MOTHER ?

did the FATHER even know where trayvon was ?  is trayvon a throw-away kid ? 

why didn't trayvon CALL either of his PARENTs when he was running scared ? (YOU SEE that tells me trayvon could not rely on his PARENTs for attention or proper guidance or even basic assistance)


frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

@ZUBU @frankd4 

zimmerman was instructed by LEO dispatch to identify his exact position so he got out to look at the address of the front of the house where he was

i said "IF THE KID KEPT RUNNING" i didn't say he should have but the kid COULD HAVE okay so the kid wasn't so smart

so fatso wannabe delusional condo commando meets stupid kid who COULD have saved himself

delusional drive and stupid street - an intersection I WOULD HAVE avoided myself

Exiliado
Exiliado topcommenter

@kirkslade1 @Exiliado 

Past your first sentence, I would not say "WE."

I prefer to say "THEY."

Other than that, 100% agreed.

Now Trending

Miami Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...