No, The Thomas/Copley Shooting Isn't "Zimmerman 2.0." It's MUCH Worse.

An attorney (above, right) specializing in high profile shootings is comparing the shooting of Kouren-Rodney Bernard Thomas by Chad Copley to the shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman.


A high-profile attorney representing the family of a 20-year-old man who police say was shot and killed by a homeowner likened the case to the Florida shooting of Trayvon Martin during an emotional news conference Thursday.

Attorney Justin Bamberg referred to Chad Copley, the man charged in the Raleigh shooting, as “George Zimmerman 2.0.” Zimmerman was a self-proclaimed neighborhood watchman who was charged with killing Martin during an altercation in 2012. He was later exonerated.

Copley has been charged with first-degree murder in the early Sunday shooting in North Raleigh of Kouren-Rodney Bernard Thomas. Police say Thomas was shot when Copley fired a shotgun from inside his garage.

Flanked by family members of Thomas on Thursday, Bamberg said he is confident that justice will be served for the man’s family. He commended the Raleigh Police Department for charging Copley, who claimed he was a neighborhood watchman and was protecting his family from a bunch of “hoodlums.”

The comparison made by Thomas family attorney Justin Bamberg is emotionally manipulative, intentionally deceptive, and very disrespectful of George Zimmerman ,Mr. Thomas, and Mr. Thomas’s family.

At the time he was shot by George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin was already a suspected serial burglar, stolen gun trafficker, and multiple drug abuser with a self-documented history of committing violence against other people, and enjoying it. It is nothing more or less than a statement of absolute fact the describe Trayvon Martin as matching the dictionary definition of a “thug” well before he ever encountered George Zimmerman.


George Zimmerman was on his way to the store when he noticed a figure in the rain lurking outside the window of a home in his community which had just recently been burglarized. This is very suspicious activity, and Zimmerman called 911 and followed the suspicious character from a distance while relaying information to the dispatcher.

When that figure noticed Zimmerman following him in his truck at a distance, he sprinted away between buildings, and quickly disappeared in the dark. Zimmerman left his truck in a vain effort to keep the suspicious person in sight for responding officers, but gave up his errand when the dispatcher told Zimmerman “we don’t need you to do that.” Zimmerman then walked to the next cross street to provide the dispatcher the address of the last known location of the suspicious person, hung up his phone, and began walking back to his truck.

More than four minutes had passed since Trayvon Martin ran away.

Out of the darkness, Trayvon Martin came up behind George Zimmerman, and said “what you followin’ me fo’?”

Zimmerman the reported that Martin sucker punched him, mounted him like an MMA fighter, and began raining down blows. Zimmerman repeatedly cried for help from his neighbors, and while several called 911 at some point in the fight, only one man stepped out briefly to yell at Martin to stop attacking Zimmerman, but he offered no help in stopping the attack. Rachel Jeantel, the girl who was on the phone with Martin, later said  in an interview with Piers Morgan on CNN that she believed Martin thought Zimmerman might be gay, rendering the attack a gay-bashing.


After enduring an attack estimated at more than 40 seconds in length, Zimmerman drew his pistol and fired one shot in self defense. It was later proven in court that Zimmerman shot Martin in self-defense. The use-of-force who testified during the trial said that he was surprised that Zimmerman waited as long as he did to draw his gun and fire upon Martin, and that he would have been justified in doing so much earlier.

Attorney Justin Bamberg is insulting the memory of Kouren-Rodney Bernard Thomas by drawing any parallels between the two cases.


Other than minor juvenile offenses Kouren-Rodney Bernard Thomas did not have a criminal record, was not acting suspicious in a manner that would have drawn anyone’s attention, and most certainly did not attempt to beat a person to death.

For that matter, it’s completely unfair to George Zimmerman to compare what he did that night in Florida to what Chad Copley apparently did in Raleigh.

George Zimmerman was reacting to suspicious behavior, and did not know or care about the race of the person he was following. He did not initiate contact, and did not fire until well after he was attacked and well after he was legally justified in using his gun in self-defense. Zimmerman’s documented history before that night and certainly afterward has been an utter trainwreck, but he did nothing criminally wrong the night he was forced to shoot Trayvon Martin, and only made the tactical mistake of leaving his vehicle and exposing himself to attack from a violent young predator.


Nothing in that case from either side comes close to the nightmare that unfolded for the Thomas family this past weekend in Raleigh at the hands of Chad Copley.

Kouren-Rodney Bernard Thomas reportedly went to check out a party with a friend, found out that it wasn’t something he wanted to be involved in (there were no girls… I don’t blame him), and was merely walking back to his car when he was allegedly ambushed through a closed garage window without any warning.

copley house

Chad Copley was not threatened.

Chad Copley gave no warning from inside the closed garage.

He pointed a shotgun through the closed garage window, took aim, and fired at a figure walking by  at the end of his driveway.


Copley’s mindset both before and after he shot Thomas was revealed in a sickening series of 911 calls.

Copley warned the dispatcher that he was going to take the law into his own hands.


Then he admits that he did it.


Chad Copley is currently in a Wake County jail cell, charged with first degree murder.

He has been denied bail. He faces the death penalty… and he clearly should.


Attorney Justin Bamberg is clearly making an attempt to raise his own profile and try this case in the court of public opinion by likening Thomas’s murder to the high profile shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman. It’s a clear and shallow emotional appeal for those who still don’t grasp the obvious truth that Trayvon Martin did indeed deserve the death he brought upon himself with his hyper-violent predatory behavior


Kouren-Rodney Bernard Thomas was no thug. He was doing nothing remotely criminal when he was gunned down for merely walking to his car. Attorney Justin Bamberg does Thomas and every innocent victim of a senseless crime a disservice by attempting to make such a shallow, superficial link.

Thomas’s memory deserves better.

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