What has never been at odds in the Trayvon Martin case is that there was a physical altercation between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin, one that led to Zimmerman using his gun to shot and kill the unarmed 17-year-old African-American high school junior on February 12, 2012, in Sanford, Florida.
What has also never been at odds – by virtue of Zimmerman’s own 911 call prior to this altercation – is that he, Zimmerman, was the aggressor, pursuing Martin with no clear cause, ultimately verbally confronting the boy, which led to the encounter. The transcript of that call follows: [Courtesy of Wikipedia, Shooting of Trayvon Martin:]
- On the evening of February 26, 2012, Zimmerman observed Martin as he returned to the Twin Lakes housing community after having walked to a nearby convenience store. At the time, Zimmerman was driving through the neighborhood on a personal errand.
- At approximately 7:09 PM, Zimmerman called the Sanford police non-emergency number to report what he considered a suspicious person in the Twin Lakes community.
- Zimmerman stated, “We’ve had some break-ins in my neighborhood, and there’s a real suspicious guy.”
- He described an unknown male “just walking around looking about” in the rain and said, “This guy looks like he is up to no good or he is on drugs or something.”
- Zimmerman reported that the person had his hand in his waistband and was walking around looking at homes.
- On the recording, Zimmerman is heard saying, “these assholes, they always get away.”
- About two minutes into the call, Zimmerman said, “he’s running.” The dispatcher asked, “He’s running? Which way is he running?”
- The sound of a car door chime is heard, indicating Zimmerman opened his car door.
- Zimmerman followed Martin, eventually losing sight of him.
- The dispatcher asked Zimmerman if he was following him. When Zimmerman answered, “yeah,” the dispatcher said, “We don’t need you to do that.” Zimmerman responded, “Okay.”
- Zimmerman asked that police call him upon their arrival so he could provide his location.
- Zimmerman ended the call at 7:15 p.m.
- After Zimmerman ended his call with police, a violent encounter took place between Martin and Zimmerman, which ended when Zimmerman fatally shot Martin 70 yards from the rear door of the townhouse where Martin was staying.
[To listen to audio of the Zimmerman 911 call, click audio box at end of article.]
Beyond this call, there are many other factors of this case that are, also, not at odds – the clumsy mishandling of the Sanford Police Department, the conflicting interpretations of the Florida “stand-your-ground” law, the racial response to the murder (here’s just one). With the trial set for June, 2013, the matter of Zimmerman’s “self-defense” under “stand-your-ground” will be settled in the court of law.
In the meantime, it appears the defense would like the case decided in the press and by the public. Attempts to humanize Zimmerman while demonizing Martin are rampant (not a new or unexpected defense technique). To that end, there’s been the drip-drip-drip release of information and images that purportedly give us some new and damning evidence that George Zimmerman was not the perpetrator but rather the victim of violence. Here are just few:
- “He has cuts on his head”:
- Defense attorney, Alan Dershowitz, writes in Huffington Post that “it is also been reported that a bruise was found on Martin’s ring finger that would be consistent with Martin having punched Zimmerman.”
- “Zimmerman’s lip is bloody and his nose is broken.” (see picture at top)
- Trayvon Martin’s school records have just been released to Zimmerman’s lawyers and in them we learn that Martin was on a 10-day suspension for having an “empty marijuana bag” when he was shot and killed.
Drip, drip, drip.
As the defense does what defense lawyers do, sully the victim to save the defendant, we, the people, continue to be bombarded with every manner of detail attempting to sway public opinion…jury pool opinion. But while it’s clear the release of information and “new photos,” as noted above, are intended to evoke sympathy and support the notion of “self-defense,” what we, the public, also know is that this damage was inflicted upon Zimmerman, per the timeline of his own 911 call, only after he stalked Martin for no cause in the parking lot of Martin’s father’s townhome complex.
Given the audio, given other eye-witness testimony, all of which will be presented at the trial, it’s clear the boy had no idea who this person – Zimmerman – was and why he was following him. It is logical, then, to extrapolate that, as most young men fearful of their life would do after being followed and verbally accosted by a stranger, Trayvon acted in his own self-defense, attacking a clearly aggressive stranger who posed a threat to him. And because it was within that encounter that Zimmerman’s nose was broken, lip was cut, and he incurred cuts on the back of his head, there is no sympathy to stoke. It does not justify “stand-your-ground.” The damage was the result of his own folly, his own unnecessary pursuit, his aggression toward a young boy who simply reacted to his threat. An encounter in which the stalker incurred some minor damage and the 17-year-old boy, walking home to his father’s house, lost his life.
So the pictures of Zimmerman’s injuries are not shocking; they’re not smoking guns; they do not stoke sympathy. They are simply evidence of Zimmerman’s unwarranted action even after police told him, “We don’t need you to do that.” Was Zimmerman racially motivated? Some believe his comment, “these assholes, they always get away,” implies as much, with historical information to back that assumption. But that, along with the validity of “stand-your-ground,” will be decided at trial.
A trial in a courtroom. Not here in the press. Not here in the square of public opinion. In front of a judge and jury. That’s where evidence carries its weight. Not here.
[To listen to audio of Zimmerman’s 911 call below, click below:]