The Zimmerman Tapes: 911 Recordings Released From Shooting Of Teen In Florida By “Watchman”

We have been following the investigation into the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida. The shooter, George Zimmerman, 28, has not been charged and reported a suspicious character to 911. Martin was returning from a 7-11 after buying Skittles. He was carrying the candy, a small amount of cash, and an iced tea. The family and many others have called for the arrest of Zimmerman, though the accounts of the shooting have been murky. Previously, we discussed the need to hear the 911 tapes, which have now been released and are linked below.

Zimmerman is reportedly a habitual caller into the police and is heard on one of the tapes complaining that ““These a**holes always get away.” Zimmerman states on the call that Martin appeared “up to no good . . . It’s raining. He’s just walking around, looking about . . . He’s just staring looking at all the houses.” Zimmerman says on the call that it is Martin who confronts him: “Something’s wrong with him. He’s coming to check me out.” However, he later admits that he is following Martin, which the police dispatcher discourages.

Police Chief Bill Lee said the 911 calls show that the incident was not a case of racial profiling. He said Zimmerman could not say whether the suspect was black or white. However, on the tape you hear Zimmerman say “He looks black” and then a few moments later, “He’s a black male.” While he is at first equivocal, he does identify his race. That does not mean that this is a case of profiling, of course.

However, family member have been critical of the handling of the case by the police and what they view as the police bending over backward to defend Zimmerman. The family had to file a lawsuit to get these tapes. After a hearing, the police finally relented.

The tapes certainly contradict some statements by the police. However, I am not sure that they substantially alter the status in the case. The evidence still is largely based on Zimmerman’s account, though such contemporary records are generally admissible. The tapes both help and hurt Zimmerman.

The statement by Zimmerman that “these a**holes always get away” certainly shows animus and he clearly follows the youth. However, that does not translate into evidence of intent to kill. I am more interested in the level of force used by Zimmerman and the two gunshots heard on the tape. It is possible that audio creates a misleading impression of two shots but that would seem an important forensic question. It is hard to believe that Martin would allegedly continue any confrontation of Zimmerman after a warning shot unless the shot was fired in the midst of a struggle over the gun. Zimmerman can cite the tape for his statement that he believed that Martin had something in his waistband and appeared on drugs. He can also cite his contemporary description of Martin approaching him.

Putting aside the complaints regarding the handling of the case by the police and the conflicting statements given by officials, there remains the question of whether there is sufficient evidence to base a charge against Zimmerman. I would like to see the coroner’s report on the trajectory and distance of the gunshot wound as well as audio analysis of the gun shot or shots. I would also like to see evidence of the abrasions on both men. Zimmerman was reportedly bleeding from the struggle but we have not heard many details on Martin’s other injuries.

Zimmerman would be wise to secure criminal counsel. There is probably enough here for an indictment. The most salient facts against him are (1) the statement on the 911 tape showing animus, (2) the disregarded instructions not to follow Martin, (3) the advantage in weight and possession of a firearm in the struggle, and (4) the lack of any weapon or proof of criminal conduct by Martin.

What do you think about the state of the evidence?

Here is the Zimmerman tape: 911 Tape (Zimmerman)

Here is a witness tape: 911 Tape (1)

Here is a witness tape: 911 Tape (2)

Source: CNN

821 thoughts on “The Zimmerman Tapes: 911 Recordings Released From Shooting Of Teen In Florida By “Watchman””

  1. SoTB,
    I am an amateur cutler. The manufacture techniques used in making all those blade blanks are very similar. Fold and keep folding. The center is harder than the outside, which makes it a two-phase, or multi-phase material. Think fiberglass or pre-stressed concrete full of steel reinforcement for other examples of multi-phase materials. Glass is a single phase material that demonstrates the problem–it can have a very sharp edge, but is brittle. A beer can is soft, but when bent, will stay bent That is why a superior blade can be both flexible and hard a the same time. .

    The edge is made up of the center layers that have to be hardened more than the outside layers. A katana is basically a three foot long razor blade. The edge on a truly superior blade has an edge that can be measured in just a few molecules for thickness.

    I have a carving knife I made more than sixty years ago. The edge is so hard that a file simply slides across it without even scratching it. It can only be sharpened with a hard Arkansas stone for finish sharpening, then I use my grandfather’s razor strop for finish polishing. It can be sharpened to an edge that would make any barber envious.

    My dress sgian dubh has a “parade edge;” that is, it is dulled so as to avoid accidents.

  2. @Otteray Scribe – “Sgian dubh” I heard Damascus Steel is the sharpest blade in the world. Is that sharper than Spanish steel and the Japanese Katana?

  3. Boy did I fat-finger that! Should read: “It is true the ancient patriarchs can’t be given that Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) monster (almost 600 questions). I took some MMPI’s for various agencies decades ago.”

  4. @Otteray Scribe & @Mike Spindell – Thank you very much for your input. I am amazed at both of your backgrounds and trials & tribulations. I can truly see how you both have your present feelings expressed here in regard to the subject matter I initiated. It is true the ancient patriarchs can’t be given that Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) monster (almost 600 questions) for various agencies. And guess what? The one for the NRC caught me on the Jesus Christ questions. Fancy that! They needed clarification on my religious beliefs as the questions are geared for Organized Christianity (OC) not someone like me who thinks OC is a 1,600 year detour from JC’s original teachings.

    @Mike Spindell – Thanks for pointing out the posting in question. Yes it was quite curt and a bit heavy-handed of me. I did not know what your religious and ethnic background was. I assumed incorrectly that you were a member of OC. And you know the vitriol I have for their clergy and leadership. I have no such feelings for the laity. I just want to warn them of the cleric mendacity.

    FYI – Dick Clark dies at 82 today. He will be missed…

  5. ah, nooo … “I’d prefer you look me in the … eye.” With a smile of course just in case she gets the double entendre.

    Thwack! Your turn.

  6. Blouise,
    I was gobsmacked to discover my knees were sex objects. I always thought the ladies were looking at my bejeweled sgian dubh stuck in the top of my kilt hose. Who would have guessed?

  7. “I am now older, crustier, tougher and stringier than both Mike and Gene and do not write all that much. There is not enough sauce in Texas to tenderize me.” (OS)

    Perhaps, but you cut a dashing figure in your kilt. They weep with envy.

  8. Malisha, tell you what. If you want to read some of the stuff I have written, look at the link below for some stories. As for my writing professionally, let’s just say if you put my meatworld name in Google Scholar-Legal you will get over six hundred hits. Most of my writing can be found referenced in case law. At one time I was averaging more than 250,000 words per month, according to my transcription service. I have contributed chapters, but no real effort at books until recently. I am now older, crustier, tougher and stringier than both Mike and Gene and do not write all that much. There is not enough sauce in Texas to tenderize me.

  9. Mike/Blouise,

    Yep. I was born this way. :mrgreen: The saucy I picked up along the way.

  10. Woosty,

    Soul sister!!

    I have, over the years, purchased 5 or 6 copies of People of the Lie. Each purchase was for myself as the previous one had disappeared. I would loan it out and then the person I loaned it to would loan it to someone else and they to another and I would never see it again.

    Presently I am copy-less even though I bought one less than a year ago. I have a Nook but that one book is not available even though all his others are.

    I even remember the first time I saw the book in a small bookstore back in the 80’s right after it had been published. I was waiting for Tex to go to dinner and went into the bookstore to browse. It jumped off the shelf at me … literally fell off its display shelf and onto my foot. I picked it up to replace it on the shelf but opened it first then bought it.

    As to “Civility and Community building”, yes ma’am. I still mourn his death.

    What a book!

  11. “Yes CBT is terribly effective, but isn’t Gestalt really the only way we can use our whole being to get to work mending what needs mended?”


    When it comes to healing oneself there is no right way except that which works best for you. I’m not a Freudian, but for some Analysis may well be a viable option. Gestalt worked for me because of my particular personality and who I am. It came at a time when I realized I needed to make momentous changes in the arc of my life. As my therapist, who later got me to become one myself told me, he didn’t have a patient who worked harder to change. I finally quit doing therapy when I came to the realization that it is never about the therapist’s (Guru’s, whatever) skills, but about the patient’s willingness to do the work to actually change. My practice taught me that most patients wanted to pay me to do the work for them, rather than really make an effort. I was’t interested in taking money from those people and so ended my practice and the training ceter I had co-founded. Sadly, Fritz work had up front advanced the same proposition, but I thought I could do better by dint of my skills. I should have listened to Fritz.

  12. “Another book that smacked me upside the head was People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil by M Scott Peck. It’s a little book chocked full of understanding.”
    Blouise this is one of my all time favorite books and authors. I am still upset that M Scott Peck died before fully realizing his Center for Civillity. I believe he was on the forefront of recognizing that Civility and Community building (and healing…) would be the next great challenge (World Waiting to be Born)…

  13. “OK Mike I read the Wikipedia article about Hyam Maccoby. At first blush I tend to lean more toward John Gager, Oskar Skarsaune, and James Dunn’s criticism of his work. I would have to delve deeper into Maccoby’s works but, again at first blush, I don’t think he was terribly accurate in some of his assumptions about Jesus.”


    As you alluded to to Malisha so many comments before, reading Wikipedia for anything more that a brief overview, is like sleeping at a Holiday Inn Express. I’ve read ALL of Maccoby’s works and he makes sense to me. However, you are coming from a different belief perspective and so might be
    more inclined to side with his skeptics. Nothing wrong with that since we are merely clarifying our personal perspectives. You also did the same thing with Jaynes, since his Wiki article doesn’t do his work justice. Re: Oskar Skarsaune, James Dunn and John Gager they all view the issue from the fact they are Christians.

    Skarsaune particularly leans towards “Messianic Judaism” which I as a Jew consider to be an oxymoron. However, even in stating this is where the trouble begins. To engage in a religious argument between people with deep religious convictions (in my case Tribalism), has to end badly. If one is right, then the other is wrong. I’d rather not continue in this fashion since if you or others find comfort from your belief, more power to you.

    You must understand though that I, as a Jew, maintain a healthy dose of skepticism when it comes to Non-Jews doing exegesis on the Torah. This is grounded in a 2000 year attempt to usurp our Torah and history. The attempt has led to much horror and persecution during those two millenia.

  14. Hi, folks. The order I read in is always determined by what book is either free (given, or library) or ten cents (old days, thrift shop) and catches my eye. So I went: Alan Watts, Fritz Perls, Julian Jaynes, for no reason at all. Now seeing all these posts on this thread I am in some state that could possibly be described as [excited times thrilled]. Ideas tend to mush up in my mind, but if I identify them and force myself to write them in single sentences, they go like this right now:

    1. Yes CBT is terribly effective, but isn’t Gestalt really the only way we can use our whole being to get to work mending what needs mended? (Thank you Fritz)

    2. If each of us (but not the whales, who are done with this overland crap) is really striving and striving, is not our right brain/left brain dance the most momentous activity we have in our lifetimes? (Thank you Alan W)

    3. Our conversation with ourselves — isn’t it the only one we can be 100% sure will not be interrupted, and thus, the one we need to continue even through the din of other things? RIP Julian.

    So this would make me say, if any advice is needed or useful, if I had it to do over I would read: Alan Watts, Julian Jaynes, Fritz Perls!


    OMG, this is so rich. I feel like I must be stealing.

    OS, I don’t know who you are but I wish I could see your work. Have you written any books?

  15. “There are no truly straight lines in nature. Straight lines are a human invention. The universe is a wonderfully wiggly place with no straight lines.”

    Watts was a great thinker, who also hasn’t gotten the full credit he deserved. How nice that you met him at Esalen and how interesting his comment when one thinks of “String Theory” and Quantum Physics.

    “Then they get old and leathery like Gene and require vats of sauce. :mrgreen:”

    I think Gene was born “old and leathery” it’s part of his charm and mystique.:)

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