The facts behind the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida continue to slowly emerge. I have previously stated that I view critical facts as murky for a prosecution — even though I believe that there was sufficient evidence to arrest George Zimmerman at the scene. While we have still not seen some of the forensic evidence, a new report indicates that police may have based their initial decisions in part on the statement of a witness. We have been discussing the maddening gap in witness testimony at the critical moment of the confrontation. Now a new report suggests that there may have been a witness to the struggle and that witness reportedly told police that it was Martin who was on top of Zimmerman before the fatal shot was fired.
FOX 35 in Orlando says that it has spoken to the witness. The witness reportedly said that
“The guy on the bottom who had a red sweater on was yelling to me: ‘help, help…and I told him to stop and I was calling 911.” Martin was wearing a hoodie that night and Zimmerman was wearing a red shirt or sweater. A friend of Zimmerman has also come forward to say that Zimmerman looked like a mess after the fight and that he recognized Zimmerman as the voice on the 911 call asking people to help him.
An obvious defense case is emerging for a classic self-defense claim. Zimmerman on the 911 tape admits to have shadowed Martin but says it was Martin who was checking him out and moving toward him a threatening fashion. Zimmerman claims that he was attacked when he was returning to his SUV. Police and counsel reported that Zimmerman had cuts on his face and head and appeared to have been in a struggle. Zimmerman was lawfully carrying a handgun was allowed to use the weapon if he was in reasonable fear of serious bodily injury or death. This includes the possible use of the gun in a struggle of control of the weapon.
While the case has been treated as racially motivated, the Zimmerman family has strongly denied such a motivation — noting that he is a hispanic with many African-American friends. Frankly, Zimmerman does closely resemble an alternative profile — that of a defendant in “Castle Doctrine” or “Stand Your Ground” cases. In these controversies, we often see people who are obsessed with crime and in some cases inclined to use lethal force. That does not mean that race did not play a role here. However, it is possible that Zimmerman was motivated by his well-documented obsession with crime as opposed to race. While I understand the sensitivity to the race issue and have my own suspicions concerning the role of race, I believe it is premature to label this a racially motivated crime without more evidence of such a motive. None of this means that Zimmerman should not be charged, but rather than there remain murky elements to the case. We simply need to know more about such motivations. In terms of the state law, we also need more information (particularly forensic evidence) to better gauge the chances of a conviction in the case. I still find the fact that Zimmerman was armed and outweighed Martin to be the most significant. However, this case is still in its earliest stage in terms of development of the evidence and witnesses. Among other things, if a charge is brought, such evidence could push prosecutors toward a manslaughter claim with a lower likely sentence than second or first degree murder. Even with manslaughter, the prosecutors would have to establish the element beyond a reasonable doubt, including the claim of self-defense. Of course, the mere fact that Martin may have gotten the better of Zimmerman in dominating fight at one point does not mean that Zimmerman was not the original aggressor. It will depend on the full range of witness testimony and, again, the missing forensic evidence.
I was asked last week to sign an online petition demanding the prosecution of Zimmerman. As I have noted, I believe that there is sufficient evidence for an indictment. However, I have never support such public campaigns for indictments. I do not believe in prosecution by plebiscite. Whether there are 100 or 100,000 people demanding an indictment, a prosecutor should not be influenced by such popular outcries. We saw how distortive and corrupting such campaigns can be on prosecutors like Michael Nifong. Prosecutors must based their decisions on the weight of the evidence not the weight of public opinion. Regardless of my views about a possible indictment, I would not want a prosecutor influenced by any petition supporting those views. There is a line between the visceral and the legal and such petitions fall on the wrong side of that line.
Source: Daily Mail
270 thoughts on “New Witness Reportedly Comes Forward In Support Of Zimmerman’s Account in Martin Shooting”
According to DD, TM initiated the confrontation. He spoke first, asking GZ “Why are you following me?”
I’m now 99.9% sure the report of the FBI learning that George Zimmerman was watching gay porn was a total fake and fraud.
The report seemed strange, coming out when it did, but at first reading I assumed the SanfordDailyNews website was the publication of the local newspaper. Now I have re-read this thing a few times because it seemed so strange that it had no repercussions in the larger media outlets, and I have come to the conclusion that it is a fake and a fraud, and that there is no such data “stumbled upon” by the FBI or anybody else.
It’s somebody capitalizing on the fact that people often google the name “George Zimmerman” so they are able to get people to click on them a lot.
It does seem, however, that this particular form of Internet fraud should be actionable. Who knows? If it is actionable, I hope it ends up getting punished. Not for George’s sake (really, what he did getting him false bad press as well as true bad press doesn’t make me weep big tears for the guy) but for the sake of at least trying to prevent fraud.
Of course, I also think the purveyors of the Trayvon Martin targets should have been punished using the law, or even using “the law” — but they probably got a free card on their hideous and immoral behavior.
NEWS FLASH: LATER TODAY THERE WILL BE ANOTHER RELEASE OF EVIDENCE IN THE ZIMMERMAN CASE. INCLUDES FBI STUFF.
According to Chris Serino, in the first few days after the killing of Trayvon Martin, an anonymous female caller spoke with him directly and indicated to him that she saw Zimmerman “trying to restrain” Trayvon Martin. Serino expressed the hope that the woman would not continue to remain anonymous. When he mentioned this to Zimmerman in the interview, Zimmerman did not respond. He didn’t come up with anything he could say to explain why someone would have said she saw him trying to restrain Martin; just nothing, no response. His story was such that it could not have occurred because his story goes from (a) Zimmerman sees him at truck to (b) TM disappears to (c) TM reappears and circles truck to (d) Zimmerman can’t see him any more and gets out of truck to (e) TM says, “You got a problem?” and then punch, slam, slam, punch, bang.
There’s no opportunity in there for a witness to see Zimmerman trying to restrain Martin. If the witness did not report that she saw Martin punch Zimmerman and get on top of him, her testimony will contradict what Zimmerman told Serino. And she would have had no motive, calling in almost immediately after the event, to lie about anything she saw. The fact that she was at first anonymous may indicate that she was afraid of Zimmerman, but who wouldn’t be?
Zimmerman was feared by people in the community BEFORE he killed Trayvon Martin. Remember the guy named Ibrahim Rashada, who would drive away from the neighborhood to “stretch his legs” because he did not want to be “chased.” Remember the woman who gave an interview from her home and wouldn’t let her face be shown on the camera; only her feet; she said there was no big crime problem in the neighborhood, and that the police were perfectly capable of taking care of things without George. (She had an Eastern European accent; her feet were white.)
The “new witnesses” who saw Martin winning a fight — even if they have not changed their stories by now — certainly are not saying they saw Trayvon Martin START any fight.
George Zimmerman’s “re-enactment” is not a re-enactment, as far as I can tell. To me it looks like a little staged, videotaped clip that the cops (who were with him that time, at least) were giving him a chance to look like the story he was telling was credible. He had the bandaids on his head that were NOT on his head a half hour after the shooting (and that did not, apparently, get put on his head by the EMT on the scene, Bradley) — and who treats a head wound without shaving that part of the head, if it needs a bandage, anyway? They were cosmetic. And he does not show anything, really, in the re-enactment. And it doesn’t make sense with the “George was reaching for his cell phone and Trayvon Martin saw the gun” story, and all it really shows is George standing up, walking around, and saying, “My head felt like it was gonna explode” and dramatic non-credible stuff like that.
He did do a little extra, “I was being nice the whole time” stuff, like:
“No, I don’t have a problem, man.”
Now, does that sound credible? He has chased the a**hole down and now he has “no problem, man”?
Furthermore, where’s the “punched him down to the ground” part — now there’s chit chat first?
Speaking of “the words” not changing, I looked at some of the quotations from Police Chief Lee, words spoken before he began to feel that this whole thing was going south for him. (What’s South of Florida, Hell?)
The witnesses, the new witnesses, and all statements taken by the Sanford PD were skewed, controlled, ignored, enhanced, and/or manipulated by the police. Just a few of the stories that reached the press reveal this.
Ear-witness Mary Cutcher claimed that the Sanford police detectives did not return her phone calls because she was telling them what they did not want to hear. They then issued a news release saying she had given an “inconsistent statement”; but she denies that, and says that her statement was consistent but that they objected because HER version was “inconsistent” with the version told by Zimmerman!
Thirteen-year old Austin McLendon and his mother, Cheryl Brown, both claim that the police distorted what he told them, tried to make him change his story, and bullied him when they were supposed to be listening to what HE WOULD SAY about what he saw.
A picture emerges of the police trying to neutralize any account that did not match the story that Zimmerman told them that night. I am wondering if what actually happened in the police station that night wasn’t more or less a bunch of guys (one a suspect, the others his “data modification and manipulation team”) coming up with a story that they could FIT INTO THE FACTS that were undeniable.
They had FACT: Victim was dead; shooter was armed and dangerous and pursued victim who was unarmed; screaming for help and witness accounts revealed a very probable scenario that would lead to conclusion that a crime was committed.
Cheryl Brown said, point blank, “someone is switching [my son’s] story.” She emphasized the fact that her son had never claimed to see Zimmerman on the ground.
Timing is also important. Several days after the shooting, police released a report saying Zimmerman had blood on his nose and the back of his head, fueling suspicion that the department was attempting to bolster Zimmerman’s story to defend their decision to let him walk away without an arrest.
In an interview two weeks after the incident, Chief Lee said witness statements and physical evidence backed up Zimmerman’s version of events. He also gave his own opinion, allegedly based on “the timing of the call,” in which he speculated that Trayvon Martin “went out of his way to approach the person tailing him and mouth off.”
Now how could you figure that out from “the timing of the call” anyway? Something that is NOT recorded on the call is presumed to have happened IN THE PERIOD OF TIME WHEN YOU DO NOT HAVE ANY EVIDENCE. Therefore, if you say, “During the period when we do not have any evidence, Trayvon Martin did all these things,” you are saying, “We have no evidence that Trayvon Martin did ANY of these things.” Let me point out what other things could have happened during the time that nothing was recorded on the calls in question:
(a) The person who shot J.R. on “Dallas” could have confessed;
(b) An unnamed witness could have mixed up some catsup and worchester sauce with which to paint the back of Zimmerman’s head after the mouth-off and the killing;
(c) Trayvon Martin could have thought long and hard about how much he wished he had not bought those skittles, and he could have whispered, “Skittles are bad for my health” and shook his head in a crestfallen gesture — if he was not simply trying to find somewhere to hide without trespassing on someone’s property;
(d) George Zimmerman could have remembered how infuriated he had felt when his girlfriend had taken out that civil order of protection against him, and he could have realized that now, a kid from his neighborhood might be in a position to take out yet another civil order of protection against him, and if that happened, his chances of getting on the police force would drop to near zero, and his body could have filled up with adrenaline and he could have filled with helpless rage…
Or any number of other things, OF WHICH WE HAVE NO EVIDENCE.
“If Trayvon has made it that far, and Zimmerman is getting out of his truck, why doesn’t Trayvon keep walking?” Lee said. “He’s 70 yards from his house. I think based on the timing of the call and Zimmerman losing sight of him, that he had made it to that ‘T’ (at the end of the path) and was starting to walk towards his house. “My wish is that he would have kept walking.”
Now we have Lee focusing all the attention not on what Zimmerman did (“If Trayvon is out of sight, why doesn’t Zimmerman stay in his truck and wait for the police to arrive?”) but on what the VICTIM did. He measures the VICTIM’S alleged (we only have Zimmerman’s word for that part) geographical activities that night, NOT the shooter’s. And he expresses a wish that the VICTIM would have prevented the crime, not the SHOOTER, who had the ability to prevent the crime. Why, indeed, didn’t Zimmerman go home? He saw, he reported – time to go home. Yet Lee focused on what he would have wanted the VICTIM to do to escape being killed. It’s like saying, “Why did those Jews stay in Germany so long, in view of the fact that the Germans were getting so mad at them?”
Lee does the final, telling, pro-perp analysis in the next interesting quote:
“George Zimmerman did shoot Trayvon Martin, and Trayvon Martin did have a bag of Skittles and an Arizona iced tea. * * * The fact that he had a bag of Skittles and an Arizona iced tea does not have anything to do with the facts of why George Zimmerman thought he needed to use deadly force.”
“Why George Zimmerman thought he needed to use deadly force” is what’s commonly called “facts not in evidence.” In other words, Lee first ASSUMED that Zimmerman “thought he needed to use deadly force” and THEN looked at the facts, with that initial point of view. If an assignment in criminal justice class read: “Explain WHY George Zimmerman thought he needed to use deadly force,” just by reading the question, the students realize that the statement, “George Zimmerman thought he needed to use deadly force” is true. It is presumed to be a fact, and all that is left is to find the EXPLANATION. But that is not police work. That is criminal defense lawyer work.
The problem in the Trayvon Martin case is not George Zimmerman’s racism or lack of racism; it is the racism in the police department. Perhaps Zimmerman was already well aware of that factor, and perhaps his knowing all about that made him more aggressive on 2/26/2012 because he would naturally assume that he would not face the music if he just killed a “suspicious person” of the African American “persuasion.” Who knows? But the fact that the police chief starts out with the assumption that the shooter had a perfectly good reason for shooting, and moves from there into assessing the value of the evidence, you can see why the crime was not properly investigated.
Lee should not only be kicked out of police work permanently, it is possible he should be charged with a federal crime as well. 42 USC 1981 comes to mind.
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