Two police reports written the night that
George Zimmermanshot Trayvon Martin said that Zimmerman had a bloody face and nose, according to police reports made public today.The reports also note that two witness accounts appear to back up Zimmerman’s version of what happened when they describe a man on his back with another person wearing a hoodie straddling him and throwing punches.
It has been such a contentious case that even the evidence is being disputed.
The police report states that
Trayvon Martin’s fathertold an investigator after listening to 911 tapes that captured a man’s voice frantically calling for help that it was not his son calling for help.But Tracy Martin, Trayvon’s father, claims that is not true. The Martin family lawyer Ben Crump told ABC News that Tracy Martin initially listened to a distorted version of the 911 calls and said he could not identify the voice. But when he listened to a second tape that had been “cleaned,” “He immediately broke down in tears because he knew it was his son calling for help,” Crump said.
The new information is part of a trove of documents released by the Florida State Attorney today in the case against Zimmerman, who is charged with second degree murder for the Feb. 26 killing of Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old African American.
Trayvon Martin, 17, was fatally shot by neighborhood watch leader George Zimmerman.
Zimmerman, 28, is a multi-racial Hispanic man who volunteered for the neighborhood watch committee who claimed that he shot Martin in self-defense after the 6-foot tall, 160 pound teenager knocked him to the ground, banged his head against the ground and went for Zimmerman’s gun.
The documents start with a criticism of Zimmerman’s decision to follow the teenager, who Zimmerman said was looking suspicious.
“The encounter between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin was ultimately avoidable by Zimmerman, if Zimmerman had remained in his vehicle and awaited the arrival of law enforcement,” an investigating officer wrote.
Zimmerman claims he got out of his vehicle to find a house number to let police know where he saw the allegedly suspicious person, and while returning to his car was knocked down by a punch in the nose and attacked by Martin.
Two police officers reported that when they arrived at the scene of the shooting, Zimmerman seemed to have a battered nose and bloodied face. One wrote that his “facial area was bloodied,” and the back of his clothing was soiled with wet grass.
“Zimmerman was also bleeding from the nose and the back of his head,” Officer Ricardo Ayala wrote.
Another officer wrote, “I saw that Zimmerman’s face was bloodied and it appeared to me that his nose was broken.”
Witnesses, whose names were redacted from the report, also lent support to Zimmerman’s version of what happened.
“He witnesses a black male, wearing a dark colored ‘hoodie’ on top of a white or Hispanic male and throwing punches ‘MMA (mixed martial arts) style,’” the police report of the witness said. “He then heard a pop. He stated that after hearing the pop, he observed the person he had previously observed on top of the other person (the male wearing the hoodie) laid out on the grass.”
A second witness described a person on the ground with another straddling him and throwing punches. The man on the bottom was yelling for help, the witness told police.
The documents state that Zimmerman can be heard yelling for help 14 times on a 911 call recorded during the fight.
Yet another witness described the confrontation in emotional terms.
The witness heard “someone yelling, almost crying. Then I heard a gunshot.” The witness wrote that he or she “saw a man on top of a guy laying on the ground. He was putting his hands on his neck or chest.”
The man asked the witness to call 911.
“He stood up and took a couple steps away and put his hands on his head and then walked back over to the guy on the ground. He looked at him for a minute, then started to walk away toward the road. That is when the police walked up,” the witness wrote.
The lead investigator on the case, Officer Christopher Serino, wrote that Zimmerman could be heard “yelling for help as he was being battered by Trayvon Martin.”
Martin’s death sparked public outrage after police released Zimmerman without any criminal charges for the killing. Zimmerman was later charged with second-degree murder, and the killing provoked widespread debate about racial profiling.
The autopsy also shows that Zimmerman shot Martin from a distance of between 1 inch and 18 inches away, bolstering Zimmerman’s claim that he shot Martin during a close struggle.
Martin’s autopsy report also revealed that there was a quarter-inch by half-inch abrasion on the left fourth finger of Martin, another indication of a possible struggle.
The teen, who lived in Miami, was in Sanford while serving a suspension for an empty marijuana bag discovered in his possession. Martin had THC, the drug found in marijuana, in his blood on the night of his death, according to the autopsy. His family told ABC News that it was “trace amounts” of THC.
It might be hard for Zimmerman to persuade the jury he shot Martin in self defense, if the jury believes Zimmerman lied about breaking off the chase.
I think it’s traditionally hard to use self defense, if you were the aggressor all along.
That’s why I think the Florida Stand Your Ground Law was passed. To let people do just what Zimmerman did, be vigilantes. Not have to retreat. That’s NRA bible and verse. KKK and Neo-Nazi bible and verse. And New Black Panthers bible and verse.
If the trial judge rules The Stand Your Ground Law applies, Zimmerman skates, subject to the Special Prosecutor appealing the trial judge’s decision.
If the trial Judge rules the Stand Your Ground Law does not apply, Zimmerman can appeal that, but perhaps not until after the jury trial and verdict.
If Zimmerman gets acquitted, that’s the end of it, unless the Special Prosecutor appeals, arguing judicial error in ruling on the law and evidence, and or jury instructions on the law and evidence. Very rare for the Prosecution to appeal, almost unheard of.
If the jury convicts Zimmerman, he can appeal that based on various arguments his lawyer will use, including The Stand Your Ground Law should have been applied.
But for the fact that it appears Zimmerman lied about breaking off the chase, I would bet on him being acquitted by a jury. Not ever a good thing for a criminal defendant to be viewed as a liar by a jury.
I just now forwarded you something very serious from Sancho Panza, who accuses you of being a racist. He says you doctored the CNN Rodney King report, to make it a non-white jury, instead of an all white jury, which did not convict any of the white L.A. cops. He sent the CNN report, which he claims is the actual report. I need your reply to that forward. Thanks
“But following a three-month trial in the predominantly white Los Angeles suburb of Simi Valley, three of the officers were acquitted of all charges. The jury, which had no white members, deadlocked on one charge of excessive force against Powell, and a mistrial was declared on that charge”
Thia is the actual CNN report:
I did not remember much about Rodney King’s trial, other than wondering how the white cops didn’t get convicted after getting caught on video beating King to a pulp.I did not remember the jury makeup, but I could have assumed it was white, or mostly white.
You also sent that only part of the video was released to the public by the media, and the part that got the one cop off was only introduced at trial. Are you still comfortable with that position? Or was it doctored, too?
I get lots of stuff from the far right that invariably is twisted factually. Even from people I know. They don’t originate it, but pass along forwards. I have yet to find any forward from the Republicans, Tea Party or others on that side of the compass to be trustworthy. Even when the facts are mostly accurate, they leave out what would put it into context and weaken, or destroy, the argument being made.
I don’t get much of that from the left, or the Democrats. Take them with large grain of salt, though. Anyone with a position in an issue tends to be unable to be objective, present it balanced.
Since getting Sancho’s slam, I’ve been pondering your email handle, deputy2, which suggests you are in law enforcement, or were. You told me that is not the case. You want to be in law enforcement?
I imagine George Zimmerman thought of himself as a deputy of some kind. Toted a pistol. Citizen watchman. His comments to the police dispatcher gave that impression. As did his having made many calls, apparently, about people he saw walking through his neighborhood.
I still think he went off the reservation that night and killed a teen who was minding his own business. That’s the bottom line. That, and I think Zimmerman was serious fucked up mentally, based on all I’ve seen so far.
I ain’t saying Martin was a prince, apparently he was not. But he did not do anything that night to cause him to get shot and killed, other than, it looks to me, try to defend himself from what he perceived to be a real threat of his own death. Based on all I have seen and read, I can’t put it together any other way.
I hate to think what will happen if we end up with another all-white jury. I hate to think what the back racists will do with that. Said by someone who has zero use for white racists.
J then sent this:
“We seem not to have learned the lesson of the ugliness of racial profiling and police brutality and all the pain it causes,” he said.
By MARISA TAYLOR and
KEVIN DOLAK (@kdolak)June 18, 2012
Police have opened an investigation into the apparent drowning of Rodney King, the man who emerged as a reluctant “countercultural hero” after four LAPD officers brutally beat him in 1991.
King, 47, had been outside his house most of the night, his fiancée, Cynthia Kelly, told Rialto Police Capt. Randy De Anda after she reported finding his body at the bottom of the pool at his California home.
“[Kelly] was inside the residence, had been sleeping and Mr. King had been carrying conversations with her from the rear patio poolside,” De Anda said. “She had heard him speaking to her. She got up to go outside to talk with him, at which time she found him at the bottom of the pool.”
Click here to view a timeline of the events of Rodney King’s lifeIt has been 20 years since King pleaded for blacks and whites to “get along,” but recent cases like the killing of black Florida teen Trayvon Martin prove that the lessons of King’s brutal beating at the hands of Los Angeles police have yet to be learned, the
Rev. Jesse Jackson and other civil rights leaders said.
Kingemerged as a sort of reluctant, “countercultural hero” after he suffered the beating and a bystander’s video camera captured the violence, Jackson told ABCNews.Rodney King arrives at the EsoWon books store to sign copies of his new book, “The Riot Within: My Journey From Rebellion to Redemption,” on April 30, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.
That videotape, when shared with a Los Angeles TV station, sent shock waves around the world, catapulting police brutality and race relations in the United States to center stage and turning King into a symbol of the bitter conflict.
“It was his beating that made America focus on the presence of profiling and police misconduct,” civil rights advocate
the Rev. Al Sharpton said in a statement. “History will record that it was Rodney King’s beating and his actions that made America deal with the excessive misconduct of law enforcement.”“Rodney King’s case was a symbol of police abuse,” Sharpton said at a march Sunday to protest the New York Police Department’s stop-and-frisk policy. “I remember before the tape of Rodney King, we talk about police abuse people thought we were making it up.”
Jackson compared King’s case, in which his attackers were acquitted, with Martin’s case today, in which killer George Zimmerman wasn’t initially arrested for shooting Martin because of Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law.
“We seem not to have learned the lesson of the ugliness of racial profiling and police brutality and all the pain it causes,” he said.
The wake of the violent attacks on King and the subsequent L.A. riots in 1992 spurred the resignation of LAPD Chief Daryl Gates and an overhaul of the department, including years of federal oversight to monitor racial profiling and police brutality.
What was once a
culture of low morale and a code of silencewithin a police force that had been scandalized even further by the O.J. Simpson murder trial was turned on its head under the leadership of former LAPD Chief William Bratton.His emphasis on community-based policing and crackdowns on excessive use of force brought murders down to 297 in 2011, the lowest they’ve been in more than 40 years, according to KABC-TV in Los Angeles.
“The culture of the Los Angeles Police Department has been transformed,”
Erwin Chemerinsky, a professor and the founding dean of the School of Law at the University of California-Irvine, told KABC-TV.Bratton has since gone on to advise the police forces of other major cities
including London,where he now serves as a consultant to police after he city’s spate of riots last year.But 20 years after the 1992 acquittal of the LAPD officers ignited days of deadly riots in Los Angeles, Jackson said, the shooting of Trayvon Martin shows that race relations are still far from where they should be.
The NYPD, for example, has come under increasing criticism for its stop-and-frisk program, in which it detained more than 685,000 people in 2011, the majority of them young blacks and Hispanics,
according to the New York Civil Liberties Union. That’s up from about 97,300 stop-and-frisk incidents back in 2002.Jackson said the persistent present-day bias is also reflected by the
8,000 blacks killed in the United States each year.“It isn’t just the police,” he said. “Our concern now, of course, is too much racially-targeted violence.
“We had a redemptive moment with President Barack Obama’s election,” Jackson said.
But contrary to King’s “resounding appeal for us to get along,” he said, “it seems that we’re not.”
ABC News radio contributed to this report.
Whatever redemptive moment may have existed, I don’t concede it did exist, it was extinguished when President Obama accepted the Nobel Peace Prize while waging the two murderous wars of his murderous predecessor. That unpleasantness aside, I have yet to see in the news reports any evidence of George Zimmerman being racially motivated on that terrible night. He mentored young blacks. The FBI tried hard and found no evidence of hate crime. I wish to God that Jackson, Sharpton, US Attorney General Holder and President Obama would take out after Florida’s Stand Your Gound Law. As I wrote in yesterday’s Rodney King found dead – Martin-Zimmerman implications, Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law under scrutiny post, a strong argument can be made for the law being unconstitutional because the law is subjective, left up to individual Florida judges to determine whether or not it applies. Florida trial judges are all over the map in their rulings on the law. The law is an abomination, created by conservative Republican Florida Legislators, some of whom were blacks, including the current Lieutenant Governor. Throughout Florida, trial judges, state attorneys and defense attorneys are blasting the Stand Your Ground Law. Hello, Governor Scott. Hello Florida Legislature. Are you folks up there in Tallahassee listening? Or, are you so whored out to the National Rifle Association and its political clout that you can’t close your wide-spread legs and behave like responsible adults? Probably, thus sadly, a rhetorical question.
Sloan Bashinsky, ex-lawyer