Monday July 1st 2013 in America was Day Six of the George Zimmerman murder trial. Zimmerman, a neighourhood watchman in Sanford, Florida, shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in 2012. Zimmerman says it was self-defence, that he feared for his life. Martin was unarmed while black.
Last week we heard from Rachel Jeantel, a friend of Martin’s who talked to him on her mobile phone just minutes before he died. It is the closest thing we have of Martin’s side of the story. Martin said that a creepy white man was following him, then was right behind him, then:
Martin: What you following me for?
Zimmerman: What you doing around here?
*bump, grass sounds*
Martin: Get off.
The call goes dead.
Yesterday, on Day Six, the two police officers who questioned Zimmerman that night took the stand. They played recordings of some of the questioning. They showed (edited) video of Zimmerman’s reenactment of the shooting. It allowed Zimmerman to tell his side of the story without taking the stand and being questioned.
I followed part of the trial on CNN and Twitter:
- Twitter: Those I follow noticed holes in Zimmerman’s story, thought he was lying.
- CNN pointed how forthright Zimmerman was, how maybe he was a man of faith, how great his lawyer was (“They will be teaching this in law school.”)
Chris Serino, the lead detective, said he believed Zimmerman was telling the truth, that the inconsistencies in Zimmerman’s answers point to poor memory, not lying.
They played a tape of when Serino questioned Zimmerman on the night of the shooting. It was brief. Serino seemed to see Zimmerman as the victim, offered him help, did not doubt anything Zimmerman said, almost answered the questions for him. He allowed Zimmerman to go to work the next day. Both men acted like killing Trayvon Martin was no big deal.
Serino did, however, question Zimmerman at length a few days later. The sound quality was so bad that CNN played little of it. Serino asked Zimmerman if he would have done the same thing if Martin had been white. Zimmerman said yes. Serino moved on.
Zimmerman says that Martin “jumped out of the bushes” and then:
Martin: What the fuck is your problem, homie?
Zimmerman: I don’t have a problem.
Martin: No, now you have a problem.
And then throws the first punch. They are down on the ground, Martin gets on top, punches away at Zimmerman’s face. Then Martin covers Zimmerman’s nose and mouth and says:
Martin: You are going to die tonight.
He begins banging Zimmerman’s head on the paved walkway. Zimmerman pulls out his gun and shoots him. Martin falls backwards:
Martin: Alright, you got me, you got me.
- There were no bushes to jump out of.
- “You got me!”, etc, sounds too Hollywood. Quite unlike the 911 tape of pitiful screams for help cut short by gunfire
- Why would Martin want to kill him? Zimmerman left something out – or assumes the Black Brute stereotype.