Saturday, March 17, 2012
Trayvon Martin: 911 Call Contradicts Police Account (Audio)
Note: Major New Development in the Case: SHOCKING NEW WITNESS TESTIMONY IN TRAYVON MARTIN CASE!
Under threat of litigation, police in Sanford, Florida have released 911 tapes related to the February 26 killing of Trayvon Martin. Martin's death has begun to attract national media attention. This case underscores the continuation of racial injustice in the United States.
George Zimmerman, who is white, killed Martin, who was black, after he called police and reported that a suspicious person was walking in his neighborhood. Martin was visiting his father and was returning home from a local convenience store. During the 911 call, the police dispatcher told Zimmerman not to pursue Martin, but he left his car nonetheless. During other 911 calls, neighbors reported a scuffle between two individuals. Screams and gunshots are heard in the background.
Despite the increasing evidence that points to a crime, police have refused to arrest Zimmerman. Instead, Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee has credited Zimmerman's statement that he acted in self-defense when he killed Martin.
Earlier this week, Lee also tried to downplay the significance of race in Martin's death. Lee, for example, stated that race could not have been a factor in Martin's death because when the police dispatcher asked Zimmerman to state the race of the individual he was observing, Zimmerman responded that he did not know. The 911 tape, however, directly contradicts Lee's statement. Instead, Zimmerman initially said that he believed Martin was black, and then a few seconds later he said that he was a "black male."
In addition to contradicting Lee's account, the 911 tape also strongly suggests that Zimmerman acted pursuant to racial stereotypes, prejudice or both. Zimmerman recited several racial stereotypes during the call. He said that Martin seemed "up to no good." Zimmerman also speculated that Martin was "on drugs or something." Zimmerman said that Martin had his hand in his "waistband," implying that unarmed boy was armed and dangerous. During the call, Zimmerman stated that there had been several burglaries in his neighborhood, and he lamented that they "always get away."
Near the end of the call, strong winds are suddenly audible. This suggests that Zimmerman had already left his car to pursue Martin even before he ended the call. Nevertheless, police insist that this was a case of self-defense. The tape, however, contradicts this conclusion. Martin was simply walking home. Unfortunately, he crossed paths with Zimmerman who imagined himself to be a law enforcement officer.
Zimmerman did not fear for his life. Instead, he left his vehicle with a gun to pursue an innocent boy. Martin must have been frightened. Zimmerman apparently did not want another one to "get away." Under these circumstances, Zimmerman has no right to assert a self-defense argument. He initiated aggressive contact with Martin. When Zimmerman killed Martin, he committed manslaughter -- at the very least. If Sanford police care about equal justice, they should arrest Zimmerman. Also, given the history of racial strife and cronyism in the Sanford police department, Lee should lose his job. As a result of his behavior in this case, he can no longer serve the public effectively.
Note: Zimmerman's 911 call, courtesy of the Orlando Sentinel, is embedded below this post.
For more analysis, see:
Trayvon Martin: A Fatal Flaw in Zimmerman's Self-Defense Argument
George Zimmerman, Killer of Trayvon Martin: The Man Who Would Be Cop
Sorry, Trayvon Martin: They Just Don't Like You
BREAKING NEWS in Trayvon Martin Case: Officer in the Case Has A Prior Record of Racial Controversy
BREAKING NEWS: Geraldo Rivera Says Hoodie Killed Trayvon Martin