The Paw Print
In the aftermath of the killing of unarmed 17 year-old Trayvon Martin, the Justice Department and FBI have announced they will conduct a criminal probe into the events that led up to his death. The previous Florida Police investigation into the February 26 killing determined that the killer, George Zimmerman was righteous in his claims that he killed Martin in self-defense. Due to outcry from Florida community members and the NAACP (National Association for Advancement of Colored People), the Justice Department decided to launch an independent investigation into the killing.
Martin, an African-American student at Michael Krop Senior High School, was visiting his father in a gated community in the town of Sanford, Florida, on February 26 when he walked out to a nearby convenience store to buy candy and iced tea. On his return trip to his father’s house Martin noticed he was being followed by a large man, now identified as the shooter, Zimmerman. Released 911 emergency calls to Florida dispatch from Zimmerman give proof that he was following Martin, despite the orders from dispatch officers to stand down.
George Zimmerman: “This guy looks like he’s up to no good or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining, and he’s just walking around, looking about.” 911 Dispatcher: “OK. And this guy is he white, black or Hispanic?” George Zimmerman: “He looks Black.” Dispatcher: “Are you following him?” George Zimmerman: “Yeah.” 911 Dispatcher: “OK, we don’t need you to do that, stop following him.”
Martin tried to evade Zimmerman, expressing concerns with a friend over his cellular phone that he was being followed by a large man.
Martin thought he lost Zimmerman but he ran into him, and while being confronted by Zimmerman martin left his cell phone on, allowing his friend to hear what was occurring. The girl on the other line told Jasmine Rand, attorney who heads the civil rights division at the Law Firm of Parks & Crump, which is representing Martin’s family, that she heard an argument ensue between Zimmerman and Martin that ended with a single gunshot from a 9mm glock pistol into Martin’s chest.
Zimmerman told police that he was attacked from behind by Martin, forcing him to use his 9mm glock to shoot Martin. Rand, believes that this is highly unlikely given the fact that Zimmerman was 80 pounds heavier that Martin and three inches taller.
Other released 911 dispatch calls confirm the shooting of Martin; one call records the voices of either Zimmerman or Martin. Throughout the recording a voice is screaming “help me!” Although the voice is not confirmed to be Martin’s, Rand believes that without a doubt the screams are coming from Martin. After about 20 seconds of screams you hear a single gunshot and the screaming ceases.
In another 911 dispatch call Zimmerman admits to killing Martin, yelling “I killed him” as on looking residents watched the scene unfold. Upon the arrival at the scene, Sanford Police promptly labeled Martin a “John Doe” despite the cell phone found on him which had parents and friends phone numbers in it. They took a statement from Zimmerman and let him walk, while the Martin family had no idea what happened to their son for four days
The State department investigation will focus on why the Sanford Police Department didn’t arrest Zimmerman, and the possibility that this shooting was not in self-defense but rather a malicious hate crime which the Martin Family lawyer has repeatedly asserted.