COMMENTARY | Disclosure of new details (per the Huffington Post) in the shooting of Trayvon Martin have yet again raised questions about what took place during the Feb. 26 incident. However, the most damning information could already be available to the public.
Amid much speculation surrounding the sequence of events that led to the death of the unarmed 17-year-old Martin at the hands of 28-year-old George Zimmerman, new allegations and other pieces of evidence could prove fatal to his claim of self-defense.
New allegations of racial prejudice by Zimmerman have surfaced that could add more credence to the contention that Trayvon Martin was profiled by Zimmerman, who performed duties as neighborhood watchman in his gated community in Sanford, Fla.
Though Zimmerman maintains the shooting was in self-defense, he has been charged with second-degree murder and additional hate crime charges are being considered by federal authorities.
Officially released evidence by Florida prosecutors on Thursday included a recorded interview of a man who purportedly worked with Zimmerman who claims he was the target of harassment from him because of his race.
The man, who is of Middle Eastern descent, said Zimmerman used racially offensive language toward him on several occasions, which prompted the man to report Zimmerman to his supervisors.
Though Zimmerman was reportedly fired from the job, the witness did say that he never felt threatened or intimidated by him in any way.
This unidentified witness’s statement, along with other key evidence in the case could potentially change the playing field in favor of the prosecution:
This is extremely vital in establishing how the chain of events took place. Though investigators have an 80-second gap between Zimmerman’s call to 911 and calls by residents, the phone records and testimony of Martin’s 16-year-old girlfriend could possibly fill in this gap.
Martin’s girlfriend said that she was on the phone with him at the exact time the confrontation began.
Other calls made by residents, especially those that recorded the actual shooting should help investigators pin down the exact time the shooting took place.
The Pursuit of Trayvon Martin
This piece of evidence (Found at 2:23 of the 911 call) shows that Zimmerman had begun to follow Martin. It also shows that Zimmerman at the least was attempting to see where Martin was going; however, Martin’s girlfriend alleges that she heard a voice asking what he was doing there just before the call abruptly ended.
Her statement, if proven to be true, along with the 911 dispatcher’s admonishment to Zimmerman not to pursue Martin, could go a long way toward proving Zimmerman intended to confront or possibly even detain Martin.
Perhaps the most damning evidence of all could be Zimmerman’s own words.
In the 911 call to police, Zimmerman made several statements that raise questions as to what his intentions may have been.
What exactly was Trayvon Martin doing that made him look like he was “up to no good,” and what led him to think Martin might have been on drugs? Was Zimmerman making these statements based on his observations, or was he possibly fabricating a reason to engage and shoot Martin?
Why did he tell the 911 dispatcher to have police meet him at one place, seemingly giving the impression he was breaking off the chase, even though he continued to follow Martin?
Since he had chosen to continue pursuit, then why did he not remain on the phone with the dispatcher to update authorities on where Martin was going?
What did Zimmerman mean by the statement, “These a-holes always get away”? Was he merely expressing frustration, or was it anger at the imagined offense that Trayvon Martin had committed or was about to commit?
What happened that caused Martin to turn and begin running away? Zimmerman himself told the dispatcher Martin was coming toward him with something in his hands, then suddenly he states the youth was running away.
Was he actually coming toward Zimmerman, or was this the point that Martin’s girlfriend says she told him to run because Zimmerman was closing in on him?
Zimmerman reportedly said that he was attacked from behind by Martin. If so, why then would Martin, who by Zimmerman’s own report, was attempting to run away, then hide and ambush him?
This also proves Zimmerman apparently continued to follow Martin.
If this is what actually took place, then how did Trayvon Martin’s girlfriend hear a voice assumed to be that of Zimmerman ask, “What are you doing around here?”
This brings up the questions however, of why the phone call abruptly ended and how Martin’s girlfriend could know the sounds she claims to have heard was that of Martin being pushed by Zimmerman instead of the other way around.
Though this information, if credible, may or may not be enough to prove a hate crime was committed, it certainly could help to prove the prosecution’s charge of second-degree murder.
Zimmerman, under Florida law, faces a mandatory 25 years to a life sentence, if convicted.