What the police told Tracy Martin about the events leading up to the shooting
The April 1 New York Times has an article , “The Events Leading to the Shooting of Trayvon Martin,” which is alternately incoherent and slanted against George Zimmerman. For one thing, along with the rest of the liberal media and more than a few thoughtless conservatives (such Michael Brendan Dougherty) who automatically believe whatever the liberal media tell them, it uses the grainy distant surveillance video in the police station to “establish” that Zimmerman was not injured, plus witnesses saying he wasn’t injured, which, the Times eagerly tells us, is devastating to Zimmerman’s case. Since April 1, of course, this premature conclusion has been disproved by the enhanced video showing what look like gash marks on the top of Zimmerman’s head. Furthermore, Zimmerman’s injuries were described by Officer Timothy Smith, who stood next to Zimmerman at the scene and made out the first police report. Yet a grainy surveillance video plus media interviews of neighbors were given more weight than the official report of the officer at the scene.
Here, however, I want to focus on one part of the Times article, the account of the interactions between Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin that the police gave Trayvon’s father, Tracy Martin (a black man named “Tracy”? Isn’t that one of those stupid fashionable names for white females, like “Kelly”?). The police account, or rather Tracy Martin’s version of it, creates a problem for Zimmerman, suggesting, at the very least, that he helped unnecessarily provoke the confrontation. Let us consider it carefully:
Detectives gave Tracy Martin, Trayvon’s father, an account of the events that Mr. Martin finds hard to believe. Trayvon’s father, Tracy Martin, was told that Trayvon approached Mr. Zimmerman twice. First, he walked up to Mr. Zimmerman’s vehicle and asked why he was following him. Mr. Zimmerman denied following him. Trayvon walked away, and Mr. Zimmerman got out of his vehicle. Trayvon then approached him from behind a building and said, “What’s your problem, homie?” Mr. Zimmerman said he did not have a problem, and Trayvon attacked him. Trayvon hit Mr. Zimmerman and pinned him to the ground. Mr. Zimmerman pulled his gun as he was being beat and fired one shot. “You got me,” Trayvon said, falling back.So, according to the police (who of course got this information from Zimmerman), Trayvon twice asked Zimmerman if he was following him or if he had a problem with him, which Zimmerman twice denied. In this account, Zimmerman apparently never identified himself to Trayvon as a neighborhood watchman pursuing his duties. Of course this is not Zimmerman’s account that the Times is giving us, but Tracy Martin’s account of the police account of Zimmerman’s account, and maybe it is wrong. But if it is right, it indicates that Zimmerman did not properly identify himself as a watchman, but acted as if he was just some guy who was both threateningly following Martin and repeatedly and dishonestly denying that he was following him. That would indicate that Zimmerman’s behavior was wrong and suspicious and put Trayvon in reasonable fear. This wouldn’t mean that Zimmerman is guilty of murdering Martin, but it would at the least suggest that he was responsible for unnecessarily provoking Trayvon’s fears, which led to Trayvon’s attack on Zimmerman, which led to Trayvon’s death.
However, the police report to Tracy Martin as conveyed by Martin to the media doesn’t make sense, and there is reason to believe that it is not a correct account of what Zimmerman told the police. I say this because in his 911 call Zimmerman plainly indicated that he was worried about Martin. So why would he, after he had shot Martin and the police were investigating the killing, tell the police that when Martin asked him why he was following him, he, Zimmerman, denied that he was following him, and, a second time, denied that he had a problem with him? It makes no sense at all. If Zimmerman said that to Martin, he would not only be contradicting what he had earlier told the police on the 911 call, but also making himself look suspicious.
Let us further remember that Tracy Martin’s account to the media of what the police told him is hearsay, and not only hearsay, but hearsay conveyed by a highly interested party who is accusing Zimmerman of murdering his son. It is obvious, therefore, that Tracy Martin’s account is not to be credited in the absence of corroboration. Yet the Times quotes it as though it were the established truth of what happened.