Thursday, February 7, 2013

George Zimmerman Case: Don't Believe Everything You Read

The same lies and misrepresentations about the George Zimmerman case have been seen, almost word for word, in news reports, blogs and social networking sites.  Take note, you can't believe everything you read.
Fact or fiction, here’s the truth as I know it so far.

Fiction: Zimmerman was told by a 911 dispatcher to not follow Trayvon Martin, but he continued to pursue the young man.
Fact: The 911 dispatcher DID NOT tell George Zimmerman not to follow Trayvon:
Dispatcher: Are you following him
Zimmerman: Yeah
Dispatcher: We don't need you to do that.

Dispatcher never told him not to follow Trayvon.
Being told that they don’t need him to follow Trayvon is not the same as telling him not to do it.  The way it was said was as if the dispatcher feared for Zimmerman, as though following was unsafe. Listen to the 911 call and see the transcript.
Fiction: The Sanford Police department told Trayvon’s parents that George Zimmerman did not have a criminal record.
Fact: Police did not tell Trayvon's parents he didn't have a criminal record, they told him Zimmerman described himself as "squeaky clean.” Police admitted Zimmerman had a record.

Fact twisted to mean something: Trayvon Martin’s body tested for drugs and alcohol after his death and George Zimmerman was not. Trayvon had marijuana in his system.
More Important Fact: Trayvon had an autopsy, as is required when someone is shot; drug and alcohol screen is a part of every autopsy. They did not autopsy Zimmerman.

Fact twisted to mean something: The police didn’t do a ballistics test on Zimmerman’s hands and weapon.
Clarifying fact: You don't do ballistics tests on hands, you do gunshot residue.  Gunshot residue test shows someone fired a gun and isn't necessary to do if someone admits to firing a gun. The police know he has gunshot residue on his hands. Zimmerman also admitted to shooting Trayvon, why would ballistics test be necessary? Also, police seized and are in possession of the gun.

Fact twisted to mean something: Zimmerman made more than 40 911 calls over the past year and should have been looked at as a red flag. The man was obviously a vigilante just waiting for the right victim.
Clarifying fact: George Zimmerman was a neighborhood watch leader, of course he would make 911 calls if, as he made his rounds, he found something suspicious.  It also means the area that Zimmerman patrols as part of his neighborhood watch is crime ridden.
Note: Sanford is so crime ridden that the Sanford police have just created 'The Neighborhood Response Unit, a special unit to combat violent crime. 

Fiction: Investigators failed to look into cellphone records by Martin and Zimmerman, which would have shown them that the shooter’s version of events, etc. were not accurate.
Fact: They did look into the cell phone records. Trayvon's girlfriend refused to talk to police. Also, they have an eyewitness to the events and others who also heard what was going on.

Unknown by public and used to incite anger: The police department refused to return the Martin family’s phone calls in the three days following their son’s death.
Who said they didn't? It's hearsay.

Fiction: The police did not follow protocol.
Fact: The police did follow protocol. The police reacted based on what the witness saw and corroborating physical evidence and 911 calls.  This led the police to believe it was self-defense.  The police and the state followed protocol, though it seems that the 2nd Degree murder charges Florida State Prosecutor is seeking is not appropriate.  If you look at the statutes,

A witness stated that he saw Zimmerman on the ground being beaten by a much larger Martin. The witness heard Zimmerman crying for help, but could not help him. Zimmerman had scratches on the back of his head, grass stains on his back and a broken nose as pictures support:
The police, having evidence to support self-defense could not arrest Zimmerman because of FL statute 776. The police followed their protocol and forwarded the case to the state attorney's office.
We will have to wait until the trial to see what, if anything, George Zimmerman is convicted of.