RSS
Trayvon Martin: Does newly released police video undermine George Zimmerman's case?
Footage captured shortly after Trayvon Martin's death raises new doubts about the shooter's claim that he fired in self defense
 
In a screen shot of police surveillance footage, George Zimmerman appears largely blood and scratch free, despite his claim of a violent tussle.
In a screen shot of police surveillance footage, George Zimmerman appears largely blood and scratch free, despite his claim of a violent tussle.
Screen shot, ABC News

A newly released police video taken the night Trayvon Martin was killed shows little evidence of blood on George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who says he shot the 17-year-old Martin in self defense. (See the video below.) The clip — obtained by ABC News — was taken by a surveillance camera as Zimmerman arrived for questioning at the Sanford, Fla., police station last month. Zimmerman, who is half-Latino, told police that Martin, who was black, punched him and slammed his head against the ground, leaving him cut and bleeding. Does this new footage make Zimmerman's version of the story harder to believe?

So much for Zimmerman's claim of self defense: The disconnect between Zimmerman's story "and the footage screams for an explanation," says Jesse Singal at The Daily Beast. The police say they didn't arrest Zimmerman because he had a bloody nose and a cut on the back of his head, apparently backing up the claim that he fired because Martin was beating him up. But now, judging from an admittedly blurry surveillance video, it looks like Zimmerman was unscathed. If that's true, Zimmerman's many media defenders are guilty of "an absolutely catastrophic failure" that offers a "devastating example" of the "internet's power to decide 'the facts' long before anyone has a clue what they are."
"George Zimmerman video outrage: Where are injuries from Trayvon fight?"

Hold on. This tape isn't enough to discredit Zimmerman: "The surveillance tape changes nothing," says Donald Douglas at American Power. "All it does is fuel speculation." Perhaps Zimmerman doesn't look like someone who has just been pummeled, but why would he? "The paramedics at the scene checked him over" and he was only put in the squad car after they had finished. Of course, Zimmerman should be prosecuted if his story falls apart. But this video is far from conclusive.
"George Zimmerman police video"

All this proves is that nobody knows what happened: "To my mind, Zimmerman sure looks fine, though his nose does look a bit swollen," says William Teach at Pirate's Cove. And you'd think there would be some blood visible if Zimmerman's nose was broken, as his lawyer claims. But this is just part of the puzzle, as are new revelations that Martin had been suspended from school — "bursting the media bubble that Trayvon was a little angel." The bottom line is that nobody should blame Trayvon or Zimmerman until we have all the facts.
"What does the new Zimmerman video show?"

Watch the surveillance video for yourself:

 

 

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week