idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
We know there was a fight, so having injuries isn't really a surprise. No one has ever claimed, to my knowledge, that Zimmerman just got out of his car and shot the kid. They got in a fight.
Not that he just got out of his car and shot Martin, but Mary Cutcher (whose interview has been aired many times and is one of the prime sources being used to argue that Zimmerman should be charged with murder) absolutely has been claiming that there was no fight immediately prior to the shot being fired (and thus, he had no reason to shoot):
From this article
This was not self-defense,” Cutcher said. “We heard no fighting, no wrestling, no punching. We heard a boy crying. As soon as the shot went off, it stopped, which tells me it was the child crying. If it had been Zimmerman crying, it wouldn’t have stopped. If you’re hurting, you’re hurting.”
She and her friend say they heard the sounds from a few steps away, where they were inside beside an open window. Seconds later, they dashed out to find a boy face down on the ground and a man standing over him, a foot on each side of the body on the ground, with his hands pinning the shooting victim down.
“I asked him, ‘What’s happening here? What’s going on?’ ” said Cutcher’s friend, Selma Mora Lamilla. “The third time, I was indignant, and he said, ‘just call the police.’ Then I saw him with his hands over his head in the universal sign of: ‘Oh man, I messed up.’ ”
The women, who were the first on the scene, said they saw Zimmerman pacing back and forth.
“I know what I heard. I heard a cry and a shot,” Mora said. “If there was a fight, it did not happen here where the boy was shot. I would have heard it, as this all happened right outside my open window.”
The women think there may well have been a physical altercation between the two, but it must have taken place in a different spot, where Zimmerman perhaps had a chance to compose himself and draw his weapon.
She's directly claiming that they got into an altercation, then Martin ran away, Zimmerman followed him, cornered him, and shot him in cold blood. Her account to the media is one of the reasons there's so much outrage about this. But her account is absolutely contradicted by several other witness accounts. I'll gladly link and quote them if you want, but it's really not that hard to find if you spend some time looking.
There are two questions that need answering. One, who started it? And Two, was it covered under the stand your ground act?
I agree. But I don't think that drawing emotional responses from clearly incorrect accounts of events like from Cutcher help us make those determinations. Clearly, they were fighting right up to the moment the shot rang out. The 13 year old boy walking the dog said he saw one person on top of another with them fighting, then his dog got away from him, then he heard a shot. It couldn't have been that long a period of time. Martin's girlfriend said that she heard the two have a verbal exchange right before the call was disconnected (which she assumes was from Martin being pushed, but it could have occurred as a result of any sort of action). That call ended 1 minute before the shot was fired (confirmed by numerous 911 calls). By itself, you could argue that they had a physical fight, then Martin ran away, and Zimmerman chased and shot him, but what about other witnesses? There's a woman who said she saw someone with a white shirt on top of another person right before the shot was fired. Another man saw pretty much the exact same thing.
At the time the shot was fired, it's pretty clear that Zimmerman was in a physical conflict which met the criteria for self defense. The only possibly contravening issue is if he initiated the physical conflict. And for that, we have no witnesses (except Zimmerman himself).
If Zimmerman was following the kid, there's a very good chance that he's not protected by the act regardless of who started the engagement.
I'm not sure that's correct. Are you suggesting that a homeowner in a gated community can't even approach someone else and ask them what they're doing? As long as Zimmerman didn't initiate the physical confrontation, he absolutely should be protected (stand your ground or not). He's got a right to walk wherever he wants within that complex (and so does Martin). Neither has a right to assault the other, of course. But simply approaching someone isn't a crime and isn't sufficient grounds for violent response.
Even if the youngster engaged first, it was with someone who (confirmed by the 911 call), had been slowly following him for at least 4 minutes. That definitely sounds like self defense.
To attack someone because they're walking towards you? By that logic, Zimmerman could have shot him when he first saw the kid. You don't get to assault someone just because they're walking along a sidewalk. That rule applies in both directions. Also, according to Martin's girlfriend, Zimmerman asked Martin what he was doing in the area, and Martin responded by asking why he was being followed. Then the line disconnected. Now, I'm certainly speculating here, but it would seem to me that one of the most reasonable questions to ask someone like Zimmerman in that case is "who are you" or "why are you asking me this". It's got to be something that someone on a watch patrol gets a lot, and his answer should have been something like "I'm the neighborhood watch captain". Now, we can assume that instead of giving this simple answer which he's probably given a hundred times when he approaches someone while on a patrol, he decided in this case to jump on Martin and attempt some form of citizen's arrest, but it seems to me that if he started by asking Martin what he was doing, he would continue with conversation as long as possible. Remember, he's already called the cops. He's got time on his side. He has no reason to escalate this into a physical confrontation
. Since we know from the girlfriends story that he did initiate a conversation first, it just seems unlikely to switch tactics.
It seems far more likely that Martin panicked and attacked Zimmerman the second his back was turned (just as Zimmerman reported to police). Or something else happened which caused an escalation. I don't know what that was. You don't know what that was. But to assume that Zimmerman initiated it is speculation at best. And in the absence of evidence that he did anything other than he claimed he did, the law has to give him that benefit of the doubt.
You're relying on this white top/red jacket distinction to prove that one is false, but they take place at different times. It was a cold, wet evening. Is there any chance that GASP, he could have put on his jacket by the time the cops arrived? The jacket he may well have not been wearing while in his car (I, for one, almost never wear a coat while driving if I can help it--the lowest setting of heat is generally sufficient for maintaining a comfortable temperature).
My understanding is that he got out of his car while on the phone with the police initially (you can hear the door chime, and then it sounds like he's walking in the audio) and it was a couple minutes later when he encountered Martin in the complex (while both were on foot), and when the conversation started, Martin's phone call ended, and a minute later a shot rang out. While I suppose it's possible that he could have run back to his car and gotten his red jacket and put it on, and technically the police report doesn't say that the grass stains were on his jacket (just on his back), that's also just speculation. We could speculate a whole bunch of possibilities.
I agree that this is an area that would be useful to clear up. Were the grass stains on the back of his jacket? There were several witnesses who saw him immediately after the shooting (including Cutcher). Did they report what he was wearing at the time? Also, given that so many witnesses were around after the shooting, is it really likely he went back to his car and put the jacket on? I'd think that would have been particularly suspicious, don't you?
And that last article you linked says that the "sole" witness saw Zimmerman being pinned, but the police report lists multiple witnesses. It's also fully possible that, in the fight we know happened, Trayvon at some point had the upper hand. That obviously does not mean he had to be the aggressor, and we know he didn't keep the advantage.
I missed any reference to a "sole" witness. Where is that mentioned on the linked page?
And I agree that doesn't tell us anything about who started the physical altercation. But there is *zero* evidence anywhere to allow anyone to assume that it was Zimmerman. But the entire claim that this was an unjustified shooting rests on that assumption. This is why the police didn't charge him with a crime. There's simply no evidence that he committed one.
Also, I have serious problems believing that he hit Zimmerman on the back of the head with a pipe, and all Zimmerman had was some minor bleeding.
I've been hit over the head with a tire iron hard enough to make me nearly black out (actually watched the floor tilt with no perception of being off balance, then watched it tilt back to level as I recovered). I did not have a scratch as a result though. Just a huge freaking bump on my head. It's absolutely possible to get hit over the head and not bleed from it (or only bleed a little bit). It depends where you are hit.
According to your links, Trayvon was about 6 ft, but 160 pounds. He may have been a football player, but not in the way you are trying to get us to imagine.
He's also not the small helpless child that many others are making him out to be. Much of the claims that Trayvon must have been a helpless victim rest on the assumption that he was so much smaller and weaker than Zimmerman that he would never have decided to start a fight with him. Clearly, that's not necessarily the case though. It just seems like those assumptions are leading everything in this issue. If you assume Martin was the innocent victim, then a witness report of a man straddling another man and hitting him is assumed to be Zimmerman beating up Martin, and the cries for help are therefore assumed to be from Martin, and everything sure seems to be damning towards Zimmerman's actions.
But take away that initial assumption, and the whole story changes. And when you dig through enough of those eye witness statements, and you read the police report, it becomes increasingly obvious that the guy people saw on top beating the other guy was Martin. And it was Zimmerman who was crying out for help. And now that really damning situation you thought you saw at first evaporates (or it should anyway). And you're left, as you have correctly pointed out, asking one question: Who initiated the physical confrontation?
IMO, that's the only remaining issue here. If Zimmerman started the fight, then everything that follows is his responsibility, including the shooting of Martin. But if Martin started the fight, then everything Zimmerman did meets the criteria for self defense. Edited, Mar 22nd 2012 5:40pm by gbaji