Important medical evidence was released yesterday in the Trayvon Martin case.
George Zimmerman suffered a fractured nose, two black eyes, lacerations on the back of his skull with significant bruising, and a minor back injury. Trayvon Martin’s injuries were the single bullet wound fired at point blank range, and skinned up knuckles. Martin had no defensive wounds. The evidence seems to support George Zimmerman’s claim of firing his gun in justified self defense after being brutally assaulted in a very one-sided affair.
As you may expect, the medical evidence was immediately discounted by Trayvon Martin’s supporters, who have a significant emotional attachment to their version of events. They’ve attempted convoluted mental gymnastics in attempting to convince themselves that the evidence shows Martin had to defend himself. How do they get to that conclusion? By ignoring all logic and reason.
Some of them do bring up a worthwhile, question, however, when they ask why Zimmerman was allowed to defend himself, and Martin wasn’t.
Their argument (based upon multiple conversations on Twitter) revolves around the belief that George Zimmerman had no right to follow Trayvon Martin through the gated community. Some go further, and assert Zimmerman was “stalking” Martin. They claim that Martin had the right to defend himself against someone following him.
This is a factually incorrect argument.
First, they need to understand that it is perfectly legal for a citizen to make a “suspicious person” call to 911, even if that person has committed no obvious crime. “Profiling” is not racist, and is used by every law enforcement agency in every country in the world, and has been throughout human history. It simply means that someone is engaged in atypical behavior warrant further scrutiny.
Zimmerman made his phone call to 911 based upon Martin walking slowly and looking at houses, which he perceived to be “casing” houses for possible burglary. As there had been a rash of recent break ins committed in that neighborhood, this was an entirely logical decision. All he wanted to do was have police come and make sure that this mysterious hooded figure walking slowly in a cold rain was not one of the criminals that had terrorized his neighbors recently in a rash of crimes.
Martin noticed he was being followed, and apparently attempted to evade Zimmerman. This is also entirely logical behavior from Martin’s perspective. Most of us would attempt to lose someone obviously following us, and the more intelligent of us would place our own call to 911 (Martin did not).
The first clear mistake in judgement by either man was when Zimmerman left his vehicle in attempting to keep an eye on Martin’s location for police. He did not break any laws in doing so, and it is laughable to assert he was “stalking” Martin.
Stalking has a very specific definition under Florida law. Zimmerman’s following Martin did not come close to meeting those criteria. Nonetheless, it wasn’t smart for Zimmerman to leave his vehicle, even though it was his legal right to follow Martin in public.
Martin had legal rights as well. He could not be assaulted or detained by Zimmerman, and he owed him no explanation for what he was doing or why he was there. But as Zimmerman’s 911 call seems to show, Zimmerman has zero interest in making contact himself with Martin. He simply wanted to know where Martin was, so that he could direct the authorities to him so that they could check him out.
When the 911 dispatcher surmised that Zimmerman had left his vehicle and was actively trying to follow Martin on foot (because of his heavy breathing while running), he said very clearly in the call, “We don’t need you to do that.”
This would not have been a legal order to stop his pursuit as some have dishonestly portrayed, as a dispatcher carries no legal authority, even if he demanded Zimmerman stop. But it wasn’t an order, in any event.
“We don’t need you to do that” is about as passive a statement as the dispatcher could have made. In any event, the call records Zimmerman’s response.
Zimmerman says “okay.” Then his breathing returns to normal over the next 93 seconds of the call, as he relates to the dispatcher information about his now-stationary position so that responding officers just minutes can find him.
This is crucial evidence.
Zimmerman had terminated his ill-advised though entirely legal following of Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman was on the phone in a recorded 911 call for another one minute, 33 seconds after terminating his pursuit before he ended the call.
What happened next is the question for which we don’t have clear answers, though they are becoming clearer. Zimmerman and Martin obviously met. There was some sort of brief conversation, and then the fatal fight. Zimmerman’s testimony is that Martin threw the first punch and dropped Zimmerman, then Martin jumped on top of Zimmerman and began to pummel him.
Martin supporters have attempted to claim that Martin had the right to confront Zimmerman under “Stand your Ground” laws, and that he had a right to “defend himself” against the man pursuing him.
Trayvon Martin did in fact have every right and reason to ask George Zimmerman why he was following him, and had he chosen to use his mouth instead of his fists, it is likely both men would have survived their meeting without a scratch.
Trayvon Martin did not have any legal right to launch an assault on George Zimmerman for merely following him.
That is simply a legal fact. It is not up for debate. That is the law.
Martin dropped Zimmerman, and then not only pursued his assault, but escalated it into assault with a deadly weapon when he began smashing Zimmerman’s head on the concrete sidewalk. It is legally no different than if he picked up a piece of concrete and used it as a weapon.
At that point, battered, bruised, mounted, and fearing for his life, George Zimmerman allegedly drew his Kel-Tec PF-9 from his holster and fired a single shot into Trayvon Martin’s abdomen at point-blank range, presumably from his back, with Martin still on top of him.
This is justified self defense in every state in the union, under centuries-old common law that predates the founding of this nation. Florida’s version of the “stand your ground” law was irrelevant to the actual shooting, and is only relevant in that it provides criminal and civil protections so that someone in the unfortunate situation of protecting their own life cannot then be sued into poverty by bottom-feeding personal injury lawyers, like Martin family Attorney Benjamin Crump.
Trayvon Martin could not cite “stand your ground” laws as an excuse for attacking Zimmerman, because someone following you, at a distance, is not something that comes close to meeting the standard of reasonably believing:
…it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.
Nothing in George Zimmerman’s known actions came close to the “reasonable man” self-defense standard upon which “stand your ground” is built. He was obviously not committing a forcible felony,and had not laid a finger on anyone. There was nothing in his behavior (following someone in public) that could be construed as an imminent threat to Trayvon Martin’s life.
The first crime that took place is when Trayvon Martin punched George Zimmerman in the face, which was aggravated assault.
The second crime was when Martin escalated the fight by mounting Zimmerman and continuing his assault, escalating it further into assault with a deadly weapon when he began smashing Zimmerman’s head on the concrete.
At this point, with Trayvon Martin on top of him, beating him severely enough to fracture his nose, blacken both of his eyes, and cause multiple lacerations on the back of his skull, George Zimmerman was in a position where a “reasonable man” would assume his life was in imminent danger of being terminated by an assailant that would not stop his assault. He pulled his weapon, and fired a single shot, terminating the threat.
All known eyewitness testimony, recorded 911 call information, and medical evidence strongly suggest George Zimmerman’s perception and explanation of events of that evening are as consistent as you can expect a person to recall.
Trayvon Martin did not remotely have a “stand your ground” defense for his assault. There was no reason for him to believe that a man following him at a distance posed an imminent lethal threat. Nor was there any indication that at their meeting Zimmerman initiated a lethal force scenario.
Only Zimmerman, after Trayon first committed assault and then escalated it, has a reasonable defense case.
Those are the facts as we now understand them. Ignore them at your peril.