Trayvon Martin 911 Tapes Shed Light

Blank spaces during these recordings are addresses or other data blanked out. Not work safe.

Zimmerman’s call to the police:
:http://freethoughtblogs.com/xblog/files/2012/03/George-Zimmerman-Treyvon-Martin-911-Call.mp3|titles=George-Zimmerman-Treyvon-Martin-911-Call

Reports of screaming, gunshots:
:http://freethoughtblogs.com/xblog/files/2012/03/Treyvon-Martin-George-Zimmerman-Neighbor-911-Call-Screaming-Gunshots-Heard.mp3|titles=Treyvon-Martin-George-Zimmerman-Neighbor-911-Call-Screaming-Gunshots-Heard

Report of seeing Zimmerman:
:http://freethoughtblogs.com/xblog/files/2012/03/Treyvon-Martin-George-Zimmerman-Young-Female-Neighbor-Sees-Zimmerman.mp3|titles=Treyvon-Martin-George-Zimmerman-Young-Female-Neighbor-Sees-Zimmerman

Report of wrestling:
:http://freethoughtblogs.com/xblog/files/2012/03/Treyvon-Martin-George-Zimmerman-Male-Neighbor-Reports-Wrestling.mp3|titles=Treyvon-Martin-George-Zimmerman-Male-Neighbor-Reports-Wrestling

Report of seeing Tayvon and Zimmerman:
:http://freethoughtblogs.com/xblog/files/2012/03/Treyvon-Martin-George-Zimmerman-911-call-Female-Neighbor-Sees-Tayvon-and-Zimmerman-1.mp3|titles=Treyvon-Martin-George-Zimmerman-911-call-Female-Neighbor-Sees-Tayvon-and-Zimmerman

I heard a loud noise and the screaming stopped:
:http://freethoughtblogs.com/xblog/files/2012/03/Treyvon-Martin-George-Zimmerman-Neighbor-911-Call-Sister-and-Brother-Walking-Dog.mp3|titles=Treyvon-Martin-George-Zimmerman-Neighbor-911-Call-Sister-and-Brother-Walking-Dog

Two doors down, heard screaming, shot:
:http://freethoughtblogs.com/xblog/files/2012/03/Treyvon-Martin-George-Zimmerman-Neighbor-911-Call-Female-Neighbor-2-doors-down-hears-screaming-and-shot.mp3|titles=Treyvon-Martin-George-Zimmerman-Neighbor-911-Call-Female-Neighbor-2-doors-down-hears-screaming-and-shot

Long report (Part 1):
:http://freethoughtblogs.com/xblog/files/2012/03/Lonely-Distraught-Woman-After-Zimmerman-Murdered-Trayvon_01.mp3|titles=Lonely-Distraught-Woman-After-Zimmerman-Murdered-Trayvon_01

Long report (Part 2):
:http://freethoughtblogs.com/xblog/files/2012/03/Lonely-Distraught-Woman-After-Zimmerman-Murdered-Trayvon_02.mp3|titles=Lonely-Distraught-Woman-After-Zimmerman-Murdered-Trayvon_02

CBS consultant notes that the case reeks of racial bias:

ABC report with some of the tapes:

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31 Responses to Trayvon Martin 911 Tapes Shed Light

  1. Azkyroth says:

    I’m surprised no one’s brought up the Emmett Till murder yet.

  2. It’s pretty clear from the tapes that this was not self-defense by any standard.

  3. A. Levy says:

    Thanks to the stupid Stand Your Ground law, he’s going to get away with it. Make a claim of self-defense and the cops don’t even bother. They just send the investigation to the State Attorney’s office, who then decline to prosecute. Maybe Zimmerman is guilty of civil rights violation for preventing Trayvon from walking down a public street just because Trayvon looked like he was up to trouble (walking while black).

  4. Kevin says:

    Unfortunately, A.Levy might be right. Its perfectly plausible that Zimmerman tried to detain Martin until the police arrived and this caused Martin to try to break free (i.e. struggle) resulting in this legal quagmire where both people possibly acting legally, yet ended disastrously.

    Zimmerman thinks ‘they’ always get away so he wants to detain Martin until police arrive. Martin thinks he is being assaulted so he tries to escape the situation and takes off running. Zimmerman catches (i.e. tackles) him. Since Martin is being assaulted, tried to escape the situation, and is now unable to escape, he can legally use force to defend himself as per typical defense laws. Since Martin defended himself (which from Zimmerman’s point of view equals attacking), and Zimmerman doesn’t have a duty to retreat (Stand Your Ground*), he can use force against Martin. The only thing that could be disputed is the magnitude of force used. However, with some reports of Zimmerman having sustained a head injury, even the amount of force may be justified. At this point, the police would need to have probable cause that Martin did not defend himself against Zimmerman. They basically have to prove a negative.

    *I have a feeling that this analysis is wrong. I feel like the error would be that Zimmerman’s use of force was not legal since it was in response to a lawful use of force (e.g. self-defense). You can only stand your ground against an unlawful use of force. This would mean that the only situation where Zimmerman acted legally was if Martin assaulted Zimmerman without provocation. However, this seems to be contradicted by the eyewitness accounts. For this to go to trial, I think this is the route best taken.

  5. JohnS says:

    I’m all for stand your ground laws, but this is nuts. Stand your ground does not involve stalking and tackling someone who has merely walked through the rain at night. Zimmerman was trained to NOT follow as a neighborhood watch captain. On the 911 call he was told to NOT follow again. He then makes the decision to leave his car (stupid), chase and tackle the boy (stupid) and THEN wants to claim self defense. Absolutely not. This appears to be a case of racism, paranoia, aggression, and incredibly poor decision making. It’s sad that a boy had to lose his life to a man who no doubt thought he was doing the right thing. It goes to show that a very small thing (ignorance / stupidity) can end a life.

  6. Paul Durrant says:

    The first 3rd party call is horrific. You can hear the calls for help in the background, and then the gunshot.

    I can’t imagine why Zimmerman hasn’t been arrested and held in custody over this. Well, except racism, of course.

  7. gwen says:

    I just listened to the tapes, they are heartbreaking. I don’t understand why Zimmerman is still free.

  8. inflection says:

    Texas as a similar law, and a few years ago there was a case where a man called 911 to report a couple of housebreakers next door. He was white, they were Hispanic. The 911 operator kept telling him to stay calm and stay inside, that the police were coming. On the tape you can hear a human being slowly working himself up to the chance to kill another human being and get away with it under color of law. He finally summoned sufficient erection to do it, and he went out and murdered two fleeing, unarmed men. Just a backshooting coward.

    The names of these laws — Stand Your Ground, Castle Defense — trumpet the agreessive attitudes that they encourage. They won’t turn our cities into the Old West, not as long as the crime rates stay down, but as long as they are in force there will be a slow bleed of murderous tragedies like these.

  9. carolw says:

    I hope there will be justice for this young man. The 911 tapes are heartbreaking and terrifying, especially the last one. I’m afraid I would sound like that if I heard someone get shot. I have to give kudos to that 911 dispatcher for doing a very good job.

  10. WMDKitty says:

    *SMH*

    Somehow, I get the feeling that IF this guy is arrested (fat fucking chance) he’ll be let off with some kind of warning or the minimum charge allowed.

    I hope the feds get involved on this one, and slam Zimmerman AND the corrupt/incompetent/racist/all-of-the-above police force with everything they can.

  11. kyoseki says:

    This could well be the case to get the stand your ground law overturned.

    If it turns out that Zimmermann didn’t actually do anything illegal (note that I’m not saying he didn’t do anything wrong, wrong and illegal aren’t even close to the same thing), then it’s pretty clear evidence of a piece of monumentally fucked up legislation.

    Stand your ground legalizes unnecessary escalation of violence, firearms (or indeed any weapon) should only ever be used as a last resort and the law should reflect that.

  12. Azkyroth says:

    However, with some reports of Zimmerman having sustained a head injury, even the amount of force may be justified. At this point, the police would need to have probable cause that Martin did not defend himself against Zimmerman. They basically have to prove a negative.

    There is no fucking universe in which an amount of force exists which, when used in self-defense, renders a civilian shooting a fleeing child in the back “justified.”

  13. Kevin says:

    ‘There is no fucking universe in which an amount of force exists which, when used in self-defense, renders a civilian shooting a fleeing child in the back “justified.”’

    I never said there was. In the hypothetical, Zimmerman did not chase Martin with the intend to shoot him. He intended to detain him until the police arrived*. He then wrestles with him, and since he is ‘at serious risk of bodily harm’ (i.e. injury to the head) shoots Martin. At the point of the shooting, it is not Martin fleeing, but they are ‘fighting’/wrestling/etc. (although Martin is legally defending himself. This is consistent with the witness saying, if I recall correctly, that Zimmerman was on top of Martin. I didn’t see any confirmation that Martin was fleeing at the time he was shot and that he was shot in the back. Can you post a link to the new report?

    *Whether this would make his later actions murder is beyond me. Since it would have been an illegal detainment (since it was without probable cause), I don’t know how much latitude is given for citizens making a citizens arrest (i.e. how liable they are if they are wrong). I think the family would have a great civil lawsuit against Zimmerman, but there seems to be a lack of mens rea to criminally charge Zimmerman with false arrest, false imprisonment, etc. Due to the lack of mens rea, it would be difficult to charge him with anything.

  14. itzac says:

    Wouldn’t a Stand Your Ground law require that you actually occupy the ground you eventually defend prior to first contact with the other party?

    The facts of this story indicate that Zimmerman intercepted Martin and it seems he initiated the physical altercation. In what world does this not constitute assault? Does being the neighbourhood watch captain grant him special privileges?

  15. Mike says:

    Itzac, you have a loose idea of “facts”. There are no facts indicating zimmerman intercepted or initiated anything. His 911 call had him running for a while (the sound of air in the microphone means he was probably running to maintain visual of Martin), but he stops running and seems to indicate, near the end of his call, that he lost sight of Martin (“These guys always get away”).

    There is no indication what happened between the Zimmerman 911 call and the actual shooting. We (the public and readers of this site) are missing crucial facts in order to conclude anything. How about a medical report of Zimmerman’s wounds? Blood locations? Voice analysis of who is actually yelling help (my money is on zimmerman)? Keep in mind that there are at least two sides to this event, and we have yet to hear Zimmerman’s side.

  16. itzac says:

    Fair enough. I guess I was interpolating. But we do know that Zimmerman hadn’t had direct contact with Martin when he placed his 911. We also know they fought and Zimmerman shot Martin. We also know, from the Zimmerman call, that he reports seeing Martin run away after saying the line you quote, so your interpretation is… generous.

    At some point in between one of them must have approached the other. We know Martin ran away once, and Zimmerman gave pursuit once (all in the Zimmerman call). So we are left to ask which is more likely:
    1) A teenager with candy in his pocket approached a man 100lbs heavier than him who had previously already chased him.
    2) A man who chased a teenager until being told not to by a 911 operator, resumed his pursuit after hanging up and intercepted the boy.

    I’m going to stand behind my interpretation. I’ll take my loose definition of facts over whatever-the-hell is going on in your head any day.

  17. Kevin says:

    Itzac, this is the condition for the Stand your Ground law for using lethal force: “He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony.” (However, the condition for non-lethal force says its only justified if used against an unlawful force.)

    The law has nothing to do with defending the ground you are standing on. It has everything to do with defending oneself, regardless of where oneself is situated. Under the law, it doesn’t matter who approached who. And by the way, great bodily harm is a lot weaker standard than you’d think. Couldn’t find cases from Florida, but one decision from a jury in CA decided that a broken nose was sufficient for the designation of great bodily harm.

  18. devoin says:

    Where was Rev. Sharpton when Deputy Barbara Pill was murdered by a black youth last month?Why couldn’t Jesse Jackson come down and council the black community then?
    They are both coming to Florida to stir up trouble and feed the frenzie of the press and more people may be hurt.The public has not heard ALL of the 911 tapes. Trayvon’s mother wasn’t there how can she keep saying what her son did ? Sure from all we have seen on tv it looks like Zimmerman is guilty,but we only see what the press thinks will make them the most money. The local police made an investigation and then turned it over to the state attorneys office. Do you really think BOTH agencies are filled with red neck racists that would let Zimmerman slide for killing an innocent black youth? Another lie from the press is Zimmerman is not “white” he is of Hispanic decent. Please be careful not to be tainted by a mother’s grief and the slanted view’s of our press. give the state attorney’s office a chance to get to the bottom of this shooting.

  19. WMDKitty says:

    So, @devoin, how much did the piggies pay you to post that bullshit?

  20. Greg Laden says:

    Kevin: “He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another from Skittles or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony.”

    Fixed that for you.

  21. devoin says:

    Kitty,
    That is the type of behavior I’m talking about . You have already made up your mind from what the media has told you to think. Perhaps you feel we don’t need the legal system . That type of childish behavior is how lynch mobs are formed.

  22. Kevin says:

    Greg, the part about him being unarmed is irrelevant. As I said, as the law stands, if you reasonably believe that someone is imminently about to break your nose (which also makes size difference somewhat irrelevant), you are justified in shooting them. If Martin legally defended himself by striking Zimmerman in the head, well there’s your reasonable belief. The section that involves the use of lethal force doesn’t make the distinction of whether the use of force against Zimmerman was legal or not. The law makes it so the attacker is justified in shooting the victim if the victim defends themselves in a legal manner, which makes it very poorly written. However, that is the fault of lawmakers, not the police.

  23. Greg Laden says:

    Skittles, Kevin. The law is wrong, Zimmerman is wrong, and the police and county DA are wrong

  24. Bo James says:

    Who cares what decent Zimmerman is? His contact information is:

    GEORGE ZIMMERMAN
    1950 RETREAT VIEW CIR
    SANFORD, FL 32771
    (407) 878-6007

  25. Kevin says:

    “The law is wrong, Zimmerman is wrong, and the police and county DA are wrong”

    I agree that the law is wrong and that Zimmerman is wrong. However, the function of the police and the DA is to enforce the law. If somebody does something that is legally protected, they can’t arrest them. The police/DA don’t get to re-write the laws that they determine to be wrong; we correctly decided to separate those powers.

  26. anne mariehovgaard says:

    Kevin, are you really saying that you believe it is reasonable to claim self-defense when the person you shoot has been running away from you, and you’ve chased him down???

  27. Greg Laden says:

    Kevin, I agree with what you are saying except the part about this being legally protected. The law does not provide for driving around looking for someone, finding them, following them, running after them, and killing them, even in the most liberal interpretation.

    Also, and this is harder to argue but I’ll put it out there, the DA’s, police, county attorneys, etc. etc. do in fact swear to protect the Constitution of the US and probably of the state. If the law did in fact completely abrogate all fifth amendment rights (which is the only way you could have a “shoot whoever you don’t like the looks of, it’s OK, law) then they could not follow that law. They would have to ignore it.

    There is the smallest chance that the local authorities are keeping away from this case for the very reason that they don’t like the law and are in a sense demonstrating how bad it is, hoping for a higher authority to take it up and perhaps for a court case they don’t have to underwrite.

  28. Kevin says:

    “Kevin, are you really saying that you believe it is reasonable to claim self-defense when the person you shoot has been running away from you, and you’ve chased him down???”-Anne

    Under most (i.e. every other) self-defense statutes, no. Under the Stand Your Ground statute, its a lot less clear. I’m talking in a specifically legal sense. I’m not talking about whether this is justified in a moral sense.

    “The law does not provide for driving around looking for someone, finding them, following them, running after them, and killing them, even in the most liberal interpretation.”-Greg

    I never said it did. I said that it would if the victim defended themselves (even legally) in such a way that it would cause imminent great bodily harm and there was no previous mens rea for unlawful activity. This is far away from your portrayal of it being a “shoot whoever you don’t like the looks of, it’s OK, law.”

    I think that Martin legally tried to defend himself. Under the Stand Your Ground law, if someone legally defends themselves, you can legally shoot them. This is what makes it a horrible law. Under traditional self-defense laws, Zimmerman wouldn’t be legally covered since he could have retreated. However, this new law doesn’t require him to, so he is plausibly legally covered.

    However, there is a slight legal distinction that hasn’t been covered much. Normally self-defense is an affirmative defense. This means that the burden of proof is on the defendant (Zimmerman) to prove that this defense applies to him. This means that the DA has decided (if they decide not to pursue charges, I don’t know if they decided against or are just usually slow) ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ that Zimmerman was imminently at risk of great bodily harm (probably based on his injuries). However, this would be best decided by a jury.

  29. Kevin says:

    Never mind what I said about it being an affirmative defense. Just read an article stating that:

    “The courts’ interpretation of the stand-your-ground law has been extremely broad—so broad that, to win an acquittal, a defendant doesn’t even have to prove self-defense, only argue for it, while to win a conviction the prosecution has to prove that self-defense was impossible.”

    “When a defendant claims self-defense, ‘the State has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in self-defense.'”

    “This has led to some stunning verdicts in the state. In Tallahassee in 2008, two rival gangs engaged in a neighborhood shootout, and a 15-year-old African American male was killed in the crossfire. The three defendants all either were acquitted or had their cases dismissed, because the defense successfully argued they were defending themselves under the ‘stand your ground’ law. The state attorney in Tallahassee, Willie Meggs, was beside himself. ‘Basically this law has put us in the posture that our citizens can go out into the streets and have a gun fight and the dead person is buried and the survivor of the gun fight is immune from prosecution,’ he said at the time.”

    So, yeah, this law sucks, so the blame rests on the lawmakers.

  30. devoin says:

    Bo James said “Who cares what decent Zimmerman is? “I dont care either the point is that the press is misrepresenting many of the facts for shock value or ratings. Thanks for reading.

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