A security video that shows neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman being led in handcuffs from a police car after he fatally shot Trayvon Martin is adding to the debate over whether the shooting was a case of self-defense.
A still from a video from inside the Sanford, Florida, police station allegedly showing a handcuffed George Zimmerman being led by police. (Police video obtained by ABC News via YouTube)
An attorney for the teen’s family said it looks to him that Zimmerman doesn’t have injuries to his face and head in the video as Zimmerman’s supporters have said.
Zimmerman told police he fired in self-defense and he was not arrested, touching off widespread public outrage and protests across the country. Zimmerman’s attorney, Craig Sonner, has said in more than one interview that his client’s nose was broken during the fight with Martin.
Sanford police Sgt. David Morgenstern on Wednesday confirmed that the video being shown by ABC News is of Zimmerman. The 28-year-old’s head and face are visible throughout and he is dressed in a red and black fleece jacket. Police are shown frisking Zimmerman whose hands were handcuffed behind his back. They then lead him into a police station.
“This certainly doesn’t look like a man who police said had his nose broken and his head repeatedly smashed into the sidewalk,” Ben Crump, an attorney for Martin’s family, said in a statement. “George Zimmerman has no apparent injuries in this video, which dramatically contradicts his version of the events of February 26.”
Below is the police video obtained by ABC News showing Zimmerman at the Sanford, Florida, police station the night of the Trayvon Martin shooting
Zimmerman said that on Feb. 26, he was pursuing the 17-year-old Martin, who was not armed, because the teen was acting suspiciously. He said he lost sight of the black teenager and Martin attacked him as he headed back to his sport utility vehicle. Zimmerman’s father is white and his mother is Hispanic.
Police did not administer a drug and alcohol test or an immediate background check on Zimmerman, although they did both on Martin.
The next day, detectives re-enacted the shooting with Zimmerman at the scene. They also discovered Zimmerman had two prior arrests: one for assaulting a cop, the other for domestic abuse.
For the next two weeks, lead investigator Chris Serino pursued a manslaughter charge against Zimmerman.
Police interviewed at least six witnesses. But none of them saw how the confrontation began or the shooting that ended it. On March 12, police gave the case to State Attorney Norm Wolfinger. He told them they needed more evidence to arrest Zimmerman.
The case now rests with special prosecutor Angela Corey, who with investigators has been quietly re-interviewing witnesses and examining evidence.
In an interview with Orlando station WOFL FOX 35 that aired Wednesday night, Zimmerman’s father, Robert Zimmerman, said that despite dispatchers telling his son to stop following Martin, he kept going so he could get an address for police to check. He said his son was suspicious because of several break-ins and thought it was strange for someone to be walking between the town homes on a rainy night.
The Orlando Sentinel, citing anonymous sources, has reported that Zimmerman told police that Martin grabbed his head and banged it several times against the sidewalk. A statement from Sanford police said the newspaper’s story was “consistent” with evidence turned over to prosecutors.
Sonner said the gash on the back of Zimmerman’s head probably was serious enough for stitches, but he waited too long for treatment so the wound was already healing. Miguel Meza, who identified himself as Zimmerman’s cousin, said Zimmerman was in “the fight of his life.”
Sonner did not immediately return an after-hours call to his office Wednesday.
Crump called the video “riveting” and “icing on the cake” that Zimmerman should be held accountable for what happened.
Since the shooting, Zimmerman’s supporters say he’s gone into hiding and that he and his family have gotten death threats.
Martin’s supporters, including a host of outspoken celebrities and civil rights leaders who have appeared on television for the past two weeks, don’t believe Zimmerman’s story. They want him arrested and prosecuted.
Source: The Associated Press