March 29: What Do We Know About Treyvon Martin We Did Not Know Yesterday?

The big surprise of the day was the fact that Sanford, Florida police reports say nothing about a bottle of iced tea or a bag of skittles in Treyvon Martin’s possession. After all the commotion about “soft drinks and skittles” surely the police would have found some trace of them at the scene of the action.

Grudgingly, a slightly more sympathetic picture of George Zimmerman has emerged from the media, albeit with the six year old picture of Zimmerman instead of the quite respectable appearing man he has become.

Doug Ross’ Journal has late photos of both the 5’9″ Zimmerman and the 6’2 or 6’3″ 180 to 190 pound Martin here, along with a humorous look at the media portrayal of the two men, here.

Trayvon Martin’s father, Tracy Martin, has recounted the story the police told him. Essentially, that Trayvon initiated contact with Zimmerman. I am not at all surprised the Martin family does not believe the police reconstruction of events, since I do not recall a single case, among perhaps three dozen, in which the grieving parents were willing to accept a deceased child had any active part in the events that led to their death.

Spike Lee, faced with the probability of a lawsuit, has stepped out of character and apologized to the innocent people whose address he tweeted twice. That will probably cost him.

Another item that should be no surprise at all is the media’s attempt to deny that Zimmerman suffered contusions to the back of his head. The alphabet networks in particular make a habit of challenging data-points that do not fit their narrative.

The Daily Caller has a freeze frame image that gives a better view of Zimmerman’s head, in which something that may very well be a split scalp is clearly visible.

Another surprise is how few people have ever been turned around in one of these apartment complexes where all the houses look alike. And still another is how few people have a firm grasp on what happened that night.

To bring the action scene into something approaching clarity, we have several principal actors we need to keep track of.

There is Treyvon Slimm Martin, who I will denote as M.

Martin’s girl friend, whose testimony helps establish a sequence, Mgf.

Zimmerman is of course Z.

And the various witnesses I will lump under W since they corroborate the various partial narratives, but do not establish that narrative.

To begin, M was in the area after being suspended from his Miami area school for possession of paraphernalia and a very small amount of pot. In an area where a Hispanic gang reportedly controls the drug trade. After being suspended, Martin then went, was sent, or was exiled (take your pick) to “his fathers girl friends place” some 250 miles away in the Orlando area. For comparison, that is somewhat further than the distance from Philadelphia to Boston. With that for background…

According to the story put forth by the Martin family lawyer, Benjamin Crump, M supposedly went from his father’s girl friends apartment to a 7-11 some distance from the complex to buy Skittles and tea. Whether he actually did so is unknown, at least to me.

But not to the Martin family lawyer, who “supposedly knows about these things.” And who also knows all about the last words M told Mgf, whose actual testimony has not been made public. So when I mention Mgf’s testimony, remember that testimony is filtered through a lawyer whose job is to make Z look as badly as possible.

That brings us to the first actual data-point we have on that night. M was walking around the gated complex, “looking around” per Z’s recorded call to 911.

How long M had been walking around is unspecified, and of course he could always have consumed the missing candy and drink before he reentered (or entered for the first time) the complex. Given the distance between the 7-11 and the complex, there would certainly have been ample time for M to do that. The more so since growing 17 year old’s tend to inhale snacks as much as eat them.

The second data-point comes from Mgf. The Associated Press says Crump says M was talking to Mgf, who was at home in the Miami area, and said a (Hispanic? or is that a media embellishment?) man was following him. Mgf suggested M run. M said he was running.

M then reported to Mgf that he had lost the mysterious man, later identified as Z. A short time later, M found Z again, per the AP narrative at this link.

‘Oh he’s right behind me, he’s right behind me again,'” 17-year-old Trayvon Martin told his girlfriend on his cellphone…

The girl later heard Martin say, “Why are you following me?” Another man asked, “What are you doing around here?'”

The next portion is the only important part of the affair in which Z is the only witness. Z says, and the 911 tapes corroborate, the 911 operator told Z the police did not need him to follow M. At that point Z says he stopped looking for M. Instead, Z was looking around around to determine where he was. At that point M approached Z from behind.

When he was very close to Z, M demanded “Why are you following me.” Loudly enough that W’s in nearby apartments clearly heard M’s words.

{Now, as an aside: if I were standing in twilight in what amounts to a vast empty area trying to orient myself and someone bellowed “Why are you following me” in my ear, I am afraid my startle reflex would cause me to break the Guinness Book of Records all time long jump record for the 75 to 80 age group. Z’s reaction has not been reported, but it was probably the same as when a pheasant flushes underfoot.}

Returning to the narrative: To the best of my knowledge, the details of Z’s statement giving the details of what he did when M challenged him from behind has not been released. However, according to both W’s and Mgf, M said – or bellowed – “why are you following me?;” Z loudly replied “what are you doing here” and after that exchange went around twice Mgf says (through Crump) M “must have dropped the phone because it cut off.”

But Z says that on the second set of challenges M busted Z in the snoot, breaking Z’s nose, putting him on his back on the ground. A statement that is corroborated by witnesses, as well as a broken nose, and the Sanford police report of a wet jacket, grass clippings on Z’s back, and contusions on the back of Z’s head. Click here and scroll down to page 7 of 8 at the Sanford police report for those details.

After Z was struck down, W’s say Z was on the bottom “getting the stew beat out of him” and shouting for help. No one helped, although W’s called 911. So Z’s on his back, getting his brains beaten out and screaming for help – again corroborated both by witnesses and by the contusions on the back of Z’s head – when M discovered the gun in Z’s waistband.

The gun M was literally sitting on. In the ensuing life or death struggle, M was shot in the chest, apparently at very close or contact range. The exact distance is uncertain since the coroners report is part of an ongoing criminal investigation and has not been released.

And that is what has been added to the ongoing narrative that has come to my notice in the last 24 hours. While much remains to be seen, it appears likely that young Martin, fearful at the sight of a Hispanic face looking at him became increasingly panic stricken as he failed to get the answer he wanted. While a frustrated and startled Zimmerman responded naturally enough – but not in a manner calculated to placate a 6’2″, 190 pound former football player in fear for his life.


NOTEThis is part of a running series of What Do We Know Today We Did Not Know Yesterday about the case. For the latest information, click on the blog title and scroll down. For the entire series, please copy and paste the title, without the date, in the search box.


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