Thanks to Florida’s incredible sunshine laws, we are getting a rare look at the documents, audio and video files both the defense and the prosecution will use in the second-degree murder case against George Zimmerman for killing Trayvon Martin. I spent the weekend listening to Zimmerman’s interviews with police and watching videos of him reenacting the incident. As I listened to him tell his story over and over again, one thing that jumped out at me: Trayvon’s hands.
Hours after killing Trayvon on Feb. 26, Zimmerman wrote a “narrative report” of the incident for the Sanford Police Department. After shooting the unarmed teenager, Zimmerman wrote, “The suspect sat back allowing me to sit up and said, ‘You got me.’ At this point I slid out from underneath him and got ontop [sic] of the suspect holding his hands away from his body.”
Zimmerman then told detective Doris Singleton [at the 3:32 mark of the audio tape], on the night of the shooting, what happened. “It felt like he was hitting me with bricks, so, I remember, once I shot him, I holstered my firearm and I got on top of him and I held his hands up because he was still talking,” he said. “And I said, ‘Stay down. Don’t move.’ ” A neighbor with a flashlight came out and asked if Zimmerman wanted him to call 911. Zimmerman said he asked that person to help him restrain Trayvon. Zimmerman said he told the person that police were already on their way. An officer arrived in less than a minute, it seems.
The next day, Zimmerman reenacted what happened the night before for police. He tells an officer, who sounds an awful lot like Christopher Serino, the gravely voiced lead investigator who ultimately had doubts about Zimmerman’s story, what happened after he shot Trayvon.
“I don’t know if I pushed him off me [or] he fell off me, either way I got on top of him and I pushed his arms apart,” Zimmerman said as he demonstrated how he spread Trayvon’s arms away from his body. He told the officer that he didn’t remember how he got on top of his victim and continued with his version of events. “But I got on his back and moved his arms apart because when he was repeatedly hitting me in the face and the head,” Zimmerman said, “I thought he had something in his hands. So, I moved his hands apart.” Trayvon, he said, was face down. Again, he says the neighbor with the flashlight came out, he asked that person to help him restrain Trayvon. The police arrived perhaps less than a minute later and he stood up, holstered his weapon and put his hands up.
Zimmerman’s focus on the position of Trayvon’s hands grabbed my attention because of what Sanford Police Officer Ricardo Ayala wrote in his report.He arrived moments after Officer Timothy Smith, the first officer on the scene, took Zimmerman into custody.
I then noticed that there was, what appeared to be a black male wearing a gray sweater, blue jeans, and white/red sneakers laying face down on the ground. The black male had his hands underneath his body. (Emphasis added)
The position of Trayvon’s hands has mystified me since reading the reports in March. But Zimmerman’s recounting of what happened only deepens the mystery. How did Trayvon’s arms find their way underneath his body when Zimmerman said he held his victim’s hands “away from his body,” “held his hands up,” “pushed his arms apart,” “moved his arms apart” and “moved his hands apart”?
This makes no sense.