Trayvon Martin Death: Police Say Witnesses Back Zimmerman's Story

Monday, 26 Mar 2012 04:06 PM

By Martin Gould

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The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that Trayvon Martin decked George Zimmerman with one punch and then repeatedly slammed his head into the sidewalk, according to a newly released version of the events that led up to the 17-year-old’s death.

The neighborhood watch captain was left “bloody and battered,” according to the version Zimmerman told investigators. Witnesses have corroborated his version, authorities told The Orlando Sentinel.  And ABC News reports that Zimmerman told police that Martin knocked him down and attempted to take his gun.

Zimmerman, 28, shot Martin to death on Feb. 26 in Sanford, Fla., and the case has become a lightning rod for activists who claim the killing was racially motivated. Activists, including Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and NAACP leader Ben Jealous, have addressed rallies in the Orlando suburb.

Another is planned for Monday afternoon attended by Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis and basketball legend Patrick Ewing.

Zimmerman claimed self-defense, but his version of what occurred has been slow in coming out. Both Republican and Democratic politicians have joined the activists querying why Zimmerman has not been arrested, especially as a 911 dispatcher specifically told him not to follow Martin.

Zimmerman told police he got out of his SUV, but lost sight of Martin. As he walked back to his vehicle, he said Martin approached him from behind and asked him if he had a problem. Zimmerman said no and reached for his cell phone, the Sentinel reports.

Martin said something like “well you do now,” and punched him in the nose, Zimmerman told police. There has been no report of witnesses to that alleged initial blow.

As the older man fell to the ground, Martin jumped on him and started slamming his head into the sidewalk. In a 911 call from a neighbor, a man can be heard calling for help. Police say they believe it was Zimmerman’s voice, although Martin’s attorney insists it is the teen’s.

The Sentinel reports that one witness told police he was certain he saw Zimmerman on the ground with Martin on top, pounding him.

Zimmerman shot Martin once in the chest “at very close range,” police told the Sentinel. When they arrived, they found Zimmerman bleeding from the nose and head. He was treated at the scene but refused to go to the hospital.

The case has caused a national furor centering on race and on Florida’s Stand Your Ground law that allows a person to use deadly force if he feels he is being threatened. Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee has stepped down temporarily.

Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, hit back at the new reports on Monday. “They killed my son, and now they're trying to kill his reputation," she said.

Sanford mayor Jeff Triplett told ABC News he was worried about violence breaking out. “The city today is a tinder box,” he said.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has appointed a task force headed by special prosecutor Angela Corey to investigate whether Zimmerman’s case should go before a grand jury.

Zimmerman has been in hiding since the debate about the killing ramped up. The New Black Panthers put out a $10,000 bounty on his head after its leader Mikhail Muhammed told a rally on Saturday “He should be fearful for his life. You can’t keep killing black children.”

Movie director Spike Lee revealed Zimmerman’s home address in a Twitter message he retweeted to his quarter of a million followers at the weekend.
Last week President Barack Obama jumped into the case saying if he had a son “he would look like Trayvon.”

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