The Quote That Should End the Trayvon Martin Trial

Getty Images

Getty Images

By John H. Richardson

George Zimmerman is going to be found guilty. All the evidence you need — all the evidence the cops needed — is right there in the interrogation they did with him three days after the shooting. The only thing more shocking than what Zimmerman says in the clip, which was released on the internet one year ago, is how little it has impressed the bloviating jerks who dominate the coverage of this trial.

Why did he follow Martin, a police officer asks.

“These assholes, they always get away,” Zimmerman answers.

The officer asks, “What’s behind that?”

“These people who victimize the neighborhood,” Zimmerman answers.

In Zimmerman’s angry mind, without trial or jury, even after he killed him and learned he was a 17-year-old who was legitimately staying in the complex, Martin was an asshole victimizing the neighborhood.

The officer gets a little defensive at this point. “There was an arrest a week ago,” he points out, though it is also a gentle reminder that Zimmerman’s fear might be a tad misplaced. He continues, skeptically. “How was he running?” Zimmerman describes it and the officer says, “Sounds like he was running to get away… you jumped out of car to see which way he was running? That’s not fear … it’s going to be a problem.”

Then Zimmerman whispers something. “What is that you whispered?” the officer asks. “Fucking what?”

“Punks,” Zimmerman says.

This time, the officer seems genuinely taken aback. “He wasn’t a fucking punk,” he responds.

A few moments later, he asks Zimmerman why he kept following Martin even after the police dispatcher told him not to. Zimmerman’s answer is staggering.

“I wanted to give them an address.”

An address? This may be the moment that will convict him. It means that even he suspected that Martin was a legitimate visitor to the complex, staying in an apartment and legally on the property, Zimmerman continued to pursue him. And it makes sense that Martin was staying there because of the terrain, the complex being isolated from other complexes and a mile distant from the nearest shopping center. A professional thief would be moving intentionally, not wandering down the middle of the street in the full light of the streetlamps. Although Zimmerman’s fear supposedly hinges on the series of robberies that the police believed had been addressed already with an arrest, it seems clear that even Zimmerman didn’t really believe his own alibi. More likely, even in his mind, Martin was a kid from the neighborhood out smoking a joint and at the worst, looking for a little illicit excitement — a “fking punk.”

At this point, the officer asks again why he was following Martin — and Zimmerman flat-out lies. “I wasn’t following him, I was just going in the same direction he was.” The cop just laughs.

The next moment reveals another aspect of Zimmerman’s state of mind, complete paranoia. The officer plays the tape of him with the police dispatcher, when he refuses to give his address to the dispatcher “out loud” — the embattled neighborhood watch volunteer so afraid of the fking punks in his neighborhood that he’s afraid of giving the police his address, despite the complete lack of evidence that any of those punks had ever attacked him before. Like these fearsome criminals are tapping the public airwaves and listening to cell phone conversations just to get him.

Again, the officer asks why he didn’t get back in his car after being told to, why he was so determined to get Martin that he stood in the rain. “You wanted to catch him, you wanted to catch the bad guy, fking punk.”

Zimmerman goes silent. Prodded again, he says, “I felt like I didn’t give them an adequate description.” There’s an edge in his voice at this point like he’s starting to get offended. The officer tries to reassure him: “We’re working for you here.”

But they persist. How could Martin have been smothering Zimmerman at the same time Zimmerman was, as he claimed, screaming his head off for help? (This question will not be settled by the testimony of voice experts, thanks to the judge’s ruling, though the jury will hear the tape.) This was just before the fatal gunshot.

“It’s continuous screaming,” another officer asks, “how can you be smothered?”

Damn good question.

“You think he might have seen you had a gun before he punched you?” the first officer asks.

Another damn good question.

“What was the provocation for punching you other than you were following him?” another officer asks.

By this time, Zimmerman is losing his patience. “I’ve gone through it a million times.” Despite his passion for justice, repeated questions about the death of a 17-year-old boy at his own hands annoys him.

Soon after, the interview devolved into pleasantries. Zimmerman says he’s taking his wife to the beach for the weekend, and the lead officer asks, “Which beach?”

Then they let him go.


Categories: Discrimination, Internet, Media & Culture, Racism, Reactionary Watch, Statements, U.S. News, Videos

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