Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Surveillance Video of Zimmerman shows no sign of struggle

This is just a screenshot.. the video is at the linked article

Yikes.  This story is only going to become more volatile across the USA now that this video is out there.  ABC News has surveillance video of George Zimmerman handcuffed at the police precinct in Sanford Florida the night he shot Trayvon Martin in an alleged act of self defense.  There are no obvious or apparent signs of a struggle, no busted nose, no cuts on his neck, no blood on his clothes, no grass stains, nada.

Up to this point the police have disputed neither the self-defense alibi nor the account of the physical struggle between Zimmerman and Martin.  But this video goes beyond just disputing Zimmerman's story, it makes the police appear to be complicit in the cover up of what actually happened that night.

Surveillance video shows George Zimmerman on the night he killed Trayvon Martin

News reports that cited anonymous police sources said Zimmerman told police that Trayvon decked the neighborhood watch volunteer and slammed his head on the concrete.
Zimmerman’s attorney Craig Sonner has told television networks that the neighborhood watch volunteer’s nose was broken and he was left with a gash on the back of his head that would have required stitches had he gone to the doctor in time.
But there are no visible bruises on his face or cuts on the back of his shaved head in the video, and his shirt doesn’t appear to have blood on it in the front or back. There does not appear to be any grass on his jacket, as indicated in the police report.
The video was authenticated by the city of Sanford public information office. Although it’s unclear what time it was taken, it was likely taken after Zimmerman was administered first aid at the shooting scene.
For reference, here is a link to the Florida Statutes and Constitution page regarding the "Stand Your Ground" Law.    Chapter 776 JUSTIFIABLE USE OF FORCE

776.012 Use of force in defense of person.A person is justified in using force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force. However, a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if:
(1) He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony; or
(2) Under those circumstances permitted pursuant to s. 776.013.

and here is the part in 776.013 that applies to this case.

(3) A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

My opinion is that the Sanford Police should have arrested George Zimmerman right there on the grounds that there was no evidence that Zimmerman had needed deadly force in response to whatever scuffle  occurred between him and Martin. The precedent set in this case would mean that any fight or altercation (not involving law enforcement personnel of course, they are protected) could legally result in people pulling out their guns and shooting to kill.  After all, anyone who is in a fight can reasonably say they felt threatened with great bodily harm.  This goes beyond Wild West vigilantism.  At least back then the Sheriff deputized the vigilantes and gave them badges.

This law was very poorly written and it will have to be modified with a Zimmerman clause to clarify that you can't start a fight and then kill the other person in self defense when they fight back.  But then, the wording in the law was free, provided by NRA model legislation and you get what you pay for. 

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