George Zimmerman’s written, audio and video accounts of what happened when he shot and killed Trayvon Martin have been put online by his defense team. Much of what is in the materials has been previously reported, but their release offers the most detailed looks so far at his claim that he acted in self defense.
The materials, posted here, include the statement Zimmerman wrote on Feb. 26 — the day of his fatal encounter with 17-year-old Trayvon in Sanford, Fla. In it, the neighborhood watch volunteer writes:
— “I was on my way to the grocery store when I saw a male approximately 5′ 11″ to 6′ 2″ casually looking into homes.”
— Zimmerman left his vehicle, he says, to look for a street sign so that he could give police his location. In a phone conversation with a police dispatcher, he was told “not to follow the suspect and that an officer was in route.”
— “As I headed back to my vehicle, the suspect emerged from the darkness and said ‘you got a problem’ [?] I said ‘No.’ The suspect said ‘you do now.’ “
— As he was trying to phone 911 again, “the suspect punched me in the face.”
— He was knocked to the ground, Zimmerman says, and a struggle began. At one point, he writes that the suspect said “you gonna die tonight [expletive].”
— Trayvon tried to get to Zimmerman’s gun, Zimmerman writes. “In fear for my life,” Zimmerman says, he “fired one shot.”
— He adds that Trayvon said, “you got me.”
Zimmerman has pleaded innocent to a charge of second-degree murder. Trayvon’s family and supporters dispute much of his account, saying that Zimmerman racially profiled the African-American teenager, precipitated the encounter by following Trayvon through the neighborhood and should not have been armed.
The case reignited discussions about race relations in the nation.
Related headline: “Fla. Police Chief In Trayvon Martin Probe Fired.”