Fri May 18, 2012
5 Takeaways From Trove Of Evidence Related To Trayvon Martin's Death
Among the key things to know about what's in the hundreds of pages of evidence and other materials related to the Feb. 26 shooting death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, which were released Thursday:
-- Sanford, Fla., police investigator Christopher Serino concluded that Martin's death was "ultimately avoidable." If neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman had just stayed in his car and waited for police to arrive, Serino wrote, his fatal encounter with Martin never would have happened.
-- Martin's father initially told investigators that the voice heard on a 911 recording calling for help was not his son's. Later, the boy's parents stated that they believe the voice was their son's.
-- A witness told investigators that a black man was "mounted" on top of a white or Hispanic male, and was punching the prone man. Martin was African-American. Zimmerman is the son of a white father and Hispanic mother.
-- Martin was shot in the chest at close range — from 1 to 18 inches away. An autopsy showed there was marijuana in his system. At the time of his death, Martin was suspended from school for having been caught with a bag of marijuana.
-- Zimmerman suffered injuries during the fatal encounter. He had cuts on his face, a possible broken nose and cuts on the back of his head.
NPR's Greg Allen rounded up the latest news on Morning Edition.
From what's being reported about the evidence, the material could support Zimmerman's claim that he acted in self defense. But as The Orlando Sentinel says, "the evidence, though, was also noteworthy for what was missing: any clear indication of who started the fight that led to the fatal shooting."
Zimmerman, 28, had called police the evening of Feb. 26 to say there was a suspicious young man walking around his neighborhood. Martin, 17, was visiting the area with his father and had walked to a convenience store to buy some snacks. A police dispatcher told Zimmerman he did not need to follow the young man. But Zimmerman left his vehicle. Soon after, the two encountered each other.
When local authorities didn't arrest Zimmerman, Martin's parents and supporters began a campaign to call attention to the young man's death. The case eventually "went national" and sparked renewed discussions about race relations and racial profiling as the story spread on the Web. On April 11, Zimmerman was arrested and charged with second-degree murder.