We’ve run a lot of posts on the Trayvon Martin killing controversy. And as TMV Guest Voice Columnist Simon Owens notes, there has been a truly shocking lack of coverage of this story from some conservative websites. So it’ll be interesting to see if suddenly — as a further sign of just how everything in American politics must devolve into a partisan and ideological struggle — conservative website suddenly pick up this new twist in the Trayvon Martin tragedy. As of this writing none of the news sites (Fox News, ABC News, CBS News, MSNBC and BBC) are reporting this story. A witness has reportedly come forward and told police that Martin provoked neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman:

Trayvon Martin may have attacked a Neighborhood Watch captain before the man shot dead the unarmed teen in a gated community in Florida, an anonymous witness who spoke to police claimed yesterday.

The witness, known only as John, told Sanford police that he saw Martin on top of George Zimmerman shortly before the fatal shot that has led to a national outcry, including a huge ‘hoodie’ march in Philadelphia last night.

He recounted the details to Fox 35 News in Florida.

The witness told FOX 35 in Orlando that he saw evidence of a fight between Martin and Zimmerman, which could lend credence to the gunman’s claim that he was acting in self-defence.

‘The guy on the bottom who had a red sweater on was yelling to me: “Help, help… and I told him to stop and I was calling 911,’ he said.

Zimmerman was wearing a red sweater; Martin was in a grey hoodie.

He added: ‘When I got upstairs and looked down, the guy who was on top beating up the other guy, was the one laying in the grass, and I believe he was dead at that point.’

This account is drastically different from the portrait painted of Martin by his friends and acquaintances.

Friends of the slain 17-year-old say they cannot imagine him getting involved in a fight, and insist that he was not violent.

‘There’s no way I can believe that, because he’s not a confrontational kid,’ said Jerome Horton, who was one of Martin’s former football coaches and knew him since he was a small child.

‘It just wouldn’t happen. That’s just not that kid.’

Meanwhile, the attorney hired to represent Zimmerman is echoing claims of the Neighbourhood Watchman’s father – that he’s not racist.

What is notable on this to this former fulltime journalist who worked on several newspapers: the fact that none of the news sites (including Fox) are not reporting it suggests a)editors need to confirm the report that was on the local TV station and carried on The Daily Mail b)there is some uneasiness. Sometimes editors will not pick up a “new twist” story if they cannot get confirmation or their sources dismiss it as not solid.

But I’m feeling some uneasiness. I am predicting that once again we will see something become a tool in the 24/7 ongoing partisan ideological struggle. Each side will blast the side that support the side with whom they sympathize:

–Those who feel Trayvon was a teen armed with Skittles and an iced tea who was basically murdered by a person who was a neighborhood watch commander who may have taken that to mean he was a real policeman will feel the eyewitness was a set up or a sympathizer with Zimmerman and lying.

–Those who feel Trayvon was a menacing teen (I will not even link to some of the suggestions made on some websites and in comments on some websites that display utter racism and an automatic assumption that he was on the street to commit a crime) will contend the statement by Trayvon’s girlfriend that she was on the phone when he was trying to avoid a many following him is a lie.

–Those who see a way to somehow turn this into a political football to use in the Presidential election will do so.

I hope I’m wrong. I’m no psychic. But if this account is carried by the mainstream news sites you can place money in Vegas that I will be right.

Three things to watch:

1. Is this account carried by the mainstream media yet? As of this writing it is only being picked up by conservative websites.Check GOOGLE NEWS HERE. Did these website carry any other info on this case or did they ignore it until this account came out? If so, why? Prediction: Mainstream media will report this once they get their own confirmation that this has been communicated to police. It would also explain why Zimmerman’s new lawyer is now contending he can use a regular self defense defense, versus a defense based on the Florida law.

2. How is it playing with talk show hosts? Will they use this latest story to whip it up into a partisan issue?

3. The reaction of people such as Rep. Allen West on Facebook — a conservative who has come out strongly in favor of getting to the bottom of this and has called the case an outrage.

JOE GANDELMAN, Editor-In-Chief
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EEllis
Guest
EEllis
4 years 6 months ago

It’s funny how few people actually waited to see if there was more to the story. I’ve been called names because of concern that the public outcry would be the driving force instead of the facts. Doesn’t mean I think this absolves Zimmerman or anything, at the least there seem to be conflicting stories, but this rush to judgment thing just gets out of hand and doesn’t serve the truth.

KATHY GILL, Technology Policy Analyst
Editor
*eyes rolling* You guys HONESTLY believe that a guy walking on a sidewalk or the side of the street ATTACKED a guy driving an SUV? Really? BULLSHIT. This story is THREE WEEKS OLD. This is the Daily Mail, for crissakes. It’s a UK tabloid. And this anonymous person contradicts real-time statements by people in the neighborhood. And the conversation Martin was having with his girlfriend at the time. As I just wrote: http://themoderatevoice.com/142371/trayvon-martin-the-three-week-old-story-politics-and-floridas-right-to-kill-law/ Think about this for a moment. A guy who has 100 pounds on you steps out of his SUV, maybe brandishing a gun, maybe not, and demands… Read more »
Smooth Jazz
Guest
Smooth Jazz
4 years 6 months ago
“And this anonymous person contradicts real-time statements by people in the neighborhood.” With all due respect Ms Gill, this “anonymous” person told his story to police less than 24 hours after the shooting as the poster “me” just point out. This isn’t a new or completely anonynmous witness. He was intervied on camera the day after the shooting: http://www.myfoxorlando.com/dpp/news/seminole_news/022712-man-shot-and-killed-in-neighborhood-altercation#ixzz1phFMGCu4 Please listen to the 2/27 video linked with that news story. This “anonymous” person isn’t new. Of course, this narrative isn’t consistent with the race war narrative being perpetrated by race mongers, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, et al. There are also… Read more »
The_Ohioan
Guest
The_Ohioan
4 years 6 months ago
Eyewitness accounts are notoriously unreliable as anyone who has been through a mock “situation” in psych class can attest. People see things at different times so you get two or more versions, both true as far as the witness is concerned, but because the time (or angle of sight) is different they seem irreconcilable. Witnesses also have different interpretations on what they remember as seeing. All of which are apparent in the different versions of this incident. Only ‘John’, maybe, saw the tussle on the ground. He may have seen the person on top “beating up” on the person on… Read more »
rudi
Guest
rudi
4 years 6 months ago
There are two women who tell a different story than “John.” These women gave there names and appeared on TV to tell their story. LOL two women are braver than John… http://www.baynews9.com/content/news/baynews9/news/article.html/content/news/articles/cfn/2012/3/16/travon_martin_shooti/ 180,000 responses to Mary Cutcher. http://www.google.com/search?q=Mary+Cutcher&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a Three witnesses, including two women, have come forward, claiming they witnessed the deadly shooting. Mary Cutcher and her roommate said they heard the 17-year-old crying and pleading for his life. Then, they said they heard the gunshot that killed him. Cutcher and her roommate said they rushed outside to see Zimmerman standing over Trayvon’s body. Standing with the teen’s family and their… Read more »
zephyr
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zephyr
4 years 6 months ago

What possible reason would Zimmerman have had to even get out of his SUV? Let’s all try to be honest for a moment; his intent was to provoke a confrontation. Well he got one didn’t he. And now he’s supposed to walk away scott free? Give me a break. Some people here have no apparent use for reality.

zephyr
Guest
zephyr
4 years 6 months ago

“there has been a truly shocking lack of coverage of this story from some conservative websites”

Not shocking in the least. It’s entirely consistent. Unless there is a way to politicize a tragedy to their advantage they will ignore it.

The_Ohioan
Guest
The_Ohioan
4 years 6 months ago

Some people here are waiting for all the facts to be made public. And hoping vigilante justice isn’t making a comeback.

alphakp
Guest
alphakp
4 years 6 months ago
so basically, you’re im,plying that it’s ok for someone to arbitrarily stalk someone, get out of your car, provoke an altercation, and when the person being stalked proceeds to protect himself (esp. given the notion that kids are supposed to look out for strangers looking to kidnap them, sexually assult them, etc.), he then becomes the agressor, and it is then ok to kill him because he did was he was supposed to do, i.e., protect himself from someone he perceives to be a threat? The gun whackos are really, really reaching on this one. Turning a 17 yr old… Read more »
bluebelle
Guest
bluebelle
4 years 6 months ago

The eyewitness could be real or they could be a friend or relative of Zimmerman’s– if the account is true, I could see why they would not want to come forward.

I agree, however, with Kathy. If Zimmerman stalked the kid and demanded to know what he was doing there–in a threatening way, Trayvon would have been right in defending himself- he might have gotten the upper hand and been on top of Zimmerman before he shot him.

I still think the SYG law is to blame and the Sanford PD who shirked their duty to do a full investigation with forensics

txantimedia
Guest
txantimedia
4 years 6 months ago
Gill and rudi claim that other eyewitnesses contradict this witness’ testimony. That’s simply not true. The two women didn’t leave their house until after the shot was fired, so they have no knowledge of a fight, much less who might have been on top. As a TX CHL holder, I can tell you that what George Zimmerman did was wrong. The purpose of a CHL is to be prepared to defend yourself in life-threatening situations. We are to avoid conflict if at all possible and only to shoot when there are no other options. Of course we don’t know all… Read more »
labman57
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labman57
4 years 6 months ago

In the courtroom, there is no such thing as an anonymous witness … which no doubt explains why Zimmerman, his lawyer, and the local authorities that sanctioned his behavior will do everything in their power to prevent charges from being filed against this racist vigilante.

bookworm914
Guest
bookworm914
4 years 6 months ago
This headline is flat-out wrong. This eyewitness account does _NOT_ say who initiated the confrontation (who ‘attacked’ whom), only that Martin was on top of the physical confrontation at one time. Facts on the scene that we objectively knew already: – Zimmerman followed Martin because he was black (the call to the police dispatcher proves Martin’s race, not just his attire, is what made him suspicious to Zimmerman), – he brought his firearm with him when he did that, – there was a physical confrontation between the two, and – Zimmerman eventually fatally shot Martin. Character witnesses for Zimmerman say… Read more »
zephyr
Guest
zephyr
4 years 6 months ago

I can’t see any way Zimmerman isn’t going to end up behind the wall. Keep in mind, had there been no public outcry the Sanford Police Dept. would have allowed this injustice stay in place, which means they are complicit.

zephyr
Guest
zephyr
4 years 6 months ago

“As much as it runs counter to the left wing narrative, I say let the facts come out before rushing to judgement.” – Smooth Jazz

“left wing narrative”?????? Good grief…

StockBoyLA
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StockBoyLA
4 years 6 months ago
Look, when two people are involved in a physical fight one person will end up on the ground and the other person will be on top. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that the attacker ended up on the ground while the guy he fought with was on top of him. What I would like to know is if the anonymous witness saw Zimmerman attack Martin, or if the anonymous person saw Martin attack Zimmerman. Coming upon two people in the middle of a fight doesn’t tell anyone who started the fight. And if Zimmerman had a gun… Read more »
txantimedia
Guest
txantimedia
4 years 6 months ago
Zephyr, it’s false to claim the police are complicit. According to reporting of the incident, the police wanted to charge Zimmerman with manslaughter, but the DA told them they didn’t have enough evidence to make the case. StockBoyLA, the witness didn’t see the start of the fight, so he didn’t say who started it. That’s part of the problem with this case, although I think Zimmerman’s aggressive behavior mitigates against his argument of self defense. As to Zimmerman having a gun, as a CHL holder I am always armed when in public. So, that, by itself, doesn’t argue that I’m… Read more »
StockBoyLA
Guest
StockBoyLA
4 years 6 months ago
txantimedia: thanks. In the third paragraph you mentioned that you’re always armed in public and that your behavior would determine whether you’re aggressive or not. I agree. I don’t know who you addressed that comment to, but I think it’s part of your response to me. The point I was making was if I was in a fight and someone had a gun out then I would do my best to knock him out, knowing that I would more than likely be shot if I fled. I didn’t mean to suggest that if I saw someone carrying a gun I… Read more »
JMNash
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JMNash
4 years 6 months ago

Transcript of the Zimmerman call to the police : https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/326700-full-transcript-zimmerman.html

At no point does he mention Martin’s race or apparel as a reason for suspicion. Both are mentioned only as a direct response to the operators questions.

Read for yourself.

bookworm914
Guest
bookworm914
4 years 6 months ago

@JMNash
Thanks, I had lost the link.
Read down to the bottom.
Sure, in the 2nd exchange the dispatcher prompts for race, which is a description.
Exchange 7-8,

Dispatcher: That’s the clubhouse, do you know what the—he’s near the
clubhouse right now?
Zimmerman: Yeah, now he’s coming towards me.
Dispatcher: OK.
Zimmerman: He’s got his hand in his waistband. And he’s a black male.

Zimmerman thinks Martin’s blackness makes his behavior suspicious, or at least more suspicious.

bookworm914
Guest
bookworm914
4 years 6 months ago

sorry, I messed up the xhtml tag, the end should be

Exchange 7-8:

Dispatcher: That’s the clubhouse, do you know what the—he’s near the
clubhouse right now?
Zimmerman: Yeah, now he’s coming towards me.
Dispatcher: OK.
Zimmerman: He’s got his hand in his waistband. And he’s a black male.

Zimmerman thinks Martin’s blackness makes his behavior suspicious, or at least more suspicious.

JMNash
Guest
JMNash
4 years 6 months ago

When asked about race, he says he ‘looks black’. When Martin comes closer he confirms he’s black.
In his next statement he adds that he’s got ‘button on his shirt, late teens’.

He’s giving a description, and updating it as he gets a better view.

EEllis
Guest
EEllis
4 years 6 months ago
Zimmerman thinks Martin’s blackness makes his behavior suspicious, or at least more suspicious. Wow not only are you a mind reader but you can go back in time and read minds. Honestly tho the certainty of that statement seems a bit much. Heck we aren’t even listening to the tape but just reading and you are positive of not only his meaning but what he is thinking? I certainly wouldn’t say that your claim is impossible, or even unlikely, but people don’t really seem to be evaluating fact as much as trying to jam bits of info into fitting what… Read more »
uma spankhurst
Guest
uma spankhurst
4 years 6 months ago

This is not new information and you aren’t a moderate. This witness report was in the local paper the day after the shooting. While the death of Martin is profoundly sad, the handling of this case in the media has been dishonest and played for political purposes. Shame on them.

milowent
Guest
milowent
4 years 5 months ago

this witness “john” story – something must be up about it. because yes, the existence of this witness is not new, it was reported by local news w/in 24 hours. why wasn’t it cited before police chief resigned?

bookworm914
Guest
bookworm914
4 years 5 months ago
@JMNash, @EEllis The 2nd reference to race is different b/c it is unprompted. The dispatcher has last asked about location, and has most recently said only ‘ok’ when Zimmerman just imparts more info that he thinks is important. ‘Hand in waistband’ is a description of suspicious behavior, not an identification. If someone were confirming a previous ‘likely’ statement, I’d expect an adverb associated (definitely), whereas here it seems like he is adding context to explain the previous statement. But the next thing he says is identifying descriptors, and the diction analysis is highly subjective and probabilistic, so you’re right, he… Read more »
EEllis
Guest
EEllis
4 years 5 months ago
I would be more comfortable watching you two dispute the racial analysis if I had seen you agree that it is a travesty for Zimmerman to have never been arrested – even if someone who you tried to disengage from (after you scarily followed him) is beating you up, a single unarmed someone (not just no gun, but no knife, no steel toes, no brass knuckles…) simply does not pose a reasonable risk of grave bodily harm, so fatal shooting is not a legit means of self-defense. It’s entirely possible y’all have said that in one of the comment threads… Read more »
bookworm914
Guest
bookworm914
4 years 5 months ago
@EEllis If someone shoots someone else, he should be arrested, and should assert his self-defense claim in a trial. This is just really simple: if you say you killed someone, you should be arrested. If evidence at a crime scene proves you killed someone, you should be arrested. When we habeas a dead corpus, and we know who killed him (by legitimate means – don’t decontextualize and say I’m again miranda or such), we had darn well better habeas the live corpus also, because society needs to adjudicate whether it was justified or not. Arrest is a huge disruption to… Read more »
EEllis
Guest
EEllis
4 years 5 months ago
If someone shoots someone else, he should be arrested, and should assert his self-defense claim in a trial. That is absurd and isn’t based in law. Maybe a Grand Jury where a DA would go and say “Here is the case and we believe/don’t believe he did it” But the idea that any and every shooting means jail time regardless of the circumstances. There was an 83 yo woman who shot a burglar who was coming thru a window during the day. Dispatcher told her not to shoot she did and killed the bad guy. Police later said she did… Read more »
bookworm914
Guest
bookworm914
4 years 5 months ago
@EEllis I can’t believe I am having to say this. I clearly did not say people should be punished. I said people should be arrested. Arrest indicates that there is probable cause that a particular person committed a crime. There is probable cause that a crime was committed, because there is near certainty that a homicide occurred (slim chance the actual COD was some random event that was not precipitated). There is also near certainty that George Zimmerman was the agent of the homicide. It is possible that the homicide was justifiable, but that is an affirmative defense and is… Read more »
EEllis
Guest
EEllis
4 years 5 months ago
I clearly did not say people should be punished. I said people should be arrested. Arrest indicates that there is probable cause that a particular person committed a crime \ Yeah right, whatever. Arrest is punishment. You are in the exact same environment as those serving out sentences for criminal acts. And you clearly said anyone who shot someone should automatically be arrested which seemingly ignores probable cause. It is possible that the homicide was justifiable, but that is an affirmative defense and is determined by a petit jury at trial. Therefore Zimmerman should be arrested – possibly should have… Read more »
bookworm914
Guest
bookworm914
4 years 5 months ago
In Texas some laws are written such that while x may be a crime it is a “defense to prosecution” that your reason for committing the crime is y. The idea is that the base act is a crime but the court excuses it for specific reasons. Heres a shocker self defense is not a crime so you don’t get “excused”. The burden of proof is right where it’s supposed to be with the prosecution. I understand what (affirmative) defense to prosecution means. You do not seem to, if you think it exempts people from arrest. Defenses to prosecution are… Read more »
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