I predicted Saturday night that the Trayvon Martin case was being set up for an explosive outcome in which expectations of a conviction faced the reality of the rights of an accused and evidence which cast “reasonable doubt” on what happened.
Two developments today make the facts supporting a conviction even murkier, and cast doubt on the simplistic narrative in the media since the beginning of the case of an out of control Neighborhood Watch vigilante who hunted down Martin with an intent to kill or capture because of Martin’s race.
First, the narrative of Martin being a young man free from trouble has been challenged, Family: pot linked to Trayvon Martin suspension:
“A family spokesman says slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin was suspended from school last month for having a baggie that contained marijuana residue in his book bag.”
Remember, Zimmerman’s call to police said that there was a person acting strangely, as if “on drugs.” If and when autopsy results are released, we will know if drugs played any part in the incident (although Zimmerman was not tested, presumably the autopsy did testing).
Second, more details are coming out about what happened in the moments before the shooting, Police: Zimmerman says Trayvon decked him with one blow then began hammering his head:
With a single punch, Trayvon Martin decked the Neighborhood Watch volunteer who eventually shot and killed the unarmed 17-year-old, then Trayvon climbed on top of George Zimmerman and slammed his head into the sidewalk several times, leaving him bloody and battered, authorities have revealed to the Orlando Sentinel.
That is the account Zimmerman gave police, and much of it has been corroborated by witnesses, authorities say…
Zimmerman told them he lost sight of Trayvon and was walking back to his SUV when Trayvon approached him from the left rear, and they exchanged words.
Trayvon asked Zimmerman if he had a problem. Zimmerman said no and reached for his cell phone, he told police.
Trayvon then said, “Well, you do now” or something similar and punched Zimmerman in the nose.
Zimmerman fell to the ground and Trayvon got on top of him and began slamming his head into the sidewalk, he told police.
Zimmerman began yelling for help.
Several witnesses heard those cries, and there’s been a dispute about from whom they came: Zimmerman or Trayvon.
Lawyers for Trayvon’s family say it was Trayvon, but police say their evidence indicates it was Zimmerman.
One witnesses, who has since talked to local television news reporters, told police he saw Zimmerman on the ground with Trayvon on top, pounding him and was unequivocal that it was Zimmerman who was crying for help.
Zimmerman then shot Trayvon once in the chest from very close range, according to authorities.
When police arrived less than two minutes later, Zimmerman was bleeding from the nose, had a swollen lip and had bloody lacerations to the back of his head.
If true, this would be what I was wondering might be the case. An unintended up close and personal encounter which took an unexpectedly violent turn:
What was the geography? Is there evidence Zimmerman continued to chase Martin after the 911 operator said it was not needed? Was the shooting in a place where Zimmerman may have run into Martin while Zimmerman was heading towards a place he could be seen by police, or was the location indicative of Zimmerman still chasing Martin?
I still reserve judgment. We only know some of the facts, and the facts we know may not be reliable.
But it is looking like this case is heading towards the political abyss.
Update: Via the comments, ABC News reports the following:
Martin’s girlfriend had said in a recording obtained exclusively by ABC News that she heard Martin ask Zimmerman “why are your following me, and then the man asked, what are you doing around here.” She then heard a scuffle break out and the line went dead.
None of this is going to be easy on the Martin family any more than it is in so many cases where the conduct of a deceased loved one is an issue; keep in mind these people lost a son:
The family’s attorney, Ben Crump, said Martin son had been suspended for 10 days from his high school the day he was shot after traces of marijuana were found in his book bag. Martin’s father had said previously Trayvon was suspended after being found in an unauthorized area at the school.
“If he and his friends experimented with marijuana, that is completely irrelevant to George Zimmerman killing their son on the night of Feb. 26,” Crump said. “Law enforcement is attempting to demonize and blame the victim.”
“They killed my son, and now they are trying to kill his reputation,” Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon’s mother, said, holding back tears.
Unfortunately, these statements were made with Al Sharpton, someone who made a career of smearing innocent people for which he is unrepentent, standing at their side.
And, it gets worse, via Miami Herald:
Miami Gardens teenager Trayvon Martin was suspended from school in October in an incident in which he was found in possession of women’s jewelry and a screwdriver that a schools security staffer described as a “burglary tool,” The Miami Herald has learned.
Trayvon, who claimed that an unnamed friend had given him the jewelry, was not disciplined because of the discovery, but was instead suspended for graffiti, according to a Miami-Dade Schools Police report obtained by The Miami Herald.
And, readers have been posting similar links over the past few days, and I really, really wanted it not to be him, but The Daily Caller says it is, so I’ll finally link.