A new video posted on his legal team’s website shows George Zimmerman giving a reenactment to investigators of what happened when he shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
The 15-minute video was filmed on the evening of February 27th, the day after the fatal shooting, and shows Zimmerman driving through the Retreat at Twin Lakes neighborhood with two cars of police investigators.
In the video, Zimmerman explains to investigators that he saw Trayvon Martin standing in front of a house that had a history of being robbed. “I thought, ‘It’s raining.’ I didn’t understand why someone would just be stopping in the rain especially, it wasn’t like he was trying to run to get out of the rain.” The boy was walking home after going to a convenience store nearby for an Arizona tea and Skittles.
In the video, Zimmerman gets out of the car, clad in a white Lacoste polo. As he points out the details to officers, two butterfly bandages are visible on the back of his head and his nose is specked with blood – injuries that he had claimed Martin gave him. On the walk he describes the conversation he had with the Florida police dispatcher. He says it appeared Martin had his hand in his waistband but soon after seeing that, he lost sight of the young man.
Zimmerman then recounts his harried interaction with Martin after he ended his called to police. As the 28-year-old man walked back to his car, Martin approached him and said, “You got a problem?” When Zimmerman replied “no” and reached for his phone, he claims Martin ramped up his aggression, saying, “You got a problem now,” and punched him, sending him to the ground. According to Zimmerman’s account, Martin then climbed on top of him, slamming his head against the concrete sidewalk.
“It felt like my head was going to explode. I thought I was going to lose consciousness,” Zimmerman said on the video. During the scuffle, Zimmerman says he pulled out his gun and shot the teen in self-defense. That’s been Zimmerman’s claim throughout the scandal.
According to Zimmerman, the boy’s last words were: “You got me.” A police officer arrived soon after, and Zimmerman was taken to police headquarters later that night to give a statement.
The video is just one of a dozen video and audio recordings posted on GZlegalcase.com, a website purported to be run by Zimmerman’s defense attorney Mark O’Mara. Among the clips of statements Zimmerman gave to investigators in the days and months after the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin was the item claiming to be a “Video Recording of the Reenactment on February 27.” The file has since been removed from GZlegalcase.com but is still available on Orlando news station WFTV’s website.
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Other videos have been released since the February 26th incident, but none have shown such an intimate reenactment of the case. Other clips have shows Zimmerman’s interview with police the night of the shooting. The Sanford police department came under fire for their handling of the Trayvon Martin case. The town’s police chief, Bill Lee, took a leave of absence in March, and in April was given a vote of no confidence by the City Commission and put on paid administrative leave. While the commission declined to accept his offer of resignation at the time, on June 20 — nearly four months after the incident occurred — Sanford City Manager Norton Bonaparte released a statement saying Lee had been “permanently removed from duty.” The statement explained that the events had been too “divisive” and the community needed someone they could support as police chief. Bonaparte said that Lee was relieved of his duties not for any particular wrongdoing but because a man in his position needs to “have the trust and respect of the elected officials and the confidence of the entire community” — three things Lee no longer had.
Former Colorado Springs, Colo. Police Chief Richard Myers has held Lee’s position since May but will only serve as interim chief for five months. The small city of 54,000, now on the country’s national radar, plans to conduct a search across the U.S. for Lee’s permanent replacement.