Although George Zimmerman claimed to police that he was pummeled and had his nose broken by Trayvon Martin just before he pulled his gun and shot the teenager to death, a Sanford police department surveillance video shows no apparent signs that he had been in a fight of the kind he described.
An initial police report said that he was bleeding from the nose and the back of his head and that he received first aid from the fire department in Sanford, Fla. He told police Martin knocked him down and began bashing his head against the ground, and a witness account seemed to corroborate Zimmerman’s claim. His lawyer said his nose was broken in the scuffle.
The video, obtained by ABC News, shows the 28-year-old neighborhood-watch volunteer handcuffed and being led by police into the station for questioning. But he shows no apparent signs of injury — no bruises, cuts or bleeding. The police report said that he had been given first aid by the Sanford fire department before being taken to the station. (Zimmerman’s lawyer noted this on the Today show, adding that the video was “very grainy.”) But his appearance in the video does not seem to indicate that he had been in a recent fight and there are no bandages or gauze on him, which would be customary treatment for a broken nose and bruising. He has thus far not been charged in Martin’s death.
Prior to the release of the video, Zimmerman had told police he shot the teen in self-defense because he was being attacked. But police arriving at the scene of the shooting found Martin lying face down on the ground. He died of a single gunshot wound to the chest. Funeral director Richard Kurtz, who handled Martin’s body, told CNN that he saw no signs of a fight when preparing him for burial. “I didn’t see any evidence he had been fighting anybody,” Kurtz said.
Although it had been first thought that Sanford police declined to arrest Zimmerman, it was reported that investigators actually wanted to arrest him and did not believe his story, but they were overruled by the local prosecutor, who wanted more evidence in the case.
The investigation has since been placed in the hands of Special Prosecutor Angela Corey. Although a grand jury is scheduled to convene on the case on April 10, Corey has said she may want to move forward without it. “I foresee us being able to make a decision and move on it on our own,” she told the Miami Herald.