The Sham Investigation Into Trayvon Martin's Killing

As it happens, Trayvon Martin was on the phone when George Zimmerman was following him. The young lady with whom he was speaking, through her lawyer, talked to ABC News:

"He said this man was watching him, so he put his hoodie on. He said he lost the man," Martin's friend said. "I asked Trayvon to run, and he said he was going to walk fast. I told him to run but he said he was not going to run." 

Eventually he would run, said the girl, thinking that he'd managed to escape. But suddenly the strange man was back, cornering Martin. "Trayvon said, 'What, are you following me for,' and the man said, 'What are you doing here.' Next thing I hear is somebody pushing, and somebody pushed Trayvon because the head set just fell. I called him again and he didn't answer the phone." 

The line went dead. Besides screams heard on 911 calls that night as Martin and Zimmerman scuffled, those were the last words he said.
ABC News verified that Martin did talk to the young lady by looking at his phone records. I don't know that they can corroborate the exact contents of the conversation.

Nevertheless, when you read this, it's worth remembering the tale Zimmerman told the cops:
Zimmerman said he had stepped out of his truck to check the name of the street he was on when Trayvon attacked him from behind as he walked back to his truck, police said. He said he feared for his life and fired the semiautomatic handgun he was licensed to carry because he feared for his life.  
This tale was broadly repeated by Zimmerman's father who claimed that his son had neither pursued nor confronted Martin.

We know that this is almost certainly fiction. We have Zimmerman's on the 911 call explicitly stating that he was pursuing Martin because, "These assholes. They always get away."And we now have someone on the phone claiming a "strange man" was following Martin. 

Again, I don't know that Zimmerman will ever do a lick of jail time, or even see a court room. But what angers people is not simply that Zimmerman might get off, but that the Sanford police would conduct a shoddy investigation, claim it was thorough, and then claim that all who objected were compromised by prejudice:
Our investigation is color blind and based on the facts and circumstances, not color. I know I can say that until I am blue in the face, but, as a white man in a uniform, I know it doesn't mean anything to anybody.
This investigation wasn't one. It was a sham, an homage to the bad old days of Southern justice. Lee should resign. 

Emily Bazelon has more on the actual laws in Florida, though the more I see of this, the less I think "Stand Your Ground" will save Zimmerman.
Presented by

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

The Best 71-Second Animation You'll Watch Today

A rock monster tries to save a village from destruction.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Best 71-Second Animation You'll Watch Today

A rock monster tries to save a village from destruction.

Video

The Case for Napping at Work

Most Americans don't get enough sleep. More and more employers are trying to help address that.

Video

A Four-Dimensional Tour of Boston

In this groundbreaking video, time moves at multiple speeds within a single frame.

Video

Who Made Pop Music So Repetitive? You Did.

If pop music is too homogenous, that's because listeners want it that way.

Video

Stunning GoPro Footage of a Wildfire

In the field with America’s elite Native American firefighting crew

More in National

From This Author

Just In