No vis­i­ble in­jury to Zim­mer­man seen in video

Teen’s fam­ily says it re­futes de­fense claim

The Washington Times Daily - - Nation - BY CURT AN­DER­SON

MI­AMI | Newly re­leased po­lice video of a hand­cuffed Ge­orge Zim­mer­man may be im­por­tant for what it doesn’t show: No ob­vi­ous cuts, scrapes, blood or ban­dages. No clearly bro­ken nose. No plainly vis­i­ble ev­i­dence of a life-and-death strug­gle with Trayvon Martin.

As the furor over race and self­de­fense raged on in Florida and around the U. S. on Thurs­day, Trayvon’s fam­ily and sup­port­ers seized on the footage to dis­pute Mr. Zim­mer­man’s claim that he shot and killed the un­armed black teenager af­ter the young man at­tacked him.

While cau­tion­ing that the video is grainy and far from con­clu­sive, some le­gal ex­perts agreed it does raise ques­tions about Mr. Zim­mer­man’s story. The video was made about a half-hour af­ter the shoot­ing Feb. 26.

“It could be very sig­nif­i­cant,” said Daniel Lur­vey, a for­mer Mi­ami- Dade County homi­cide pros­e­cu­tor. “If I were the pros­e­cu­tor, it would cer­tainly be Ex­hibit A that he did not suf­fer any ma­jor in­jury as a re­sult of a con­fronta­tion with Trayvon Martin.”

Zim­mer­man at­tor­ney Craig Son­ner said on NBC’S “To­day” show that the footage ap­pears to sup­port his client’s story in some re­spects.

“It’s a very grainy video. . . . How­ever, if you watch, you’ll see one of the of­fi­cers, as he’s walk­ing in, look­ing at some­thing on the back of his head,” Mr. Son­ner said. “Clearly the re­port shows he was cleaned up be­fore he was taken in the squad car.”

Mr. Zim­mer­man, a neigh­bor­hood watch vol­un­teer in the town of San­ford, told po­lice he shot the 17-year-old af­ter the young man punched him in the nose, knocked him down and re­peat­edly slammed his head against a side­walk. The San­ford Po­lice Depart­ment video be­gins at 7:52 p.m., about 35 min­utes af­ter the shoot­ing, as Mr. Zim­mer­man ar­rives at the sta­tion. It shows his head and face as he gets out of a po­lice car.

There is no ob­vi­ous wound on his head or blood on his cloth­ing, and there are no in­di­ca­tions of a bro­ken nose — which Mr. Zim­mer­man’s lawyer has in­sisted he suf­fered. He walks briskly, smoothly and unas­sisted.

“The ex­pla­na­tion he is re­ly­ing on is that there was a phys­i­cal al­ter­ca­tion,” said Ken­dall Cof­fey, for­mer U.S. at­tor­ney in Mi­ami. “The in­ten­sity of the phys­i­cal con­flict is crit­i­cal to his self-de­fense claim.”

Ben­jamin Crump, an at­tor­ney for the Martin fam­ily, said the footage di­rectly con­tra­dicts Mr. Zim­mer­man’s story: “There are no marks on his face. There is no blood on his face. It’s not like he’s dazed or he has been in­jured.”

Yet Ron Martinelli, founder of a Cal­i­for­nia foren­sic con­sult­ing firm, said that Mr. Zim­mer­man was prob­a­bly cleaned up when he was treated by paramedics at the scene and that in many cases there is no sig­nif­i­cant vis­ual ev­i­dence of an in­jury.

“It re­ally de­pends on how did the head strike the con­crete? Did he get hit straight on in the face? Did he get hit with a fist or a back­hand?” Mr. Martinelli said. “The video proves ab­so­lutely noth­ing.”

SAN­FORD PO­LICE DEPART­MENT VIA AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Ge­orge Zim­mer­man is es­corted into the San­ford, Fla., po­lice sta­tion in hand­cuffs the night he fa­tally shot Trayvon Martin. Doubters of Mr. Zim­mer­man’s claim that he acted in self-de­fense note he shows no ob­vi­ous signs of in­jury.

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