Etan Thomas: Questions Surrounding the Trayvon Martin Case

“I heard the yell for help, one yell for help, and then I heard another… excruciating type of yell. It didn’t almost sound like ‘help.’ It just sounded so painful… two men on the grass, one on top of each other … And then I heard the gunshots, which, to me, were more like pops than they were like a bang … Within a couple of seconds after the shots, one of the men was walking toward where I was watching, and I could see him a little bit clearer. Could see that it was a Hispanic man. He didn’t appear hurt or anything else.” — Eyewitness talking to CNN’s Anderson Cooper

Robert Zimmerman (shooter’s father) told CNN that Martin confronted his son first and pummeled his son. “He was punched in the nose. His nose was broken,” Robert Zimmerman said. “He was knocked to the concrete. Trayvon Martin got on top of him and just started beating him. In the face. In his nose, hitting his head on the concrete.” This account differed from what an actual witness described in saying the tussle occurred on grass. Robert Zimmerman, was not there the night of the shooting so how much credence should be given to his account and details of the altercation?

Zimmerman’s father also told CNN that Martin threatened to kill Zimmerman and then beat him so badly that His son was forced to shoot. Again, his father was not there on the night in question so is 2nd hand information or hearsay even admissible?

Zimmerman’s brother Robert, Jr. told Piers Morgan that just before the shooting, Martin threatened to kill his brother and attempted to take his gun away. As Zimmerman understands it, Martin either said, “This is going to be easy. You die tonight,” or “You have a piece. You die tonight.”

Zimmerman said Martin could have killed his brother. Isn’t that a lot of detail for someone who wasn’t there?

Robert Sr. tells Sean Hannity, “George was yelling for help for at least forty seconds, it’s clearly him on the tape, there is absolutely no doubt about who it is.”

Tom Owen, a forensic consultant for Owen Forensic Services LLC and chair emeritus for the American Board of Recorded Evidence, analyzed a Feb 23 recording of a 911 call from a woman who reported someone crying out for help in her gated community. After running the woman’s 911 call through a software program called Easy Voice Biometrics and comparing it to another 911 call with Zimmerman’s voice, Owen’s team concluded that the screams for help were not Zimmerman’s. Doesn’t that pretty much negate the family’s claims?

Richard Kurtz, the funeral director who prepared Martin for burial tells CBS news that Martin’s body showed no injuries. “We could see no physical signs like there had been a scuffle [or] there had been a fight,” he said. “The hands — I didn’t see any knuckles, bruises or what have you. And that is something we would have covered up if it would have been there.”

Does he have any conflict of interest like the obvious one the gunman’s father and brother have?

According to the police report Zimmermann was treated on the scene by emergency responders but did not go to the hospital for evaluation. Now, if you are beaten so badly, nose broken, knocked to the concrete, beaten in the face, wouldn’t you probably need to go to a hospital? Or would a wipe down and a simple “clean up” at the scene be good enough?

Whether Zimmerman’s nose was broken or not (although one would think you would see some blood on the front of his shirt if his nose was broken) or he had cuts on his head, what exactly does that prove other than Martin fought back after being attacked by a man who he posed no immediate threat to?

According to reports the lead Sanford Florida police investigator in the case wanted to file manslaughter charges on the night of the shooting, why did the Florida district attorney refuse to do so?

So if the police have the 911 tape where you can hear Zimmerman get out of his car and pursue Martin ignoring the direct order by 911 dispatcher to not do that, the witness, and the funeral director saying there was no sign of a struggle, why has Zimmerman still not been arrested? What am I missing?

Robert Zimmerman is a former magistrate judge and he understands the law inside and out as far as what probable cause needs to be in order to arrest a suspect or issue a warrant. He was present when the police questioned George Zimmerman, could there have been some coaching going on during the questioning as there was obviously for his brother once he started doing interviews?

Why did the police send a narcotics detective to the scene, instead of a homicide detective, as is typical for homicides?

Why did the police fail to administer a drug and alcohol test a breathalyzer examination or toxicology test to Zimmerman that night? (which homicide investigator Rod Wheeler called a “fatal flaw in the investigation.”)

Why wasn’t Zimmerman’s vehicle investigated or impounded?

I have respect for Touré and Piers Morgan, but shouldn’t they both realize that this issue is bigger than their differences of journalistic styles? On one hand Piers Morgan did appear to be a little soft in questioning Robert Zimmerman, could have pushed him more on some of his inconsistent facts, and at times let him lie unchallenged but on the other hand, isn’t it better to have Zimmerman on the air so the world can see the obviously coached and rehearsed lies being told?

Is Joe Oliver finished with his George Zimmerman defense tour? How could he go on television and claim 2nd hand reports of PTSD, trauma, fear in the midst of the situation, that he was simply trying to keep his community from being victimized, etc.?

Doesn’t he understand that he was simply the black face that was rolled out to show that Zimmerman couldn’t have been a racist because he has this one black friend who loves him so much that he will go on TV and defend him even in a situation like this ?

What exactly is passive racism? I keep hearing this phrase being thrown around, have no idea what it is.

Do people really believe that we are living in a “post racial America”?

If a black man appointed himself captain of his neighborhood watch group and said he saw a suspicious looking white man and ended up shooting and killing him would he be in jail right now?

Why does the right appear to be grasping at straws in anyway possible to defend George Zimmerman and why do they continuously accuse the rest of the country of rushing to judgement?

Why didn’t most of the Right-leaning media outlets cover the case in any way shape or form although it had been national news for weeks? Why did it take the the President weighing in on the tragedy on March 23 before most of them ran a story on this case?

Why does the right continuously attempt to attack Trayvon Martin’s character? The Twitchy, a website founded by the conservative commentator Michelle Malkin, actually published pictures of a teenager with his middle fingers extended that it claimed depicted Trayvon Martin. The picture turned out to be of a teenager who was not Martin, and had first surfaced on a neo-Nazi website.

Rush Limbaugh and others have tried in earnest to connect Trayvon to the New Black Panthers. Drudge posted sensationalistic headlines about Trayvon’s past while illustrating the links with a “grills” photo of Trayvon which was obviously meant to depict him as a thug. Tucker Carlson’s The Daily Caller released what they claim are Trayvon’s tweets. Glenn Beck’s The Blaze posted an entire list of unproven infractions that Trayvon possibly committed at his high school.

So Their notion is that somehow Trayvon’s unsubstantiated “record” somehow justifies George Zimmerman’s actions on the night of the shooting?

What does the fact that Trayvon was or wasn’t suspended from school for having traces of marijuana in his back pack have to do with this case?

Does the fact that Zimmerman was arrested for assaulting a police officer add to his guilt in this case?

What if Trayvon had been arrested for assaulting a police officer the way Zimmerman was, would that currently be used to damage his character and somehow justify the shooting ?

How do we transfer the anger and frustration that has risen from the case into a change in public policy and changing overall what is happening in the community?

Many people including myself did not know that this stand your ground law even existed and exists in more than 20 states. How do we transfer the message of the importance of voting and how that effects the laws created in your state?

Congressman Bobby Rush said on the floor “just because your wearing a hoodie does not make you a hoodlum” and was ridiculed and criticized that the floor of the Congress was not the “appropriate place or time” for a member of the United States Congress to make the type of statement he made. My question is, have we ever had a protest in the United States Of America where the opposing side has thought it was the “appropriate place and time”?

Wasn’t the criticism of Jet magazine and the Chicago Defender who published in 1955 the photographs of Emmett Till’s body that it was an “inappropriate forum to publish those photographs in”?

Can you really have too much media coverage on a tragedy?

It took Columbine for the entire country to wake up to the problems of gun violence bullying gun issues etc which gave birth to the million mom march of mostly white mothers. Will the tragedy of Trayvon Martin’s death bring the issues of racial profiling to the forefront as well?

Are we afraid of having a conversation about race because it makes people nervous and uncomfortable? Do people think that ignoring it or denying it will make it go away?

Geraldo Rivera’s shocking comments on the Trayvon Martin killing were extremely misguided and disrespectful. His exact words were, “I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as George Zimmerman was. I am urging the parents of Black and Latino youngsters, particularly, to not let their children go out wearing hoodies.” Facing a backlash, theat of boycotts etc , Rivera (whether sincere or not) offered somewhat of an apology (guess it didn’t move me to be honest) but as politically incorrect and absolutely insensitive to the Martin family that statement was, is it actually indicative of how mainstream America thinks?

Stereotypes in clothing is something that has always existed. It used to be baggy clothes, stocking caps, hats turned backward, whatever the style was. Why doesn’t Geraldo Rivera and those who think like him understand that It’s not the hoodie it’s who is under the hoodie that is the issue . Does he understand that whether Trayvon had on a hoodie or a cowboy hat, George Zimmerman was going to look at him as a threat?

Why do people keep attempting to shift the focus away from the facts of the Treyvon Martin case to talk about black on black crime, lyrics in rap music, teenage marijuana use, all separate issues that have nothing to do with this actual case?

People are criticizing Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson and all of the organizers of all of the demonstrations and rallies as polarizing this situation, but is it fair to say that if justice would have prevailed, there would not have been a need to polarize anything? The legal system would have held itself accountable.

Would there have been a special prosecutor assigned to this case had not thousands across the nation not mobilized, organized , protested, and rallied demanding justice for Trayvon?

Would a grand jury be convened on April 10?

Would the 911 tapes be released showing admitted shooter George Zimmerman calling Trayvon suspicious, and disobeying a direct order from the 911 dispatcher, and saying that these a**holes always get away?

Would the Florida Legislature be reviewing — and discussing adjusting modifying or hopefully abandoning — the controversial “Stand Your Ground” law, which is at the heart of this case?

Would the Department of Justice have launched a full investigation into the case, as well as the entire Sanford Police Department?

Would Sanford’s police chief, Bill Lee, have stepped aside if the mishandling of this case hadn’t been exposed?

Would there have been two agents from the special prosecutors office recently sent out to canvass the twin lakes retreat area where Trayvon Martin was killed?

Would there have been FBI agents recently sent out to go door to door in the gated community, question potential witnesses, and compile information on Zimmerman’s background?

Am I being too pessimistic in being concerned that even with all of this George Zimmerman may still get off for this killing? I am troubled at the thought of the tremendous blow it would be to the hearts and minds of people all across America people who have taken up this cause and who have been personally effected and tormented as more facts are discovered. What happens if justice doesn’t prevail?

This takes me back to middle school when I heard the infamous Rodney King verdict. Over and over we saw the tape of Rodney King being beaten as we hear the tape of Trayvon Martin over and over. We hear George Zimmerman pursuing him, being told by the 911 dispatcher that they didn’t need him to do that and the rest of the facts being rolled out. I hear the new black panthers issue a bounty on the capture of George Zimmerman. With everything as intense as it is right now, what will happen if the final verdict for George Zimmerman, if he is ever actually arrested, turns out to be not guilty?