Video: Zimmerman in handcuffs, no blood after Trayvon Martin shot
USA TODAY March 28, 2012 9:00PM
Updated: March 29, 2012 7:35AM
The family of slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin said Wednesday that newly released police video showing the uncharged shooter George Zimmerman arriving at the station for questioning discredits claims he acted in self-defense.
“It just shows that everything that Zimmerman has been saying, that the police have been reporting, is false,” father Tracy Martin told USA TODAY as he viewed the video, carried by MSNBC, in a Washington hotel.
“From what I saw, Zimmerman had no blood on his face, had no grass on the back of his clothes, no cuts on the back of his head,” Martin said.
Family attorney Benjamin Crump said the video is evidence that Zimmerman’s story is a lie and that officials botched their investigation the night of the shooting.
“You’re witnessing a conspiracy in the first degree,” Crump said. “If they don’t arrest this guy -- there’s a conspiracy at this point.”
Described as a police surveillance video taken the night that Trayvon was shot dead, Zimmerman, 28, is shown arriving at the Sanford, Fla., police station in a police car, exiting with his hands cuffed behind his back and being led to questioning. He is seen wearing a red-and-black jacket.
The 17-year-old’s death has sparked a national conversation about racial profiling. He was fatally shot Feb. 26 after Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, followed him because he said the teen looked suspicious.
Trayvon, who is black and wore a hoodie sweatshirt, was unarmed; Zimmerman is described by police as white; his family says he is Hispanic.
Zimmerman claims self-defense and told police that Trayvon jumped him and smashed his head into the pavement. Police declined to charge Zimmerman at the scene after noticing he was bleeding and showed signs of having been beaten.
Crump said the national outpouring of outrage in the case won’t stop until Zimmerman is arrested. He said rallies will continue.
“I think the people aren’t going anywhere,” he said referring to the growing online petitions, crowd gatherings and social media campaigns.
Among displays of support Wednesday was that from Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., who was escorted off the U.S. House floor for wearing a hoodie as he protested the shooting.
The lawmaker called for a full investigation into Trayvon’s death. “Racial profiling has to stop,” Rush said on the House floor. “Just because someone wears a hoodie does not make them a hoodlum.”
The House has strict rules about what lawmakers can wear on the floor. Rep. Greg Harper, R-Miss., who was presiding over the chamber when Rush was speaking, banged the gavel repeatedly and reminded him of rules that prohibit the wearing of hats in the chamber while the House is in session.
Harper said wearing a hoodie was “not consistent with this rule.”
The hoodie has become a symbol of support for Trayvon. Miami Heat stars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade and their teammates wore hooded sweatshirts and posed for pictures wearing the garments as part of the “We Are Trayvon” campaign.
Tens of thousands of people have posted pictures of themselves wearing hoodies on Twitter, Facebook and other social media.
Zimmerman’s lawyer and friends have spoken in defense of the neighborhood watch volunteer, saying he is not a racist. He has dropped from sight since the killing and has not made any public remarks.
Despite the police decision not to charge Zimmerman at the time, several other probes are ongoing. The U.S. Justice Department has opened an investigation, and a Seminole County, Fla., grand jury is considering possible charges. The grand jury is likely to convene April 10.
More than 30,000 people signed an NAACP petition to Florida prosecutors in just a 24-hour period.
The case has taken on widespread interest throughout the Internet. Websites are hawking key chains bearing Trayvon’s likeness.
His parents have bought two trademarks, saying they hope to raise money to help other families struck by tragedy.