George Zimmerman Is Suing NBC Over Doctored 911 Tapes

It looks like the courts will have the final say in the case of NBC’s reporting on George Zimmerman. Zimmerman is suing NBC, NBC correspondents Ron Allen and Lilia Rodriguez Luciano, and Jeff Burnside, a reporter for the NBC-owned station in Miami, over their blatantly dishonest editing of Zimmerman’s recorded conversation with police dispatchers. Luciano, Burnside, and an unnamed producer were fired by NBC after the issue came to light in the blogosphere.

(CNN) — George Zimmerman, charged in the shooting death of a 17-year-old Florida boy, sued NBC Universal on Thursday for using “the oldest form of yellow journalism” by editing an audio tape of his 911 call to make him sound racist, the lawsuit said.

Zimmerman is seeking “damages in excess of the jurisdictional limit” in Seminole County Circuit Court in Florida, where the lawsuit is filed.

Zimmerman, who is Hispanic and is charged with second-degree murder, is accused of fatally shooting Trayvon Martin, who was African-American. The February incident has provoked national controversy.

…The lawsuit [also] accuses NBC of falsely claiming that Zimmerman said “f—ing coons” on the February 26 call.

“The truth, as known to the defendants, was that Zimmerman said ‘f_____ punks’ and there was no evidence, or reason to believe, that Zimmerman uttered a racial epithet during the call,” the suit said.

Talk Left’s Jeralyn Merritt, who did a lot of the original legwork on the deceitful and inflammatory edits, recaps their pervasiveness at the networks of NBC:

So the blatant, racially charged distortion of George Zimmerman’s 911 call started on NBC 6 Miami on March 19, appearing in two articles by three different writers. It was repeated on March 20 in an article attributed to one of the three writers. The articles have been updated, but the quotes remain. The falsely portrayed quote aired on the Today Show on March 22 during a live segment with reporter Lilia Luciano, and again on March 27 with reporter Ron Allen.

For NBC and MSNBC to characterize the error as a single episode caused by a producer’s time constraints in getting a video clip ready for live morning television, which just unfortunately happened to be missed by layers of editorial control, is not very convincing.

While of course I have no way of knowing, it seems to me the botched editing was not an intentional attempt to smear George Zimmerman. I think it was the result of carelessness, inattention and incompetence. What’s truly disturbing is that editorial controls at NBC, MSNBC and NBC 6 Miami, all failed to catch the error, not once, but five times. That’s nothing short of inexcusable.

While the producer who put the clip together bears the initial blame, as do the reporters who included it in their live segments and the writers who included it in their articles, I think the people equally accountable and deserving of being fired are the script editor, the senior producers responsible for oversight, and those in the legal and standards review departments. It was their job to catch errors before they hit the airwaves and internet and they failed miserably. It’s like they were all out to lunch — all day for seven days. And the articles haven’t been corrected to this day.

There’s plenty of blame to go around at NBC. A court will decide if that blame is actionable.

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Posted by on December 7, 2012.
Filed under Justice, Law.
Doug Johnson is a news junkie and long time blog reader, turned author.

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  • Commander_Chico

    Great, now NBC will be able to ask Zim questions under oath in a pre-trial deposition. I bet they’ve served him with a notice already. That will be great for the prosecution. Plus, makes Zim look like he’s trying to cash in, along with his fundraising. Another line of questioning for the prosecutor.

    Zim should concentrate on avoiding 20 years for manslaughter.

    W h a t. a. f o o l.

    • blogagog

      I disagree. NBC libeled the hell out of him. Millions of people still think he’s a racist because of NBC’s actions. It’s extremely important for everyone to hold journalists accountable for lies they tell.

      Since it looks pretty clearly like he’s innocent of the murder charge, he has little to fear from a deposition. Good move. I would have done the same.

      • Brian_R_Allen

        …. important to hold journalists accountable for their lies ….

        In 2012, though, a darned site harder to even find a “journalist,” than to avoid the encyclopedias of bloody lies that spew from the armies of little Goebbels Graduates posing as such.

      • JWH

        Millions of people still think he’s a racist because of NBC’s actions.

        That part will be difficult to prove. Not to mention that he’ll also have to show damages.

        • herddog505

          It seems to me that providing evidence that people put out what amounts to a “hit” on him would be a good place to start on that.

      • 914

        I would say about 10 million for libelous slander seems in order.

    • Brian_R_Allen

      Great, now Mr Zimmerman will get to depose NBC, pre-trial. I’ll bet it has already been served notice. That will be great for Mr Zimmerman’s defense.

      The onus of proof being theirs, prosecutors don’t have “line(s) of questioning” (of defendants) unless said defendants create and/or otherwise offer them — and this political charade will not last that long.

      • Commander_Chico

        Um, that’s it. Zim has offered a profit motive for possibly lying under oath. He’s subject to cross-examination on the stand if he testifies. And the prosecution will know exactly what his story is – there will be no surprises, unless he changes his story – which would not be good for him.

        • jim_m

          Except that the prosecution has already come out and stated that Zimmerman did not say “coons”. Perhaps he could bring in the criminal prosecution team as witnesses for the plaintiff in his civil case.

          No matter what, Chico, you have convicted Zimmerman based on his name and the description of his race as “white”.

          • Commander_Chico

            link to a quote from the prosecution offering pretrial opinion on what Zim said, please. I am sure they will play that bit, and again and again.

          • jim_m

            Jeez, Chico. Since the prosecution delivered this affidavit back in April, I would think that you had heard of this. But then again, since you have already convicted Zimmerman based on his name and race what use is the actual evidence?

            Here’s the key part for you

          • Commander_Chico

            OK, but they will still play it again and again. I think they are playing it cute.

        • Brian_R_Allen

          Projection pretty-much defines the Fascissocialist Psychosis and every darned time and for certain, outs its every sufferer.

          While, meanwhile, here among the healthy and the always Right, Mr Zimmerman’s “story” is called by its generic name:

          The Simple Truth.

          (Wonder what would Mister-Tea have to say)

      • Wild_Willie

        Actually, NBC cannot go on a fishing expedition using their false narrative as a reason. No judge will allow that in a deposition. They have to deal around the specifics. ww

    • EricSteel

      Don’t forget that NBC has already admitted error and fired people over this matter.

  • herddog505

    Not being a lawyer, how does mens rea work in such a case? Has Zimmerman got to “prove” that the news agencies in question maliciously (or, at least, knowingly) did it, or is it sufficient to prove that they really ought to have done better to stop a (snort) lamentable foul-up by some junior and anonymous staffers?

    I deeply hope that he takes them to the cleaners, though I must wonder if he can get justice in this country, so many people having made up their minds from the outset that he’s a racist killer, this conclusion being based, in no small part, on the sort of (ahem) highly selective reporting that was done for the first few weeks of the Martin case.

    • JWH

      Mens rea is for criminal law, not civil. As far as the defamation suit, it’s going to turn on whether Zimmerman was a public figure at the time the tapes/articles were aired. If he was a public figure, then he’s going to have to show actual malice or a reckless disregard for the truth. If he was a private figure …. then the standard is a bit lower. Beyond that …. it’s been a long time since I last considered defamation law. It’s also 6:30 in the morning here, and I haven’t had my coffee yet.

      • herddog505

        Thanks. I barely remember my name before my morning cup (or three), so I know how it is…

        Even if Zimmerman is considered a “public figure”, I must say that the idea that a new agency can (ahem) edit things he’s said to give a distinctly false impression of him and claim, “Oh, it was an accident” seems a bit of a reach. Further, this ain’t politics or satire: this concerns a case of (potentially) murder.

        NBC has much to answer for.

  • Vagabond661

    Too bad he couldn’t sue everyone who have been deceitful and dishonest about his case.

    • 914

      For that matter, if we all sued the msm every time they lie we would put them out of business in one year.

  • 914

    I hope he makes a bundle..

  • Carl

    He should sue in this instance. I think he has a case. Let’s see NBC prove it was accidental, as they claim. If they can, they’ll prevail. If they can’t prove it was accidental then they owe Zimmerman more than an apology.

  • LiberalNightmare

    Good for Zimmerman.

    Defending ones self isn’t limited to gun rights.

  • Paul Hooson

    I certainly disagree if anyone here was made to look worse than they actually are. But, it’s unlikely that this would prejudice any jury here, because this won’t be admitted as evidence at trial. But, I know of one case in which MSNBC ran some incorrect information during a murder trial because the information was from an incorrect story run by a local newspaper. A newspaper wrongfully claimed that a witness during a murder trial was responsible for stealing 500 cars, attacking the character of this witness in the story. However, the witness actually stated that he had sold 500 cars in his lifetime, not stole 500 cars, during his testimony, and had worked as a contractor for a car lot where the owner was accused in this civil trial of murdering his wife during an ugly divorce. This newspaper refused to run a retraction of the story, although it was clear that they were feeding clearly incorrect information to the public as well as to larger media outlets. So, was NBC given incorrect information here with the Zimmerman case from some other source, or did they selectively edit information or such. In the end, it probably won’t make much difference to Zimmerman, unless he’s looking to pick up a little money to pay for his losing efforts to defend himself here, in a trial that’s nearly certain to lose because the police reports and facts just don’t run favorable to him here. Why Zimmerman doesn’t accept a plea deal here is a good question. The prosecution has or is highly likely to offer a plea deal, but Zimmerman’s alternative reality likely believes that he can beat the charges at trial, which he likely cannot.

    • jim_m

      Why Zimmerman doesn’t accept a plea deal here is a good question.

      Because he is innocent fool. The prosecution has already admitted that there was no racial component to this. The prosecution has been trying to keep the evidence of how severely Zimmerman was beaten out of the hands of the defense, which is why it took to the 9th supplemental discovery for them to release the color photos of Zimmerman’s facial injuries.

      And he’s got a good case against NBC. They have a history of falsifying video and audio for their reports. They did so in this case.

      The only people asking for a deal here will be NBC.

      But I suppose if you get all your news from Al Sharpton you think that Zimmerman is guilty.

      • Paul Hooson

        A police report clearly stated that Trayvon Martin hadn’t committed any crime up to the point that Zimmerman followed behind him and confronted him, and a violent altercation took place. It was those acts of following someone who hadn’t committed any crime, that a 911 operator told Zimmerman not to follow, and was fatally shot that landed Zimmerman in jail charged with second degree murder.

        A question remains of just when Zimmerman actually pulled the gun on Martin. Did Martin start beating Zimmerman when he simply followed and confronted the teenager, or did Zimmerman pull a gun on the teenager, who feared for his life, and then a fight broke out?

        But the prosecution, when charging Zimmerman with second degree murder, stated that “Zimmerman confronted Martin and a fight ensued”. Five hours of police questioning as well as witness evidence led to this murder charge. Believe what you will, Jim, but the prosecution based their charges on some substantial basis in law as well as evidence here.

        • jim_m

          Actually, the prosecution based their charges on political expediency since prior to political pressure from the left there were not going to be any charges.

          • http://wizbangblog.com/author/rodney-graves/ Rodney G. Graves

            Bingo!

          • JWH

            I’m actually surprised the prosecution went for second-degree murder instead of manslaughter.

        • Vagabond661

          Or did Martin jump Zimmerman, knock him to the ground then started beating him? This would seem more likely because theoritically Zimmerman could have shot him at anytime if his wanted to shoot Martin. Why wait to shoot Martin until Martin broke his nose, bloodied his lip and smashed his skull in the pavement?

          The path of the bullet thru Martin’s body will help one side or the other.

          • Paul Hooson

            Ballistics should also determine at what close range was Martin actually shot and at what angle. Was Martin shot at close distance standing up before the fight broke out and bled out to death, or was martin shot while fighting with Zimmerman on the ground, nearly laying over Zimmerman?Was Zimmerman’s clothes covered with Martin’s blood or gun blast residue, for example. These are more keys that are vital to a jury decision here.

            One law blog noted that the medical examiner thought that the gunshot was fired from as far away as four inches into Martin, while the balistics report thought that the blast pattern and fatal wound was fired right up next to Martin. What does this prove?

            Further, the police report showed that Martin had bought a Arizona Tea and a package of Skittles, suggesting that he was simply walking home from one of those little late night grocery stores. The Arizona Tea can was scattered on the ground while the Skittles was still in Martin’s pocket when the responding police arrived and declared Martin as a crime victim and Zimmerman as a suspect in their crime reports.

            Police were called to the scene by six 911 calls made by witnesses that explained that two men were arguing outside, then got involved in a fight, and then two shots were fired. Previously, Zimmerman made his own call to the 911 “nonemergency” line.

            Police went to the home of the father, Tracy Martin, in the local area because Trayvon had been living with him over the last seven days because he was suspended from school for 10 days because of bringing a small amount of marijuana to school. The father was told that his son went to the store and had not yet returned, where he apparently bought the Skittles and Arizona Tea. The father was shown a picture of the crime victim, who he identified as his son. Crime victim advocates were then sent to the father’s home by the police to console the grieving father. The father had previously called police that his 17 year old minor son had not returned from the store, which was apparently close by, with a missing persons phone call.

            In Zimmerman’s nonemergency 911 call, he claimed a suspicious person was walking through his neighborhood, but within two minutes claimed that the person was running away. The operator told Zimmerman that he didn’t need to follow the running person. But, it was the arguing, some calls for help, and the gunshots that caused the other six calls to 911 for police to respond. That seems like a lot of trouble just because some kid went to the store to buy candy and an Arizona Tea, that Zimmerman didn’t recognize that was staying with his dad nearby was walking home from the store.

            Despite Zimmerman being Hispanic himself, one caller to the police, a female claimed that Zimmerman had some “racist ideologies” and was “fully capable of instigating a confrontation that could have escalated to the point of Zimmerman using deadly force”. However, another female witness claimed to police that Zimmerman was “laid back”, but a passionate defender of the building area, and unlikely to provoke problems of his own. Two men were chasing each other. But, she did not get enough of a glance to tell which one, before cries for help and the gunshots started and she called 911 for help. Another witness report claimed that the incident took place around 7pm to 7:15pm on February 26, with off and on rain, and not that late at night for someone who was a minor to walking home from a grocery store. Martin had $40.15 on him according to the police report, enough money to buy most any snacks he wanted. Back in October, there had been one home invasion related burglary case, however a suspect had been arrested in that case long before Martin moved in to stay his father in February after being suspended from school for bringing a small amount of the drug to school.

          • Vagabond661

            You point to a lot of stuff about Zimmerman. What do you know about Martin’s behavior?
            I would think if you are on top of someone breating someone to a pulp, you might be considered the aggressor.

        • EricSteel

          Zimmerman following Trayvon is irrelevant.

          Who confronted who is irrelevant.

          Who started the fight is irrelevant.

          What is relevant is with Trayvon pinning Zimmerman on the ground, and pounding his head into a sidewalk, did Zimmerman have a reasonable belief that at that moment his life was in danger?

          If he had a reasonable fear for his life AT THAT MOMENT, then he had the right of acting in self defense.

          Trayvon could just as easily have killed Zimmerman. Is there any justification for Trayvon killing Zimmerman?

          • Paul Hooson

            I’ll give everyone a good example how the law works here. My brother and I ran a small grocery store for three years, and a group of punks on bicycles used to throw eggs at our customers and other bullshit acts. We called the police 17 times with the same group and the same bullshit. One day, my brother and I just got plain pissed off after another incident, so we followed this group of three bicycle punks up to their home in our cars to get their address to call the police for the 18th time. My brother got out of his car for some reason and one of these pricks started hitting him with his bicycle, so my brother punched the little prick out in self defense. Another punk opened my truck door, climbed inside and punched me in the mouth and nose. Guess who got arrested here? Only my brother? And he was convicted and had to pay a fine. The reason for this, even if some asshole commits a crime, you can be arrested for merely following them just to see where they live. Legally, that’s called “menancing”. This means that vandals, crooks, shoplifters and other crappy people can commit whatever crime they want, but the minute you follow them home, you commit a crime similar to hunting or stalking them down and are more likely than them to be the only one arrested. If you think this legal standard is wrong, then somebody please change the laws.

            Now, is there anyone here who really thinks that what Zimmerman is legal under this same standard of law? He followed some teenager who hadn’t broken any law until the fight between him and the kid took place. And when Zimmerman found out that he was too much of a sissyass to defend himself from the confrontation that he started with some teenager, he then pulls out a gun and kills the kid. Where is Zimmerman got a leg to stand on here? Guns appeal to sissyass guys like a Zimmerman who isn’t nearly as tough as he really wanted to be, where he tried to equalize the situation he started. He starts a confrontation that he couldn’t win, so he murders his opponent. The whole story tells me that Zimmerman was a sissyass who got in way over his head, not bright enough to avoid trouble. Zimmerman was only a neighborhood watchman, just a neighborhood watchman, and proved how miserable he was when he tried to play cop. He got the crap beat out of him, so he killed the kid. Zimmerman is a complete piece of chickenshit to defend here or anywhere. He’s not that much of a man, nor is he very bright. He’s just a stupid jerk who had gun nerves, because his gun made him feel strong. But, that same gun betrayed him, and lost him his freedom.

            Zimmerman should have been smart enough to realize that there’s some fights that you don’t want to win, because the cost is too high. You just can’t go as far as murder like Zimmerman did when you get involved in a fight that you’re losing. You need to be smart enough to quit long before that point, and even smarter not to fight in the first place. Assault is a serious enough charge, but murder is much worse.

          • EricSteel

            Now, is there anyone here who really thinks that what Zimmerman is legal under this same standard of law?

            Yes, for the simple fact that there is no menacing law in Florida. So how did Zimmerman break a law that does not exist?

            What Zimmerman does have is the right to self defense. Trayvon Martin did not have the right at any point to beat Zimmerman to death because he was being followed.

          • Paul Hooson

            I’m not really sure why the Peruvian Hispanic George Zimmerman or the African American Trayvon Martin have become such a cause for so many people to take sides and to construe some sort of racially biased case. But, just looking at the facts of what happened between two persons, Zimmerman went too far by following someone who had not committed any crime up to that point of the fight breaking out, then he got involved in a fight with, then shot and killed that person. Zimmerman followed this kid with the clear intent that if he challenged this kid, and the situation didn’t turn out like Zimmerman wanted, then he had a loaded gun to back him up. This is called gun nerves. This is a dangerous thing. Look where it all ended, including one person dead, and another charged with second degree murder. You don’t think that hundreds of persons aren’t charged and convicted of murder under similar circumstances each year?

            If Zimmerman was never allowed to own a gun in the first place, then he would have almost certainly not followed and confronted someone where there was no probable cause that they committed any crime. And if there was any evidence that a crime was committed, police would have responded.

            Zimmerman wasn’t defending his home, he followed someone that was young simply because of his beliefs that the suspect looked like he might be up to no good. But, you can’t go after someone for such a reason as this.

            Hell, I go out and walk my dog everyday in my biker leather jacket or biker vest, with my long braided beard, and Brothers Of The Third Wheel Motorcycle Club hat. Some neighbor doesn’t have the right to follow behind me with a loaded gun, start a fight with me, and shoot me dead because I look like a biker walking his dog. What’s the neighbor going to tell the cops? “This guy owns a $600,000 house in the neighborhood, but he looks like a biker, so I shot him dead while he was walking his dog”. That’s no justification. So where was Zimmerman’s justification?

          • Vagabond661

            How do you keep ignoring that Zimmerman was being assaulted at the time Martin was shot?

          • Paul Hooson

            The autopsy of Trayvon Martin noted three injuries, the fatal chest wound as well as injuries to both knuckles including torn skin. The question is whether that indicates assault from Trayvon Martin or Martin defending himself. What Zimmerman actually said to Martin and when he displayed the gun are two unknown keys here.

          • Vagabond661

            Yes that’s it. Martin was defending himself. He used his knuckles to ward off Zimmerman’s vicious attacks with his face.

          • Paul Hooson

            The entire incident occurred at just 7pm at night. This was a normal time for some teenager to be walking back from any grocery store, and not in violation of curfew. This wasn’t some late night incident. Zimmerman didn’t recognize the kid because he had only been living with dad for just 7 days in the neighborhood, after the kid was suspended from school and living with his dad for bringing a small amount of marijuana to school, otherwise he had no known criminal record. Video from the 7-11 store in the neighborhood didn’t show any evidence of bad behavior on the part of the teenager who conducted himself like any respectful customer. The teenager bought and paid for all of his items, and made no attempt to shoplift or other problems. Nothing this juvenile did indicated that he was aggressive or looking for trouble that evening. Nothing this juvenile did indicated that he attempting to commit any crime up until the point that Zimmerman and the teenager were involved in the fight and fatal shooting. Zimmerman was the aggressor here, challenging the teenager without any probable cause to justify his own actions.

            A witness reported from their window in their home likely viewed Zimmerman(but they were unsure who was chasing who) running after the kid, shouting and the two were beginning to argue loudly. A fight took place, and Zimmerman killed the kid.

            All of this evidence suggests that Zimmerman didn’t recognize the kid from the neighborhood, and started a confrontation with the kid for just merely his own beliefs and own profile of being suspicious in the absence of any proof that the kid was doing anything other than buying items at a store and then walking home. The two got involved in a fight after Zimmerman aggressively chased and shouted at the kid, and then Zimmerman shot and killed the kid after the kid landed a good punch or two on Zimmerman. All of this suggests that Zimmerman is liable under both criminal and civil law here. Police had no problem immediately identifying Zimmerman as a crime suspect here, and handcuffing and arresting him at the scene, and immediately identified Martin as a crime victim here. Further witness information didn’t exonerate Zimmerman either here, but rather only further implicated that he did wrong here by creating a public disturbance, chased down an innocent pedestrian, and created a deadly incident outside their homes at only about 7pm in the evening. You just can’t have people firing off weapons outside of people’s homes in a civilized society for no good reason. That’s criminally irresponsible.

            You can’t chase people down and start fights with them and shoot and kill them because they’re just walking home from the 7-11 store. Laws are made to protect the public from people like Zimmerman doing stuff like this. What he did was just plain wrong and without any legal justification. The courts will say the same thing when a jury of reasonable persons will send Zimmerman to prison, and another jury will award Martin’s father civil damages.

            Zimmerman is a very poor poster boy to defend here. The whole incident shows a real lack of judgement on the part of Zimmerman, and proves how dangerous some people can be if they own a gun, and aren’t responsible. Zimmerman would have been far better off facing just assault charges for his outrageous incident rather than murder charges.

          • Vagabond661

            You keep swinging Paulie but you keep missing the ball. MAybe on purpose. Zimmerman was part of a neighborhood watch. Zimmerman didn’t “chase anyone down.” He followed Martin, then lost sight of him.

            Martin’s injuries was to his KNUCKLES. Zimmerman’s was to his HEAD. Who was the agressor? If this was a MMA fight, Zimmerman would have tapped out.

            You keep avoiding what Martin did. Martin could have walked away. He could have calmly answered Zimmerman’s questions. He could have done a lot of things.What he chose to do is beat the crap out of Zimmerman. Everything has consequences. Martin paid for his foolish deciscion to be the aggressor.

          • Paul Hooson

            Police certainly had no problem immediately identifying Martin as the victim here, and Zimmerman as the suspect here, and handcuffing and arresting him on the scene. A prosecutor had no problem bringing charges against Zimmerman for conduct that went way out there from expected normal conduct for what was supposed to be just a neighborhood watch. This is a fairly simple crime case here. Not rocket science.

          • Vagabond661

            Paul, you love throwing out half truths and since you do that Pop thing, that makes you part of the media, Better hope Zimmerman doesn’t sue you too.

            Zimmerman was cuffed and then released because the police saw it was self-defense. So many people posted here what happened time and time again. You ignore it all. stop getting your info from Daily Kos,

          • Paul Hooson

            Don’t read Daily Kos. Don’t agree with them. Why don’t you spend some time defending that shopping mall shooter too! There’s another crazy guy with a gun who killed people for no good reason….Hey, that sounds a lot like Zimmerman!

          • http://wizbangblog.com/author/rodney-graves/ Rodney G. Graves

            We believe that you believe the two incidents are the same.

            Seek
            Professional
            Help

          • Vagabond661

            Hey Zimmerman! Now Paul is comparing you to the shopping mall shooter! I think you got a case! The good (and obvious) reason, that you, Paul, KEEP IGNORING is that Zimmerman was getting the beating of his life. If Martin didn’t do that, he would be walking around today.

            By the way, how many people jumped on the mall shooter and beat the snot out of him BEFORE he started shooting? Man, if you don’t read Daily Kos, you could sure write for them! Their wacky theories go right along with yours!

          • Vagabond661

            Hey Zimmerman! Now Paul is comparing you to the shopping mall shooter! I think you got a case! The good (and obvious) reason, that you, Paul, KEEP IGNORING is that Zimmerman was getting the beating of his life. If Martin didn’t do that, he would be walking around today.

            By the way, how many people jumped on the mall shooter and beat the snot out of him BEFORE he started shooting? Man, if you don’t read Daily Kos, you could sure write for them! Their wacky theories go right along with yours!

          • EricSteel

            Paul,
            I guess you have forgotten that in this country, people are innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

            Zimmerman’s claim is that it was self defense. That at the time of the shooting he had no other option but to shoot Trayvon Martin because he felt AT THAT MOMENT that his own life was in danger.

            Look at these facts, Zimmerman has numerous head injuries, a broken nose, a laceration on the face and most importantly lacerations to the back of the head.

            The best witness to the fight, was witness 6, who reported to police the night of the shooting that a dark skinned man in a black shirt had a light skinned man in a red shirt pinned to the ground on the concrete side walk. The dark skinned man was “just throwing down blows on the guy, MMA-style.”
            To me it sounds like at that moment, Zimmerman did not have any ability to retreat and may have had a reasonable belief that his life was in danger. That sounds like self defense.
            Or is it your contention, that Trayvon Martin should have been allowed to beat and possibly kill George Zimmerman for the heinous crime of following after dark?

          • EricSteel

            Zimmerman followed this kid with the clear intent that if he challenged this kid, and the situation didn’t turn out like Zimmerman wanted, then he had a loaded gun to back him up.

            As I have REPEATEDLY pointed out to you, when the 911 dispatcher told Zimmerman that he shouldn’t be following Trayvon Martin, Zimmerman’s response was “OK”. Zimmerman also said that he lost sight of Trayvon Martin. He then negotiated with the dispatcher where to meet the police.

            Who is ZImmerman talking to? The 911 dispatcher. THINK ABOUT THAT, he is for all practical purposes on the phone with the police and knows the police are in route. Does that really sound like someone with the intent of starting a confrontation?

            He did EXACTLY what you accuse him of NOT doing, he followed the dispatcher’s suggestion not to follow. He stopped the pursuit, yet a confrontation still occurred between Zimmerman and a kid who was running AWAY and who Zimmerman had lost sight of.

            In the 911 call Zimmerman reports that Trayvon is running, 6 seconds later you hear him exit his car. So Trayvon has a 6 second running head start on big fat Zimmerman. If Trayvon Martin was so worried about Zimmerman that he was running away from him and had a head start, then how did they meet back up? If he was worried about Zimmerman enough to run away, why would he linger about, why would he talk to his girlfriend, why not call the police himself or run straight home to the safety of his house?

            Answer me this Paul, is it possible or is it impossible that Trayvon Martin doubled back and confronted George Zimmerman?

          • Paul Hooson

            A lot of things are certainly possible here, Eric. A jury is going to have a nice case to wrestle with here weighing all of the evidence including what witnesses claim went down. We’re all sitting on the sidelines listening to this filtered secondhand news, with not all of the evidence. The most interesting bit of testimony will be when Zimmerman actually produced a gun that was visible to Martin, and what happened from that point on. Did Zimmerman wave a gun from his vehicle that caused Martin to run? Martin didn’t commit any crime up to that time nor was there evidence that he was selling drugs or involved in burglary, etc. so what caused Martin to run. Was Martin somehow intimidated by Zimmerman, and ran out of fear, rather than away from some wrongdoing? Did Martin merely defend himself from what appeared to be a potential assault from some civilian who obviously wasn’t a police officer. Zimmerman had a bad history of working as a bouncer at a party one time when he roughed up a female partygoer for example. This guy wanted to play a cop, but he lacked the mental health and courage required of any real police officer. That’s what I suspect got him into so much trouble here.

            My personal opinion is that Zimmerman thought that the kid was up to some wrongdoing, although all the evidence suggests otherwise. And Zimmerman began a chain of events that resulted in a fight and a murder. How botched up is all that? To claim that Zimmerman poorly handled this incident would be a gross understatement.

          • EricSteel

            The most interesting bit of testimony will be when Zimmerman actually produced a gun that was visible to Martin, and what happened from that point on.

            Perhaps the best testimony on that will be Dee Dee. Trayvon was on the phone with her when the fight broke out. Yet nowhere in her deposition does she mention that Trayvon said there was a gun.

            Don’t you think that if Trayvon was worried about a gun, he might have mentioned it? Explain that.

            If Zimmerman had the gun and initiated the fight, why would he allow himself to be beaten so badly? Explain that.

            Again you ignore the evidence that Zimmerman broke off the pursuit after the 911 dispatcher told him too. Why?

            Again, you ignore the possibility that Trayvon initated the fight and that Zimmerman was acting in self defense.

          • EricSteel

            Zimmerman followed this kid with the clear intent that if he challenged this kid, and the situation didn’t turn out like Zimmerman wanted, then he had a loaded gun to back him up.

            As I have REPEATEDLY pointed out to you, when the 911 dispatcher told Zimmerman that he shouldn’t be following Trayvon Martin, Zimmerman’s response was “OK”. Zimmerman also said that he lost sight of Trayvon Martin. He then negotiated with the dispatcher where to meet the police.

            Who is ZImmerman talking to? The 911 dispatcher. THINK ABOUT THAT, he is for all practical purposes on the phone with the police and knows the police are in route. Does that really sound like someone with the intent of starting a confrontation?

            He did EXACTLY what you accuse him of NOT doing, he followed the dispatcher’s suggestion not to follow. He stopped the pursuit, yet a confrontation still occurred between Zimmerman and a kid who was running AWAY and who Zimmerman had lost sight of.

            In the 911 call Zimmerman reports that Trayvon is running, 6 seconds later you hear him exit his car. So Trayvon has a 6 second running head start on big fat Zimmerman. If Trayvon Martin was so worried about Zimmerman that he was running away from him and had a head start, then how did they meet back up? If he was worried about Zimmerman enough to run away, why would he linger about, why would he talk to his girlfriend, why not call the police himself or run straight home to the safety of his house?

            Answer me this Paul, is it possible or is it impossible that Trayvon Martin doubled back and confronted George Zimmerman?

          • EricSteel

            This guy owns a $600,000 house in the neighborhood, but he looks like a biker, so I shot him dead while he was walking his dog”. That’s no justification. So where was Zimmerman’s justification?

            The difference is that nowhere in your example is there a point where you have your neighbor pinned to the ground while you beat his head MMA style against a cement sidewalk.

            Zimmerman’s justification is that there is ZERO evidence that he started the fight. There is ZERO evidence that he did anything more provocative than following Trayvon Martin and calling the police.

            And yet, Trayvon Martin is somehow excused for breaking Zimmerman’s nose and pounding his head into a cement sidewalk.

            Trayvon Martin, did not have the right to beat George Zimmerman to death.

            For it to be self defense on Trayvon’s part there had to be a reasonable fear for his safety. Someone merely following him does not suffice. If Zimmerman brandished the gun, then I would agree, that he had a reasonable fear. Yet there is no evidence that Trayvon knew Zimmerman had a gun. See DeeDee’s testimony.

            However,at the point that Zimmerman is getting his head pounded in the cement, HE had a reasonable fear that his life was in imminent danger. And had the right to self defense.

    • JWH

      Why Zimmerman doesn’t accept a plea deal here is a good question.

      it’s not a good question. It has a simple answer, actually. The Stand Your Ground law affords Zimmerman an initial hearing before a judge (not a jury) to assess whether he has a valid defense under SYG. The facts of the case aren’t entirely in the public view right now, but from what we’ve seen so far, Zimmerman does have a good chance of prevailing on a SYG defense.

      If he wins at that hearing, the entire case goes bye-bye. So right now, there’s little risk to Zimmerman if he waits to see how that hearing goes. If he doesn’t prevail at the initial hearing, he may have more of an incentive to take a plea deal.

  • Paul Hooson

    I certainly disagree if anyone here was made to look worse than they actually are. But, it’s unlikely that this would prejudice any jury here, because this won’t be admitted as evidence at trial. But, I know of one case in which MSNBC ran some incorrect information during a murder trial because the information was from an incorrect story run by a local newspaper. A newspaper wrongfully claimed that a witness during a murder trial was responsible for stealing 500 cars, attacking the character of this witness in the story. However, the witness actually stated that he had sold 500 cars in his lifetime, not stole 500 cars, during his testimony, and had worked as a contractor for a car lot where the owner was accused in this civil trial of murdering his wife during an ugly divorce. This newspaper refused to run a retraction of the story, although it was clear that they were feeding clearly incorrect information to the public as well as to larger media outlets. So, was NBC given incorrect information here with the Zimmerman case from some other source, or did they selectively edit information or such. In the end, it probably won’t make much difference to Zimmerman, unless he’s looking to pick up a little money to pay for his losing efforts to defend himself here, in a trial that’s nearly certain to lose because the police reports and facts just don’t run favorable to him here. Why Zimmerman doesn’t accept a plea deal here is a good question. The prosecution has or is highly likely to offer a plea deal, but Zimmerman’s alternative reality likely believes that he can beat the charges at trial, which he likely cannot.