Zimmerman Recounts Martin Shooting In New Video

Newly-released videotapes show George Zimmerman giving his account of what happened the night Trayvon Martin died.

Copyright © 2012 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

In Sanford, Florida, new details emerged today about what Neighborhood Watch volunteer George Zimmerman says happened the night he shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman has been charged with second degree murder.

As NPR's Greg Allen reports from Miami, Zimmerman's lawyers have released recordings of police interviews with their client in the hours and days after the shooting.

GREG ALLEN, BYLINE: These are the first accounts in which we hear George Zimmerman tell police, in a series of interviews, his version of what happened that night in Sanford. He described to police following a person he deemed suspicious who turned out to be Trayvon Martin - first in his car, before getting out and continuing on foot. He says he was looking for a house address to give police so they could respond to his call when Trayvon Martin jumped him.

On the day after the shooting, Zimmerman walked through the events with investigators on the scene at his townhome community. In a video made by Sanford police, he says the 17-year-old was on top, straddling him and pounding his head on the concrete sidewalk. Zimmerman says he tried to slide off the concrete.

(SOUNDBITE OF RECORDING)

GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: That's when my jacket moved up and I had my firearm on my right side hip. My jacket moved up and he saw - I feel like he saw it and looked at it. And he said, you're going to die tonight (bleep). And he reached for it. When he reached - I felt like his arm going down to my side, and I grabbed it, and I just grabbed my firearm and I shot him.

ALLEN: Zimmerman says the teenager's last words were, you got me. Zimmerman wasn't charged with a crime until more than a month later, after a new state attorney, Angela Corey, was appointed to the case. Documents previously released show that police investigators in Sanford wanted to file charges against Zimmerman the night of the shooting.

And in the recorded interviews, Sanford police investigator Chris Serino seems skeptical of Zimmerman's version of events. Serino tells Zimmerman he'll be suspected of profiling and asks him if he has any problems with black people. Zimmerman says no. The Sanford investigator tells Zimmerman the lacerations on his head don't seem serious enough for someone who's had their head repeatedly smashed into the ground.

In an interview at the police station a few hours after the shooting, Serino describes the victim to Zimmerman.

(SOUNDBITE OF RECORDING)

CHRIS SERINO: This person was not doing anything bad. Do you know the name of the person that died?

ZIMMERMAN: Trayvon.

SERINO: Trayvon?

ZIMMERMAN: Trayvon Martin.

SERINO: Trayvon Benjamin Martin. He was born in 1995, February the 5th. He's 17 years old. An athlete, probably someone who was going to be in aeronautics, a kid with a future.

ALLEN: Lawyers representing Trayvon Martin's family say they see inconsistencies between the version of events Zimmerman gave investigators and what he said in his calls to police on the night of the shooting. Zimmerman is currently in jail awaiting a bail hearing, scheduled for next week.

Greg Allen, NPR News, Miami.

Copyright © 2012 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.