Trayvon Martin Updates

[Content Note: Violence; racism.]

The most important news this morning is that ABC News has secured the police surveillance video (video begins to play automatically at link) of George Zimmerman's arrest on the night he killed Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman has claimed that Martin attacked him, breaking his nose and leaving his head bloodied, but the footage does not appear to show those injuries, or any injuries at all.

George Zimmerman's father, Robert Zimmerman, has also given an interview, "against the advice of others," in defense of his son, reiterating the version of events that had Martin attacking Zimmerman.
"It's my understanding that Trayvon Martin got on top of him and just started beating him," the 64-year-old Robert Zimmerman said.
Even if it is true that Martin at some point got physical with Zimmerman (and, to be clear, I'm not at all convinced that it is), to pretend that happened unprovoked is absurd in the extreme, given the available recording of G. Zimmerman talking to police and being told they do not need him to follow Martin, after he describes nothing that reasonably warrants a call to police in the first place.

From Trayvon Martin's perspective, he was being stalked by a man in a vehicle who was describing his movements. If at some point he decided to try to defend himself, who the fuck could blame him?

In the interview, R. Zimmerman also says "he felt his son has been portrayed in the wrong way." Which, you know, is probably true to some extent. I'm sure there are people who have said wildly inappropriate things about G. Zimmerman, as if plainly noting that he is a man whose profound racist paranoia resulted in his taking a young man's life isn't bad enough. But it takes a special sort of chutzpah to complain about his son being "portrayed in the wrong way" after his son's internalized misportrayal of Trayvon Martin as a criminal motivated him to stalk and kill him, and while his son's attorneys are busily misportraying Martin as a dangerous thug who was a troublemaker at school.

A side note about Zimmerman's defenders using Martin's school records to justify the shooting: Apart from the fact that it doesn't matter whether Martin was a scoundrel or an angel, or something in between like most of us, Zimmerman didn't know he'd been suspended from school, or anything else about him. All he knew was that a young black man in a hoodie was walking in his neighborhood in the rain.

Let's not lose sight of that.

Finally: Judd at Think Progress has the five key unanswered questions about the investigation.

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