*George Zimmerman told investigators that while he was on the phone with a Sanford police dispatcher reporting Trayvon Martin as suspicious, the teenager was circling his vehicle on foot, a source familiar with the investigation told the Orlando Sentinel.
The source said Zimmerman’s account of what happened that night has not changed in his several statements to police — in which he said he was so rattled by teen’s behavior that he rolled up his window to avoid a confrontation. However, he never mentioned any of that while talking to the dispatcher.
The details revealed by the source provide new insight into what Zimmerman said happened in the earliest moments of his contact with Trayvon. And they may reveal the inconsistencies alluded to by prosecutors in the case. One of those inconsistencies: Zimmerman told police Trayvon had his hand over Zimmerman’s mouth during their fight on the night he shot Trayvon.
The Sentinel’s source confirmed that Zimmerman’s statements include that allegation. But authorities do not believe that happened, the source told the Sentinel, because on one 911 call, someone can be heard screaming for help. If it were Zimmerman, as he claims, his cries were not muffled, the source said.
Zimmerman also told police, the source told the Sentinel, that while the two were on the ground, Trayvon reached for Zimmerman’s gun, and the two struggled over it. Those portions of Zimmerman’s account are not corroborated by other evidence, the source said.
Reached in Birmingham, Ala., Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump said Thursday that Zimmerman’s claim that he was screaming in the 911 call and that his mouth was covered by the teen don’t add up.
“[Trayvon's father] Tracy Martin told me that that’s what [police] told him,” Crump said, of Zimmerman making those statements to police. “It’s either one or the other, it can’t be both. We have to put together this puzzle because, unfortunately, we don’t have Trayvon Martin’s version” of events.
Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Trayvon in a Sanford gated community on Feb. 26. Zimmerman told police he acted in self-defense. Critics say he is guilty of racial profiling and killing an innocent teenager.
In an audio recording of Zimmerman’s call to police that night, Zimmerman says Trayvon is acting suspiciously and describes him as a black teenager when prompted by the dispatcher. He does not say that Trayvon was circling his vehicle, but that’s what he told police later that night and has consistently told authorities in subsequent interviews, according to the Sentinel’s source.
Here, according to that source, is the sequence that Zimmerman provided:
Zimmerman spotted Trayvon, called a nonemergency police number and began describing the teenager. While he was doing that, Trayvon came toward his vehicle and began to circle it. Zimmerman, though, never described that to the dispatcher.