Ever since the Trayvon Martin case hit the national spotlight, media sources have used any and all material possible to jump to conclusions as to the guilt or innocence of George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch captain who shot the eponymous teen. At first, it was incomprehensible to anyone that Zimmerman's guilt could be questioned - after all, Martin looked so much younger, and weighed less, and was a model student in high school, and there were tapes showing Zimmerman talking about Martin's race. How could you possibly question such an airtight case?
Then it turned out that the photos of Martin were four years too old, that he had been taller than Zimmerman and probably more physically fit, that he'd been suspended multiple times for dodgy activities and that the tapes were doctored. The flimsiness of the evidence produced by the prosecution following Zimmerman's arrest only heightened the problems with the case. Suddenly, Zimmerman was the victim of a race-obsessed media and should be released immediately.
Actually, not so fast. The discovery process is still going. The trial hasn't started yet. And there is genuinely troubling evidence. For instance, as part of the discovery process, one of the Sanford Police Department's interviews with Zimmerman - in fact, the final one it conducted - was released today, and as the Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart notes, it raises a lot of questions:
George Zimmerman has said repeatedly that he was fighting for his life the night he killed Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old who was found with a can of iced tea and a bag of Skittles. He was punched in the nose. His head was slammed repeatedly into the sidewalk. His mouth and nose were covered by Martin. But when Zimmerman sat for his final interview with Sanford Police detectives Christopher Serino and Doris Singleton, he was confronted with a pesky perception. His injuries didn’t match the severity of the story he told.[...]
Zimmerman’s cuts and lacerations were “not really coinciding with being slammed hard into the ground,” Serino said. “Skull fractures usually happen with that. I’ve seen them all.” Later in the interview, the detective apparently showed Zimmerman a piece of paper or a photograph and noted, “Once again, these are your defensive wounds, which are essentially nonexistent. I’m looking for bruising and scrapings and I don’t see. . . . You fared pretty well, probably because you had long sleeves on. . .”[...]
“What do you think his motivation was? The kid had no violent background. No violent tendencies that we can find,” Serino said. “What made him snap? He’s not on drugs. Can you fill in that blank? . . . What do you think set him off?” Serino asked.
“I don’t know,” Zimmerman replied.[...]
Serino concludes this line of inquiry with an instantly memorable line. “I want to know, everybody wants to know, what set him off. He’s not on PCP. He’s not on anything. He’s on Skittles.”
You can listen to the interview here and decide for yourself whether this strains Zimmerman's side of the story. From our perspective, this just shows that jumping to conclusions regarding this case is an invitation to look foolish.