At the first bond hearing, Zimmerman’s mother was asked about his assault on the ATF officers who were questioning his friend about under age drinking.
10.04am: Bernie de La Rionda, the prosecutor, is asking Gladys Zimmerman about her son’s 2005 arrest on charges of assaulting ATF officers.
He asks why George didn’t follow the officers’ orders.
Gladys says "George said the officers never identified themselves as such".
The following questions are multiple-choice:
Question 1. Why are you following me?
(A) I’m the local Neighbourhood Watch
(B) What are you doing around here?
Question 2. You got a problem, homie?
(A) I’m the local Neighbourhood Watch
If you have answered (B) to either or both questions, go directly to jail. Do not pass the 7-11.
Why?What it may come down to is:
Zimmerman ignored all common sense and clear Neighbourhood Watch procedures when he left the truck and headed along that path into a dark area, when he had no sight of Martin.
He was not “Observing from a safe distance”
The place he was going into was not safe in the circumstances. He had mentioned a reason to believe that Martin was armed. "He's got his hand in his waistband." "He's got something in his hand."
He had no guarantee of distance. He did not know where Martin was.
He ignored parallel advice in “We don’t need you to do that”.
He had gotten himself into a situation – by being reckless.
Having got into that dark area, he spoke his home address to the dispatcher, and then realised that Martin could be near enough in the dark to overhear. "Oh crap I don't want to give it all out, I don't know where this kid is." Danger Will Robinson!!!
This was 3 minutes before the eventual encounter.
In order to defend his actions, he has to be in a position where he had no reasonable means to extricate himself.
Having got into a dangerous place through recklessness, he had first agreed to extricate himself back to the mailboxes to meet the patrol.
Then he changed his mind for some reason.
He says that he started back to his truck, and was attacked less than 30 seconds later.
The automatically logged calls show a gap of 2 minutes 30 seconds. It would have take him 20 seconds - or 30 at most to get to where he says he was attacked.
Not only did he disregard good sense and NW guidelines, he got himself into apotentially dangerous place and then hung around there for over 2 minutes. Even if he didn't go searching for Martin ("These A**holes, they always get away"), just staying there was stupid.
If he did innocently (and stupidly) remain there, why is he so insistent that he didn't stay there?
Having ignored all the above, when he encountered Martin, he had more options.
a) He could get the hell out
b) He could identify himself.
By his own story, he made no attempt to do either.
Martin: Got a problem, homie?
Zimmerman: (See answer 2.B above)
By the girls’ story, he made no attempt to do either
Martin: Why are you following me?He says that when accosted by what he believed to be a punk who had exhibited threatening behaviour to him earlier, he reached for his phone.
Zimmerman: (See answer 1.B above)
If he really did that, it was a stunningly bad plan. Did he expect this apparently dangerous person to just stand there while he made a call?
Whatever who said what to who, this happened :
Martin is looking at a stranger who has shadowed him in a truck and now followed him into the dark pathway area.
- The stranger makes no attempt to explain what he is doing – either up front or when challenged.
- The stranger is clearly some sort of threat.
- The stranger's right hand goes to his hip - and by Zimmerman's own standards, that sort of "got his hand in his waistband" clearly implies that a weapon is in question.
He says he was looking for his phone there.
As far as anyone looking at him in the particular circumstances, he was going for a gun.
Even without the simple present threat presented by a stranger who follows in the dark, there is that matter of the gun
- There are various stories coming out of the Zimmerman family about when exactly Martin noticed the gun.
Both parents and brother seem agreed that they ended up struggling for the gun.
- Both parents and brother seem agreed that the fight started when Zimmerman reached for his phone.
- A neighbour of the parents says that they were told that the fight started when Zimmerman went for his phone and Martin saw the gun.
He claims this despite telling the dispatcher: "He's got his hand in his waistband".
One has to wonder about when exactly Zimmerman put his hand on that gun.
“Gladys says George said the officers never identified themselves as such”
Can we see any parallels here?
Update: August 2nd, 2012
OK. Hand's in the air. It's not quite an exact parallel.
The FBI report relating to the ATF incident is included in a dump Documents-Given-to-the-Defendant http://www.scribd.com/doc/99926375/99916379-Documents-Given-to-the-Defendant-R-1
It's about half-way down the contents.
Here is an extract from the report
Neverthless, his stated justification after the event was that they didn't identify themselves.
This should point to an awareness on Zimmerman's part that identifying one's purpose would be a sensible thing to do.