For anyone trying to understand what happened, it is vital to listen to the actual call and not depend solely on a written transcript. It is only 4 minutes long, and well worth the investment of time.
There are two very important things about the call.
- It describes the events as Zimmerman sees them at the time - before a need to describe them differently arose. It gives a clear and accurate sequence of events, background sounds, voice tones, breathing that are timed. It is what happened, and nothing that Zimmerman says afterwards can change this.
- The call started at 19:09:34.
This is important because it places the events described precisely in relation to other evidence that can be similarly time-stamped. Uppermost in these is the timing of the first 911 call in relation to Zimmerman's call ending.
Note that some are under the entirely mistaken impression that the call started at 19:11:12.
Even the Sanford PD timeline made that mistake, resulting in them not questiong Zimmerman closely enough on what happened. The source of this error is explained at the bottom of this page. The difference to the timeline was to shorten the gap between the NEN ending and the first 911 being picked up 1 minute 38 seconds.
For people without the patience to read right down, here is the quick story:
19:11:12 is the time that the dispatcher made the first entry summarising what Zimmerman told him.
The summary entry includes "Late teens", but the dispatcher doesn't hear this until 1 minute 14 seconds into the call. In short, a start time of 19:11:12 is impossible. The actual start time of 19:09:34.is in the Event Report (below).
The call began at the "Connection Time" in the event log - 19:09:34
This means that there is 2 minute 30+ second gap between the call ending and the first 911 being picked up. That 911 had been dialled 11 seconds earlier.
Zimmerman always claimed that he headed straight for his truck when the call ended.
The walk to where he said he was attacked would have taken him 20 seconds.
Any gap has always been denied by Zimmerman's accounts. He always insisted that he did not linger in that dark area.
See the video of the Walk Through (linked in left margin) he did with police the next morning. He says he started back for his truck as soon as the call was over. It takes him just over 20 seconds to get to the spot where he says he was attacked. He would therefore then have 2 minutes and 10 seconds in that spot before the first 911 call connects. If you think this is reasonable, you are trying too hard.
At the trial Mark O'Mara admitted the gap, but offered a theory that Zimmerman might have been "looking around" during those missing minutes.
a) Zimmerman has always denied doing such a thing
b) It was dark, cold and rainy. He had already been out of his safe warm truck for some minutes. This was no time for sight-seeing.
The conclusion is obvious and inescapable. Zimmerman went looking for Martin. You will hear him at the very end of the recorded NEN call, suddenly changing from an agreed meeting with the cops at the mailboxes to being 'somewhere' so the cops will have to call him to find out where he is at.
Add to that the fact that the correct timelines shows that the call between Martin and Jeantal dropped after the fight had begun. This supports her story of what she heard. If Martin attacked Zimmerman, then he must have done so during the call. This isn't opinion or theory. This is objective fact proved by automatically logged call information.
Why could the prosecution not have outlined this clearly to the jury?
Because they had a buffoon concentrating on trying to prove a crazy racist murder (mostly through the medium of shouting) - when they should have had somebody with a clue proving a manslaughter - which based on evidence and common sense is what I believe actually took place.
Listen to the call.
Have a look at the other pages in this blog (linked in the left-margin).
I would commend the Hannity Interview page to you in particular. It should have you thinking "What exactly is going on there?"
New: Shameless promotion of two new pages related to the trial now coming to a close:
Jury Instructions : Zimmerman defence against Manslaughter by Act should fail under ‘reasonable caution and prudence’
Defence Timeline: Timestamps accepted by the Defence present a major problem for them
There are a number of sites hosting a sound file. Some have apparently been edited or ‘enhanced’.
Here is one that seems to be an original copy of Zimmerman's call.
The link opens in a new tab, so you can pause/restart start it while reading through the analysis.
Here it is embedded in this page if you prefer to listen that way.
Note: This below is a full transcript of the recording. I have added timestamps and comments within the call that are helpful in determining movements or contain phrases that seem significant.
0:00 Dispatcher: Sanford Police Department.
Zimmerman: Hey we've had some break-ins in my neighborhood, and there's a real suspicious guy, uh, it's Retreat View Circle, um, the best address I can give you is 111 Retreat View Circle. This guy looks like he's up to no good, or he's on drugs or something. It's raining and he's just walking around, looking about.
Dispatcher: OK, and this guy is he white, black, or hispanic?
Zimmerman: He looks black.
Dispatcher: Did you see what he was wearing?
Zimmerman: Yeah. A dark hoodie, like a grey hoodie, and either jeans or sweatpants and white tennis shoes. 0:42 Zimmerman: He's here now, he was just staring.
Dispatcher: OK, he's just walking around the area…
Zimmerman: looking at all the houses.
Zimmerman: Now he's just staring at me.
Dispatcher: OK-you said it's 1111 Retreat View? Or 111?
Zimmerman: That's the clubhouse…
Dispatcher: That's the clubhouse, do you know what the-he's near the clubhouse right now?
0:47 Zimmerman: Now he’s just staring at me.
0:55 Dispatcher: “He’s near the clubhouse?”
Zimmerman:”Yeah. Now he’s coming towards me”.
Zimmerman: He's got his hand in his waistband. And he's a black male.
Dispatcher: How old would you say he looks?
Zimmerman: He's got button on his shirt, late teens.
Dispatcher: Late teens. Ok.
((As Martin nears him, Zimmerman is able to add detail to the initial description. Now he can see that he’s a black male (as opposed to “looks” black), a button on his shirt, late teens” This has to be the first time that Zimmerman is seeing him up close – or at least up close with sufficient time to note the detail.))
Zimmerman: Somethings wrong with him. Yup, he's coming to check me out, he's got something in his hands, I don't know what his deal is.
((Martin is still approaching. Probably getting very close. By the “his deal is”, Zimmerman’s voice has changed from a relatively dispassionate recounting to a concerned note.
Dispatchers are trained to calm callers and coach them into being observers. His question is as much to calm Zimmerman as it is to get him to describe what he is seeing.))
Dispatcher: Just let me know if he does anything, ok?
Zimmerman: (unclear- When can?) you can get an officer over here.
(( He had broken in over the dispatcher's words to say this - at “just”.
The Dispatcher has to repeat the calming/coaching as Zimmerman has not done as he was asked. ))
Dispatcher: Yeah we've got someone on the way, just let me know if this guy does anything else.
1:36 Zimmerman now seems to be calmer. “OK”
(( We hear rustling sounds start up. This would be Zimmerman turning in his seat to watch Martin walking past ))
A short aside:
Any of you who already have some details of Zimmerman's later statements will realise that there is something very significant missing here.
In his later written statemment, the Walk-Through and interviews (apart from Hannity), Zimmerman will claim that Martin circled his truck in a threatening manner at that moment.
Listen to that section of the NEN. He had been asked to report on what the guy was doing. What's missing?
1:37 Zimmerman: These **sholes, they always get away.
1:46 (( The rustling sounds stop. ))
1:47 Zimmerman: Yep. When you come to the clubhouse you come straight in and make a left. Actually you would go past the clubhouse.
Dispatcher: So it's on the left hand side from the clubhouse?
Zimmerman: No you go in straight through the entrance and then you make a left, uh, you go straight in, don't turn, and make a left.
(( Zimmerman is making a big mess of this, and the frustration in his voice is very evident. This is suddenly interrupted: ))
2:07 Zimmerman “Sh**. He’s running”.
((You can hear Zimmerman start to move to get out of the truck immediately on saying "He's running."))
2:09 ((A mechanical sound. Maybe the door latch. Maybe releasing seat belt. ))
Dispatcher: He's running? Which way is he running?
2:10 ((Tone, which seems to be the usual warning chirp when a door opens))
Zimmerman: Down towards the other entrance to the neighborhood.
2:14 Sound like the door slamming shut
Dispatcher: OK. Which entrance is that that he's heading towards?
2:15 Sound that could be door lock operating or him brushing against the truck
Zimmerman: The back entrance
2:20 We hear a pattern of regular rustling/wind noises starting
2:22 Zimmerman: F***ing ****s
(( There have been various interpretation of what he said. I hear "Goons" - which is the name by which local gangs were known. Zimmerman claimed later that it was "Punks". Others have suggested words ranging from "Cold" to racially-oriented. To me the sound combined with the circumstances would favour "Goons", with 'g' bringing out the 'u' sound. Maybe Zimmerman pronounces 'punks' as 'poonks'. ))
2:23 Dispatcher: Are you following him?
(( Maybe the Dispatcher interprets the background noises as Zimmerman running.))
Dispatcher: Ok, we don't need you to do that.
2:28 Zimmerman: Ok.
2:34 Dispatcher: Alright sir what is your name?
Zimmerman: George…He ran.
2:42 ((The background wind/movement noises die down))
Dispatcher: Alright George what's your last name?
(( A clicking or knocking sound can be heard here ))
Dispatcher: And George what's the phone number you're calling from?
(( Clicking or knocking sound is heard again ))
Zimmerman: [phone number removed]
2:54 Dispatcher: Alright George we do have them on the way. Do you want to meet with the officer when they get out there?
Dispatcher: Alright, where you going to meet with them at?
(( For the remainder of the recording, Zimmerman sounds distracted. The knocking sound occurs several times during the final exchange with the dispatcher ))
Zimmerman: Um, if they come in through the, uh, (knocking sound) gate, tell them to go straight past the club house, and uh, (knocking sound) straight past the club house and make a left, and then they go past the mailboxes, you'll see my truck... [unintelligible,as the Dispatcher breaks in - but it could be a description ... (Zimmerman had a silver Honda Ridgeline)
(( It could be that the Dispatcher has become impatient with Zimmerman's directions. Now he wants a simple answer.))
3:18 Dispatcher: OK What address are you parked in front of?
Zimmerman: I don't know, it's a cut through so I don't know the address.
Dispatcher: Okay do you live in the area?
Zimmerman: Yeah, I...[unintelligible]
Dispatcher: What's your apartment number?
Zimmerman: It's a home it's [house number removed], (knocking sound)
3:35 Oh crap I don't want to give it all out, I don't know where this kid is.
(( Zimmerman obviously realises that the place is so dark that Martin could be unseen and within earshot. This could be bad for Zimmerman if the neighbourhood punks know his home address. It could also be bad for zimmerman if the person who he now realises could be within feet of him in the dark had *actually* threatened him by circling his truck with hand in waistband and confrontational body language, etc. Any reasonable or prudent person would on that realisation have immediately made straight back for the safety of the truck.))
3:39 Dispatcher: Okay do you want to just meet with them right near the mailboxes then? Zimmerman: Yeah that's fine.
Dispatcher: Alright George, I'll let them know to meet you when they're out there, okay?
(( This is sensible. It is a clear meeting point. The Dispatcher does not know that Zimmerman has gone into the dark after Martin. Zimmerman, given that he has been aware that Martin could be so close as to overhear his home address, would be well advised to get out of there ASAP. ))
3:48 Zimmerman: Actually could you have them, could you have them call me and I'll tell them where I'm at?
(( This is very remarkable. At the last minute, Zimmerman has decided not to go back to his truck in Twin Trees. He's going to be somewhere unknown. Whatever he intends to do, it has come to him suddenly, as he broke in over the last words of the Dispatcher. ))
Dispatcher: Okay, yeah that's no problem.
Zimmerman: Should I give you my number or you got it?
Dispatcher: Yeah I got it [phone number removed]
Zimmerman: Yeah you got it.
Dispatcher: Okay no problem, I'll let them know to call you when you're in the area.
Zimmerman: Thanks. Dispatcher: You're welcome.
4:06 Click and the call ends.
But here's the thing....
It will be another 2.5 minutes before the first 911 (from Lauer) connects.
Zimmerman did a Walk-Through with SPD on the ground on the following day. (Linked in the left margin of this page). He says that he finished the call while standing on Retreat View circle - where he says he went to get a house number - and started back immediately for the truck. In all interviews he states he did not linger in the area. In the Walk-Through, it took him 20 seconds to walk to the point at which he says he was attacked.
The call Event ReportThis is an image of the Event Report related to Zimmerman's call
2:14 Sound like the door slamming shut Dispatcher: OK. Which entrance is that that he's heading towards? 2:15 Sound that could be door lock operating or him brushing against the truck Zimmerman: The back entranceThe operator has to hear that, and while still talking with Zimmerman, has to type the entry. He's got that completed and in at 2:25 into the event log - 10 seconds after Zimmerman began to say "The back entrance" You can do the same exercise for Event Log timestamps v. the elapsed time in the call recording for the entries at 19:13:12 - which is the operator recording an agreement for Zimmerman to meet the patrol at the mailboxes 19:13:41 - which is the operator recording Zimmerman's last-minute decision to be somewhere as yet unknown and have the patrol call him. This is 4:07 after the Connection time - which right for the call just ending Added note: I had timed the call as being 4 minutes 7 seconds. When added to the start time, this gives an end time of 19:13:41 By freakish coincidence, this happens to be the timestamp on the last entry in the log.That entry is just recording Zimmerman's last-second change from a meet at the mailboxes to the patrol ringing him to find out where he will be. Maybe I should change my duation timing by a couple of seconds to avoid confusion. Please note that the End Time I am using is Start Time + Duration. It is not taken from the last log entry. This might seem all a bit tedious, but it is important to make the point about the actual call time. Some people will be in so much denial about the implications of this that the actual time has to put up in neon lights - with fireworks in the background.