Trayvon Martin, question 4: Where was the iced tea can, when police arrived at the scene?
George Zimmerman’s prominent defenders are not looking more credible on a closer look, with the passage of time. Florida State Attorney Norman (Norm) Wolfinger has popped up in news a few times, before his recent decision to negative arresting shooter George Zimmerman in the killing of Trayvon Martin.
On May 3, 2008, the St. Petersburg Times noted that Wolfinger was among the state’s top-level double dippers:
“Two of the state’s top prosecutors, Lawson Lamar of Orange County and Norm Wolfinger of Brevard County, qualified to seek re-election. Wolfinger is unopposed and Lamar drew a little-known criminal defense lawyer as an opponent.
Lamar and Wolfinger are among the state’s top double dippers.
Lamar “retired” in 2005 without leaving office. He collected $514,927 in lump sum benefits, plus a $115,752 a year pension, plus an annual salary of $153,140.
Wolfinger followed suit in 2007. He collected $447,834 in lump sum benefits, plus an $83,484 a year pension, plus an annual salary of $153,140.
Circuit judges are paid $145,080.”
Titled “SHHH! Judges Keep Seats,” the article reported that a little-noticed amendment inserted quietly into state law by the Florida legislature allowed judges and some other public servants to be re-elected almost without notice—and without opposition—by moving the filing deadline for some officials to a different season than for others.
An Oct. 10, 2008, Florida Today piece referenced Wolfinger as stating publicly that ACORN was being investigated in connection with ‘voter fraud’. This article, published during a period of intense voter registration drives in Florida, was swiftly disseminated as a PR release by the Republican National Committee.
After 2008, the GOP-dominated Florida legislature stepped on voter registration so firmly that even the League of Women Voters, unhappily, no longer conducts registration drives in the state. At the time, however, the investigation of ACORN was so ‘controversial’—read, despised—that Wolfinger handed it off like a political hot potato within a week of the previous report.
Calls placed to Wolfinger’s State Attorney office are directed to the offices of Angela Corey, the special prosecutor in the case. Emailed questions to Communications Director Jacklyn Barnard in that office have not yet been answered.
On Nov. 6, 2009, Norm Wolfinger was in the news again. The AP, reporting the release of a Florida inmate, finally freed after spending 27 years wrongfully in prison for a crime he did not commit, includes this item pertaining to Wolfinger:
“Eric Ferrero, a spokesman in the Innocence Project’s national office, said 27 states currently have compensation laws on the books. Of those states, Florida is the only one where a roadblock occurs if the former inmate already had a felony conviction on his record.
Norman Wolfinger, the state attorney in Brevard County, said in a letter to the Legislature that while there isn’t enough evidence to convict Dillon again, lawmakers should consider that his innocence isn’t proven, either.”
It might charitably be argued that after that gaffe, Wolfinger became gun-shy about prosecuting. Something seems to have given him a strong motive for causing George Zimmerman not to be arrested in the shooting, even for manslaughter. Wolfinger, as has been reported, showed up at the Sanford police station in person that night.
Accuracy is always good news. Recent days have brought out the full 911 call by George Zimmerman, which makes clear that Zimmerman said not only “he looks black” about Trayvon Martin, but also that he said Martin looked suspicious, etc. Zimmerman’s loose statement in the call, accusing Martin of being on something, helps explain why the Sanford police tested the body of Trayvon Martin for drugs and alcohol although the initial police report has negatives for ‘drug related’ and ‘alcohol related’. Too bad NBC edited that 911 call wrong, for which the network has apologized.
The new, cleaned up and sharper images in the police video of George Zimmerman help, too. The newly released video clearly shows a cut or scrape on the back top of Zimmerman’s head. The injury is clearly not extensive.
So, a question: Could the cut on the head have been done with an aluminum beverage can? If George Zimmerman grabbed Trayvon Martin—macho-style, clutching the hoodie at the throat—it would have been natural for the seventeen-year-old to swing at him with whatever he had in his hands. The Skittles bag wouldn’t be much help, but the can would have some clout. So, along with the bloody nose from being punched, in this reconstruction, if Zimmerman grappled with the young man, Trayvon Martin might have swung at his head. If Martin did so, theoretically Florida’s ‘stand your ground’ law would protect him—unless it turns out that the law applies only to white people.
A call placed to Zimmerman’s attorney Hal Uhrig has not yet been returned.
Rightwing web sites have publicized widely the item that George Zimmerman registered to vote as a Democrat. They are less eager to notice that the weather that evening was hoodie weather.
Were George Zimmerman’s bloodied nose—assuming it was bloodied—and head examined for a match to the iced tea can?
Was the iced tea can bagged as evidence? One of the worrisome aspects of the police video is that it shows police casually tossing George Zimmerman’s jacket into the trunk of the police vehicle, unbagged. But in any case, was the iced tea can examined for George Zimmerman’s DNA as well as for Trayvon Martin’s? Were any fingerprints on it besides Martin’s?
One of the clearer pieces of evidence the public has in this case is the recorded 911 call with screaming the background. I find that call painful to listen to but have listened to it carefully. The voice crying out in the background sounds like a young person, a high schooler, not like a man in his late twenties.
Another of the clearer items in evidence is George Zimmerman’s initial 911 call. Setting aside exactly what language Zimmerman used—something I have not been able to hear clearly—after the expletive, the rest of the exchange is clear. Zimmerman told police, in answer to their question, that he was following Trayvon Martin. The police then told Zimmerman, “Okay, we don’t need you to do that.” Zimmerman then answered, “Okay.”
Why? Why did George Zimmerman say “Okay” when police tried to get him to stay away from Martin? Was he so convinced that Martin would “get away,” as he put it—[they] “always get away”–that he simply resolved to stay close to him even though the rest of the call makes clear that police were on their way to meet up with Zimmerman?
“Shit, he’s running.”
As noted previously, none of the public statements in George Zimmerman’s defense have come from Zimmerman himself. They have been conveyed secondhand, if that, by Joe Oliver—who will no longer serve as the family’s media consultant—or by Zimmerman’s father and brother. Neither of the latter has made a credible statement to the media.
“We pray for both the Martin and Zimmerman families for what this incident has caused in suffering,” said Uhrig. “We are confident that George Zimmerman, after being vindicated and exonerated, will continue to feel remorse, not for his justified actions but for the unintended consequences.”
What are the unintended consequences? Is this meant to suggest that the death was unintentional?
That brings to mind another question: If George Zimmerman was shooting only to defend himself against an unarmed man, why didn’t he shoot the person in the leg, or in the foot, or in the arm?