I was looking back at some background material on this case today, and I came across something that I’d seen before, but I’ve never really examined it in great depth. I was looking for a timeline to show what time George Zimmerman arrived at the Sanford police station after being taken into custody the night of the shooting, and I came across this link to the Orlando Sentinel’s website: Sanford police prepare down-to-the-second George Zimmerman timeline
This is a second by second timeline of events from the evening of February 26, 2012, as reported by the Sanford Police Department. (note that I’ve edited the screenshot to remove the ads, but the information remains unchanged)
NOTE: This timeline appears to be pretty much bogus. See the notes below regarding the discrepancy.
There are a few things of note here. First, this timeline clearly attributes the screams to George Zimmerman. I don’t think this is necessarily Rene Stutzman’s doing – I believe she was just reporting what she was given by Sanford PD, but it is interesting to note that Sanford PD thought this was clear enough that they have it on their official timeline of the night’s events. As related in my earlier posting, common sense dictates that these are George’s screams, George said they were his screams, and absent any reliable evidence to the contrary, we must assume they are George’s screams, so it is good to see that Sanford PD came to this conclusion.
Also, there is a discrepancy in the timing between the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office and the Sanford PD of approximately 1 minute, 38 seconds. See the note there where it says that the first event on the timeline, which SPD says occurred at 7:11:12PM, was reported by the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office as occurring at 7:09:34PM. So, their clocks are off a bit. I believe that this may be the reason that many news outlets report that George hung up with the dispatcher that evening at 7:13PM. If you subtract the 1 minute 38 seconds from the SPD-reported time of 7:15:23 that George hung up the phone, then you would arrive at 7:13:45PM. So, when you see an article like this one on Wikipedia, which reports the time that the call ended “7:13:41 — Zimmerman’s call to Sanford police ends” you should understand that this is probably where the discrepancy between the two times comes from. I have been told that this discrepancy was due to Sanford Police listing the times that certain notations were made in the logs. The logs actually say the call connected at 7:09:34. The first notation made in the log was at 7:11:12. The police incorrectly listed this as the start time of the call in the list they provided the Orlando Sentinel. You can see more HERE from a blogger who noticed this and communicated with the Sentinel about it. At first he got a response, but then they didn’t answer subsequent questions about it. I can tell you that I emailed Rene Stutzman about this today, and I still await a reply. That discrepancy is not all that important to me, since I understand how it happened, but there are probably those out there who will try to exploit it by saying that Zimmerman hung up with the police dispatcher at 7:13PM and shot Martin at 7:17PM. It’s simply not accurate to say that four minutes elapsed from the time Zimmerman hung up until the time the shooting occurred. It was 1 minute, 57 seconds (7:15:23 – 7:17:20). The call lasted for approximately 4 minutes and 12 seconds. If it connected at 7:09:34, then it would have ended at approximately 7:13:46. the first 911 call was placed at 7:16:11, so there was approximately a 2 minute, 25 second gap between Zimmerman’s phone call and the first 911 call.
Those are the two minutes that interest me. What happened during that time? Well, if we go back a couple of minutes prior to that, and listen to George as he talks with Sean, the non-emergency dispatcher, we will see that at approximately 2:10 into the recording, George gets out of his truck. At 2:39, George tells Sean “he ran” and then proceeds to talk calmly with Sean for the next 90 seconds. Clearly, during this time, George is not running around trying to find Trayvon Martin as he talks with the dispatcher. That means that Trayvon had at least a 90 second head start on George (not even taking into account that Trayvon had already started running while George was still in his truck), during which he could have calmly walked the short distance to the back of Brandi Green’s condo without George even seeing him, much less chasing him down.
So, with that 90 second head start, what did Trayvon Martin do? Well, that’s unknown, but what is known is that sometime during the next
1 minute, 57 seconds 2 minutes, 25 seconds or so, a violent confrontation occurred. Actually, the confrontation had to have begun sometime during the first two minutes after George hung up with the dispatcher, because I think that it would take someone at least 25 seconds or so to make the decision to call 911 and then place the call. I think it would probably be more than that, but we’ll stick with 25 seconds. So, in a two-minute time span, the prosecution wants you to believe that George somehow chased Trayvon down, caught him, pulled a gun on him, let him beg for his life, and then shot him, all while somehow sustaining severe injuries to his own head and face. No. Not. A. Chance. There is no way that a slightly overweight adult in hiking boots could, in two minutes, chase down a 17 year old who had a 90 second head start. This is why the only possible conclusion is that Trayvon Martin either doubled back or was lying in wait to attack George Zimmerman, just as George Zimmerman said in his statements to police.
Lying in wait is considered to be evidence of deliberation and premeditation. It shows that Trayvon was the aggressor here, not George. Trayvon’s attack on George was a deliberate, premeditated attack that caught George completely off guard, breaking his nose, and then it escalated into a horrific event, with Trayvon straddling George and banging the back of George’s head into the sidewalk. Was he trying to shut George up, or was he trying to kill George? We will never know for sure, but either way, George Zimmerman was most assuredly in danger of death if the attack were allowed to continue unabated. All of those people calling 911 about this fight they heard going on outside were about to let a man be beaten to death. They would all have tried to tell themselves that they were heroes for being such good citizens and calling 911, as Trayvon was marched away in handcuffs and later charged with murder. They would have tried to tell themselves that, but deep down, they’d have known that if any one of them would have acted to stop Trayvon, George Zimmerman would still be alive.
However, George released them from moral responsibility for their inaction by taking the only action he could in the face of that severe beating and all of those neighbors who failed to come to his aid. He reached for his last lifeline, the gun he had in his waistband, and with one shot, he took back the life that Trayvon Martin was attempting to take from him.