Segment 0: Only 106,185 Have Enrolled But Not Paid Premiums For Obamacare Plans — 396,261 Are Eligible For Medicaid! — Videos
CNN’s Gloria Borger: Website A “Disaster,” HHS Didn’t Lowball Enrollment Numbers Enough
Chris Wallace: ‘One of the Problems’ with Obamacare is Too Many Poor People Get Medicaid
Obamacare numbers coming ‘shortly’
Obamacare Official Enrollment Numbers Released by Sebelius
Obamacare Numbers Don’t Lie – WSJ RPT: Obamacare Enrollment Well Bellow Goal – Sen Ted Cruz
$1 Billion Spent on Obamacare Ads by 2015 – Katie Pavlich vs. Alan Colmes – Fox News – 8-21-13
Opt Out – The Exam – Creepy Uncle Sam
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Fewer than 27,000 health care sign-ups through federal website; 79,000 more in state sites
Putting a statistic on disappointment, the Obama administration revealed Wednesday that fewer than 27,000 people signed up for private health insurance last month in the 36 states relying on a problem-filled federal website.
States running their own enrollment systems did better, signing up more than 79,000, for a total enrollment of over 106,000.
Still, that was barely one-fifth of the nearly 500,000 people administration officials had projected would sign up the first month of Obama’s signature program, a numerical rebuke to the administration’s ability to deliver on its promise. The 106,185 people who made it all the way through to selecting a plan represent just 1.5 percent of the 7 million people the administration hopes to enroll by next year.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said things will get better, and quickly. “There is no doubt the level of interest is strong,” she said.
The administration said an additional 1 million or so applicants have been found eligible for government-subsidized private coverage in new state-level insurance markets, and about half are within sight of having their plans lined up for the start of next year. An additional 396,000 have been found eligible for Medicaid, the safety-net program that is shaping up as the health care law’s early success story.
The numbers landed amid a political storm on Capitol Hill. Democrats who had hoped to run for re-election next year on the success of the health care law are increasingly worried.
It’s not only the website woes, but a wave of cancellation notices hitting constituents whose individual health insurance policies don’t measure up to the law’s requirements. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has scheduled an all-Democrats meeting Thursday with White House health care officials.
The administration has staked its credibility on turning the website around by the end of this month. From the president on down, officials have said that HealthCare.gov will be running smoothly for the vast majority of users by Nov. 30.
Some outside experts are concerned. “People are starting to get nervous because there is not enough indication from the government that things are on track,” said Caroline Pearson, who runs the health reform practice at Avalere Health, a market analysis firm. “You wonder if there are still underlying programming problems that are causing the system to shut down when volume is high.”
Administration officials have not specified what “running smoothly” means, or what would constitute the “vast majority” of users.
On daily media calls, Health and Human Services department officials have described a situation where problems get fixed and then new issues crop up as consumers are able to venture further into the website. It’s a bit like traffic heading back to a city late on a summer Sunday: You get past one jam, and odds are you run into another.
There was a hopeful sign this Tuesday when Julie Bataille, HHS communications director for the rollout, said that 275,000 people who got hung up in the early days are being invited back to try to complete their applications. The administration is sending the email invitations in batches, so as not to risk any disruptions. White House chief technology officer Todd Park told Congress on Wednesday that system response times are much faster, and error rates have plunged.
HHS reports 106,000 have picked health plans through ObamaCare exchanges
Published November 13, 2013
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The Department of Health and Human Services reported Wednesday that more than 100,000 people have selected a health care plan through the ObamaCare exchanges — a number that, likely due to widespread website failures, falls far short of the administration’s goal.
The administration had originally hoped to sign up a half-million people in the first month of open enrollment. Now more than six weeks into the troubled launch of HealthCare.gov and other state-based exchanges, HHS announced Wednesday that 106,185 people had selected a plan as of Nov. 2.
The announcement had been highly anticipated, as lawmakers have been pressing the administration for weeks on official figures.
But even the statistic revealed on Wednesday might be inflated.
The administration said the figure counts all those who have selected a health care plan from state and federal exchanges, even if they haven’t yet paid a premium on those plans.
One source explained to Fox News that no one is really “enrolled” until the insurance company knows about it.
Still, the numbers announced Wednesday stand as the most definitive account to date from the administration of how many people have been able to wade through the problem-plagued website and pick a plan.
The administration says a total of 975,407 applied for coverage and received an eligibility determination, but have not yet selected a plan. In addition to the 106,185 who have selected a plan, another 396,261 have been determined as eligible for Medicaid or a similar government program for children.
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Segment 0: Obama’s Tech Surge Team for Healthcare.gov — Best & Brightest or Dumb, Blind and Deaf — Videos
What Went Wrong with the Obamacare Website?
NOW: House Committee Hearing on Affordable Care Act FAILED Website
NOW: House Committee Hearing on Affordable Care Act FAILED Website
Rep. McKinley questions contractors responsible for creating Obamacare website in E&C hearing.
Rep. Kinzinger questions panelists at Obamacare hearing
Greg Walden questions federal contractors about testing before the Obamacare rollout
SMUG: House Committee Hearing on Affordable Care Act FAILED Website
‘Monkey Court’: House Dem Dismisses Healthcare.gov Hearing
Who’s to Blame for Healthcare.gov Problems?
Obamacare website woes…
Rep. Griffith: “When did they know? How much did they know? Why didn’t they slow this down?”
Healthcare gov Goes on Trial in House Hearing (Oct.24) USA
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Upton: Why were we told Obamacare exchanges were ready?
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W.H. Refers Reporters To HHS When Asked About Tech Surge Team
Obama Admin Tries Emergency Surgery, A Tech Surge! – Special Report 1st Segment
Obama Admin Launches “Tech Surge” To Tackle Obamacare Website Issues – America’s Newsroom
White House launches ‘tech surge’ to boost capacity
NBC’s Brian Williams Reports White House Will Delay Obamacare Individual Mandate
Congressional fight over Obamacare turns to website woes
Frustration grows over HealthCare.gov technical problems
Obamacare website is up and running TODAY HealthCare.gov what you need to know!!
HealthCare.gov: Tour of the Website
How to Get Obamacare ( healthcare.gov enrollment instructions )
Hearing on “Affordable Care Act: Implementation in the Wake of Administrative Delay”
Glenn BECK futilely attempts to access Obamacare exchanges ,BUT FAILED,THE SITE CRASHED
CBS Calls Obamacare Website Launch ‘Nothing Short of Disastrous’
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BUREAU OF THE FISCAL SERVICE
STAR – TREASURY FINANCIAL DATABASE
TABLE 1. SUMMARY OF RECEIPTS, OUTLAYS AND THE DEFICIT/SURPLUS BY MONTH OF THE U.S. GOVERNMENT (IN MILLIONS)
ACCOUNTING DATE: 08/13
PERIOD RECEIPTS OUTLAYS DEFICIT/SURPLUS (-)
+ ____________________________________________________________ _____________________ _____________________ _____________________
OCTOBER 163,072 261,539 98,466
NOVEMBER 152,402 289,704 137,302
DECEMBER 239,963 325,930 85,967
JANUARY 234,319 261,726 27,407
FEBRUARY 103,413 335,090 231,677
MARCH 171,215 369,372 198,157
APRIL 318,807 259,690 -59,117
MAY 180,713 305,348 124,636
JUNE 260,177 319,919 59,741
JULY 184,585 254,190 69,604
AUGUST 178,860 369,393 190,533
SEPTEMBER 261,566 186,386 -75,180
YEAR-TO-DATE 2,449,093 3,538,286 1,089,193
OCTOBER 184,316 304,311 119,995
NOVEMBER 161,730 333,841 172,112
DECEMBER 269,508 270,699 1,191
JANUARY 272,225 269,342 -2,883
FEBRUARY 122,815 326,354 203,539
MARCH 186,018 292,548 106,530
APRIL 406,723 293,834 -112,889
MAY 197,182 335,914 138,732
JUNE 286,627 170,126 -116,501
JULY 200,030 297,627 97,597
AUGUST 185,370 333,293 147,923
YEAR-TO-DATE 2,472,542 3,227,888 755,345
0REPORT ID: STM0P081
USER ID :
DATE: 2013-09-10 TIME: 22.20.05 PAGE 1(1)
Dan Mitchell Testifying to the Joint Economic Committee about the Debt Ceiling
It’s Simple to Balance The Budget Without Higher Taxes
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Conservative Mark Levin on a possible government shutdown
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United States Government Shutdown Over Health Debate
29 09 2013 Syria News , The Government Shutdown to Come WSJ Opinion
Ted Cruz: Killing Obamacare for one year is ‘the essence of a compromise’
House sends stopgap back to Senate 48 hours before shutdown
By Mike Lillis
House Republicans approved a stopgap spending bill that delays ObamaCare in an early-morning Sunday vote that increases the chances of a government shutdown.
The high-stakes GOP move intensifies a game of chicken with Senate Democrats with just 48 hours to go before the lights could go out on the federal government.
The White House threatened to veto the measure, while Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) proclaimed it dead in the upper chamber.
The imminent deadline, combined with the prolonged impasse, has led some lawmakers to predict a shutdown is all but inevitable.
“In candor … when the clock strikes midnight on Monday, the place is shutting down,” Rep. Robert Andrews (N.J.), head of the Democrats’ Steering and Policy Committee, said Saturday night.
The House added language delaying implementation of the healthcare law by a year in a 231-192 vote, with Democratic Reps. Jim Matheson (Utah) and Mike McIntyre (N.C.) joining Republicans. Two Republicans voted against the delay, Reps. Chris Gibson (N.Y.) and Richard Hanna (N.Y.).
The House also voted to eliminate a tax on medical devices in a 248-174 vote, with 17 Democrats joining the GOP. The tax is intended to pay for some of the law’s costs. Gibson switched his vote from no to yes toward the end of the vote.
Under the rule adopted earlier in the day, the underlying spending bill was deemed passed with the approval of the two amendments.
Unveiled by GOP leaders just hours earlier, the continuing resolution (CR) would fund the government through Dec. 15. It would delay the individual coverage mandate and the insurance exchanges which are set to launch on Tuesday – and eliminate a 2.3 percent tax on medical devices.
Republican supporters said the ObamaCare delay is necessary to prepare a wary public for sweeping changes that lack the underlying infrastructure to make them work. They framed their postponement proposal as a compromise, relative to the defunding measure they had pushed earlier in the month.
“This bill is not about whether ObamaCare is going to come in or not,” said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.). “What we’re voting on is whether or not you’ll accept the compromise which we have reached out to offer.”
The argument didn’t sit well with Democrats, who were quick to note that the sequester-level spending contained in the Senate-passed bill – a level anathema to many Democrats – is the same as that of the initial House CR.
“You’ve won,” said Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md), “but you can’t take yes for an answer.”
A separate bill, designed to ensure that military personnel are paid even if a shutdown is not averted, was also approved in a unanimous vote.
Republicans characterized the bill as a safety net in the event Congress can’t reach a deal. Democrats countered with charges that the proposal is evidence that the GOP’s CR strategy is designed to shutter the government.
The CR package was designed to cater to conservative Republicans, who have insisted that any spending package must scale back ObamaCare. Those conservatives had revolted earlier in the month when Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) tried to move a funding bill without that direct link.
The resistance forced GOP leaders to approve a CR last week that would have defunded the healthcare law – language that was stripped by Senate Democrats Friday, putting the ball back in Boehner’s court.
At a closely watched meeting of the GOP conference Saturday afternoon in the Capitol basement, Boehner outlined his hard-line strategy, leading to cheers from a conference that’s often been wary of his conservative credentials.
“This is exactly what we hoped for so we’re all getting behind leadership,” said Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), a Tea Party favorite. “We’re excited [and] we’re united.”
The bill now moves back to the Senate, where Reid is expected to scrap the two healthcare amendments with a single vote on Monday, when the Senate returns, and return the “clean” CR, yet again, to Boehner and House Republicans.
“To be absolutely clear, the Senate will reject both the one-year delay of the Affordable Care Act and the repeal of the medical device tax,” Reid said in a statement. “After weeks of futile political games from Republicans, we are still at square one: Republicans must decide whether to pass the Senate’s clean CR, or force a Republican government shutdown.”
That move could potentially come just hours before the Tuesday shutdown.
“ObamaCare is based on limitless government, bureaucratic arrogance, and a disregard of the will of the people,” said Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.).
The 17 Democrats who voted to eliminate the medical device tax were McIntyre, Matheson, Ron Barber (Ariz.), Tammy Duckworth (Ill.), John Barrow (Ga.), Dan Maffei (N.Y.), Patrick Murphy (Fla.), Cheri Bustos (Ill.), John Delaney (Md.), William Enyart (Ill.), Sean Maloney (N.Y.), Jerry McNerney (Calif.), Bill Owens (N.Y.), Scott Peters (Calif.), Nick Rahall (W.Va.), Bradley Schneider (Ill.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.).
Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.), the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, said in a statement early Sunday that Republicans “failed the American people.”
“They voted to shut down the government, all because of their obsession with taking away health insurance for millions of people and giving back to insurance companies the power to decide who gets what care. In their blind pursuit of ideology over our nation’s best interests, Republicans are hurting our economy, threatening job creation, and leaving families with less security and stability,” Cummings said.
Read more: http://thehill.com/homenews/house/325331-house-sends-stopgap-back-before-senate-48-hours-to-shutdown#ixzz2gJOLOkn2 Follow us: @thehill on Twitter | TheHill on Facebook
U.S. government shutdowns have long history
OK, gridlocked politicians we’re used to. But why padlock the Statue of Liberty? You don’t see other democracies shuttering landmarks and sending civil servants home just because their political parties can’t get along. Belgian civil servants, for example, carried on nicely for a year and a half while their politicians bickered over forming a new government.
The potential for a partial shutdown Tuesday is a quirk of American history. So if you’re bored with blaming House Republicans or President Barack Obama, you can lay some responsibility on the Founding Fathers.
Or blame President Jimmy Carter for his rectitude. Or ex-House Speaker Newt Gingrich for his hissy fit over how he got off Air Force One.
A history of government shutdowns, American-style:
1789: Balance of powers.
The framers of the Constitution gave Congress control over spending as a way to limit the power of the presidency. The government can only spend money “in consequence of appropriations made by law,” or in other words, after Congress says so and with the president’s signature.
1800s: Power struggles.
Turns out it’s not easy to shoo federal bureaucrats away from the piggy bank.
When they wanted to spend more than Congress gave, the War Department and other agencies ordered stuff on credit. Then they would go to Congress seeking an appropriation to pay the bills. Lawmakers felt obliged to cover the government’s debts, but they weren’t happy about it. The executive branch was undermining Congress’s power of the purse.
Congress responded with a series of laws that eventually got one of those dreadful Washington monikers: the Anti-Deficiency Act.
Because of the act, officials who mistakenly spend money Congress hasn’t OK’d face disciplinary action, ranging from firing to hours stuck in mind-numbing budget training. There are exceptions for spending to protect lives or property.
But willful overspending is a crime that carries the threat of fines and two years in prison.
1900s: A delicate balance.
The Anti-Deficiency Act seems clear. But as usual, Congress sent mixed messages. Lawmakers routinely failed to pass most of each year’s dozen or so appropriations bills on time. Sometimes agencies went a full year without a budget. Usually lawmakers would smooth that over with a short-term money approval, called a “continuing resolution” in Washington-speak.
Sometimes Congress couldn’t even agree on those: Stopgap resolutions got tangled up for days or a couple of weeks in political fights over matters such as abortion, foreign aid or congressional pay raises. Sort of like the current fight over health care.
But government agencies didn’t shut down and Cabinet secretaries weren’t led away in handcuffs. Agency chiefs might delay workers’ pay and put items such as travel and new contracts on hold. But they assumed Congress didn’t want them to turn off the lights and go home. Eventually lawmakers would cough up a spending bill to retroactively paper over the funding gap.
1980: An inconvenient truth.
This look-the-other-way system worked for decades. Until the Carter administration.
A stickler for the rules, Carter asked his attorney general to look into the Anti-Deficiency Act. In April 1980, Attorney General Benjamin Civiletti issued a startling opinion. “The legal authority for continued operations either exists or it does not,” he wrote.
When it does not, government must send employees home. They can’t work for free or with the expectation that they will be paid someday. What’s more, Civiletti declared, any agency chief who broke that law would be prosecuted.
Five days later, funding for the Federal Trade Commission expired amid a congressional disagreement over limiting the agency’s powers. The FTC halted operations, canceled court dates and meetings, and sent 1,600 workers packing, apparently the first agency ever closed by a budget dispute.
Embarrassed lawmakers made a quick fix. The FTC reopened the next day. The estimated cost of the brouhaha: $700,000.
Carter, a Democratic president forever stymied by his own party in Congress, ordered the whole government to be ready to shut down when the budget year ended on Oct. 1, 1980, in case lawmakers missed their deadline for appropriations bills.
A report by what’s now the Government Accountability Office captured federal officials’ dismay: “That the federal government would shut its doors was, they said, incomprehensible, inconceivable, unthinkable.”
It almost happened. Funding for many agencies did expire, but just for a few hours, and nobody was sent home.
Near the end of his term, Civiletti further clarified the law’s meaning. In a government-wide shutdown, the military, air traffic control, prisons and other work that protects human safety or property would continue. So would things such as Social Security benefits, which Congress has financed indefinitely.
1981-1990: Playing chicken.
With the threat of shutdown as a weapon, budget fights would never be the same, and a big one was brewing.
Republican Ronald Reagan moved into the White House in January 1981 with a promise to cut taxes and shrink government, setting up a showdown with Democrats who ran the House.
High noon came early on Monday, Nov. 23, 1981.
The government had technically been without money all weekend, but Congress approved emergency spending to keep it running. That morning, Reagan wielded his first veto. He was making a stand against “budget-busting policies,” the president declared, sending confused federal workers streaming out of offices in Washington and across the nation.
It was the first government shutdown. But it lasted only hours. By that afternoon, Congress approved a three-week spending extension more to Reagan’s liking. Workers returned Tuesday morning. The estimated cost: more than $80 million.
The pattern was set. Over his two terms, Reagan and congressional Democrats would regularly argue to the brink of shutdown, and twice more they sent workers home for a half-day.
President George H.W. Bush used the tactic only once, during the budget wrangling that punctured his “no new taxes” pledge.
That partial shutdown over the 1990 Columbus Day weekend mostly served to miff tourists who found national park visitor centers locked and Smithsonian museums closed.
Shutdown threats were becoming ho-hum, just more Washington games. After all, what politician would relish a full body plunge into the “unthinkable”?
1995-96: The real thing.
Cue President Bill Clinton and Gingrich.
Two big men with big ideas and big-time egos, the Democratic president and the Republican House speaker charged into a cage match and ended up wrestling the U.S. government to the ground. Twice.
These two shutdowns, for six days and 21 days, were the longest ever. Until now they were assumed to have taught politicians the folly of ever again powering down the world’s most powerful government. Maybe not.
Serious issues were at stake in 1995 — the future of Medicare, tax cuts, aid for the poor, the budget deficit. But they got lost in the absurdities:
The shutdowns didn’t save money; they cost millions.
Despite all the buildup, most of government didn’t close, because of complexities of the federal budget and exemptions for essential workers.
Still, the first shutdown resulted in 800,000 workers eventually getting paid for staying home.
Despite public disgust, Clinton and the Republicans failed to settle all their disputes and soon idled 280,000 employees for another three weeks, through Christmas and into the New Year.
The effects rippled through the economy, harming federal contractors and businesses that serve visitors to national parks and industries that must work with federal inspectors.
The tone of the whole exercise was set when a huffy Gingrich suggested he had steered the government to a standstill because Clinton relegated him to the back door of Air Force One on an overseas trip. The public tantrum delighted Democrats and cartoonists alike.
The president was judged to have “won” the tussle. Republicans took a drubbing in the polls and ended up accepting most of Clinton’s conditions in a compromise that seemed more like crying uncle.
But faith in government may have been the biggest loser.
A footnote: On the January day that missing workers were scheduled to finally return to their posts, the Northeast was just starting to dig out from an extreme blizzard.
After weeks of insisting it was vital to get government back to work quickly, Clinton decided to keep Washington closed another four days.
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Obama’s Syria War Is Really About Iran and Israel
The dirty little not-so-secret behind President Obama’s much-lobbied-for, illegal and strategically incompetent war against Syria is that it’s not about Syria at all. It’s about Iran—and Israel. And it has been from the start.
By “the start,” I mean 2011, when the Obama administration gradually became convinced that it could deal Iran a mortal blow by toppling President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, a secular, Baathist strongman who is, despite all, an ally of Iran’s. Since then, taking Iran down a peg has been the driving force behind Obama’s Syria policy.
Not coincidentally, the White House plans to scare members of Congress into supporting the ill-conceived war plan by waving the Iranian flag in their faces. Even liberal Democrats, some of whom are opposing or questioning war with Syria, blanch at the prospect of opposing Obama and the Israel lobby over Iran.
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Item for consideration: a new column by the Syria analyst at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the chief think tank of the Israel lobby. Andrew Tabler headlines his piece: “Attacking Syria Is the Best Way to Deal with Iran.” In it, he says:
At first glance, the festering Syria crisis seems bad news for diplomatic efforts to keep Iran from developing nuclear capabilities. In actuality, however, achieving U.S. objectives in the Syria crisis is an opportunity to pressure Iran into making hard choices not only in Syria, but regarding its nuclear program as well. More U.S. involvement to achieve its objectives in Syria will inevitably run counter to Tehran’s interests, be it to punish the Assad regime for chemical weapons use or to show support for the Syrian opposition in changing Assad’s calculus and forcing him to “step aside” at the negotiating table or on the battlefield.
Many in U.S. policymaking circles have viewed containing swelling Iranian influence in Syria and preventing Iran from going nuclear as two distinct policy discussions, as the Obama Administration only has so much “bandwidth” to deal with Middle East threats. But the recent deepening of cooperation between Tehran, Hezbollah and the Assad regime, combined with their public acknowledgement of these activities, indicates that they themselves see these activities as furthering the efficacy of the “resistance axis.”
Like every alliance, its members will only make hard policy choices if the costs of its current policies far outweigh the benefits. U.S. strikes on the Assad regime, if properly calibrated as part of an overall plan to degrade the regime, would force Tehran to become more involved in Syria in order to rescue its stalwart ally. This would be costly for Iran financially, militarily and politically. Those costs would make the Iranian regime and its people reassess aspirations to go nuclear.
Needless to say, such a strategy is bound to be counterproductive, since—by slamming Syria, never mind toppling Assad—Washington is likely to undermine doves and bolster hawks in Tehran and undermine the chances for successful negotiations with Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, who’ll be speaking at the UN General Assembly later this month.
In fact, both Russia and Iran have signaled recently, in the wake of Syria’s obvious deployment and use of sarin gas and other deadly weapons that they might be getting ready to join the rest of the world in condemning Syria’s chemical warfare, and that makes it far more likely that the much-postponed US-Russia “Geneva II” peace conference on Syria might work. The hawkish Washington Post today notes Rouhani’s new administration in Tehran is softening its tone on Syria, and it reports that the new Iranian foreign minister, Javad Zarif, has acknowledged the Syria has erred, saying: “We believe that the government in Syria has made grave mistakes that have, unfortunately, paved the way for the situation in the country to be abused.”
Meanwhile, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, while issuing scathing denunciations of the coming U.S. attack on Syria, has dropped broad hints that he might be willing to join with other nations if and when the United Nations weapons team concludes that Assad used nerve gas, suggesting that Russia might not block a UN Security Council resolution against Syria. In his much-reported interview with the Associated Press, Putin insisted on waiting for the UN report:
“If there is evidence that chemical weapons have been used, and used specifically by the regular army, this evidence should be submitted to the U.N. Security Council. And it ought to be convincing. It shouldn’t be based on some rumors and information obtained by intelligence agencies through some kind of eavesdropping, some conversations and things like that.”
Then, according to the Washington Post, Putin declared that he might join a UN-sponsored coalition on Syria:
He said he “doesn’t exclude” backing the use of force against Syria at the United Nations if there is objective evidence proving that Assad’s regime used chemical weapons against its people. But he strongly warned Washington against launching military action without U.N. approval, saying it would represent an aggression. Russia can veto resolutions at the U.N. Security Council and has protected Syria from punitive actions there before.
But a change in tone on the part of Russia and Iran—the latter of whom the Obama administration still refuses to invite to Geneva II if and when it occurs—won’t mean a thing if the object of war with Syria is to send a message to Iran. As Jeffrey Goldberg, writing for Bloomberg, says, for Israel it’s all about Iran:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel would prefer that Obama enforce his red line on chemical weapons use, because he would like to see proof that Obama believes in the red lines he draws. From Netanyahu’s perspective, Israel isn’t unduly threatened by Assad. Syria constitutes a dangerous, but ultimately manageable, threat.
Netanyahu believes, of course, that Iran, Syria’s primary sponsor, poses an existential threat to his country, and so would like the Iranians to understand very clearly that Obama’s red lines are, in fact, very red. As Robert Satloff, the executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told me last night, the formula is simple: “If the Iranians do not fear Obama, then the Israelis will lose confidence in Obama.”
In his round-robin television appearances on Sunday, Secretary of State John Kerry—now the administration’s über-hawk—repeatedly said that bombing Syria would send a message to Iran. As he told Fox News on Sunday:
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“The fact is that if we act and if we act in concert, then Iran will know that this nation is capable of speaking with one voice on something like this, and that has serious, profound implications, I think, with respect to the potential of a confrontation over their nuclear program. That is one of the things that is at stake here.”
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Feds tell Web firms to turn over user account passwords
Secret demands mark escalation in Internet surveillance by the federal government through gaining access to user passwords, which are typically stored in encrypted form.
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The U.S. government has demanded that major Internet companies divulge users’ stored passwords, according to two industry sources familiar with these orders, which represent an escalation in surveillance techniques that has not previously been disclosed.
If the government is able to determine a person’s password, which is typically stored in encrypted form, the credential could be used to log in to an account to peruse confidential correspondence or even impersonate the user. Obtaining it also would aid in deciphering encrypted devices in situations where passwords are reused.
“I’ve certainly seen them ask for passwords,” said one Internet industry source who spoke on condition of anonymity. “We push back.”
A second person who has worked at a large Silicon Valley company confirmed that it received legal requests from the federal government for stored passwords. Companies “really heavily scrutinize” these requests, the person said. “There’s a lot of ‘over my dead body.’”
Some of the government orders demand not only a user’s password but also the encryption algorithm and the so-called salt, according to a person familiar with the requests. A salt is a random string of letters or numbers used to make it more difficult to reverse the encryption process and determine the original password. Other orders demand the secret question codes often associated with user accounts.
“This is one of those unanswered legal questions: Is there any circumstance under which they could get password information?” –Jennifer Granick, Stanford University
A Microsoft spokesperson would not say whether the company has received such requests from the government. But when asked whether Microsoft would divulge passwords, salts, or algorithms, the spokesperson replied: “No, we don’t, and we can’t see a circumstance in which we would provide it.”
Google also declined to disclose whether it had received requests for those types of data. But a spokesperson said the company has “never” turned over a user’s encrypted password, and that it has a legal team that frequently pushes back against requests that are fishing expeditions or are otherwise problematic. “We take the privacy and security of our users very seriously,” the spokesperson said.
Apple, Yahoo, Facebook, AOL, Verizon, AT&T, Time Warner Cable, and Comcast did not respond to queries about whether they have received requests for users’ passwords and how they would respond to them.
Richard Lovejoy, a director of the Opera Software subsidiary that operates FastMail, said he doesn’t recall receiving any such requests but that the company still has a relatively small number of users compared with its larger rivals. Because of that, he said, “we don’t get a high volume” of U.S. government demands.
The FBI declined to comment.
Some details remain unclear, including when the requests began and whether the government demands are always targeted at individuals or seek entire password database dumps. The Patriot Act has been used to demand entire database dumps of phone call logs, and critics have suggested its use is broader. “The authority of the government is essentially limitless” under that law, Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat who serves on the Senate Intelligence committee, said at a Washington event this week.
Large Internet companies have resisted the government’s requests by arguing that “you don’t have the right to operate the account as a person,” according to a person familiar with the issue. “I don’t know what happens when the government goes to smaller providers and demands user passwords,” the person said.
An attorney who represents Internet companies said he has not fielded government password requests, but “we’ve certainly had reset requests — if you have the device in your possession, than a password reset is the easier way.”
Cracking the codes Even if the National Security Agency or the FBI successfully obtains an encrypted password, salt, and details about the algorithm used, unearthing a user’s original password is hardly guaranteed. The odds of success depend in large part on two factors: the type of algorithm and the complexity of the password.
Algorithms, known as hash functions, that are viewed as suitable for scrambling stored passwords are designed to be difficult to reverse. One popular hash function called MD5, for instance, transforms the phrase “National Security Agency” into this string of seemingly random characters: 84bd1c27b26f7be85b2742817bb8d43b. Computer scientists believe that, if a hash function is well-designed, the original phrase cannot be derived from the output.
But modern computers, especially ones equipped with high-performance video cards, can test passwords scrambled with MD5 and other well-known hash algorithms at the rate of billions a second. One system using 25 Radeon-powered GPUs that was demonstrated at a conference last December tested 348 billion hashes per second, meaning it would crack a 14-character Windows XP password in six minutes.
The best practice among Silicon Valley companies is to adopt far slower hash algorithms — designed to take a large fraction of a second to scramble a password — that have been intentionally crafted to make it more difficult and expensive for the NSA and other attackers to test every possible combination.
One popular algorithm, used by Twitter and LinkedIn, is called bcrypt. A 2009 paper (PDF) by computer scientist Colin Percival estimated that it would cost a mere $4 to crack, in an average of one year, an 8-character bcrypt password composed only of letters. To do it in an average of one day, the hardware cost would jump to approximately $1,500.
But if a password of the same length included numbers, asterisks, punctuation marks, and other special characters, the cost-per-year leaps to $130,000. Increasing the length to any 10 characters, Percival estimated in 2009, brings the estimated cracking cost to a staggering $1.2 billion.
As computers have become more powerful, the cost of cracking bcrypt passwords has decreased. “I’d say as a rough ballpark, the current cost would be around 1/20th of the numbers I have in my paper,” said Percival, who founded a company called Tarsnap Backup, which offers “online backups for the truly paranoid.” Percival added that a government agency would likely use ASICs – application-specific integrated circuits — for password cracking because it’s “the most cost-efficient — at large scale — approach.”
While developing Tarsnap, Percival devised an algorithm called scrypt, which he estimates can make the “cost of a hardware brute-force attack” against a hashed password as much as 4,000 times greater than bcrypt.
Bcrypt was introduced (PDF) at a 1999 Usenix conference by Niels Provos, currently a distinguished engineer in Google’s infrastructure group, and David Mazières, an associate professor of computer science at Stanford University.
With the computers available today, “bcrypt won’t pipeline very well in hardware,” Mazières said, so it would “still be very expensive to do widespread cracking.”
Even if “the NSA is asking for access to hashed bcrypt passwords,” Mazières said, “that doesn’t necessarily mean they are cracking them.” Easier approaches, he said, include an order to extract them from the server or network when the user logs in — which has been done before — or installing a keylogger at the client.
Questions of law Whether the National Security Agency or FBI has the legal authority to demand that an Internet company divulge a hashed password, salt, and algorithm remains murky.
“This is one of those unanswered legal questions: Is there any circumstance under which they could get password information?” said Jennifer Granick, director of civil liberties at Stanford University’s Center for Internet and Society. “I don’t know.”
Granick said she’s not aware of any precedent for an Internet company “to provide passwords, encrypted or otherwise, or password algorithms to the government — for the government to crack passwords and use them unsupervised.” If the password will be used to log in to the account, she said, that’s “prospective surveillance,” which would require a wiretap order or Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act order.
If the government can subsequently determine the password, “there’s a concern that the provider is enabling unauthorized access to the user’s account if they do that,” Granick said. That could, she said, raise legal issues under the Stored Communications Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
The Justice Department has argued in court proceedings before that it has broad legal authority to obtain passwords. In 2011, for instance, federal prosecutors sent a grand jury subpoena demanding the password that would unlock files encrypted with the TrueCrypt utility.
The Florida man who received the subpoena claimed the Fifth Amendment, which protects his right to avoid self-incrimination, allowed him to refuse the prosecutors’ demand. In February 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit agreed, saying that because prosecutors could bring a criminal prosecution against him based on the contents of the decrypted files, the man “could not be compelled to decrypt the drives.”
In January 2012, a federal district judge in Colorado reached the opposite conclusion, ruling that a criminal defendant could be compelled under the All Writs Act to type in the password that would unlock a Toshiba Satellite laptop.
Both of those cases, however, deal with criminal proceedings when the password holder is the target of an investigation — and don’t address when a hashed password is stored on the servers of a company that’s an innocent third party.
“If you can figure out someone’s password, you have the ability to reuse the account,” which raises significant privacy concerns, said Seth Schoen, a senior staff technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Six Ways Congress May Reform NSA Snooping
A measure to end one NSA program was just defeated in the House by a surprisingly narrow margin. Here are other proposals on the table.
by Kara Brandeisky
Although the House defeated a measure that would have defunded the bulk phone metadata collection program , the narrow 205-217 vote  showed that there is significant support in Congress to reform NSA surveillance programs. Here are six other legislative proposals on the table.
1) Raise the standard for what records are considered “relevant”
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has reportedly adopted a broad interpretation of the Patriot Act , ruling that all the records in a company’s database could be considered “relevant to an authorized investigation.” The leaked court order compelling a Verizon subsidiary to turn over all its phone records is just one example of how the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has interpreted the statute.
Both Rep. John Conyers , D-Mich., and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. , have introduced bills requiring the government to show “specific and articulable facts” demonstrating how records are relevant. Similarly, legislation introduced by Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., would require any applications to include an explanation  of how any records sought are relevant to an authorized investigation.
2) Require NSA analysts to obtain court approval before searching metadata
Once the NSA has phone records in its possession, Sen. Dianne Feinstein has explained that NSA analysts may query the data without individualized court approvals , as long as they have a “reasonable suspicion, based on specific facts ” that the data is related to a foreign terrorist organization.
A bill from Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., would require the government to petition the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court every time an analyst wants to search telephone metadata . From there, a surveillance court judge would need to find “reasonable, articulable suspicion” that the search is “specifically relevant to an authorized investigation” before approving the application. The legislation would also require the FBI to report monthly to congressional intelligence committees all the searches the analysts made.
3) Declassify Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court opinions
Right now, court opinions authorizing the NSA surveillance programs remain secret. Advocacy groups have brought several Freedom of Information Act suits  seeking the release of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court documents, but the Justice Department continues to fight them.
Several bills would compel the secret court to release some opinions. The Ending Secret Law Act — both the House  and Senate  versions — would require the court to declassify all its opinions that include “significant construction or interpretation” of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Under current law, the court already submits these “significant” opinions to congressional intelligence committees, so the bill would just require the court to share those documents with the public.
The bills do include an exception if the attorney general decides that declassifying an opinion would threaten national security. In that case, the court would release an unclassified summary of the opinion, or — if even offering a summary of the opinion would pose a national security threat — at least give a report on the declassification process with an “estimate” of how many opinions must remain classified.
Keep in mind, before Edward Snowden’s disclosures, the Justice Department argued that all “significant legal interpretations” needed to remain classified  for national security reasons. Since the leaks, the government has said it’s now reviewing what, if any, documents can be declassified, but they said they need more time .
4) Change the way Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judges are appointed
Current law does not give Congress any power to confirm Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judges. Instead, the chief justice of the United States appoints the judges, who all already serve on the federal bench. The judges serve seven-year terms. Chief Justice John Roberts appointed all 11 judges  currently serving on the court – ten of whom were nominated  to federal courts by Republican presidents.
A bill introduced by Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., would give the president the power to appoint surveillance court judges  and give the Senate power to confirm. The president would also choose the presiding judge of the surveillance court, with Senate approval.
Alternatively, Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., has offered a bill  that would let the chief justice appoint three judges and let the House Speaker, the House minority leader, the Senate majority leader, and the Senate minority leader each appoint two judges.
5) Appoint a public advocate to argue before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court
Currently, the government officials petitioning the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court do not face an adversarial process. Surveillance targets do not have representation before the court, and they are not notified if a court order is issued for their data.
In 33 years, the surveillance court only rejected 11 of an estimated 33,900 government requests , though it the government has also modified 40 of the 1,856 applications in 2012.
Two former Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judges – Judge James Robertson  and Judge James Carr  – have argued that Congress should appoint a public advocate to counter the government’s arguments. Carr wrote in the New York Times, “During my six years on the court, there were several occasions when I and other judges faced issues none of us had encountered before. […]Having lawyers challenge novel legal assertions in these secret proceedings would result in better judicial outcomes.”
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., has promised to introduce a bill  that would provide a “special advocate” to argue on behalf of privacy rights and give “civil society organizations” a chance to respond before the surveillance court issues significant rulings.
The surveillance court can actually invite advocates to argue before the court, as the Supreme Court did when the Obama administration refused to defend the Defense of Marriage Act.
“There’s nothing in law that would prevent the FISA court from hiring an advocate as an additional advisor to the court, except the need to obtain security clearances for that advocate, which would have to be granted by the executive branch,” explained Steven Bradbury, who served as the head of the Office of Legal Counsel in the Department of Justice from 2005 to 2009.
Bradbury has argued that the surveillance court may not need a permanent public advocate because its legal advisers  already fulfill that role.
6) End phone metadata collection on constitutional grounds
The Justice Department has maintained that mass phone metadata collection is “fully consistent with the Fourth Amendment .” That reasoning is based on the 1979 Supreme Court decision Smith v. Maryland , where the Court found that the government does not need a warrant based on probable cause to collect phone records. The Court reasoned that whenever you dial a phone number, you voluntarily share that phone number with a telecom, and you can’t reasonably expect a right to privacy for information shared with third parties. As a result, the Court ruled that the collection of phone records is not a “search” and does not merit protection under the Fourth Amendment.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has introduced a bill  declaring that the Fourth Amendment “shall not be construed to allow any agency of the United States Government to search the phone records of Americans without a warrant based on probable cause” — effectively shutting down the NSA’s phone metadata collection program.
The NSA’s New Spy Facilities are 7 Times Bigger Than the Pentagon
He works at one of the three-letter intelligence agencies and oversees construction of a $1.2 billion surveillance data center in Utah that is 15 times the size of MetLife Stadium, home to the New York Giants and Jets. Long Island native Harvey Davis, a top National Security Agency official, needs that commanding presence. His role is to supervise infrastructure construction worldwide for NSA, which is part of the Defense Department. That involves tending to logistics, military installations, as well as power, space and cooling for all NSA data centers.
In May, crews broke ground on a $792 million computing center at the agency’s headquarters near Baltimore that will complement the Utah site. Together the Utah center and Maryland’s 28-acre computer farm span 228 acres—more than seven times the size of the Pentagon.
During an interview with Government Executive in June, amid the uproar over leaked details of NSA’s domestic espionage activities, Davis describes the 200-acre Utah facility as very transparent: “Only brick and mortar.” A data center just provides energy and chills machines, he says.
About 6,500 contractors, along with more than 150 Army Corps of Engineers and NSA workers, including some with special needs, are assigned to the project. Davis perks up when he talks about the hundreds of individuals with disabilities he has steered into NSA.
But ask him why the facility is so big and what’s inside, and he is less forthcoming. “I think we’re crossing into content. It’s big because it’s required to be big,” says Davis, a 30-year veteran of the spy agency.
At NSA, secrecy is not exclusive to intelligence analysts. Every civil servant in the Installations and Logistics Directorate Davis leads has a security clearance. He earned his in the early 1980s, entering the agency with a master’s degree in business administration, experience managing inventory for a women’s apparel chain, and a yearning for a higher calling than retail.
For security reasons, some of the contractors erecting the data center don’t even know its purpose, other than the equipment needed—nothing about snooping. The 2010 public work solicitation called for a 65-megawatt center with a chiller plant, fire suppression systems, electrical generators and an uninterruptible power supply backup capacity.
Davis lets out that inside there will be supercomputers, or what NSA labels “high performance computers.” These need “different cooling and different power distributions as opposed to something you bought from Best Buy,” he says. The machines, along with whatever other technology is tucked in the facility, are slated to power on by Oct. 1.
Four years ago, the stated purpose of the megaplex near Salt Lake City was to amass foreign intelligence and warnings about hackers. Officials described it as an extension of President George W. Bush’s 2008 Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative, a largely classified, cross-agency program to protect U.S. computer networks against adversaries. Today, it is evident the data plantation will not be linked to any one program. Instead, the systems inside will warehouse counterterrorism information collected in aggregate, including millions of Americans’ phone logs for five years and certain foreigners’ online messages, NSA officials confirm. Spies at other locations will decipher what’s accumulated to thwart terrorist attacks, cyber assaults, and weapons of mass destruction.
The Utah effort is the largest ongoing Defense construction project in the United States. Still, it is only three-quarters the size of the department’s largest in the world—the Medical Center Replacement Project at Rhine Ordnance Barracks, Germany.
Harvey Davis, Director of Logistics, NSA, at the agency’s Fort Meade construction site. Photo by Melissa Golden
Davis is reluctant to discuss the ratio of contractors to civil service employees in Utah—a week after The Guardian and The Washington Post have reported an NSA contractor leaked Top Secret documents. Prosecutors are pursuing former Booz Allen Hamilton employee Edward Snowden for exposing files about PRISM, the agency’s foreign Internet surveillance program, and domestic call data-monitoring while he was administering NSA data systems in Hawaii.
Compared with the 6,500 contract employees, “there is a smaller number of people on my core project management team,” Davis says. An agency official in the room adds: “We can talk in total numbers here . . . We can’t get into how many are ours, how many are theirs.”
A few days after the interview, when asked why NSA’s reliance on contractors is hush-hush, agency officials released some figures. Ten people are on Davis’ core team. About 150 employees from the Army Corps of Engineers, along with an undisclosed number of employees from the 1,000-member Installations and Logistics Directorate, are involved with the Utah project. NSA considers the total sum of agency personnel staffed to certain construction projects operational details and would not provide that statistic. A small workforce of up to 200 government and contract employees—building engineers, systems administrators and maintenance workers—will stay permanently to keep the facility running.
Davis is more eager to discuss the quality than quantity of his employees. Roughly 10 years ago, while working as an NSA human resources director, he encountered an untapped talent pool that he now draws from regularly. “The disabled population is just so thankful to have a job. They would just come in here and you’d have to actually force them to go home,” Davis says. “I have engineers that are hard of hearing, and our workforce all took sign language so they could actually communicate with one another.”
Nobody waters down security clearance exercises to facilitate special needs applicants, he adds. “Somebody who was deaf, we would do polygraph in sign language,” Davis says. “What we look for is qualifications first. We have someone developing software—working on the computers—that is blind. There is really no limitation that we have found as long we can find the skill match.” At least a dozen engineers who have disabilities work in his directorate. Grounds maintenance and snow removal contractors in Utah will be hired through SourceAmerica (formerly NISH), a nonprofit organization that fits agency needs with the skills of job seekers with disabilities.
“He has integrated this into the fabric of the company,” says Joyce A. Bender, past chair of the board of the American Association of People with Disabilities, who met Davis when he decided NSA needed more diversity. “What makes this work at any company is a passionate leader, someone in leadership, whether it’s in the private sector or a federal agency,” says Bender, a Pittsburgh-based consultant who recruits people with disabilities for work in government and industry.
Her firm refers to NSA about 200 individuals annually for positions in finance, linguistics, math and other specialties. Since 2010, about 550 candidates have been hired. “If he says, ‘I’m going to do something,’ you can count on it that he is going to do it,” Bender says of Davis. “He doesn’t sugarcoat anything. He’s very direct and to the point.”
A Leak During Construction
No matter their background or how they came to NSA, civil servants and contract employees alike all serve in silence. “That’s really the culture of this agency, and we’re really not looking for big accolades,” Davis says. “What really makes the people satisfied here is that they did the job and they did it right and they’re doing things within the appropriate manner.” The mentality is that NSA operates in the dark for the safety of Americans. Some citizens, however, argue it should operate in the sunshine a little more for the safety of democracy.
The secrecy dispute is “a distraction and a weakness that has been presented by this guy,” Snowden, who should not have seen such sensitive information in the first place, says one former NSA official. “They’ve got to do some internal homework about how to keep that data separate,” the ex-official says, adding that technical controls are not very difficult to configure. “How the heck did this guy in Hawaii gain access to all that?”
Some human rights advocates are grateful for the exposure of the agency’s surveillance methods. “Communications about millions of innocent Americans are being stored for five years in a government database—whether or not there is any reason to search our call records, and I don’t think our Constitution allows that,” says Alex Abdo, staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project.
Even some former Pentagon officials say citizens should know NSA’s intentions for the Utah data center. “When you have this much centralization of capabilities, which in government terms can translate into real power—that and resources—it’s important that the public be able to look at these things and figure out what they are doing,” says a cyber official who recently left Defense and now works as a private contractor. The official is not involved in the project and was not authorized to speak on behalf of the department.
A 2012 article in Wired reported that NSA needs the megaplex partially because the Pentagon wants to expand the military global communications network to manage yottabytes of data. “A yottabyte is a septillion bytes—so large that no one has yet coined a term for the next higher magnitude,” the article said. “Should the agency ever fill the Utah center with a yottabyte of information, it would be equal to about 500 quintillion (500,000,000,000,000,000,000) pages of text.” NSA officials told Government Executive, however, they do not discuss such operational details.
An Open House
The contents of the NSA computer fortress might be a mystery to the public, but Davis says his project has been open to congressional and industry scrutiny.
“The military construction process by design is a very, very transparent process. We work through the Corps of Engineers,” he says. “It’s a public discourse. When we give out our request for proposal, that’s through FedBizOpps.gov.” But on the website, many of the work descriptions for that project are locked behind a firewall. NSA spokeswoman Vanee Vines says the documents are restricted because “they must be accounted for and are only for cleared defense contractors.”
Davis acknowledges the controversy over his project has taken an emotional toll. “We’ve been pressured to disclose what’s been going in the Utah Data Center for quite a while independent of the current events,” he says. “My workforce and the workforce that I work with here [in Utah] take our jobs and our responsibility very, very seriously, and for somebody to say that we’re doing something untoward is a pretty big hit on the morale here.”
No matter the outcome of the debate, the Utah computers are expected to go online within two months. This is where the MBA comes in. From choosing a site, to convincing Congress to agree with blueprints to surmounting a late-in-the-game budget chop, balancing the books is key. “Utah is a wonderful place with abundant and inexpensive power,” Davis says. “Plenty of sources of water for cooling.” NSA applied a mathematical model to select the location. The surrounding environment simplified construction. “Utah, because of the facility and the utilities, just came out far and ahead of everywhere else,” he says. “Lots of good roads. We could get the steel in. We could get the concrete in. We have lots of sand pits nearby,” he says. “We built our own cement slabs in that area. It’s pretty well offset from the road for the security that we need for the data center.”
The price tag for the project is in line with industry standards, according to NSA. “It’s actually relatively cheap and I came in under cost,” Davis says, referring to $100 million in savings gained partly by refusing to let contractors adjust the plan. Penny-pinching became mandatory when governmentwide spending cuts, known as sequestration, kicked in this year.
“One of the biggest cost drivers on a project this size is something called an engineering change proposal. They really number in the tens to hundreds in a project of this size,” but one could “count on a couple of hands the numbers of change orders that we allowed to happen,” he says. “We spent a lot of time honing the requirements tightly up front, making sure we knew what we were building, building it, and not going back and changing it later.” That’s the New York strong arm talking.
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Spain train crash: Dozens killed as high-speed train derails in Santiago de Compostela
Train Crash In Spain: At Least 80 Killed near Santiago de Compostela
Driver in custody after 80 killed in Spain train crash
By Teresa Medrano and Tracy Rucinski
The driver of a Spanish train that derailed, killing at least 80 people, was under police guard in hospital on Thursday after the dramatic accident which an official source said was caused by excessive speed.
The eight-carriage train came off the tracks, hit a wall and caught fire just outside the pilgrimage destination Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain on Wednesday night. It was one of Europe’s worst rail disasters.
The source had knowledge of the official investigation into a crash which brought misery to Santiago on Thursday, the day when it should have celebrated one of Europe’s biggest Christian festivals. Authorities canceled festivities as the city went into mourning.
The Galicia regional supreme court said in a statement the judge investigating the accident had ordered police to take a statement from the driver.
He was being formally investigated and under police guard but not under arrest, the court said. He was in hospital but it was not clear what kind of injuries he had suffered.
Video footage from a security camera showed the train, with 247 people on board, hurtling into a concrete wall at the side of the track as carriages jack-knifed and the engine overturned.
One local official described the aftermath of the crash as like a scene from hell, with bodies strewn next to the tracks.
The impact was so huge one carriage flew several meters into the air and landed on the other side of a high concrete barrier.
Around 94 people were injured, 35 of them, including four children, in a serious condition, the deputy head of the regional government said.
“We heard a massive noise and we went down the tracks. I helped get a few injured and bodies out of the train. I went into one of the cars but I’d rather not tell you what I saw there,” Ricardo Martinez, a 47-year old baker from Santiago de Compostela, told Reuters.
Newspaper accounts cited witnesses as saying the driver, Francisco Jose Garzon, who had helped rescue victims, shouted into a phone: “I’ve derailed! What do I do?”.
The 52-year-old had been a train driver for 30 years, said a spokeswoman for Renfe, the state train company.
A court source told Reuters there was one driver on the train. Previously, a Galicia government source had said there were two.
TRAIN HIT BEND AT SPEED
El Pais newspaper said the driver told the railway station by radio after being trapped in his cabin that the train entered the bend at 190 kilometers per hour (120 mph). An official source said the speed limit on that stretch of twin track, laid in 2011, was 80 kph.
“We’re only human! We’re only human!” the driver told the station, the newspaper said, citing sources close to the investigation. “I hope there are no dead, because this will weigh on my conscience.”
Investigators were trying to find out why the train was going so fast and why security devices to keep speed within permitted limits had not slowed the train.
Operated by state-owned company Renfe, the train was built by Bombardier and Talgo and was around five years old. It had almost the maximum number of passengers.
Spain’s rail safety record is better than the European average, ranking 18th out of 27 countries in terms of railway deaths per kilometers traveled, the European Railway Agency said. There were 218 train accidents in Spain between 2008-2011, well below the EU average of 426 for the same period.
Firefighters called off a strike to help with the disaster, while hospital staff, many operating on reduced salaries because of spending cuts in recession-hit Spain, worked overtime to tend the injured.
The disaster happened at 8.41 p.m. (2:41 p.m. ET) on the eve of a festival dedicated to St. James, one of Jesus’s 12 disciples, whose remains are said to rest in Santiago’s centuries-old cathedral.
The apostle’s shrine is the destination of the famous El Camino de Santiago pilgrimage across the Pyrenees, which has been followed by Christians since the Middle Ages.
“The main mass (in the cathedral) was transformed from a mass of joy into a mass of mourning,” said Italian pilgrim Irene Valsangiacomo.
KING, PM VISIT
One U.S. citizen died in the crash and five were injured, the State Department said in Washington. Mexico said one of its nationals was among the dead.
At least one British citizen was injured, a British embassy spokesman said. People from several other countries were believed to be among the passengers.
People living nearby ran to the site to help emergency workers tend to the wounded. Ana Taboada, a 29-year-old hospital worker, was one of the first on the scene.
“When the dust lifted I saw corpses. I didn’t make it down to the track, because I was helping the passengers that were coming up the embankment,” she told Reuters. “I saw a man trying to break a window with a stone to help those inside get out.”
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who was born in Santiago de Compostela, the capital of Galicia region, visited the site and the main hospital on Thursday. He declared three days of official national mourning for the victims of the disaster.
King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia also went to Santiago and visited the injured in hospital.
“All of Spain is united in grief with the bereaved families,” the king said.
Both Renfe and state-owned Adif, which is in charge of the tracks, opened an investigation into the derailment.
Passenger Ricardo Montesco told Cadena Ser radio station the train approached the curve at high speed, twisted and the carriages piled up one on top of the other.
“A lot of people were squashed on the bottom. We tried to squeeze out of the bottom of the wagons to get out and we realized the train was burning. … I was in the second carriage and there was fire. … I saw corpses,” he said.
Clinics in Santiago de Compostela were overwhelmed with people flocking to give blood, while hotels organized free rooms for relatives. Madrid sent forensic scientists and hospital staff to the scene on special flights.
Allianz Seguros, owned by Germany’s Allianz, owns the insurance contract for loss suffered by Renfe passengers, a company spokeswoman told Reuters. The contract does not cover Renfe’s trains. The company had sent experts to the scene.
The disaster stirred memories of a train bombing in Madrid in 2004, carried out by Islamist militants, that killed 191 people, although officials do not suspect an attack this time.
Spain is struggling to emerge from a long-running recession marked by government-driven austerity to bring its deeply indebted finances into order.
But Adif, the state railways infrastructure company, told Reuters no budget cuts had been implemented on maintenance of the line, which connects La Coruna, Santiago de Compostela and Ourense and was inaugurated in 2011.
It said more than 100 million euros a year were being spent on track maintenance in Spain.
(Additional reporting by Inmaculada Sanz, Sonya Dowsett, Sarah White, Andres Gonzalez, Blanca Rodriguez, Julien Toyer, Emma Pinedo, Raquel Castillo, Robert Hetz; Writing by Sonya Dowsett and Julien Toyer and Elisabeth O’Leary,; editing by Barry Moody and Andrew Heavens)
80 dead in Spain crash; video catches train’s final moments
By Al Goodman. Laura Smith-Spark and Laura Perez Maestro, CNN
The train races into view, and in the space of a heartbeat, the cars derail and crash into a wall of concrete, flipping onto their sides and skidding along the track with terrifying speed and force.
Security footage shows the horror of the moment an express train derailed as it hurtled around a curve in northwestern Spain on Wednesday. A spokeswoman for the Spanish government in the Galicia region, speaking on routine condition of anonymity, confirmed 80 people have died in the crash.
One U.S. citizen is among the dead, according to Deputy State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf. At least five U.S. citizens were also injured, she added.
Flames burst out of one train car as another car was snapped in half after the crash. Rescue crews and fellow passengers pulled bodies through broken windows and pried open doors as stunned survivors looked on.
Investigations into the cause of the crash continue, but suggestions that the train was traveling too fast appear to be gaining weight.
The train driver is being questioned by police and is under formal investigation, said Maria Pardo Rios, a spokeswoman for the Galicia regional supreme court. “He is not being charged by a judge at the moment — it is all at a police level,” she said.
Ninety-five of the 178 injured are still hospitalized, the local government’s official Twitter account said. Thirty-two adults and four children are in critical condition.
Most of the deaths happened at the scene, Rios said. In Spain, judges typically record deaths that take place outside of hospitals.
Judicial teams are still at the crash site and expect to find more bodies, she told CNN on Thursday morning.
Interim charge d’affaires Luis G. Moreno at the embassy said it was in touch “with families of some injured American citizens.”
“We are deeply shocked by the news of last night’s train crash in Galicia. Our hearts and prayers are with the friends and families of the victims,” he said Thursday.
UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said one British citizen was injured.
The crash came on the eve of a public holiday held to mark the region’s saint’s day. Local officials canceled festivities planned for Wednesday night and Thursday across Galicia.
Train’s speed questioned
The state railway, Renfe, said the train crashed on a curve several kilometers from the train station in the city of Santiago de Compostela, a popular tourist destination.
The train was nearing the end of a six-hour trip from Madrid to the town of Ferrol in northwest Spain when it derailed at 8:41 p.m. Wednesday, the railway said.
It was unclear how fast the train was traveling when it crashed. It was capable of going up to 250 kilometers per hour (155 mph), said Julio Hermida, a spokesman for the state railway.
The driver, who suffered minor injuries, told police the train had entered the bend too fast, TVE reported.
The driver has worked for the company for the last 30 years, a spokesman for the railway confirmed to CNN. In 2000, the driver started working as a train driver assistant, and in 2003 began working as a train driver, a job the driver has held since.
Rafael Catala, secretary of state for transport and housing, told Spanish radio network Cadena SER that the “tragedy appears to be linked to the train going too fast,” but that the reasons for that are not yet known.
Spanish news agency Efe and national daily El Pais cited sources within the investigation as saying that the driver had said the train was going at about 190 kilometers per hour, and that the limit on that curve was 80 kilometers per hour (50 mph.)
The president of Renfe, Julio Gomez-Pomar, told radio station COPE on Thursday that the train had undergone a routine inspection that same morning.
“The train did not have an operating problem,” he said. “The maintenance and control record of the train was perfect.”
Spain’s King Juan Carlos visited a hospital in Santiago de Compostela where victims injured in Wednesday’s train accident are recovering.
“All Spaniards, we are united at this time. … Really all Spaniards join in the pain of the families of the dead,” he said. “We hope that the wounded will recover, little by little.”
The royal family canceled all events scheduled for the day out of respect for the day of mourning, the royal household told CNN.
Alberto Nunez Feijoo, head of the regional government in Galicia, declared seven days of mourning in the region for victims of the tragedy.
In a speech, he said “all of the community cries about the tragedy that we are living, we cry for the victims, we cry for the unease and sadness of the families.”
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy viewed the scene of devastation Thursday morning and visited some of the hospitalized crash victims.
Rajoy, who is from the area, told a news conference there was a “huge challenge” ahead, not least in identifying all those killed and informing their families, and he praised the response of everyone who has helped after the crash.
Two investigations are under way, he said, adding, “We want to establish what happened.”
Rajoy declared three days of national mourning to honor the victims of the crash.
The prime minister came under fire in Spanish media after a condolences message for the train crash victims posted by his office late Wednesday included a paragraph apparently “copied and pasted” from a statement previously sent to victims of an earthquake in Gansu, China.
”I would like to express my deepest condolences for the loss of human lives and the material damage from the earthquake that has occurred in Gansu has caused,” the note said.
Victim: ‘Everything went dark’
One victim, speaking from a hospital bed with his arm in a sling, told CNN affiliate Atlas that it seemed like train was going fast.
“But we didn’t know what was the maximum speed, so I thought it was normal,” he said, “And suddenly there was a curve, the suitcases fell, and everything went dark. And I hit my head a ton of times, and 10 seconds later I was wedged between seats, and I had people’s legs on top of me.”
As he waited for rescuers to pull him from the wreckage, he heard other passengers yelling.
“I heard little children screaming. … I also heard two girls that yelled out, one supporting the other,” he said.
A passenger who got off at the last stop before the train derailed told the broadcaster it was packed with people at the time.
Residents who lived near the tracks told the Voz de Galicia newspaper that they heard a thunderous bang when the train crashed. Many of them rushed to the area with blankets and bottled water for the injured, the newspaper reported.
“The train had broken in half. Some pieces were on top, some pieces were on the bottom,” said Ivette Rubiera Cabrera of Florida, who caught a glimpse of the wreckage while on a family vacation in Spain and sent photos to CNN’s iReport.
“It was quite shocking,” she said. “We had never seen anything like that. We had just been on the train last week.”
Oscar Mateos told the El Pais newspaper that he saw fellow passengers thrown to the floor, then tossed from one side of the train to the other.
“Help came in five minutes, but that time became an eternity,” he said. “I helped people get out with broken legs and many bruises.”
Investigators are looking at all possible causes of the crash, a senior aide to the prime minister said Wednesday.
Are you there and safe? Tell us what’s happening
Renfe’s spokesman said he did not know how many crew members were aboard the train when it crashed. Normally, there would be at least five crew members on a train like that, he said.
Officials appealed for blood donations just after the crash but on Thursday said the short-term needs were met.
Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council, expressed condolences from the European Union.
Pope Francis, who is on a visit to Brazil for World Youth Day, sent a telegram to the bishop of Santiago de Compostela, Julian Barrio Barrio, offering his support and prayers for all those affected by the tragedy.
Driver in deadly Spain train crash under scrutiny
A Spanish train that hurtled off the rails and smashed into a security wall as it rounded a bend was going so fast that carriages tumbled off the tracks like dominos, killing 80 people, including an American, and maiming dozens more.
Spain’s government said two probes have been launched into the train’s derailment Wednesday night on its approach to this Christian festival city in northwest Spain, where planned celebrations in honor of one of Jesus’ disciples gave way to a living nightmare.
The regional government in Galicia confirmed that police planned to question the 52-year-old train driver, in Santiago de Compostela’s main hospital with unspecified injuries, as both a witness and as a possible suspect, but cautioned that possible faults in safety equipment were also being investigated.
Spain’s lead investigator in the crash, Judge Vazquez TaDin, ordered detectives to question the train driver.
Renfe identified him as Francisco Jose Garzon Amo, as a 30-year employee of the state rail company who became an assistant driver in 2000 and a fully qualified driver in 2003. The company said Amo took control of the train from a second driver about 65 miles south of Santiago de Compostela.
CBS News correspondent Mark Phillips reported Amo had bragged last year on the internet about running his train right at the speed limit, saying any faster and he’d be fined.
Renfe’s president, Julio Gomez-Pomar Rodriguez, told Spain’s Cadena Cope radio network that the driver had worked on that route for more than one year.
An Associated Press analysis of images from video footage obtained Thursday suggested the train may have been traveling at twice the speed limit, or more, along that curved stretch of track. Spanish officials said the speed limit on that section of track is 50 miles per hour.
An Associated Press estimate of the train’s speed at the moment of impact using the time stamp of the video and the estimated distance between two pylons gives a range of 89-119 mph. Another estimate calculated on the basis of the typical distance between railroad ties gives a range of 96-112 mph.
The video footage, which the Spanish railway authority Adif said probably came from one of its cameras, shows the train carriages starting to buckle soon into the turn.
The cause of the crash seems to have been a deadly combination of high speed and low budgets, Phillips reports. In order to save money when updating the line between Madrid and the northwest coastal town of El Ferrol, the Spanish rail authority opted to use the existing right of way through Santiago de Compostela.
Murray Hughes, consultant editor of Railway Gazette International, said it appeared that a diesel-powered unit behind the lead locomotive was the first to derail. The front engine itself quickly followed, violently tipping on to its right side as it crashed into a concrete security wall and bulldozed along the ground.
In the background, all the rear carriages could be seen starting to decouple and come off the tracks. The picture went blank as the engine appeared to crash directly into the camera.
After impact, witnesses said a fire engulfed passengers trapped in at least one carriage, most likely driven by ruptured tanks of diesel fuel carried in the forward engines.
“I saw the train coming out of the bend at great speed and then there was a big noise,” one eyewitness who lives beside the train line, Consuelo Domingues, told The Associated Press. “… Then everybody tried to get out of the train.”
The Interior Ministry raised the death toll to 80 in what was Spain’s deadliest train wreck in four decades. The Galician government said 94 others remained hospitalized in six regional hospitals, 31 of them — including four children — in critical condition.
A State Department official confirmed to CBS News Thursday afternoon that one U.S. citizen died and five other Americans were injured in Wednesday’s crash. The official provided no other details except to say that those numbers might change with new information.
“Today the American people grieve with our Spanish friends, who are in our thoughts and prayers,” President Obama said in a statement.
One American survivor has sent a message from a hospital saying he’s OK, CBS News correspondent Mark Phillips reported on “CBS This Morning” Thursday.
Another, however, was not so lucky. Roberto Fariza of Houston, Texas, said his wife was in critical condition. They were both passengers on the train.
“She got hurt very bad her scalp was all like that — flipped over — and she was bleeding out of her mouth and out of her ears, and she was conscious though…she knew what happened,” Fariza said of his wife on “CBS Evening News”.
In the morning, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, a native of Santiago de Compostela, toured the crash scene alongside rescue workers and went to a nearby hospital to visit those wounded and their families. In the evening Spain’s head of state, King Carlos, and Queen Sofia went to the same hospital, dressed in funereal black.
“For a native of Santiago, like me, this is the saddest day,” said Rajoy, who declared Spain would observe a three-day period of mourning. He said judicial authorities and the Public Works Ministry had launched parallel investigations into what caused the crash.
Santiago officials had been preparing for the city’s internationally celebrated Catholic festival Thursday but canceled it and took control of the city’s main indoor sports arena to use as a makeshift morgue. There, relatives of the dead could be seen sobbing and embracing each other.
The Interior Ministry, responsible for law and order, ruled out terrorism as a cause.
While sections of the Spanish press pointed an accusatory finger at the train driver, Spanish authorities and railway safety experts cautioned that a fault in systems designed to keep trains traveling at safe speeds could be to blame.
It was Spain’s deadliest train accident since 1972, when a train collided with a bus in southwest Spain, killing 86 people and injuring 112.
“July 24 will no longer be the eve of a day of celebration but rather one commemorating one of the saddest days in the history of Galicia,” said Alberto Nunez Feijoo, regional president of Galicia. Santiago de Compostela is its capital.
The accident created a scene that was “Dante-esque,” Feijoo said. He said Galicia would observe seven days of mourning.
Rescue workers spent the night searching through smashed carriages alongside the tracks.
As dawn broke, cranes brought to the scene were used to lift the carriages away from the tracks. Rescue workers collected passengers’ scattered luggage and loaded it into a truck next to the tracks.
Rescuers described a scene of horror immediately after the crash. Smoke billowed from at least one carriage that had caught fire, while another had been torn into two parts.
Residents of the residential neighborhood closest to the rail line struggled to help victims out of the toppled cars. Some passengers were pulled out of broken windows. Television images showed one man atop a carriage lying on its side, using a pickaxe to try to smash through a window. Other rescuers used rocks to try to free survivors from the fiery wreckage.
Nearby, rescue workers lined up bodies covered in blankets alongside the tracks.
Renfe said the crash happened at 8:41 p.m. (2:41 p.m. ET) about 2.5 miles south of Santiago de Compostela.
Renfe said it and Adif, which manages tracks, signals and other railway infrastructure, were cooperating with a judge appointed to investigate the accident.
It was the world’s third major rail accident this month.
On July 12, six people were killed and nearly 200 were injured when four cars of a passenger train derailed south of Paris.
On July 6, 72 cars carrying crude oil derailed in Lac-Megantic, Ontario, setting off explosions and fires that killed 47 people.
Catholic pilgrims converge on Santiago de Compostela annually to celebrate a festival honoring St. James, a disciple of Jesus whose remains are said to rest in a shrine. The city is the main gathering point for those who reach the end of the El Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route that has drawn Christians since the Middle Ages.
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sippin on that lean
Preliminary 2012 Crime Statistics
Violent Crime Up, Property Crime Down
The new preliminary Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) statistics for 2012 indicate that when compared to data for 2011, the number of violent crimes reported by law enforcement agencies around the country increased 1.2 percent during 2012, while the number of property crimes decreased 0.8 percent.
The final UCR statistics—submitted by approximately 18,000 local, state, campus, tribal, and federal law enforcement agencies from around the nation—will be released later this year in the Crime in the United States, 2012 report.
Among the highlights of the preliminary report:
- Overall, when compared to 2011 figures, the West experienced the largest increase in reported violent crime (up 3.3 percent), and the Northeast experienced the only decrease (down 0.6 percent).
- The Northeast was the only part of the country where the four violent crime categories saw decreases across the board—murder (down 4.4 percent), forcible rapes (down 0.2 percent), robberies (down 1.4 percent), and aggravated assaults (down 0.1 percent).
- The largest rise in reported violent crime (up 3.7 percent) was in cities with populations of 500,000-999,999.
- The West experienced the only increase in reported property crime (up 5.2 percent), while the number of property crimes dropped 1.6 percent in the Northeast, 2.1 percent in the Midwest, and 3.5 percent in the South.
- The number of reported motor vehicle thefts grew by 10.6 percent in the West while showing declines in the Northeast (down 7.9 percent), the Midwest (down 3.1 percent), and the South (down 2.9 percent).
- The number of arson incidents—tallied separately from other property crimes because of various levels of participation by reporting agencies—fell 1.2 percent.
|| Crime in the United States
The FBI compiles the volume and rate of violent and property crime offenses for the nation and by state in an annual report. Below are stories and final reports from previous years.
The UCR Program is a nationwide cooperative statistical effort of law enforcement agencies voluntarily reporting data on crimes brought to their attention.
The idea for the program began in the 1920s, when the International Association of Chiefs of Police—recognizing a need for national crime statistics—formed the Committee on Uniform Crime Records to develop a system. After studying state criminal codes and evaluating the recordkeeping practices in use, the committee completed a plan for crime reporting that became the foundation of the UCR Program in 1929. In January 1930, 400 cities in 43 states began participating in the program. That same year, Congress authorized the attorney general to gather crime data; the FBI was designated to serve as the national clearinghouse for the collected information.
The UCR Program’s primary objective is to generate reliable statistics for use in law enforcement administration, operation, and management. Over the years, however, these statistics have become one of the country’s leading social indicators and are used by criminologists, sociologists, legislators, municipal planners, the media, and other students of criminal justice for research and planning purposes.
A word of warning, though—don’t draw conclusions from the data by making direct comparisons between cities or individual agencies. Valid assessments are only possible with careful study and analysis of the unique conditions that affect each law enforcement jurisdiction.
Once again, the final Crime in the United States, 2012 report will be available later this year.
KUHNER: The media lynching of George Zimmerman
A tragic death was spun to fit a racial narrative
George Zimmerman is innocent. The evidence clearly shows this. Yet the liberal media have already convicted him in the court of public opinion. The result is not only that a man’s life — regardless of the verdict — has been shattered. Race relations have been poisoned, paving the way for possible deadly riots if Mr. Zimmerman is acquitted.
From the outset, liberal media outlets — CNN, MSNBC, NPR, CBS, ABC, NBC, the Huffington Post, The New York Times and The Washington Post — put forth one seminal narrative: The shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was a flagrant example of white racism against blacks. Modern-day Sanford, Fla., was transformed into 1960s Selma, Ala. Mr. Zimmerman has been turned into the poster child of a more subtle and polished, but revived Ku Klux Klan. For example, the audiotape of Mr. Zimmerman’s call to a 911 dispatcher on the night of the shooting was deliberately edited by NBC in a pathetic attempt to portray him as a vile racist bent on violence.
The entire mainstream media narrative, however, is based on lies. Trayvon was not killed because he was black. He was shot in self-defense because he repeatedly punched and smashed Mr. Zimmerman’s head on the pavement. The neighborhood-watch captain was trained by police to notice nonresidents, especially those who looked out of place and behaved suspiciously. The Sanford community had suffered a rash of burglaries and other crimes. According to residents (both white and black), the town-house complex has become increasingly unsafe. Hence, the reason — and need — for a neighborhood-watch team.
After spotting Trayvon, who did not live in the neighborhood, Mr. Zimmerman did what any good citizen should do: He called the police. The dispatcher asked for the location of Trayvon’s whereabouts. Mr. Zimmerman followed the teenager, gave the approximate address and street, and attempted to return to his car — until confronted by Trayvon. He then began to savagely beat Mr. Zimmerman, who suffered two black eyes, a broken nose and lacerations in the back of his head. If he had not used his gun, Mr. Zimmerman would likely be dead today.
All of these facts have been corroborated during the trial. A key witness, John Hood, saw Trayvon on top of Mr. Zimmerman hitting him “mixed martial arts-style.” Also, toxicology reports prove that Trayvon had marijuana in his blood and urine that night. Mr. Zimmerman told the dispatcher that the suspect acted like he was “on drugs.” Mr. Zimmerman’s wounds — and the grass stains on his back — were consistent with his story of being on the ground and repeatedly punched by Trayvon.
In other words, rather than the constant media image and picture of an angelic 12-year-old baby-faced boy, Trayvon was the opposite. He was a 6-foot-3 man-child with a history of drug use, who had been suspended several times from school. He even had images of himself on his cellphone smoking marijuana and wielding a gun. He was a wannabe thug, who triggered a deadly altercation. Had Trayvon gone straight back to the home of his father’s girlfriend, he’d be alive today. Instead, he chose to confront and attack Mr. Zimmerman. Ultimately, Trayvon — not Mr. Zimmerman — is to blame for the fatal shooting.
Yet, for the left, none of this matters. Liberals have turned Trayvon into a saint and celebrity cause. He is the alleged victim of racist white America. Here is another gross lie: Mr. Zimmerman is not even white. He is clearly a Hispanic — his skin is brown. He comes from a multiracial — including part-black — family. Hence, to twist reality to conform to their whites-are-racist narrative, the mainstream media manufactured a new racial category: white Hispanic. Only the twisted liberal mind could blame whites for a brown guy fatally shooting a black teen.
Ironically, it is Mr. Zimmerman who is the victim of a racist witch hunt. He never would have been charged with a crime had it not been for vile race-baiters, such as Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. Aided and abetted by President Obama, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and the Congressional Black Caucus, these race-arsonists have fueled the flames of racial hatred. Encouraged by media coverage that has played to the most primitive racial sensibilities, many blacks have become passionately convinced Mr. Zimmerman is guilty — not only of murder, but of hating young black men. Law enforcement authorities in Sanford are preparing for bloody race riots should he be acquitted. Pro-Trayvon supporters on social media have already called for mass civil unrest in the wake of a not-guilty verdict.
If — and I stress if — there are race riots following the Zimmerman trial, then Mr. Obama and his media allies will have blood on their hands. They have smeared an innocent man, fanned the dangerous fires of racial division and hijacked a police investigation in order to pursue a political agenda of black victimology. This represents the ominous corruption of our justice system. Trayvon is dead, but his ghost may haunt us for years to come.
Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a radio commentator on WRKO AM-680 in Boston
Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jul/12/the-media-lynching-of-george-zimmerman/#ixzz2ZcGl2N1r
Should Black People Tolerate This?
By Walter E. Williams
Each year, roughly 7,000 blacks are murdered. Ninety-four percent of the time, the murderer is another black person.According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, between 1976 and 2011, there were 279,384 black murder victims. Using the 94 percent figure means that 262,621 were murdered by other blacks. Though blacks are 13 percent of the nation’s population, they account for more than 50 percent of homicide victims. Nationally, black homicide victimization rate is six times that of whites, and in some cities, it’s 22 times that of whites. Coupled with being most of the nation’s homicide victims, blacks are most of the victims of violent personal crimes, such as assault and robbery.The magnitude of this tragic mayhem can be viewed in another light. According to a Tuskegee Institute study, between the years 1882 and 1968, 3,446 blacks were lynched at the hands of whites. Black fatalities during the Korean War (3,075), Vietnam War (7,243) and all wars since 1980 (8,197) come to 18,515, a number that pales in comparison with black loss of life at home.It’s a tragic commentary to be able to say that young black males
have a greater chance of reaching maturity on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan than on the streets of Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, Oakland, Newark and other cities.A much larger issue is how might we interpret the deafening silence about the day-to-day murder in black communities compared with the national uproar over the killing of Trayvon Martin. Such a response by politicians, civil rights organizations and the mainstream news media could easily be interpreted as “blacks killing other blacks is of little concern, but it’s unacceptable for a white to kill a black person.”There are a few civil rights leaders with a different vision. When President Barack Obama commented about the Trayvon Martin case, T. Willard Fair, president of the Urban League of Greater Miami, told The Daily Caller that “the outrage should be about us killing each other, about black-on-black crime.” He asked rhetorically, “Wouldn’t you think to have 41 people shot (in Chicago) between Friday morning and Monday morning would be much more newsworthy and deserve much more outrage?”
Former NAACP leader Pastor C.L. Bryant said the rallies organized by Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson suggest there is an epidemic of “white men killing black young men,” adding: “The epidemic is truly black-on-black crime. The greatest danger to the lives of young black men are young black men.”
Not only is there silence about black-on-black crime; there’s silence and concealment about black racist attacks on whites — for example, the recent attacks on two Virginian-Pilot newspaper reporters set upon and beaten by a mob of young blacks. The story wasn’t even covered by their own newspaper.
In March, a black mob assaulted, knocked unconscious, disrobed and robbed a white tourist in downtown Baltimore. Black mobs have roamed the streets of Denver, Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, Cleveland, Washington, Los Angeles and other cities, making unprovoked attacks on whites and running off with their belongings.
Racist attacks have been against not only whites but also Asians. Such attacks include the San Francisco beating death of an 83-year-old Chinese man, the pushing of a 57-year-old woman off a train platform and the knocking of a 59-year-old Chinese man to the ground, which killed him.
For years, Asian school students in New York and Philadelphia have been beaten up by their black classmates and called racist epithets — for example, “Hey, Chinese!” and “Yo, dragon ball!” But that kind of bullying, unlike the bullying of homosexuals, goes unreported and unpunished.
Racial demagoguery from the president on down is not in our nation’s best interests, plus it’s dangerous. As my colleague Thomas Sowell recently put it, “if there is anything worse than a one-sided race war, it is a two-sided race war, especially when one of the races outnumbers the other several times over.” – See more at:
What the Media Choose Not to Know about Trayvon
Unnerved by an unspoken mix of political bias and racial queasiness, the major media have chosen to know as little about Trayvon Martin as they know about Barack Obama.
As a case in point, consider this boy vs. man fable spun by the New York Times‘ Charles Blow:
A boy’s blood had been spilled on a rain-soaked patch of grass behind a row of mustard-colored condominiums by a man who had pursued him against the advice of 911 dispatchers. That man carried a 9-millimeter handgun. The boy carried a bag of candy.
Blow was writing seven weeks after Trayvon’s death. He had no excuse for missing the actual story. Worse, since he is a writer for the Times, his reporting has helped set the media tone worldwide
The media’s willful ignorance was on display again this past week. In reporting this news of George Zimmerman’s return to jail, more than a few media outlets showed the dangerously deceptive image of Trayvon as 11-year-old cherub. They did so in the assumption that the narrative was still theirs to control. It is not. The blogs, which have been doing the real detective work on this case, have long since taken control away from them.
The sites I have found most useful are the Daily Caller and theconservativetreehouse.com. What follows is largely culled from those sites and their independent contributors. By probing Trayon’s background and parsing his social media chatter, they have put together a picture of a disturbed young man that begins to makes sense of the events that unfolded on that fateful rainy night of February 26.
Trayvon Martin is seen on the security video through the 7-11 window approaching the store from the direction of the Retreat at Twin Lakes. He had been staying there at the townhouse of his father’s girlfriend, Brandy Green. In major media accounts, the helpful Trayvon ventured out in the rain in a mile-plus round trip to buy Brandy’s 14-year-old son, Chad, some Skittles and Arizona Iced Tea. Not likely.
Trayvon, with his hoodie up, grabs two items from the shelves of 7-11. One is the Skittles. The other is Arizona Watermelon Fruit Juice Cocktail. The media avoid the name of the real drink — possibly because of the racial implications of the word “watermelon,” but possibly to avoid probing the real reason for Trayon’s trip.
Trayvon, in fact, had become a devotee of the druggy concoction known as “Lean,” also known in southern hip-hop culture as “Sizzurp” and “Purple Drank.” Lean consists of three basic ingredients — codeine, a soft drink, and candy. If his Facebook postings are to be believed, Trayvon had been using Lean since at least June 2011.
On June 27, 2011, Trayvon asks a friend online, “unow a connect for codien?” He tells the friend that “robitussin nd soda” could make “some fire ass lean.” He says, “I had it before” and that he wants “to make some more.” On the night of February 26, if Brandy had some Robitussin at home, Trayvon had just bought the mixings for one “fire ass lean” cocktail.
Trayvon pays for his purchases. He then appears to point to an item behind the counter, but the clerk seems to reject that option. Trayvon turns from the counter with a couple of dollar bills still in his hand.
Trayvon leaves the 7-11, but we do not see him walk in front of the store window back towards Brandy’s home.
Three squirrely young men enter the 7-11, all of them with their faces concealed in part or in full. The clerk had to have been nervous. One of the three (Curly) takes off his hat and shakes out his long, curly dark hair. He is likely either white or Hispanic, or, like Zimmerman, a “white Hispanic.”
Curly appears to be holding the two bills Trayvon walked out with. He approaches the clerk and buys two cheap cigars from behind the counter and then a third one as an afterthought.
Curly is the first of three to exit. The others will follow in a minute.
Trayvon, turning as he walks, can be seen through the window heading back towards the Retreat at Twin Lakes and Brandy’s house.
Zimmerman calls police while watching Trayvon near the gated community’s clubhouse, less than a half-mile from the 7-11. According to “Dee-Dee,” the girl Trayvon was periodically talking to on his cell phone, he was ducking in out of the rain. She also said he put his hoodie up for the same reason. In fact, though, Trayvon had his hoodie up inside the 7-11, and he was walking in the rain when Zimmerman spotted him. The walk to this point should have taken 10 minutes.
It took 40 minutes. Some background may help explain why. Earlier that same month, Trayvon had been caught at school holding a bag with marijuana residue and a marijuana pipe. He was suspended for the third time that school year, this time for ten days. Trayvon may have been dealing as well. As one online friend had communicated earlier, “Damn were u at a nigger need a plant.”
Trayvon was partial to “blunts,” street slang for cannabis rolled with the tobacco-leaf wrapper from an inexpensive cigar called a “blunt.” As a tribute after his death, one friend posted online a photo of a homemade badge honoring Trayvon positioned next to a blunt.
It seems altogether possible that Curly bought at least one of those cigars for the under-aged Trayvon and took those visible dollar bills as payment. Trayvon waited five minutes outside the 7-11 and did not leave until after Curly came out. In the 40 minutes before Zimmerman spotted him, Trayvon could have scraped the tobacco out of the cigar, replaced it with marijuana, and smoked his blunt.
“This guy looks like he’s up to no good,” Zimmerman tells the police. ”Or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.” Trayvon was on drugs or had been recently. His autopsy showed the presence of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, in both his blood and his urine.
It is possible too that Trayvon was up to no good. ”He’s just staring, looking at all the houses,” says Zimmerman. Trayvon had a history. On October 21, 2011, he received his second suspension that school year. A security guard at his school saw Trayvon writing “WTF” on a hallway locker. In looking through his bag for the marker, the guard found 12 pieces of jewelry, a watch, and a “burglary tool.”
Zimmerman did the prudent thing by reporting Trayvon to the police. Ever since the Florida real estate bust, the Retreat at Twin Lakes had been troubled by vacancies, foreclosures, and renters of dubious repute. The community had suffered numerous break-ins and home invasions, the perpetrators of which were all young men, most of them black. “We report all suspicious persons & activities to the Sanford Police Department,” reads the standard neighborhood watch sign at the community’s gated entrance. If Trayvon did not fit the bill, no one did.
“He’s coming towards me,” Zimmerman tells the police about Trayvon, who is now walking towards his truck. He makes his first firm identification of Trayvon as “a black male.” Adds Zimmerman, “He’s coming to check me out. He’s got something in his hands.” Zimmerman sounds a little anxious: “Please, get an officer over here.”
After Trayvon passes his truck, Zimmerman says, “Shit, he’s running.” He is heading towards “the back entrance,” says Zimmerman. That entrance is in the same general direction as Brandy’s townhouse. A question that goes unasked is why Trayvon was running.
When asked by the dispatcher, Zimmerman agrees not to follow Trayvon, and his heavy breathing ends. “He ran,” says Zimmerman. Even if running slowly, Trayvon could have made it to Brandy’s house in a half a minute. It was only 100 yards from the truck.
Zimmerman is hesitant to give out his address. “I don’t know where this kid is.” He looks around to see where Trayvon has gone, fails to spot him, terminates his call, and heads back to the truck.
7:14 – 7:16
These are the missing two minutes. After receiving a call from Dee-Dee, Trayvon has come back to confront Zimmerman. Their final confrontation takes place 70 yards from Brandy’s townhouse and only 30 yards from Zimmerman’s truck. No one hunted Trayvon down. Although he has kept the drink and candy on his person, Trayvon does not have a blunt with him.
According to the autopsy report, Trayvon was 5’11″ tall and weighed 158 pounds, the “ideal healthy weight” at that height being 160 pounds. He was not the skinny little boy with the Skittles that half of America still believes him to be. He was at least three inches taller than Zimmerman and only about 20 pounds lighter.
His home life a wreck, his school life in disarray, Trayvon had fallen victim to urban America’s lost boy culture.
This culture, which the media also choose not to see, has been shockingly destructive. Citing Bureau of Justice statistics, black economist Walter Williams in a recent column notes that “between 1976 and 2011, there were 279,384 black murder victims.” Of these, Williams estimates that roughly “262,621 were murdered by other blacks.”
Trayvon had “statistic” written all over him. In the past year or so, his social media sites showed a growing interest in drugs, in mixed martial arts-style street fighting, in a profoundly vulgar exploitation of “bitches.”
Trayvon posed for one photo with raised middle fingers, another with wads of cash held in an out-stretched arm. One YouTube video shows him refereeing a fight club-style street fight. A cousin had recently tweeted him, “Yu ain’t tell me yu swung on a bus driver,” meaning, if true, that Trayvon had punched out a bus driver.
Zimmerman never saw the cute little boy that the TV audience did. He saw a full-grown man, a druggy, a wannabe street fighter, the tattooed, gold-grilled, self-dubbed “No_Limit_Nigga.”
Media obfuscation may still work in the court of public opinion — it got Obama elected in 2008 — but it will not work in a court of law. The truth will out. When it does, the major media will lose a good chunk of whatever credibility they have left, and our nation may lose a good chunk of its urban real estate.
Trayvon Martin and Lean/Purple Lean/Purple Drank
This is a very interesting part of the TRAYVON MARTIN story that is not getting a lot of press. But it was widely reported that the young lad was simply buying “Arizona Ice Tea and Skittles” from the 7-Eleven store.
Turns out that we parents are unaware that there is a drug drink made from Arizona Watermelon drink and Skittles candy and then mixed with OVER THE COUNTER cough medicine (Robitussen and similar brands) that makes a very potent drug.
Not only is there now all sorts of evidence popping up that Trayvon Martin was abusing drugs, but it also is a warning to parents all over America that simple combinations of commonly available goods can be some serious drugs in the hands of our kids.
The drug is called LEAN or PURPLE LEAN or PURPLE DRANK. It is very likely that Trayvon Martin was on his way to make some more LEAN the night he was shot, the coroner’s report shows that his liver was damaged in a way that is consistent with the use of LEAN/PURPLE LEAN. Martin also may have bought a blunt at the convenience store, they empty the tobacco out of the cigar and fill it with marijuana, and he may have smoked it before his encounter with Zimmerman. Marijuana and Purple Lean are a popular combination with rappers and thugs.
Keep an eye on your kids and grandkids. Those seemingly innocent items such as Arizona watermelon drink and Skittles the young people are toting around or buying at the store may be a lot more dangerous to them than you think.
You should have to be over 18 years old, and you should have to show ID, to be able to buy cough syrup, to prevent our kids from making Lean/Purple Lean/Purple Drank. You cannot prevent the kids from buying Arizona watermelon drink and Skittles.
We will see if it comes out during the trial about Trayvon and Purple Lean, this information needs to get out there. The people who do drugs have known this information all along, now all of the good people need to learn about it, this must not be kept secret, parents need to know.
Purple drank is a slang term for a recreational drug popular in the hip hop community in the southern United States, originating in Houston, Texas. Its main ingredient is prescription-strength cough syrup containing codeine and promethazine. Cough syrup is typically mixed with ingredients such as Sprite soft drink or Mountain Dew and pieces of Jolly Rancher candy. The purplish hue of purple drank comes from dyes in the cough syrup.
There are numerous slang terms for purple drank, including sizzurp, lean, syrup, drank, barre, purple jelly, Texas tea, and Tsikuni.
Houston, Texas producer DJ Screw popularized the concoction, which is widely attributed as a source of inspiration for the “chopped and screwed” style of hip hop music. Originally, the active ingredient of “syrup” was cough syrup containing promethazine and codeine. The concoction first gained popularity in the underground rap scene in Houston, where musician Big Hawk said it was consumed as early as the 1960s and 1970s, becoming more widespread in the early 1990s. Its use later spread to other southern states. Because of usage by rap artists in Houston, it became more popular in the 1990s.
In June 2000, Three 6 Mafia’s single “Sippin’ on Some Syrup,” featuring UGK, brought the term “purple drank” to a nationwide audience. Three 6 Mafia’s single “Rainbow Colors” featuring Lil’ Flip pertains to the consumption of purple drank; the addition of a Jolly Rancher candy to a cup of purple drank creates a spectrum of colors, hence the name.
In 2004, the University of Texas found that 8.3% of secondary school students in Texas had taken codeine syrup to get high. The Drug Enforcement Administration reports “busts” involving syrup across the southern United States, particularly in Texas and Florida.
As of 2011, the price of purple drank in Houston is twice the price in Los Angeles.
Notable deaths from use
Purple drank is confirmed or suspected to have caused the deaths of several prominent users. Respiratory depression is a potentially serious or fatal adverse drug reaction associated with the use of codeine, but mainly the danger lies in the much more potent and CNS-depressing phenothiazine-related antihistamine promethazine. This depression is dose-related and is the mechanism for the potentially fatal consequences of overdose: respiratory or cardiac arrest. As with most CNS depressants, mixing with alcohol greatly increases the risk of respiratory failure and other complications.
DJ Screw, who popularized the codeine-based drink, died of a codeine-promethazine-alcohol overdose on November 16, 2000, several months after the video to Three 6 Mafia’s single debuted.
Big Moe, a DJ Screw protégé whose albums City of Syrup and Purple World were based on the drink and who has been described as having “rapped obsessively about the drug,” died at age 33 on October 14, 2007, after suffering a heart attack one week earlier that left him in a coma. There was speculation that purple drank may have contributed to his death.
Pimp C, widely influential Port Arthur, Texas rapper and a member of rap duo UGK, was found dead on December 4, 2007, at the Mondrian Hotel in West Hollywood, California. The Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office reported that the rapper’s death was “due to promethazine/codeine effects and other unestablished factors.” Ed Winter, assistant chief of the Coroner’s Office, said the levels of the medication were elevated, but not enough to deem the death an overdose. However, Pimp C had a history of sleep apnea, a condition that causes one to stop breathing for short periods during sleep. A spokesman for the coroner’s office said that the combination of sleep apnea and cough medication probably suppressed Pimp C’s breathing long enough to bring on his death.
Other notable incidents
In September 2006, Terrence Kiel, a San Diego Chargers player, was arrested during practice for the possession with intent to sell prescription cough syrup for use in making the drink. Kiel was caught trying to ship a case of syrup to a friend via FedEx. Kiel was charged with two felony counts of transporting a controlled substance and three counts of possession for sale of a controlled substance.
On July 8, 2008, Johnny Jolly, a Green Bay Packers player, was pulled over in his car for excessive music. The officers found a Dr Pepper bottle in a holder next to two Styrofoam cups containing soda and ice. The officers said the cups and the bottle all emitted “strong odors of codeine.” The case was dismissed at first, but charges were refiled in December 2009 after the Houston Police Department’s acquired new equipment that allowed the police to test the evidence again. Jolly faced a possible maximum sentence of up to 20 years in jail, but as a first time offender he would be eligible for probation.
On July 5, 2010, former Oakland Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell was arrested at his home in Mobile, Alabama, for possession of codeine syrup without a prescription. He was arrested as part of an undercover narcotics investigation. Russell was booked into city jail and released soon afterwards after making his bail.
On June 11, 2013, just days after being robbed at gunpoint in San Francisco, rapper 2 Chainz was arrested at Los Angeles international airport on charges of possessing marijuana and promethazine and codeine, the primary ingredients of purple drank.
The most popular type of codeine syrup is promethazine-codeine, a prescription cough syrup. The active ingredients are codeine, a narcotic, and promethazine, an antihistamine. When taken in large quantities, both medications can lead to sedation and altered levels of consciousness. The inclusion of the antihistamine is intended to deter abuse, as doses higher-than-recommended can produce extreme somnolence, clinical weakness, and ultimately, fatal hypoventilation (inadequate breathing to sustain life). In lower doses, the antihistamine targets cold symptoms through reducing both swelling and vasodilation; it also acts to potentiate the opiate codeine.
Prescription cough syrups containing hydrocodone are also used to make the drink, though they are less popular. Songs like “Sippin’ on Some Syrup” by Three 6 Mafia refer to Tussionex, a yellow cough syrup containing extended-release hydrocodone and chlorpheniramine (another antihistamine). Other hydrocodone-containing syrups such as Histinex HC, Hycotuss, and Hycodan may also be used, but Hycodan has added homatropine to deter abuse. Syrup also is made with over-the-counter cough syrups such as Robitussin DM, which contain dextromethorphan as the cough suppressant. Although dextromethorphan is used recreationally, it has dissociative effects as opposed to narcotic. Dextromethorphan is a synthetic morphine analog that has been on the market in the United States since the 1950s. It is a cough suppressant in small doses, but in large doses it can result in a disassociative state, with hallucinations, similar to that produced by PCP or ketamine.
Promethazine-codeine contains 10 mg of codeine and 6.25 mg of promethazine per 5 mL.
Some users report that the large amount of sugar in drank causes them to experience weight gain, tooth decay, and other medical symptoms.
Mentions in hip hop
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In addition to its popularization in the music of DJ Screw and Three 6 Mafia, the mixture has been referenced in lyrics of other rappers. It is the subject of UGK’s ”Sippin and Spinnin” and “Purple Drank”, as well as tracks by D12, Eminem, Lil’ Wyte, Big Moe, Lil Boosie, Far East Movement, Paul Wall, Esham, Mike Jones, Kanye West, T.I., Rick Ross, Birdman, Future, Lil’ Flip, Lil’ Wayne, Ludacris, 2 Chainz, Playaz Circle, Fat Joe, Beanie Sigel, Project Pat, Chamillionaire, Lou Bega, French Montana, Kirko Bangz, Jim Jones, The Game, Slim Thug, Fat Pat, Frayser Boy, Gorilla Zoe, YC (rapper), Z-RO, Youngbloodz, 8Ball, Papoose, Drake, Jae Millz, Meek Mill, Mack Maine, Ace Hood, Juicy J, Gucci Mane, Plies, ASAP Rocky, Tech N9ne, Trae, Young Buck, E-40, Yelawolf, Schoolboy Q, Mac Miller and Ab-Soul, the latter of whom has crafted an ode to lean titled, “Mixed Emotions”.
New Orleans rapper Lil’ Wayne has publicly acknowledged his use of purple drank, and his lyrics frequently mentions drinking purple drank. In the Duffle Bag Boy music video he can be seen holding a Styrofoam cup with “RIP DJ Screw” written on it. In his freestyle to “Throw Some D’s” on his mixtape Da Drought 3 he claims “I’m not a rookie, I’m a pro..methazine fiend” as well as stating “You know what’s in my Styrofoam…what? S-Y-R-UP.” He also mentions the substance in the track “Barry Bonds” from Kanye West’s Graduation album, saying “My drink is still pinker than the Easter Rabbit,” an overt reference to the color of the beverage. Wayne makes a similar reference in DJ Khaled’s song “We Takin’ Over.” On March 15, 2013, it was reported that Wayne had been admitted to the Intensive Care Unit at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles after being discovered “shaking uncontrollably” and “unconscious”. Doctors found a high amount of codeine in his system and his stomach had to be pumped three times. He was said to be in critical condition. The rapper’s associates were quick to deny rumors that he was near death, and he was released on March 18.
Advertising for one commercial product based on purple drank.
Several legal commercial products loosely based on “purple drank” are marketed in the United States. In June 2008 Innovative Beverage Group, a Houston, Texas-based company, released a beverage called “Drank.” The commercial product contains no codeine or promethazine, but claims to “Slow Your Roll” with a combination of herbal ingredients such as valerian root and rose hips as well as the hormone melatonin. Similar “relaxation” or “anti-energy” drinks on the commercial market use the names “Purple Stuff”, “Sippin Syrup”, and “Lean”.
These commercial products have been criticized for their potential to serve as gateways to the dangerous illegal concoction. At a mental health conference in February 2010, Dr. Ronald Peters, Jr., of the University of Texas Health Science Center said of “Drank”: “They’re taking the name, and they’re trying to market it to young people.” He described the beverage as “the worst thing I’ve ever seen on the street since the making of candy cigarettes.”
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- ^ a b c Peters Ronald J. Jr.; Steven H. Kelder, Christine M. Markham, George S. Yacoubian, Jr., Lecresha A. Peters and Artist Ellis (2003). “Beliefs and social norms about codeine and promethazine hydrochloride cough syrup (CPHCS) onset and perceived addiction among urban Houstonian adolescents: an addiction trend in the city of lean.”. Journal of drug education 33 (4): 415–25. doi:10.2190/NXJ6-U60J-XTY0-09MP. PMID 15237866.
- ^ a b Walker, Yolanda (2006-10-20). “Drug-laced cough syrup tempts Texas teens”. WFAA. Archived from the original on 2007-01-25. Retrieved 2006-10-28.
- ^ a b c d e f g h Leinwand, Donna (2006-10-18). “DEA warns of soft drink-cough syrup mix”. USA Today. Retrieved 2006-10-23.
- ^ a b c d “Cough syrup cited in rapper Pimp C’s death”. LATimes.com. 2008-02-05. Retrieved 2008-03-15.
- ^ a b c d e Bryan Robinson, Cough Syrup Abuse in Texas Takes Center Stage, ABC News, August 17, 2005
- ^ The Daily Fix The Wall Street Journal, David Roth. July 9, 2010
- ^ Richard Klemme, USE OF PROMETHAZINE WITH CODEINE SYRUP: COUGH/COLD EPIDEMIC OR SIGNIFICANT ABUSE?, Texas State Board of Pharmacy Newsletter, Volume XXV , Number 2, Spring 2001. The name “lean” refers to “abusers’ propensity of having difficulty in standing up straight.”
- ^ a b Demby, Eric (2001-01-11). “Codeine Overdose Killed DJ Screw, Medical Examiner Says”. MTV.com. Retrieved 2006-10-28.
- ^ a b c d Shaheem Reid, Lil Wayne On Syrup: ‘Everybody Wants Me To Stop … It Ain’t That Easy’, MTV.com, February 28, 2008
- ^ Arizona Officer Safety Bulletin, , Public Intelligence, June 24, 2011
- ^ a b Corcoran, Michael Joseph (2005). “The Geto Boys and DJ Screw: Where the Dirty South Began”. All Over the Map: True Heroes of Texas Music (1st ed.). Austin: University of Texas Press. pp. 23–26. ISBN 0-292-70976-5.
- ^ Joseph Patel, Chopped & Screwed: A History, page 2, MTV.com. Accessed January 7, 2010.
- ^ a b Schiller, Dane. “Purple Drank scheme allegedly made millions for smuggling ring.” Houston Chronicle. Wednesday October 19, 2011. Retrieved on October 23, 2011.
- ^ “Alcohol Interactions with Other Drugs”. Alcohol and Other Drugs Program Public Health Division, Health Department of Western Australia. 1999.
- ^ a b Kristie Rieken, Cough syrup found in Pimp C’s hotel had no label, Associated Press, February 5, 2008
- ^ DJs – Rapper Big Moe Dies, contactmusic.com, 15/10/2007
- ^ a b Leslie Casimir, Rapper’s death leads teens to re-evaluate lifestyle; Fans and friends wonder whether drug was a factor in his heart attack, Houston Chronicle, Oct. 20, 2007
- ^ Houston rappers remember Big Moe, by Eyder Peralta, Houston Chronicle, Oct. 16, 2007
- ^ Chargers safety Kiel arrested on drug charges, USA Today, September 28, 2006
- ^ Jolly faces unclear future – Trial on felony charge of drug possession awaits Packers defensive lineman, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, July 11, 2009. The credibility of this statement is questionable. Codeine is odorless, according to Codeine Product Data Sheet, Chemkoo.com, accessed December 12, 2011.
- ^ Case against Jolly dismissed, “Milwaukee Journal Sentinel”, July 16, 2009
- ^ “540 ESPN Milwaukee”. Espnmilwaukee.com. Retrieved 2010-01-04.
- ^ http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/football/nfl/07/05/russell.arrest.ap/index.html?eref=sihp 2010-07-05
- ^ http://news.radio.com/2013/06/11/2-chainz-arrested-for-marijuana-possession-at-los-angeles-airport/ 2013-11-06
- ^ a b c Maxim W. Furek, “Lean” Abuse Creates Strange Musical Genre, Counselor: The Magazine for Addiction Professionals, 20 November 2008
- ^ ”Tussionex (Hydrocodone and Chlorpheniramine) drug description – FDA approved labeling for prescription drugs and medications at RxList”. Rxlist.com. Retrieved 2010-01-04.
- ^ Papich, Mark G. (2010-11-03). Saunders Handbook of Veterinary Drugs: Small and Large Animal. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Health Sciences. ISBN 9781437701920. Retrieved 2013-04-04.
- ^ Mason, Robert J.; V. Courtney Broaddus, Thomas Martin, Talmadge King Jr, Dean Schraufnagel, John F. Murray, Jay A. Nadel (2010-06-09). Murray and Nadel’s Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. Elsevier Health Sciences. ISBN 9781437735536.
- ^ Miller, Richard Lawrence (2002). “Dextromethorphan”. The encyclopedia of addictive drugs. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press. pp. 110‒113. ISBN 0313318077.
- ^ ”Phenergan with Codeine medical facts from Drugs.com”. Drugs.com
- ^ Soren Baker, DJ Screw Protege Big Moe Spills ‘Purple Stuff’, MTV.com, April 19, 2002
- ^ Jason Birchmeier, Big Moe Biography, Yahoo! Music, accessed January 8, 2010. “The [title of] the big man’s debut album, City of Syrup (2000), … nodding to Houston’s reputation for drinking codeine-laced syrup, which Moe pours from a Styrofoam cup on the album’s cover.”
- ^ Lyrics for “Wasted” by Gucci Mane. The lyrics say “Sippin on purple stuff rolling up stanked” and “Purple codeine sprite paint don’t wasted, Mix it up grandma drank it than tasted, Now grandma sippin syrup leanin wasted…”
- ^ http://rapgenius.com/Ab-soul-mixed-emotions-lyrics
- ^ http://www.tmz.com/2013/03/15/lil-wayne-seizures-hospitalized-drugs-sizzurp-critical-condition-icu
- ^ Duke, Alan (March 19, 2013). “Lil Wayne leaves hospital”. CNN. Retrieved March 20, 2013.
- ^ “‘Slow Your Roll’ With DRANK From Innovative Beverage Group – the World’s First Extreme Lifestyle Relaxation Beverage”. Yahoo. 2008-06-10. Retrieved 2008-09-16.[dead link]
- ^ Adventures in Press Releases: The Anti-Energy Drink By Sarah DiGregorio in Edible News, June 4, 2008
- ^ ’Sippin Syrup’ being sold in stores creates controversy, theGrio website, 09/25/2009. Retrieved November 27, 2009.
- ^ a b Jemimah Noonoo, Anti-Energy Drink Fuels Concerns Over Marketing, Houston Chronicle, November 28, 2008; retrieved from commercialalert.org website on November 27, 2009
- ^ a b Boyce Watkins, Company Makes Money from Deadly Urban Trend: “Sipping Syrup”, AOL Black Voices, September 29, 2009
- ^ a b Kim Horner, Anti-energy drink hard for some mental health experts to swallow, Dallas Morning News, February 18, 2010
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The George Zimmerman murder trial has been given wall-to-wall coverage on every cable network, but one Fox News contributor today wondered why it went to court in the first place. Megyn Kelly noted today that a lot of what the prosecution had brought out to discredit Zimmerman’s story actually ended up helping the defense, which led Judge Andrew Napolitano to say that the prosecution should have probably charged Zimmerman with a lesser crime and that the only reason they allowed the case to get this far was due to “public pressure.”
Kelly found it unbelievable that the prosecution would play Zimmerman’s interview last year with Sean Hannity, especially considering that plus other evidence they’ve brought out means they’ve gotten to show Zimmerman’s side of the story without direct cross-examination. Napolitano said this is all about trying to “demonize” Zimmerman are only showing all of Zimmerman’s interviews and comments about the night of Trayvon Martin’s death to exploit tiny changes in detail.
Kelly and Judge Alex Ferrer were both mystified at how defensive of Zimmerman the prosecution’s evidence and witnesses appear to be, especially with the Hannity interview. Ferrer called the prosecution “desperate” because they’re willing to let the jury view Zimmerman as sympathetic if it means they can catch a misstatement. He did say it might have looked bad for Zimmerman when he said to Hannity that “it all happened so fast” that he couldn’t say for sure how much danger he was in.
Napolitano argued that the whole case is very bad for the prosecution, and they never should have let it get this far to begin with.
“The prosecution has a weak case here. This is a dangerous intersection of racial politics and the law, where the racial politics [are] not animating this prosecution. The prosecutor should be free to say, ‘You know what? This is not a second-degree murder case, our witnesses are weak, they’re going to help the defense as well as they’re going to help us. We should charge him with a much lesser crime, and we have a better chance of convicting, or we should not charge him with anything.’ They’re not stupid. They know they have a weak case and they’re putting it out anyway because of the public pressure to prosecute this guy.”
Do defense witnesses help Zimmerman’s case?
George Zimmerman Trial is Over case dismissed!
George Zimmerman Is Not Racist: “Cut Him Loose”
Trayvon Martin Case – President Obama Weighs In: ‘If I Had a Son, He’d Look Like Trayvon’
Trayvon Tragedy: Race Hustling Left Using Death to Inflate Hate
The mainstream media is determined to use the Trayvon Martin tragedy to push its agenda of racial division. Political insider Matthew Dowd even went so far as to implicate Christianity in the death of Trayvon. Some are even referring to the shooter George Zimmerman as a “white hispanic.” Is the left determined to pit the entire nation against itself? Find out.
‘Gold Teeth’: Zimmerman Defense Releases Photos To ‘Create Doubt’ About Trayvon Martin
Fox News Mocks Media’s ‘Overkill’ Coverage Of Zimmerman Trial: ‘So Clearly Sad He Might Get Off
Behind the photos of the Trayvon Martin case
Trayvon Martin 7-Eleven Surveillance Video (FULL)
They are Going to Lynch George Zimmerman
Trayvon Martin: Son of Satan’s Son
Attorney General Eric Holder comments on Trayvon Martin Investigation
Mark Levin justifiably implies Judge Debra Nelson looks like a man
FBI Report: George Zimmerman NOT Racially Motivated in Trayvon Martin Shooting – 7-13-12
Michael Savage – Attorney General Praises Street Agitator Al Sharpton, As His Friend, Ally
George Zimmerman is 100% innocent and I have the key: Trayvon Martin attacked Him
Ex-Sanford Police Chief Tells CNN He Was Fired For Not Arresting Zimmerman
Trayvon Martin rally draws thousands in call for arrest
Bill Lee: Disgraced, Fired, Former Sanford Police Chief Testifies in Zimmerman Trial
‘Gold Teeth’: Zimmerman Defense Releases Photos To ‘Create Doubt’ About Trayvon Martin
Zimmerman Trial Trayvon Martin Greta Van Susteren The Five
Fox Guests: Zimmerman Witness ‘Devastating For Prosecution,’ ‘Dealt MASSIVE Blow To State’s Case
Rush Limbaugh Calls The Five: Praises Fox News, Argues with Bob Beckel, Slams Media Over Zimmerman
Glenn Beck: The George Zimmerman Trial
Judge Confronts Zimmerman
GLENN BECK,Struggles continue for prosecution in George Zimmerman trial
White Hispanic viciously beaten by gang of African Americans
BLACKS COMMITING HATE CRIMES: Attack on CAPA teacher caught by surveillance cameras
Death Wish 3 scene Charles Bronson
Charles Bronson Vs Denzel Washington in Film Debut – Death Wish
Death Wish III (1985) (FULL MOVIE)
Death Wish IV The Crackdown (1987) (FULL MOVIE)
Jurors Start Deliberating George Zimmerman Case
A jury began deliberating George Zimmerman’s fate Friday after hearing dueling portraits of the neighborhood watch captain: a wannabe cop who took the law into his own hands or a well-meaning volunteer who shot Trayvon Martin because he feared for his life.
Before the jury got the case, Zimmerman’s lawyers put a concrete slab and two life-size cardboard cutouts in front of the jury box in one last attempt to convince the panel Zimmerman shot the unarmed 17-year-old Martin in self-defense.
Attorney Mark O’Mara used the slab to make the point that it could be used as a weapon. He showed cutouts of Zimmerman and Martin to demonstrate that the teenager was considerably taller and he displayed a computer-animated depiction of the fight based on Zimmerman’s account.
He said prosecutors hadn’t met their burden of proving Zimmerman’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Instead, he said, the murder case was built on “could’ve beens” and “maybes.”
“If it hasn’t been proven, it’s just not there,” O’Mara said. “You can’t fill in the gaps. You can’t connect the dots. You’re not allowed to.”
In a rebuttal, prosecutor John Guy accused Zimmerman of telling “so many lies.” He said Martin’s last emotion was one of fear as Zimmerman followed him in a neighborhood of townhomes on a rainy night Feb. 26, 2012.
“Isn’t that every child’s worst nightmare, to be followed on the way home in the dark by a stranger?” Guy said. “Isn’t that every child’s worst fear?”
One juror, a young woman, appeared to wipe away a tear as Guy said nothing would ever bring back Martin.
The sequestered jury of six women will have to sort through a lot conflicting testimony from police, neighbors, friends and family members. Witnesses gave differing accounts of who was on top during the struggle, and Martin’s parents and Zimmerman’s parents both claimed that the voice heard screaming for help in the background of a 911 call was their son’s.
Zimmerman, 29, is charged with second-degree murder, but the jury will also be allowed to consider manslaughter. Under Florida’s laws involving gun crimes, manslaughter could end up carrying a penalty as heavy as the one for second-degree murder: life in prison.
Allowing the jurors to consider manslaughter could give those who aren’t convinced the shooting amounted to murder a way to hold Zimmerman responsible for the death of the unarmed teen.
To get a manslaughter conviction, prosecutors must show only that Zimmerman killed without lawful justification.
O’Mara dismissed the prosecution’s contention that Zimmerman was a “crazy guy” patrolling his townhouse complex and “looking for people to harass” when he saw Martin. O’Mara also disputed prosecutors’ claim that Zimmerman snapped when he saw Martin because there had been a rash of break-ins in the neighborhood, mostly by young black men.
The defense attorney said Zimmerman at no point showed ill will, hate or spite during his confrontation with Martin _ which is what prosecutors must prove for second-degree murder.
“That presumption isn’t based on any fact whatsoever,” O’Mara said.
In contrast, prosecutors argued Zimmerman showed ill will when he whispered profanities to a police dispatcher over his cellphone while following Martin through the neighborhood. They said Zimmerman “profiled” the teenager as a criminal.
Guy said Zimmerman violated the cornerstone of neighborhood watch volunteer programs, which is to observe and report, not follow a suspect.
Zimmerman’s account of how he grabbed his gun from his holster at his waist as Martin straddled him is physically impossible, Guy said.
“The defendant didn’t shoot Trayvon Martin because he had to, he shot him because he wanted to,” Guy said. “That’s the bottom line.”
But to invoke self-defense, Zimmerman only had to believe he was facing great bodily harm, his attorney said. He asked jurors not to let their sympathies for Martin’s parents interfere with their decision.
“It is a tragedy, truly,” O’Mara said. “But you can’t allow sympathy.”
With the verdict drawing near, police and city leaders in Sanford and other parts of Florida said they have taken precautions for the possibility of mass protests or even civil unrest if Zimmerman, whose father is white and whose mother is Hispanic, is acquitted.
There were big protests in Sanford and other cities across the country last year when authorities waited 44 days before arresting Zimmerman.
Guy told the jury the case wasn’t about race.
“It’s about right and wrong,” he said. “It’s that simple.”
Judge In Zimmerman Case Pressured by Obama Administration?
Paul Joseph Watson & Alex Jones
Speculation is raging that the judge in the George Zimmerman case could have been put under pressure by the Obama administration after she staged a bizarre outburst during which she interrogated Zimmerman while repeatedly silencing his lawyers.
The hostile exchange began when Judge Debra Nelson asked Zimmerman if he planned to testify.
Essentially, Judge Nelson told Zimmerman he had the “absolute right to remain silent” but then proceeded to demand he answer her questions interrogation-style while silencing his lawyers.
Defense attorney Don West twice objected to Nelson’s interrogation, prompting the judge to raised her voice and exclaim, “Your objection is overruled!” in a manner more befitting of an angry parent lecturing a child than a legal professional.
Both of Zimmerman’s lawyers appeared shocked as attorney Mark O’Mara asked under his breath, “what is going on?”
Several legal experts and observers said the outburst was unprecedented.
“I have never seen that in more than 30 years of court reporting,” tweeted journalist Kathi Belich.
Former Senatorial candidate Richard Rivette also expressed his shock at the judge’s behavior.
“This judge is an idiot. I spent five years investigating high profile capital cases defending people from the death penalty, and worked for the Federal judiciary as an independent investigator on other cases. No judge ever inquires as to whether a defendant will testify until the entire defense case is presented. If the defense rests and does not call the defendant then the judge knows there will be no testimony. If the defense calls the defendant then that’s when the judge finds out. They have to get through the entire case first. To see if it is valid after prosecution cross-examines their witnesses and experts as to whether a defendant SHOULD testify, which is decided in private not in public, and NOT on the record. By doing this, the judge has undermined a portion of Zimmerman’s credibility. He looks like he is waffling and this is normal judge/defendant questioning, which it is NOT,” said Rivette.
Respondents to the story at the National Review Online also expressed their view that Zimmerman was being railroaded.
“A fix is in from the administration to find Zimmerman guilty regardless of what it takes,” commented one.
“By demanding that Zimmerman respond to a question, after she has assured him that he has the right to remain silent, she is undermining his right to remain silent and making it appear as though he and his attorneys are not firm in their convictions. This judge is shameless,” added another.
Judge Nelson also ruled this week that Trayvon Martin’s text messages, which showed that Martin had been involved in fights before and was trying to buy or sell a gun, cannot be shown to the jury, which some suggested was another indication of an anti-Zimmerman bias.
Nelson also granted a request by prosecutors to block the defense’s attempt to show the jury a computer-animated depiction of the fight between Martin and Zimmerman.
She is also likely to allow the jury to consider lesser charges against Zimmerman in light of the prosecution’s probable failure to prove its case for second-degree murder, another indication that the state is desperate to avoid him walking free.
Judge Nelson has been very careful at every stage of the trial to dismiss evidence or testimony that could convince the jury in favor of acquitting Zimmerman.
Now some are asking the question – did Nelson’s aggressive outburst represent an attempt to prejudice the jury against Zimmerman?
Given the likelihood that Zimmerman will be acquitted, has Judge Nelson been put under pressure by the federal government to aggressively advocate for the prosecution, just as Supreme Court Justice John Roberts was apparently pressured to vote to uphold Obamacare?
Ever since President Barack Obama personally inserted himself into the controversy by declaring Trayvon Martin to be akin to the son he never had, higher-ups have constantly meddled in the case in an effort to secure a murder charge for a scenario that Zimmerman would not normally have even been arrested for under Florida’s Stand Your Ground law.
Indeed, ex-Sanford police chief Bill Lee told CNN yesterday that “he felt pressure from city officials to arrest Zimmerman to placate the public rather than as a matter of justice,” and that his investigation “provided no probable cause to arrest Zimmerman at the scene.”
It also emerged this week that the federal government encouraged and funded last year’s protests demanding the arrest of Zimmerman via the Community Relations Service, a division of the Department of Justice. Documents obtained by Judicial Watch show that the CRS was “deployed to Sanford, FL, following the Trayvon Martin shooting to help organize and manage rallies and protests against George Zimmerman,” spending millions of dollars in the process.
Given the plethora of threats by Trayvon supporters to stage violent riots if Zimmerman is acquitted, could Nelson be under pressure to secure a charge of at least manslaughter in order to avoid nationwide civil disorder?
If that’s the case, her apparent effort to prejudice the jury clearly suggests that a mistrial has taken place.
Judge Rules Jury Can Consider Manslaughter Charge In Zimmerman Trial
A judge said Thursday that jurors in the George Zimmerman case can consider the lesser charge of manslaughter, but she denied a request for the jury also to consider third-degree murder after a defense attorney called the proposal “outrageous.”
Prosecutor Richard Mantei argued that instructions for third-degree murder should be included on the premise that Zimmerman committed child abuse when he fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin because Martin was underage.
But defense attorney Don West called the proposed instruction “a trick,” and he accused the prosecutor of springing it on the defense at the last minute.
“Just when I didn’t think this case could get any more bizarre, the state is alleging child abuse?” West said. “This is outrageous. It’s outrageous the state would seek to do this at this time.”
West questioned how Zimmerman could be charged with child abuse while Martin was on top of Zimmerman “pummeling him.”
Judge Debra Nelson denied the third-degree murder instruction, saying she was exercising caution since she was unsure if prosecutors could prove intent.
“I just don’t think the evidence supports that,” Nelson said.
The judge, however, agreed with the prosecution that jurors could consider manslaughter as a lesser charge.
West said he wanted the six jurors to only consider the second-degree murder charge or not guilty.
“The state has charged him with second degree murder. They should be required to prove it,” West said. “If they had wanted to charge him with manslaughter … they could do that.”
Jurors could begin deliberating as early as Friday. Prosecutors were expected to give closing arguments Thursday afternoon, followed by the defense closing on Friday morning.
Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder. On the night of the fatal scuffle in February 2012, Martin was visiting his father and his father’s fiancee at the same townhome complex whereZimmerman lived.
Zimmerman observed Martin while driving in his neighborhood, called police and the fight ensued after the neighborhood watch volunteer got out of his vehicle. Zimmerman claims Martin was slamming his head into the concrete pavement when he fired his gun.
Some civil rights activists argued that a delay in charging Zimmerman was influenced by Martin’s race, and protests were held around the nation in the 44 days between the fatal fight and Zimmerman’s arrest. Martin was black and Zimmerman identifies himself as Hispanic.
DOJ sends secret “peacekeepers” where Trayvon Martin was killed
Last Updated: July 10, 2013
Judicial Watch, Inc. on April 24, 2012 launched an investigation into the Trayvon Martin case based on reports that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) had sent a secret team of “peacekeepers” to Sanflord, Florida, where Martin was shot on February 26, 2012 after wandering in a gated community after dark. George Zimmerman, a resident of the community and its neighborhood watch captain, is currently on trial for Martin’s death though he maintains he acted in self-defense.
Records obtained by Judicial Watch in response to local, state and federal public records requests show that the so-called peacekeepers are part of a large and growing division within DOJ called the Community Relations Service (CRS). Though CRS purports to spot and quell racial tensions nationwide before they arise, the documents obtained by Judicial Watch show the group actively worked to foment unrest, spending thousands of taxpayer dollars on travel and hotel rooms to train protestors throughout Florida. The peacekeepers also met with officials of the Republican National Convention, scheduled for several months later in Tampa, to warn them to expect protests in connection with Martin’s death.
- CRS employee spent $1,142.84 to travel to Sanford, Florida from March 25-28, 2012 “to work marches, demonstrations, and rallies”;
- CRS employee spent $751.60 to travel to Sanford, Florida from March 30-April 1, 2012 “to provide technical assistance to the City of Sanford, event organizers, and law enforcement agencies for the march and rally on March 31”;
- CRS employee spent $1,307.40 to travel to Sanford, Florida from April 3-12, 2012 “to provide technical assistance, conciliation, and onsite mediation during demonstrations planned in Sanford”;
- CRS employee spent $672.24 to travel to Tampa, Florida from April 18-20, 2012 “to meet with RNC official related to possible protests and demonstrations during the RNC”
In response to a Florida Sunshine Law request to the City of Sanford, Judicial Watch also obtained an audio recording of a “community meeting” held at Second Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in Sanford on April 19, 2012. The meeting, which opens with a gospel hymn and organ music, is reported to have led to the official ouster of Sanford’s Police Chief Bill Lee. A week earlier, a group calling themselves the “Dream Defenders” had barricaded the entrance to the police department demanding he be fired for failing to file murder charges against Zimmerman. The church meeting produced a nine-point plan, the main demand being the firing of Chief Lee.
Ex-Sanford police chief: Zimmerman probe ‘taken away from us’
By Eliott C. McLaughlin
The George Zimmerman investigation was hijacked “in a number of ways” by outside forces, said the former police chief of Sanford, Florida.
Bill Lee, who testified Monday in Zimmerman’s second-degree murder trial, told CNN’s George Howell in an exclusive interview that he felt pressure from city officials to arrest Zimmerman to placate the public rather than as a matter of justice.
“It was (relayed) to me that they just wanted an arrest. They didn’t care if it got dismissed later,” he said. “You don’t do that.”
When Sanford police arrived on the scene on February 26, 2012, after Zimmerman fatally shot unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, they conducted a “sound” investigation, and the evidence provided no probable cause to arrest Zimmerman at the scene, he said.
It had nothing to do with Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law, he said; from an investigative standpoint, it was purely a matter of self-defense.
Zimmerman told police he killed Martin after the teen attacked him. While the evidence at the time corroborated that claim, the ex-chief said, Lee’s lead investigator made a recommendation that Zimmerman be charged with manslaughter.
Justice Dept. ‘peacekeepers’ worked ‘Trayvon’ rallies, group claims
It was a matter of protocol, Lee said. Arresting Zimmerman based on the evidence at hand would have been a violation of Zimmerman’s Fourth Amendment rights, he said. Thus, the Sanford police presented a “capias request” to the state’s attorney, asking that the prosecutor determine whether it was a “justifiable homicide,” issue a warrant for arrest or present the case to a grand jury.
“The police department needed to do a job, and there was some influence — outside influence and inside influence — that forced a change in the course of the normal criminal justice process,” Lee said. “With all the influence and the protests and petitions for an arrest, you still have to uphold your oath.”
“That investigation was taken away from us. We weren’t able to complete it,” he said.
One example involved the 911 tapes, in which neighbors implored dispatchers to send police as a voice in the background screamed for help.
The Sanford police intended to release the tapes once the probe was over, Lee said, because you can’t publicize evidence amid an investigation.
Instead, the mayor told him on March 16 the tapes had been released to Martin’s family and the public. The family was asked to help identify voices, Lee said, but if police were in charge of the investigation, they wouldn’t have presented evidence to a group.
“It should be done individually so there’s no influence on the other people in the room,” he said. “Then, there’s no questions that can be brought up about how (an identification) was obtained or whether it was influenced.”
I’m happy that at the end of the day I can walk away with my integrity.
Ex-Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee
Releasing the evidence to the public was problematic, as well, because it created the potential for someone to concoct a “story about what they observed when they really didn’t observe it,” he said.
Martin family attorney Jasmine Rand said she doesn’t believe playing the tapes to a room full of people “makes any difference to the outcome of the case.”
“We have to remember that that was played for the family in a private room because they were hearing the last moments of their son’s life as he cried for help,” Rand told CNN’s Erin Burnett on Wednesday night. “And I think Sybrina Fulton (Martin’s mother) got up and walked out of that room. She didn’t sit in there and talk to everybody, because she had a visceral reaction when she heard her son yell for help and she couldn’t help him because she knew he was dead.”
Lee was placed on paid leave March 22, 2012, after the Sanford City Commission expressed a lack of confidence in him. The same commission rejected his resignation in a 3-2 vote a month later, with dissenting commissioners questioning the fairness of Lee’s losing his job.
Two months later, Lee was sacked. City Manager Norton Bonaparte said in a news release, “The police chief needs to have the trust and respect of the elected officials and the confidence of the entire community.”
Lee believes lack of confidence did play a role in his dismissal, he told CNN, but he also believes Bonaparte faced political pressure and terminated him “without cause,” which was permitted under his employment contract.
“I upheld my oath,” Lee said. “I’m happy that at the end of the day I can walk away with my integrity.”
Asked whether he would do things differently given the opportunity, the 30-year veteran of law enforcement said there always are things he could change in hindsight, but he stands by the investigation.
At every turn in the 40-minute interview with CNN’s Howell, Lee doggedly defended his investigators, saying race never played a role in any decision and that his officers “conducted an unbiased review.”
Investigators knew letting Zimmerman walk free for 46 days was an unpopular decision — and they took abuse for it — “but they performed professionally. That’s the mark of a strong police department.”
Lee took issue with the media casting his department as apathetic or lackadaisical in the case.
“A lot of the information that was given out as fact was misinformation,” he said. “It was reported in some media that we didn’t conduct an investigation for two weeks, but yet in that same media they would show a photograph of a crime scene with crime scene tape, with patrol cars and blue lights and investigators on the scene.”
Lee shrugged off the notion that he was hired to clean up racism and other problems in the department. His goal upon becoming chief was to improve professionalism and trust, and he set several goals, all of which were met during his 10-month tenure, he said.
One of his greatest regrets, he said, is that the Zimmerman investigation ultimately shattered his childhood dream to be police chief of the community where he was raised.
“It’s a dream of a vision that is going to be unrealized,” he said. “I’m at peace with it on most days. I’m a man of faith. But it stings.
Shooting of Trayvon Martin
The fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman took place on the night of February 26, 2012, in Sanford, Florida, United States. Zimmerman is currently on trial for second-degree murder in the case.
Trayvon Martin was a 17-year-old African American high school student. George Zimmerman, a 28-year-old multi-racial Hispanic American,[Note 1] was the neighborhood watch coordinator for the gated community where Martin was temporarily staying and where the shooting took place.
Statements given by Zimmerman have indicated that on the night of the shooting Zimmerman was in his vehicle on a personal errand when he noticed Martin walking beyond the gated fence inside the community. Statements then read that Zimmerman then called the Sanford Police Department to report Martin’s behavior as suspicious, stating “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” and “looking at all the houses”, although according to a police report, there was “no indication that Trayvon Martin was involved in any criminal activity at the time of the encounter”. While still on the phone with the police dispatcher, Zimmerman exited his vehicle, and after concluding his telephone call with police was involved in a violent encounter with Martin. The encounter ended with Zimmerman fatally shooting Martin once in the heart at close range.
When police arrived on the scene, Zimmerman stated that Martin had attacked him and that he had shot Martin in self-defense using a weapon Zimmerman had on him, loaded with a hollow-point bullet already in the gun’s chamber. Zimmerman was bleeding from the nose and from two vertical lacerations on the back of his head. EMTs treated Zimmerman at the scene, after which he was taken to the Sanford Police Department. Zimmerman was detained and questioned for approximately five hours. He was then released without being charged. At the time, police said they found no evidence to contradict Zimmerman’s claim of self-defense.
The circumstances of Martin’s death, including the fact that he was unarmed, and the initial decision not to charge Zimmerman received national and international attention and scrutiny. Allegations of racist motivation for both the shooting and police conduct, along with intense media reporting that was sometimes inaccurate, contributed to public demands for Zimmerman’s arrest. Questions were also raised about Florida’s stand-your-ground law. On March 22, 2012, a Special Prosecutor, Angela Corey, was appointed to take over the investigation. On April 11, 2012, the Special Prosecutor filed a charge of murder in the second degree against Zimmerman, who then turned himself in and was placed in custody. The prosecution’s account of what they allege happened on the night of the shooting is largely contained in the Affidavit of Probable Cause. Zimmerman pleaded not guilty to the charge and is out on a $1 million bond while awaiting the results of the trial.
Zimmerman’s trial began on June 10 in Sanford, Florida. He had requested a “stand your ground” hearing, but in March 2013, his defense elected to bypass the hearing so that his case would be tried before a jury.
arties involved in the case
|Trayvon Benjamin Martin
Trayvon Martin in an undated photo
BornFebruary 5, 1995
Florida, U.S.DiedFebruary 26, 2012 (aged 17)
Sanford, Florida, U.S.Cause of deathSingle gunshot fired at intermediate range (1-18 inches)EthnicityAfrican AmericanHeight5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)[Note 2]Weight158 pounds (72 kg)[Note 2]
Trayvon Benjamin Martin (February 5, 1995 – February 26, 2012) was the son of Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, who were divorced in 1999. He was a junior at Dr. Michael M. Krop High School and lived with his mother and older brother in Miami Gardens, Florida.
On the day Martin was fatally shot, he and his father were visiting his father’s fiancée and her son at her townhome in The Retreat at Twin Lakes in Sanford, a multi-ethnic gated community, where the shooting occurred. Martin had visited his father’s fiancée at Twin Lakes several times.
Martin had been suspended from school at the time of his death, his third disciplinary suspension of the year. One suspension was for tardiness. Another suspension was for graffiti, when Martin was observed by a security camera in a restricted area of the school marking up a door with “W.T.F.” When he was later searched by a Miami-Dade School Police Department officer, looking for the graffiti marker, the officer found several pieces of women’s jewelry in his backpack, which Martin said were not his, stating a friend had given them to him. A screwdriver was also found, which was described by the school police investigator as a burglary tool. The jewelry was impounded and given to the police, but no evidence ever surfaced to indicate that the jewelry was stolen. Martin’s third suspension involved a marijuana pipe, and an empty bag containing marijuana residue. Martin was not charged with any crime related to these incidents and did not have a juvenile record. Judge Nelson ruled that the defense may have access to Martin’s records, including the details of these suspensions, as well as access to Martin’s social media sites, but ruled they will not be admissible as evidence during the trial unless they can be shown to be relevant.
Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump said the parents had never heard about the bag of jewelry and that it was completely irrelevant to what happened on February 26. Martin’s parents and their attorneys also said the defense’s request for school records and social media was a “fishing expedition” aimed at attacking their son and an attempt to assassinate his character.
|George Michael Zimmerman
George Zimmerman mugshot
BornOctober 5, 1983 (age 29)
Manassas, VirginiaEthnicityLatino/CaucasianHeight5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)Weight185 pounds (84 kg)[Note 3]Criminal chargeSecond-degree murderCriminal statusOn trial
George Michael Zimmerman was born on October 5, 1983, in Manassas, Virginia, and is the son of Gladys (née Mesa) Zimmerman, who was born in Peru, and Robert Zimmerman, Sr., a retired Virginia magistrate. He was raised Catholic, in a family that his father has described as “multiracial;” his father is a white American of German descent and his mother is Peruvian with some black ancestry through her Afro-Peruvian maternal grandfather.[Note 1] Zimmerman’s voter registration record lists him as Hispanic and a registered Democrat.
Zimmerman’s height is reportedly 5′7″ (1.70 m); and his weight is recorded as being 185 lb (84 kg) on his Seminole County Sheriff’s Office Inmate Booking Information dated April 11, 2012, the date of his arrest. Zimmerman’s height is shown as 5′8″ (1.73 m); and his weight at 200 lb (91 kg) on the Sanford Police Department Offense Report for February 26, 2012, the night of the shooting.
In 2009, Zimmerman had moved with his wife to The Retreat at Twin Lakes in Sanford, Florida, a multi-ethnic gated community, where the shooting occurred. At the time of the shooting, he was employed as an insurance underwriter and was in his final semester at Seminole State College for an associate degree in Criminal Justice. In one of his interviews with police he stated his goal was to become a judge.
In 2005, Zimmerman was charged with assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest, after shoving an officer while a friend of Zimmerman’s was being questioned about underage drinking. The charges were reduced, then dropped when Zimmerman entered a pre-trial diversion program. Also in 2005, Zimmerman’s ex-fiance filed a restraining order against him, alleging domestic violence. Zimmerman requested a reciprocal restraining order. Both orders were granted. The incidents were raised by prosecutors at Zimmerman’s initial bond hearing. The judge described the incidents as “run of the mill” and “somewhat mild” and rejected the prosecution’s claim that the incidents demonstrated that Zimmerman was violent or a threat to the community.
Sanford Police Department
Bill Lee had been chief of the Sanford Police Department for ten months when the shooting occurred. Prior to Lee becoming chief, the department had been accused of protecting relatives of police officers involved in violent incidents with blacks, and the Martin case increased distrust between the police and Sanford’s black community.
On March 22, Chief Lee temporarily stepped down from his position due to public criticism over his handling of the Trayvon Martin shooting. In April, the Sanford City Commission refused to accept Lee’s resignation and stated that “Lee’s spotless record showed there needed to be further review to determine if he failed in his duties.” Lee was fired on June 20, 2012 by Sanford City Manager Norton Bonaparte. Lee responded by saying “I continue to stand by the work performed by the Sanford Police Department in this tragic shooting, which has been plagued by misrepresentations and false statements for interests other than justice.”
On June 26, 2012, the lead investigator of the case, Christopher Serino, was transferred out of the Sanford Police Department’s investigative unit and reassigned to the patrol division at his own request. Serino said he felt pressured by several of his fellow police officers to press charges on Zimmerman when he believed there was not enough evidence to do so, and that one of the officers pressuring him was friendly with Martin’s father.
In September 2012, Orlando TV station WFTV released a memo from the interim police chief Richard Myers blaming the police department spokesman, Sgt. David Morgenstern, for mishandling the Travyon Martin case and removed him from his spokesperson position.
Martin family attorneys
Benjamin Crump, the lawyer representing the interests of the Martin family, operates a law firm in Tallahassee, Florida, with his partner Daryl Parks. The firm has eight lawyers who focus on wrongful death, malpractice, personal injury and civil rights. In 2006, Crump sued to have the video released in the case of Martin Anderson, a teenager who died at a boot camp run by the Bay County, Florida, Sheriff’s Office. The Martin family is also represented by Natalie Jackson, an Orlando civil rights attorney.
Background of the shooting
The Retreat at Twin Lakes, north entrance
The Retreat at Twin Lakes is a 260-unit gated townhome community in Sanford, Florida. The population in the development at the time of the shooting, was about 49% non-Hispanic white, 23% Hispanic(of any race), 20% black, and 5% Asian, according to Census figures. Both George Zimmerman and Tracy Martin’s fiancee were renting homes in the development when the shooting occurred. At the time of the shooting, Martin had been staying with his father’s fiancee at The Retreat.
From January 1, 2011 through February 26, 2012, police were called to The Retreat at Twin Lakes 402 times. During the 18 months preceding the February 26 shooting, Zimmerman called the non-emergency police line seven times. On five of those calls, Zimmerman reported suspicious looking men in the area, but never offered the men’s race without first being asked by the dispatcher. Crimes committed at The Retreat in the year prior to Martin’s death included eight burglaries, nine thefts, and one shooting. Twin Lakes residents said there were dozens of reports of attempted break-ins, which had created an atmosphere of fear in their neighborhood.
In September 2011, the Twin Lakes residents held an organizational meeting to create a neighborhood watch program. Zimmerman was selected by neighbors as the program’s coordinator, according to Wendy Dorival, Neighborhood Watch organizer for the Sanford Police Department.
Three weeks prior to the shooting, on February 2, 2012, Zimmerman called police to report a young man peering into the windows of an empty Twin Lakes home. Zimmerman was told a police car was on the way and he waited for their arrival. By the time police arrived, the suspect had fled. On February 6, workers witnessed two young black men lingering in the yard of a Twin Lakes resident around the same time her home was burglarized. A new laptop and some gold jewelry were stolen. The next day police discovered the stolen laptop in the backpack of a young black man, which led to his arrest. Zimmerman identified this young man as the same person he had spotted peering into windows on February 2.
Zimmerman had been licensed to carry a firearm since November 2009. In response to Zimmerman’s multiple reports regarding a loose pit bull in the Twin Lakes neighborhood, a Seminole County Animal Services officer advised Zimmerman to “get a gun”, according to a friend, rather than rely on pepper spray to fend off the pit bull, which on one occasion had cornered his wife. Although neighborhood watch volunteers are not encouraged to carry weapons, Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee acknowledged that Zimmerman had a legal right to carry his firearm on the night of the shooting.
Shooting and investigation
Main article: Timeline of the shooting of Trayvon Martin
On the evening of February 26, 2012, Zimmerman observed Martin as he returned to the Twin Lakes housing community after having walked to a nearby convenience store. At the time, Zimmerman was driving through the neighborhood on a personal errand.
Zimmerman call to police
7:09:34 PM, February 26, 2012
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At approximately 7:09 PM,[Note 4] Zimmerman called the Sanford police non-emergency number to report what he considered a suspicious person in the Twin Lakes community. Zimmerman stated, “We’ve had some break-ins in my neighborhood, and there’s a real suspicious guy.” He described an unknown male “just walking around looking about” in the rain and said, “This guy looks like he is up to no good or he is on drugs or something.” Zimmerman reported that the person had his hand in his waistband and was walking around looking at homes. On the recording, Zimmerman is heard saying, “these assholes, they always get away.”
About two minutes into the call, Zimmerman said, “he’s running.” The dispatcher asked, “He’s running? Which way is he running?” The sound of a car door chime is heard, indicating Zimmerman opened his car door. Zimmerman followed Martin, eventually losing sight of him. The dispatcher asked Zimmerman if he was following him. When Zimmerman answered, “yeah,” the dispatcher said, “We don’t need you to do that.” Zimmerman responded, “Okay.” Zimmerman asked that police call him upon their arrival so he could provide his location. Zimmerman ended the call at 7:15 p.m.
After Zimmerman ended his call with police, a violent encounter took place between Martin and Zimmerman, which ended when Zimmerman fatally shot Martin 70 yards (64 m) from the rear door of the townhouse where Martin was staying.[Note 5]
|[show]Full transcript of Zimmerman’s call to SPD non-emergency number
Sanford Police Investigation
Police officer Timothy Smith arrived at the scene at approximately 7:17 PM. He reported finding Zimmerman standing near Martin, who was lying face down in the grass and unresponsive. At that time, Zimmerman stated to Smith that he had shot Martin and was still armed. Smith handcuffed Zimmerman and removed his weapon from him. Smith observed that Zimmerman’s back was wet and covered with grass and he was bleeding from the nose and the back of his head.
Ricardo Ayala, the second officer to arrive that night, noticed Officer Smith had Zimmerman in custody, then observed Martin lying face down in the grass and attempted to get a response from him. At this time, Sgt. Anthony Raimondo arrived and together with Ayala began CPR. Paramedics from Sanford Fire and Rescue arrived and continued CPR, finally declaring Martin dead at 7:30 PM.
Other officers who had arrived by this time secured the area and made contact with neighbors in the area and obtained statements from witnesses at the scene. They did not realize Zimmerman had been in a vehicle, however, so it was moved before they could seize it. Zimmerman was treated and released by paramedics while still at the scene of the incident. After placing Zimmerman in his police vehicle, Officer Smith heard Zimmerman say, “I was yelling for someone to help me, but no one would help me.” Zimmerman was then transported to the Sanford Police Department where he was questioned by investigators for approximately five hours. The police determined that Zimmerman yelled for help at least 14 times in a 38 second span. The question of who was calling for help has been disputed since then by others and remains inconclusive. (See Background sounds of yelling for help in 9-1-1 calls)
Martin’s body was taken to the morgue, where he was tagged as a John Doe as he was not carrying any identification. Martin’s father, Tracy Martin, called to file a Missing Persons report early on February 27 and police officers arrived at his fiancée’s condo with photographs of his dead son about 9:20 am.
George Zimmerman with a bloody, swollen nose in the back seat of a police car on the night of the shooting.
The back of Zimmerman’s head at the police station.
Zimmerman was handcuffed at the scene of the shooting and taken to the Sanford police station for questioning, arriving there at 7:52 p.m. according to a police video. His gun, a black Kel-Tec PF-9 9mm semi-automatic pistol, taken from him by Officer Smith at the scene, was placed into evidence.
Zimmerman was interviewed by Investigator D. Singleton and by Detective Chris Serino on the night of the shooting. He also underwent voice stress analysis, a type of lie detector test, on the night of the shooting. Crime Scene Tech D. Smith photographed his injuries and hands and collected gun shot residue. Zimmerman’s clothes were taken as evidence after his wife arrived with a change of clothes. The day after the shooting, Zimmerman performed a videotaped reenactment of the incident for police.
Zimmerman was not given a drug or alcohol test. Peter Bella, a retired Chicago Police forensic investigator, told The Washington Times, “Except for DUIs, police cannot test suspects for drugs or alcohol, unless the accused demands or consents to it, or they get a warrant”. The police did not suspect that Zimmerman was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and he was never asked to take such a test.
The Martin family alleged that Seminole County Attorney Wolfinger met personally with Sanford Chief Lee on the night of the shooting and instructed Lee not to make an arrest. Based on their accusation, the Martin family requested that the Justice Department investigate the State prosecutor’s office. Wolfinger responded that the accusations were “outright lies” and denied that any such meeting or communication took place. Wolfinger’s office reported that the Sanford police consulted with Kelly Jo Hines, the prosecutor on call the night of the shooting, but it has not been disclosed what was talked about.
On March 12, 2012, Police Chief Lee turned the investigation over to the State Attorney’s office for review. Lee said there was not enough evidence to arrest Zimmerman. “In this case Mr. Zimmerman has made the statement of self-defense,” Lee said. “Until we can establish probable cause to dispute that, we don’t have the grounds to arrest him.” In response to criticisms of the investigation, Lee responded that “We are taking a beating over this” and defended the investigation. “This is all very unsettling. I’m sure if George Zimmerman had the opportunity to relive Sunday, February 26, he’d probably do things differently. I’m sure Trayvon would, too.”
On March 13, 2012, Chris Serino sent a capias request to the state’s attorney recommending charges of negligent manslaughter against Zimmerman, though Serino maintains he did not believe they had the evidence to support those charges and that manslaughter was only included in the capias in order for the prosecutor’s office to continue with their own investigation. The capias states, “the encounter between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin was ultimately avoidable by Zimmerman, if Zimmerman had remained in his vehicle and waited the arrival of law enforcement or conversely if he had identified himself to Martin as a concerned citizen and initiated dialog in an effort to dispel each party’s concern”. “There is no indication that Trayvon Martin was involved in any criminal activity at the time of the encounter.” The State Attorney’s office initially determined there was insufficient evidence to charge Zimmerman and did not file charges based on the capias request.
On March 16, Serino told the Orlando Sentinel that his investigation had turned up no reliable evidence that cast doubt on Zimmerman’s account, that he had acted in self-defense. “The best evidence we have is the testimony of George Zimmerman, and he says the decedent was the primary aggressor in the whole event, everything I have is adding up to what he says.”
On March 20, 2012, State attorney Norm Wolfinger announced that a Seminole County grand jury would be convened on April 10 to investigate the death of Martin. However, after State Attorney Angela Corey was assigned to the case by Florida Governor Rick Scott on March 22, she decided that her office would decide whether to press charges. “I always lean towards moving forward without needing the grand jury in a case like this, I foresee us being able to make a decision, and move on it on our own.”
Governor Scott asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) to investigate the shooting and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi confirmed that the FDLE was involved and stated “no stone will be left unturned in this investigation.”
On March 20, 2012, the Justice Department announced that it was opening investigations into the incident. The FBI opened a parallel investigation into whether Martin’s civil rights were violated, interviewed witnesses, and looked into Zimmerman’s background.
On July 12, interviews conducted by the FBI were publicly released. The Sanford Police Department’s lead investigator, Chris Serino, told FBI agents that he believed Zimmerman’s actions were not based on Martin’s race, but instead on Martin’s attire, the circumstances of the encounter, and previous burglaries in the neighborhood. Zimmerman’s neighbors and co-workers were interviewed as well. Neighbors who knew Zimmerman had nothing derogatory to say about him and his co-workers were complimentary of him.
Serino also told the FBI that he had felt pressure from three officers within the department to charge Zimmerman although he “did not believe he had enough evidence at the time to file charges”, and accused one of these officers of being friendly with Martin’s father. He also expressed concern to the FBI about possible leaks of evidence to the media from within the department.
Martin’s autopsy report
The Volusia County medical examiner found that Martin was killed by an injury resulting from a single gunshot to the chest, fired at “intermediate range,” between 1 and 18 inches according to a forensic expert.[Note 6] An FDLE analysis of Martin’s body and clothes described the distance as “a contact shot”. The autopsy also found that Martin had one small abrasion on his left ring finger below the knuckle. No other injuries were found on Martin’s body at the time of his death. Physicians who reviewed the official autopsy report for the Orlando Sentinel, stated in their opinion that Martin lived from 20 seconds to several minutes after he was shot, and that Martin likely remained conscious “for a time anyway.”
The autopsy report stated that Martin had trace levels of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, in his blood and urine. The toxicology report found the levels to be 1.5 nanograms/ml of THC and 7.3 nanograms/ml of THC-COOH, a metabolite of THC that can stay in the system for weeks after cannabis has been smoked. Larry Kobilinsky, a professor of forensic science, stated that the THC amount was so low that it may have been ingested days earlier and played no role in Martin’s behavior.
Recordings of eight calls to the police made on the night of the shooting were released by the Sanford police on March 17, 2012.
A witness to the confrontation just prior to the shooting stated that Martin was on top of Zimmerman and punching him, while Zimmerman was yelling for help. This witness, who identified himself as “John”, stated that “the guy on the bottom, who had a red sweater on, was yelling to me, ‘Help! Help!’ and I told him to stop, and I was calling 911″. He went on to say that when he got upstairs and looked down, “the guy who was on the top beating up the other guy, was the one laying in the grass, and I believe he was dead at that point.”.
A 13-year-old boy walking his dog saw a man on the ground shortly before the shooting and identified him as wearing red. His mother later disputed the testimony and claimed that the police pressured him into choosing the color that the man was wearing and that her son could not see any details in the dark. She also stated that the police waited five days before requesting to even question her son and said that the lead homicide investigator told her that he did not believe the shooting was self-defense.
Mary Cutcher and her roommate, Selma Mora Lamilla, appeared on AC 360, and Cutcher stated that she believes that “there was no punching, no hitting going on at the time, no wrestling” just prior to the shooting but admitted that she neither saw the shooting nor the preceding altercation. Cutcher and her roommate heard the pair in their backyard and a “very young voice” whining, with no sounds of a fight. They heard a gunshot; the crying stopped immediately, and they saw Zimmerman on his knees straddling Martin on the ground. Mary Cutcher phoned police after the fatal shooting and said the black man was standing over another man, although Trayvon Martin was already dead. According to the Orlando Sentinel article, “Police spokesman Sgt. Dave Morgenstern [on March 15] issued a statement disputing Cutcher’s version of events, calling her statements to WFTV “inconsistent with her sworn testimony to police.” However, Cutcher and her roommate maintain that their account of the incident to the police did not agree with Zimmerman’s, and they demanded the police issue a retraction.
On March 29, 2012, an eyewitness referred to as a male said that he saw two men on the ground scuffling, then heard the shooting, and saw Zimmerman walk away with no blood on him. The witness later appeared on CNN AC360 referred to as a female, giving more details on her account. She pointed out that she heard an argument between a younger and an older voice. During the time that she witnessed the incident, the scuffling happened on the grass. She said that the larger man, who walked away after the gunshot, was on top and that it was too dark to see blood on his face.
A witness who arrived shortly after the shooting revealed photos that he took that night that showed “blood trickling down the back of Zimmerman’s head from two cuts. It also shows a possible contusion forming on the crown of his head”. In revealing the photo to ABC News in mid-April, he noted that he had heard but had not seen the scuffle, had been the first to arrive, and had been the first to talk to Zimmerman after the shooting.
One eye-witness statement given the night of the shooting describes “a black male, wearing a dark colored ‘hoodie’ on top of a white or Hispanic male who was yelling for help.” The witness said that the black male was throwing punches “MMA [mixed martial arts] style.” After hearing a “pop,” he saw the black male “laid out on the grass.” When the witness was subsequently interviewed weeks later by a different agency, the witness said he thought that the black male was either punching or pinning the lighter skinned male underneath him. He was no longer certain who was calling for help, having not seen their mouths in the dark. He was still certain that the black male had been on top of the lighter-skinned male.
On March 20, Martin family attorney, Benjamin Crump revealed that Martin had been on the phone with a friend moments before he was shot. During an ABC News exclusive report, Crump allowed portions of his recorded interview with Martin’s friend to be aired. She said that Martin told her that a man was watching him from his vehicle while talking on the phone before the man started following Martin. Martin told his friend at one point that he had lost the man but the man suddenly appeared again. The friend said that she told Martin to run to the townhouse where he was staying with his father and the father’s girlfriend. She then heard Martin say, “What are you following me for?” followed by a man’s voice responding, “What are you doing around here?” She said that she heard the sound of pushing before the phone went dead. She immediately attempted to call him back, but was unable to reach him. Crump stated that he would turn the information over to the Justice Department because “the family does not trust the Sanford Police Department to have anything to do with the investigation.” Martin’s friend was subsequently interviewed by state prosecutors on April 2, 2012. During her interview with the prosecutor, Martin’s friend recounted her last phone call with Martin and added that Martin had described the man as “crazy and creepy,” watching him from a vehicle while the man was talking on the phone. Martin’s friend told prosecutors that she heard words like “get off, get off,” right before she lost contact with Martin.
On March 6, 2013, prosecutors admitted that witness 8 had lied under oath, when she falsely testified that she had been in the hospital on the day of Martin’s funeral.
Crump had refused to disclose the identity of Witness 8, stating that she was only 16, a minor at the time of the shooting, and asked the media to respect her privacy. It was subsequently revealed that she was actually 18 at the time when she said she was on the phone with Martin. According to the defense, her actual age had been edited out of previously released disclosures. Crump has denied intentionally giving any misleading statements about her age.
George Zimmerman’s account of events
On the advice of his legal counsel, Zimmerman did not speak to the media after the shooting. The statements he gave to police investigators were publicly released on June 21, 2012, when Zimmerman’s attorney, Mark O’Mara, published his written and recorded statements on Zimmerman’s legal defense web site. Prior to the release of the statements, the only publicly available information about Zimmerman’s version of the incident came from interviews with some of his family members and friends and from leaks to the news media by sources inside the investigation, and his recorded phone call to 9-1-1. Zimmerman maintained his public silence until he was interviewed by Sean Hannity of Fox News on July 18, 2012. According to early news reports on the incident, on the night of the shooting, and afterwards, Zimmerman described in detail for investigators what took place.
Zimmerman said he was driving to the grocery store when he spotted Trayvon Martin walking through the neighborhood. Zimmerman’s father said that, while his son was not on duty that night as Neighborhood Watch captain, there had been many break-ins and he thought it suspicious that someone he didn’t recognize was walking behind the town homes instead of on the street or the sidewalk. Zimmerman therefore called a non-emergency police line to report Martin’s behavior and summon police. During the call, Zimmerman told the dispatcher that Martin was “coming to check me out.” A source to the Orlando Sentinel said in May that Zimmerman told investigators that at one point Martin circled his vehicle,[Note 7] and he rolled up his window to avoid a confrontation.
After telling the police dispatcher that Martin “ran,” Zimmerman left his vehicle to determine his location and ascertain in which direction Martin had fled. The dispatcher asked if Zimmerman was following Martin, and Zimmerman replied “Yeah.” Then the dispatcher said, “OK, we don’t need you to do that.” Zimmerman replied with “OK” and stated that Martin got away. After a discussion about where Zimmerman would meet police, the call ended, and Zimmerman told investigators he was returning to his vehicle when Martin approached him from his left rear and confronted him. According to Zimmerman, Martin then punched him in the face, knocking him down, and began beating his head against the sidewalk. Zimmerman said he called out for help while being beaten, and at one point Martin covered his mouth to muffle the screams. According to Zimmerman’s father, during the struggle while Martin was on top of Zimmerman, Martin saw the gun his son was carrying and said something to the effect of “You’re gonna die now” or “You’re gonna die tonight” and continued to beat Zimmerman. Zimmerman and Martin struggled over the gun, and Zimmerman shot Martin once in the chest at close range, in self-defense.[Note 8]
On June 21, 2012, Zimmerman’s attorneys released audiotapes of several interviews he had with police shortly after the shooting. Also included were Zimmerman’s written statement of February 26, 2012, and video recordings of his reenactment of the incident and a voice stress test that he passed.
In the interviews, Zimmerman says he took note of Martin because he was near a home that he had previously called police about. He also said “he was just walking casually, not like he was trying to get out of the rain,” and he felt “something was off” about Martin.
Zimmerman said he left his truck to find a street sign so he would be able to tell the police dispatcher where he was. He told investigators that he was not following Martin but was “just going in the same direction he was” to find an address, but admitted that he had also left his truck to try to see in which direction Martin had gone. The altercation began, he said, when Martin suddenly appeared while Zimmerman was walking back to his vehicle. He described Martin at different points in the interviews as appearing “out of nowhere,” “from the darkness,” and as “jump[ing] out of the bushes.” Zimmerman said that Martin asked, “You got a fucking problem, homie?” Zimmerman replied no, and then Martin said that he did now, and punched him. As they struggled on the ground, Zimmerman on his back with Martin on top of him, Zimmerman yelled for help “probably 50 times.” (See Background sounds of yelling for help in 9-1-1 calls) Martin told him to “Shut the fuck up,” as he hit him in the face and pounded his head on a concrete sidewalk. When Zimmerman tried to move off the concrete, Martin saw his gun and said “You’re going to die tonight motherfucker!” Martin grabbed for the gun, but Zimmerman grabbed it first. He said after firing his weapon at Martin, he wasn’t sure at first that he had hit him, so he got on top of him in order to subdue him.[dead link] Bystanders and police arrived shortly after Martin was shot.
Police reports state Zimmerman “appeared to have a broken and a bloody nose and swelling of his face.” Zimmerman was offered three chances to be taken to the hospital, but Zimmerman declined each time, according to police reports released by the prosecution. ABC News reported that a medical report compiled by the family physician of George Zimmerman showed that, following the altercation with Martin, Zimmerman was diagnosed with a closed fracture of his nose, two black eyes, lacerations to the back of his head, a minor back injury, and bruising in his upper lip and cheek.
In the course of Zimmerman’s recorded interviews, Detective Chris Serino questioned aspects of Zimmerman’s account, such as Zimmerman’s statement that he didn’t know the name of a street in the Twin Lakes community where he had lived for three years. Zimmerman said in response that he had a bad memory and takes medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Investigators also questioned the extent of his injuries and why he didn’t identify himself to Martin as a Neighborhood Watch coordinator. Zimmerman said he didn’t want to confront Martin.
On June 26, 2012, the prosecution released the results of a voice stress test performed on George Zimmerman the day after the shooting. A voice stress test is a type of test used to measure deceptive or psychological stress in the human voice in response to questions. Zimmerman was asked, “Did you confront the guy you shot?”, to which Zimmerman answered, “No.” Zimmerman was asked, “Were you in fear for your life, when you shot the guy?”, to which Zimmerman answered, “Yes.” The examiner concluded that Zimmerman “told substantially the complete truth” in the examination, and Zimmerman was classified as “No Deception Indicated (NDI)” according to the report.
During a bond hearing on April 20, 2012, Investigator Dale Gilbreath testified under oath that he did not know whether Zimmerman or Martin started the fight and that there is no evidence to contradict Zimmerman’s claim that he was walking back to his vehicle when Martin confronted him. Gilbreath, however, questioned Zimmerman’s statement that Martin was slamming his head against the sidewalk just before he shot the teenager, saying it was “not consistent with the evidence we found.” Gilbreath was one of two investigators who attested to the facts stated in the probable cause affidavit.
Legal analysts have stated that Zimmerman’s credibility could become an issue at trial and that Zimmerman’s claim of self-defense rests on whether the jury can trust him “as a reporter of the facts”. Douglas Keene, a trial consultant and forensic psychologist, stated that in a self-defense case, a jury has to decide “whether or not someone can be trusted to have used good judgment. Credibility is always a paramount issue in any trial,” he said.
Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, who has criticized Special Prosecutor Angela Corey’s handling of the case, said he believes that the video reenactment of the incident would help Zimmerman during a trial if it were submitted as evidence and shown to a jury, but he wasn’t sure that it would be. Without going into detail, Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump referred to several alleged inconsistencies between Zimmerman’s written statement and his recorded call to the police dispatcher.
Zimmerman’s first media interview
On July 18, 2012, Zimmerman, accompanied by his attorney Mark O’Mara, gave his first long media interview to Sean Hannity. Part of the interview appeared on Hannity that evening. During the interview he said that he did not regret his actions on the night of the shooting, but he also said, “I do wish there was something, anything I could have done that wouldn’t have put me in the position where I had to take his life. I want to tell everyone, my wife, my family, my parents, grandmother, the Martins, the city of Sanford and America: I’m sorry that this happened. I’m truly sorry.”
When Hannity asked Zimmerman why his suspicions were aroused when he noticed Martin, Zimmerman replied in part:
- “I felt he was suspicious because it was raining. He was in-between houses, cutting in-between houses, and he was walking very leisurely for the weather. … It didn’t look like he was a resident that went to check their mail and got caught in the rain and was hurrying back home. He didn’t look like a fitness fanatic that would train in the rain.”
Following the interview with Hannity, Special Prosecutor Angela Corey filed formal notice that she intends to use the interview as evidence against Zimmerman. According to an article in the Orlando Sentinel, Zimmerman’s story differed in at least two details from previous versions of what he said happened the night he shot Martin. Florida defense lawyers said it was a mistake for Zimmerman to do a TV interview and discuss what happened that night. One of them said, “It’s really baffling what he thought he’d gain from it. I question who’s in charge of the defense strategy, Zimmerman or O’Mara”.
Martin’s parents said they don’t accept Zimmerman’s apology for killing their son. Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, said she doubted that Zimmerman’s apology was sincere. “I have a hard time accepting it because he also said that he doesn’t regret anything that he did that night…” Fulton stated.
Prosecution’s account of events
The prosecution’s account is largely contained in the affidavit of probable cause filed on April 11, 2012, in support of second-degree murder charges against Zimmerman. A conviction of second-degree murder could result in Zimmerman receiving a prison term of 25 years to life. The affidavit states that it does not contain a complete recitation of facts, but presents only the facts to support probable cause for second-degree murder charges. Judge Mark Herr ruled that the affidavit was legally sufficient to establish probable cause. The affidavit describes what investigators allege took place between Zimmerman and Martin on the night of the shooting.
The affidavit states that Martin was walking back from a nearby 7-Eleven store to the townhouse where he was temporarily living when Zimmerman profiled Martin, who was unarmed and not committing a crime. Prosecutors stated that Zimmerman was driving in his vehicle when he observed Martin and assumed he was a criminal. Feeling that Martin did not belong in the gated community where Zimmerman lived, he called the police to request for an officer to respond, because he perceived Martin was acting suspiciously. Investigators said the dispatcher told Zimmerman an officer was on the way and to wait for him. In the call, Zimmerman made reference to people he felt had gotten away with break-ins in the neighborhood, and while talking about Martin, stated “these assholes, they always get away” and also said “these fucking punks”.
According to investigators, while Zimmerman was speaking with police, Martin was on the phone with a friend and described to her what was happening. She said that Martin was scared because he was being followed by an unknown male and didn’t know why. Investigators said that Martin attempted to run home, but Zimmerman followed him, because he didn’t want Martin whom he falsely assumed was going to commit a crime, to get away before the police arrived. When the police dispatcher realized Zimmerman was pursuing Martin, he instructed Zimmerman not to do that and told him an officer would meet him. Prosecutors stated that Zimmerman ignored the dispatcher’s instruction and continued pursuing Martin on foot. Investigators said Zimmerman then confronted Martin and a struggle ensued.
The affidavit describes witness accounts of hearing people arguing, what sounded like a struggle, and yells for help that were recorded in the 9-1-1 calls to police. According to prosecutors, Martin’s mother reviewed the 9-1-1 calls to police and identified the voice crying for help as her son. (See Background sounds of yelling for help in 9-1-1 calls) When police arrived at the scene, Zimmerman admitted to shooting Martin in the chest. An assistant medical examiner conducted an autopsy and determined that Martin had died from the gunshot.
Legal analysts have criticized the prosecution for over-charging Zimmerman, claiming that the probable cause affidavit does not support a charge of second-degree murder. Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz claims that the probable cause affidavit may be perjurious if Special Prosecutor Angela Corey knowingly omitted facts favorable to Zimmerman’s self-defense claims.
Richard Kuritz, a former prosecutor who worked with Angela Corey, said the state attorney had no obligation to include exculpatory evidence in the affidavit. He stated that Dershowitz could face civil action for making accusations that Corey committed a crime. “To suggest that she’s committing any crime, Dershowitz is way off on that”, Kuritz said.
Background sounds of yelling for help in 9-1-1 calls
In recordings of the 9-1-1 calls, yells for help are audible in the background. Zimmerman’s family says it was Zimmerman yelling for help, Martin’s family says it was Martin yelling for help, and independent audio analysts offer differing opinions as to who was yelling for help.
In an interview with prosecutors on March 19, Zimmerman’s father identified the yells as George Zimmerman’s, stating, “There is no doubt who is yelling for help. It is absolutely my son.” Other relatives of Zimmerman, including his brother, concur and are equally adamant. During a bond hearing on June 29, the 9-1-1 recording was played in court, and Zimmerman’s father testified that “it was definitely George’s” voice heard yelling for help in the recorded 9-1-1 call.
According to police reports, after listening to audio recordings of the 9-1-1 calls, Martin’s father, Tracy Martin, told police investigators that it was not Trayvon Martin’s voice yelling for help. Martin has since told reporters he was uncertain at that time, but that when he heard an enhanced recording on March 16 he was convinced it was his son yelling for help. Investigators interviewed Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, who reviewed the 9-1-1 calls to police and identified the voice crying for help as her son. Investigators also interviewed Martin’s cousin who stated that without a doubt “on a stack of bibles” it was Martin yelling for help on the 9-1-1 tape.
During the FBI investigation, Witness 45, a neighbor of Zimmerman’s, stated he was 110% sure the voice calling for help was Zimmerman’s.
Independent audio experts vary in their interpretations of the low-quality audio of the phone recordings, which one expert compared to analyzing low-resolution video from a security camera. The FBI was not able to determine whether it was Zimmerman or Martin who could be heard yelling out for help in 9-1-1 calls, citing both poor audio quality and “the extreme emotional state of the person screaming.” Two expert audio technicians, listed as possible witnesses for the prosecution, analyzed the emergency calls made during the altercation. One analyst reported that he believed some of the cries came from Martin. The other analyst said the quality of the recordings was insufficient for good analysis, but said some cries were likely from Martin and some likely from Zimmerman.
Zimmerman’s attorneys had requested a Frye hearing regarding the admissibility of the testimony of the audio analysts, to determine if the methods used by them are generally accepted by the scientific community. At the time of the hearing, Florida used the Frye standard, but during the course of the case, Florida switched to the Daubert standard, effective July 1, 2013. The Daubert standard is generally considered more stringent, and requires more scrutiny before admission of expert testimony.
On June 22, Judge Nelson ruled that the prosecution’s audio experts won’t be allowed to testify at Zimmerman’s trial. The judge said in her ruling that, “There is no evidence to establish that their scientific techniques have been tested and found reliable.” Her ruling didn’t prevent the 9-1-1 calls from being played at trial.
Martin family response
Supporters of Trayvon Martin rally in Union Square during a “Million Hoodie March” in Manhattan on March 21. Martin’s parents addressed the crowd.
Tracy Martin was skeptical of the account of his son’s death told to him by Sanford police investigators and believed Zimmerman didn’t act in self-defense. Two days after the shooting, he was referred to civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who was retained to pursue legal action and to persuade the news media to cover the case. Attorney Natalie Jackson and publicist Ryan Julison, both of Orlando, also joined the Martin team. Due to their efforts, the case started to receive national attention on March 7. On March 9, Crump announced he was suing to have 911 calls from the night of the shooting made public. They were released by the Sanford mayor on March 16. As attention to the case grew, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton gave media interviews and appeared at some of the protests being held which called for Zimmerman’s arrest. On June 28, 2013, Alicia Stanley, Trayvon Martin’s step-mother, stated that she did not believe Zimmerman targeted Trayvon because he was black.
Zimmerman and family
While the shooting was being investigated, Zimmerman, his wife, and his parents went into hiding due to threats they were receiving as the case gained more attention. Zimmerman left his job and his school expelled him, citing safety concerns. Due to security concerns, Zimmerman’s first lawyers had not been able to meet with him in person.
On April 9, Zimmerman placed a self-created web site on the internet, which included some brief statements, but no information about the shooting, since he had been advised by legal counsel not to discuss it. He also solicited donations for living expenses and legal defense costs.
After taking over as Zimmerman’s defense counsel on April 11, Mark O’Mara took down Zimmerman’s self-created web site and replaced it with a professional information site. He arranged for a second web site to be set up to collect donations overseen by an independent third party. Following Zimmerman’s April 20 bond hearing, he and his wife were accused by prosecutors of not disclosing the funds raised through the original web site; as a result of these allegations, Zimmerman’s original bail was revoked. He was subsequently released again with a higher bail amount. Zimmerman’s wife, Shellie Zimmerman, was charged with perjury in June 2012; the charge still stands.
George Zimmerman’s defense team had set up a Twitter account, a Facebook page and a website with a defense fund registered with the Florida Division of Consumer Services. After three months, the Facebook page was shut down by O’Mara, because he said it was leading to unhelpful discussions.
In July 2012, Zimmerman returned his original web site to the internet, and his parents also created their own web site. Both sites discuss how the case has changed the Zimmermans’ lives and seek donations for living expenses.
On January 30, 2013, Zimmerman’s attorney, Mark O’Mara, asked on Zimmerman’s defense fund website for the public to donate more money. O’Mara stated that Zimmerman’s legal defense could cost up to $1 million.
Main article: State of Florida vs. George Zimmerman
On April 11, 2012, Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder in Martin’s death. In Florida, a conviction for second degree murder carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. If a firearm was used then the mandatory minimum is 25 years in state prison. Zimmerman’s attorney waived Zimmerman’s right to appear at an arraignment and entered a not guilty plea on his behalf. Zimmerman is currently out on a $1 million bond with several conditions – that he be electronically monitored, reside in Seminole County, have no bank accounts or passport and observe a 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew. The judge said he granted bond “because Zimmerman posed no threat to the community”.
A jury of six women was chosen on June 20, to hear the case. Five of the six are white. In addition, four alternates, two women and two men, all white, were also chosen. The jury will be anonymous, where the identity of the jury will be revealed to the prosecution and defense, but not released to the public or media. During jury selection, the judge announced that the jury would be sequestered during the trial.
The trial began on June 24, 2013.
An undated personal photo of Trayvon Martin wearing a hoodie was displayed by protesters and sold by merchants on hoodies, T-shirts and keychains, prompting the family to trademark slogans using his name.
After the shooting, Zimmerman was criticized by the Martin family and in the media for following Martin and for carrying a weapon. Sanford police chief Bill Lee stated that neighborhood watch volunteers are not encouraged to carry a gun but have a Constitutional right to do so. Lee further stated, “Mr. Zimmerman was not acting outside the legal boundaries of Florida Statute by carrying his weapon when this incident occurred.” Sanford Police volunteer program coordinator Wendy Dorival, told The Miami Herald that she met Zimmerman in September 2011, at a community neighborhood watch presentation. “I said, ‘If it’s someone you don’t recognize, call us. We’ll figure it out,’ ‘Observe from a safe location.’ Dorival said.”
Protests were staged around the U.S. prior to Zimmerman’s April 11 indictment on murder charges. Over 2.2 million signatures were collected on a Change.org petition, created by Martin’s mother, calling for Zimmerman’s arrest. It was the website’s largest petition ever.
Since Martin was killed while wearing a hoodie, hoodies were used as a sign of protest, and many cities staged “million hoodie marches” or “hundred hoodie marches”. Additionally, some professional athletes, including Carmelo Anthony and the entire Miami Heat roster, tweeted photos of themselves wearing hoodies.
Bags of Skittles candy and cans of Arizona Iced Tea were also used as protest symbols. Martin was reported to be returning from a 7-Eleven convenience store with these items when he was shot, although the beverage he purchased was actually an Arizona brand fruit drink.
Walkouts were staged by students at over a dozen Florida high schools, and thousands of people attended rallies around the country to demand Zimmerman’s arrest. Members of the Occupy movement marched in solidarity during the “Million Hoodie March”.
A number of high-profile citizens made public comments or released statements calling for a full investigation, including Reverend Al Sharpton, Reverend Jesse Jackson, and President Barack Obama.
Speaking on the day of Zimmerman’s arrest, Al Sharpton said, “Forty-five days ago, Trayvon Martin was murdered. No arrest was made. The Chief of Police in Sanford announced after his review of the evidence there would be no arrest. An outcry from all over this country came because his parents refused to leave it there.” Jesse Jackson also referred to Martin as “murdered and martyred”. And U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson (Dem.), who represents Martin’s hometown of Miami, used the word “murdered” when she referred to Martin’s fatal shooting.
Herman Cain objected to what he called “swirling rhetoric” and “a war of words”, and former NAACP leader C.L. Bryant singled out Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson for being “race hustlers” who were exploiting Martin’s death “to inflame racial passions”. Bryant also criticized President Barack Obama for his “nebulous” comment, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”  Former education secretary William Bennett criticized what he called a “mob mentality,” saying that “…the tendency in the first days by some, including Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and an angry chorus of followers, was to rush to judgment with little regard for fairness, due process, or respect for the terrible death of a young man.”
Senior Fellow Shelby Steele at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution said that the tragedy of Trayvon Martin’s death was being exploited by a generation of “ambulance-chasing” black leaders who have promoted “our historical victimization as the central theme of our group identity”.
President Barack Obama, speaking to reporters on March 23 after federal investigators were deployed to Sanford, said, “When I think about this boy, I think about my own kids, and I think every parent in America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative that we investigate every aspect of this… If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon.”
According to Zimmerman’s father, George Zimmerman received death threats after the shooting and was forced to move out of his home. The New Black Panther Party offered a $10,000 reward for the “capture” of George Zimmerman; this was condemned by the city of Sanford.
In parts of the U.S., various acts of vandalism, assaults, and crimes have been connected in part to alleged revenge for the shooting of Trayvon Martin.
Film director Spike Lee retweeted to his 200,000 Twitter followers an erroneous Sanford, Florida, address, purported to be Zimmerman’s, which forced a family out of their home to avoid harassment after they received hate mail and unwanted visits from reporters. Lee was criticized for his retweet and he later issued an apology for having tweeted the wrong address.
Professor Alan Dershowitz criticized the probable cause affidavit against Zimmerman as “so thin that it won’t make it past the judge,” calling it “irresponsible and unethical,” and opined that the charges were motivated by prosecutor Corey’s desire to be re-elected. The deadline for qualifying to run against Corey was 9 days after she filed charges, and no one stepped forward to challenge her, so she won re-election. In June, Dershowitz said that Corey had contacted the dean of Harvard Law School about his remarks, threatening to sue Dershowitz for libel and slander, and the school too, and saying she wanted him to be disciplined by the American Bar Association. Dershowitz said the dean defended his remarks under academic freedom, and he commented that “[e]ven if Angela Corey’s actions were debatable, which I believe they were not, I certainly have the right, as a professor who has taught and practiced criminal law nearly 50 years, to express a contrary view.” CNN legal analyst Mark NeJame expressed concern over Corey’s threats and questioned if the prosecution of Zimmerman was for political reasons.
Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn wrote “…what’s often overlooked in all the heated conversations about this tragedy is the actual timeline based on police documents.” and “[The timeline] indicates that the victim as well as the accused made some terrible choices that night…and it tells us to keep our minds open and our tempers in check, at least until some of [the] gaps get filled at Zimmerman’s trial.”
Fox News Channel host Geraldo Rivera claimed that Martin’s “gangsta style clothing” was “as much responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as George Zimmerman was”. Rivera was quoted saying, “I am urging the parents of black and Latino youngsters particularly to not let their children go out wearing hoodies.”  Faced with outrage over his statements, Rivera apologized, saying that he had “obscured the main point that someone shot and killed an unarmed teenager”. When a 7-Eleven surveillance video showing Martin making a purchase on the night of the shooting was released two months later, however, Rivera referred to the clothes he had been wearing as “thug wear”. His comments were criticized by the Martin family attorney, Benjamin Crump, who compared them to people blaming rape victims for wearing short skirts.
Bill O’Reilly of Fox News called for restraint and urged other pundits to stop trying the case in the media. He said that the case is a “tragedy” but should not be tried in the media.
After Zimmerman’s bond was revoked for misrepresenting how much money he had when his bond was set, Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump said he expected the prosecution to bring Zimmerman’s credibility “front and center in this entire case”. Zimmerman’s attorney, Mark O’Mara stated that it was a “mistake” that had “undermined his credibility, which he will have to work to repair”.
Alleged race issues
Allegations against Zimmerman
Chicago protestors on March 28.
Zimmerman was accused of being motivated by racism and of having racially profiled Martin. During early media coverage of the incident, Zimmerman’s call to the police dispatcher was edited by NBC, shortened such that it appeared that Zimmerman had volunteered Martin’s race. The unedited audio recording proved that the police dispatcher specifically asked about Martin’s race, and only then did Zimmerman reveal that Martin was black. NBC apologized for the misleading edit and disciplined those involved.
Defense of Zimmerman’s character
In an open letter on March 15, 2012, Zimmerman’s father, Robert Zimmerman, defended his son against allegations that his actions were racially motivated, stating that Zimmerman was Hispanic, was raised in a multiracial family, and “would be the last to discriminate for any reason whatsoever,” saying that the portrayal of his son as a racist “could not be further from the truth.” According to his family, some of Zimmerman’s relatives are black. Zimmerman’s former lawyer Craig Sonner stated that Zimmerman is not a racist, and that he had mentored black youths in the past. Joe Oliver, a former television news reporter who is acquainted with Zimmerman, noted “I’m a black male and all that I know is that George has never given me any reason whatsoever to believe he has anything against people of color.”
In early April, an anonymous letter to the NAACP, which was signed “A Concerned Zimmerman Family Member,” said Zimmerman had been one of the few to take any action to protest the 2010 beating of Sherman Ware, a black homeless man, by the son of a Sanford police officer. Zimmerman reportedly distributed fliers in the black community trying to get others involved too, and helped organize a January 8, 2011, Sanford City Hall community forum to protest the incident. Zimmerman’s father confirmed his son’s efforts on Ware’s behalf.
In May, the Miami Herald secured an audiotape of the January 8, 2011, Sanford City Hall community forum. On the audiotape, Zimmerman was heard criticizing the conduct of the Sanford Police Department in the Ware case. Zimmerman criticized former chief, Brian Tooley, and said Tooley had engaged in a “cover-up” and that he should lose his pension. He also said he’d been on ride-alongs with Sanford police where he found them to be lazy. The Herald also reported that it had contacted five out of six black churches where Zimmerman was reported to have distributed fliers on the Ware beating, however no one recalled receiving them.
On July 12, interviews conducted by the FBI were publicly released. The Sanford Police Department’s lead investigator, Chris Serino, told FBI agents that he believed Zimmerman’s actions were not based on Martin’s race, but instead on Martin’s attire, the circumstances of the encounter, and previous burglaries in the neighborhood. Zimmerman’s neighbors and co-workers were interviewed as well. Neighbors who knew Zimmerman had nothing derogatory to say about him, and his co-workers were complimentary of him.
Allegations against Martin
During the trial of Zimmerman, state’s witness #8, Rachel Jeantel, testified that Martin had described Zimmerman as a “creepy ass cracker” just prior to the shooting. 
Jeantel further testified that she thought race was an issue because Martin told her he was being followed by a white man. Jeantel stated her belief that “creepy ass cracker” was neither racial nor offensive. She testified that people in “her culture” call white people crackers, though she couldn’t recall if Martin would call white people crackers 
Allegations against the Sanford police
For not arresting Zimmerman, the Sanford police faced heavy criticism, protests, and allegations of racial bias. The NAACP wrote U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder expressing “no confidence that, absent federal oversight, the Sanford Police Department will devote the necessary degree of care to its investigation” and requesting that personnel be detailed to Sanford to review the case without bias. Lee repeatedly defended the investigation, stating that the Sanford police did not feel they had conducted a racially biased investigation and welcomed a review of their efforts.
Allegations were also made that the Sanford police were protecting Zimmerman. Lee told reporters that they could not arrest Zimmerman because no evidence contradicted his story, and that to do so would leave the police open to litigation. In regards to the 9-1-1 dispatcher telling Zimmerman that “We don’t need you to [follow him],” Lee said “That is a call taker making a recommendation to him. He’s not under a legal obligation to do that, so that is not something we can charge him with.”
On March 21, 2012, three out of the five members of the Sanford City Commission, including the mayor, passed a motion of no confidence in regards to the Police Chief Bill Lee, and his handling of the case; however, the vote was advisory only. The following day, Lee announced that he had temporarily stepped down from his position as chief of police, stating “my involvement in this matter is overshadowing the process.” Lee further stated, “I do this in the hopes of restoring some semblance of calm to a city which has been in turmoil for several weeks.” On April 23, 2012, the city of Sanford announced that Police Chief Bill Lee would resign but city commissioners voted to reject the resignation. Some commissioners had concerns about the fairness of Lee losing his job and the mayor stated he preferred to wait for the results of an investigation. Lee was to remain on paid leave.
In an interview with CNN, following his testimony at Zimmerman’s trial, Bill Lee said that he felt pressure from city officials to arrest Zimmerman to placate the public rather than as a matter of justice.Lee said, “It was relayed to me that they just wanted an arrest. They didn’t care if it got dismissed later.” Lee further stated in the interview that the Sanford Police conducted a “sound” investigation, and the evidence provided no probable cause to arrest Zimmerman at the scene.Lee said that the police needed to do a job, and there was some outside, and inside influence, that “forced a change in the course of the normal criminal justice process.” The former police chief said the investigation was taken away from us and “we weren’t able to complete it.” Lee also said that his lead investigator made a recommendation that Zimmerman be charged with manslaughter, as a matter of protocol. The Sanford police presented a “capias request” to the state’s attorney, asking that they determine whether it was a “justifiable homicide.”
“Stand your ground” laws
Self-defense laws in the United States, particularly regarding justifiable homicide, vary by state. Florida law, as of 2005, includes a “stand your ground” provision, under which a person, who reasonably fears death or great bodily harm (the ordinary deadly self-defense requirement) is relieved of the common-law requirement that one first attempt to retreat, if one can safely do so, before using deadly force. In almost all states, such laws exempt people in their own homes; Florida’s version extends the no-retreat doctrine to vehicles and public places. In at least 17 states, including Florida, there is no duty to retreat before using force. After the shooting, media reports had indicated that Zimmerman would most likely use the “Stand Your Ground” provision in Florida’s self-defense law. According to Durell Peaden, one of the sponsors of the Florida law, the law does not say that a person has a right to confront another. “When [Zimmerman] said ‘I’m following him’, he lost his defense.” However, the same Mar 20, 2012, article goes on to state, “Peaden and Baxley said they didn’t know all the facts of the case, so their interpretations of what happened could change if new information arises during the investigation.”
According to David Kopel, if Martin first attacked Zimmerman, the claim of self-defense by Zimmerman would be valid under the usual self-defense laws that didn’t include the “Stand your ground” law. On the other hand, if Zimmerman stalked and attacked Martin, the “Stand your ground” law would not protect Zimmerman from prosecution. In either case, the Florida “Stand your ground” law would be irrelevant.
However, the “Stand Your Ground” law grants Zimmerman the right to a pretrial hearing where a judge could find Zimmerman immune from prosecution and dismiss the charges without going to trial. The defense would need to show through a preponderance of the evidence, i.e. show with more than 50% certainty, that Zimmerman thought he would be killed or seriously injured. The trial began without Zimmerman asking for such a hearing.
Three weeks after the shooting, Florida authorities announced they had picked 19 people to head up a task force to review the Florida statute that deals with justifiable use of force, including the stand your ground provision. After six months of work, the result was that the task force did not recommend significant changes to the law.
On January 16, 2013, Trayvon Martin’s mother and Democratic lawmakers in Florida called for the repeal of the state’s “stand your ground” law.
Trayvon’s father Tracy Martin, family attorney Benjamin Crump and mother Sybrina Fulton, at the ‘Million Hoodies’ protest in Union Square, New York
For the first 10 days after Martin’s death, the story was covered by only the Florida media. In order to bring more attention to the case, Martin family attorney Natalie Jackson sought the assistance of publicist Ryan Julison on March 5.
On March 7, 2012, Reuters covered the story, and the following day, CBS News, acting on a tip it received from the network’s local bureau in Atlanta, Georgia, obtained an exclusive interview with Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton that was broadcast on CBS This Morning.
Also on March 8, The Huffington Post, The Young Turks, and TheGrio.com, which is affiliated with NBC News, started to cover the case. On March 9, 2012, ABC World News featured the story on their nightly broadcast. CNN first reported on the case on March 12, 2012, and by the end of that week, radio hosts and bloggers were also reporting on the story. National coverage started to increase the week of March 12 and intensified after March 16, when tapes of 9-1-1 calls were released to the public. Having the 9-1-1 calls, which the police had previously declined to release, gave radio and TV reporters more material to report on.
The Project for Excellence in Journalism reported that media coverage of the Trayvon Martin case became the first story in 2012 to be featured more than the presidential race. According to the Project, the varying types of media have focused on the case in different ways. An article in the Tampa Bay Times wrote that, “on Twitter, people are outraged at Zimmerman and want justice, while on cable news and talk radio people are discussing the state’s laws for self-defense and gun control and on blogs the focus has been on race.”
Fox News newsmagazine host Geraldo Rivera, a former NBC employee, asserted that MSNBC “made an ideological decision that… they would argue strenuously for the prosecution of George Zimmerman and the ultimate conviction of George Zimmerman… [T]hey are cheerleading for the conviction of George Zimmerman.”
Aspects of coverage
Media portrayal of Martin and Zimmerman
The Associated Press noted that initially the most widely used media photo of Martin was several years old and showed him as a “baby-faced boy,” rather than as a 17-year-old young man. To represent Zimmerman, the media chose a shot of a beefy 21-year-old Zimmerman taken seven years prior to the shooting, whereas recent photos show him as slim-faced and more mature. The two outdated photos chosen by the media may have helped shape the initial public perception of the shooting. The AP quoted academic Kenny Irby on the expected effect, “When you have such a lopsided visual comparison, it just stands to reason that people would rush to judgment,” and another academic, Betsi Grabe, as saying that journalists will present stories as a struggle between good and evil “[i]f the ingredients are there.”
With the release of witness testimony and the details of the altercation prior to Martin’s death, various media had advanced the primary source testimony with speculation surrounding the events which further drove public outcry. Martin and Zimmerman’s height and weight were the subject of contention in the media and blogs and used to assert speculation. Some of these speculations fueled outrage and controversy on both sides; combining scant or misleading information with speculation. Contributing to the controversy was an image of a different person also named Trayvon Martin in a “gangsta” pose; the error discovered much later.
Reporting on Zimmerman’s call to police
Economist and commentator Thomas Sowell criticized the national media for implying that Zimmerman had continued to follow Martin after the police dispatcher said, “We don’t need you to do that.” He said that they mostly left out Zimmerman’s answer, “O.K.” because “too many people in the media see their role as filtering and slanting the news.”
After the audio of the call was released, reports by CNN and other news outlets alleged that Zimmerman had said “fucking coons” two minutes and twenty-one seconds (2:21) into the call. Two weeks later on April 4, 2012, CNN claimed that enhanced audio revealed that Zimmerman had said “fucking cold.” The following day, April 5, 2012, CNN’s Martin Savidge reported that forensic audio expert Tom Owen claimed it was “fucking punks.” It is said to be “fucking punks” in the affidavit of probable cause, dated April 11, 2012. Other reviewers of the call have offered alternate interpretations of what was said, some labeling it “unintelligible.” According to the Associated Press, the alleged racial slur “fed growing outrage over the police department’s initial decision not to arrest Zimmerman.”
Misleading audio editing by NBC
Between March 19 and 27, 2012, the NBC Nightly News, NBC’s Today show, and NBC’s network-owned Miami affiliate WTVJ NBC6 ran segments which misleadingly merged parts of Zimmerman’s call. On one version of the recording played by NBC, Zimmerman was heard saying, “This guy looks like he’s up to no good or he’s on drugs or something… He’s got his hand in his waistband, and he’s a black male.” In another what was played was, “This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.” In the original 9-1-1 recording, Zimmerman said: “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.” The 9-1-1 operator then asked: “OK, and this guy, is he black, white or Hispanic?”, and Zimmerman answered, “He looks black.” The phrase, “He’s got his hand in his waistband, and he’s a black male” came several exchanges after that point in the conversation.
Erik Wemple of the Washington Post wrote that NBC’s alterations “would more readily paint Zimmerman as a racial profiler. In reality… Zimmerman simply answered a question… Nothing prejudicial at all in responding to such an inquiry… To portray that exchange in a way that wrongs Zimmerman is high editorial malpractice…”
NBC issued an apology for “an error made in the production process that we deeply regret,” but never apologized on the air. The network said that the Today show and Miami edits took place in two separate incidents involving different people. A Miami-based NBC News producer lost her job, WTVJ reporter Jeff Burnside was fired, and two other employees were disciplined. Lilia Luciano, who was the reporter on broadcasts containing both edited versions of the audio, was also fired, and her aired reports on the Trayvon Martin story, along with the misleading audio, were removed from the Today website.
On December 6, 2012, Zimmerman filed a defamation lawsuit against NBC alleging that they intentionally edited the phone call so that Zimmerman would sound racist. The lawsuit said, “NBC saw the death of Trayvon Martin not as a tragedy but as an opportunity to increase ratings, and so set about to create the myth that George Zimmerman was a racist and predatory villain.” A NBC spokeswoman said the network strongly disagreed with the accusations that Zimmerman made in the complaint, stating; “There was no intent to portray Mr. Zimmerman unfairly and we intend to vigorously defend our position in court.”
Surveillance video mistake
ABC News obtained a surveillance video of Zimmerman walking unassisted into the Sanford police station after the shooting. An officer is seen pausing to look at the back of Zimmerman’s head, but ABC originally said that no abrasions or blood can be seen in the video. The Daily Caller disputed this claim, and posted a still from the ABC video which showed the injury on the back of Zimmerman’s head. ABC later reported that it had “re-digitized” the video, and said that this version showed “what appear to be a pair of gashes or welts on George Zimmerman’s head,” but the story’s main focus was on a doctor who claimed it was unlikely that Zimmerman’s nose had been broken.
- ^ a b Zimmerman’s father is white and his mother is a Hispanic from Peru. George Zimmerman’s ancestry includes an Afro-Peruvian great-grandfather.
- ^ a b The initial police report from the night of the shooting lists Martin’s height as 6’0″ (1.83 m) and weight as 160 lb (73 kg). Zimmerman estimated Martin’s height at 5’11″ to 6’2″ on the night of the shooting. The morning after the shooting, an autopsy found that Martin’s body was 5’11″ (1.80 m) long and weighed 158 lb (72 kg). Other values for Martin’s height of 6’2″ (1.88 m) and 6’3″ (1.91 m), and weight of no more than 150 lb (68 kg), were reported as being given by Martin’s family.
- ^ Zimmerman’s weight was shown as 185 pounds (84 kg) on his Seminole County Sheriff’s Office Inmate Booking Information on April 11, 2012, the date of his arrest.
- ^ Some reports in the media incorrectly gave the time as 7:11.
- ^ See The New York Times article The Events Leading to the Shooting of Trayvon Martin for seven aerial views which include depictions of The Retreat at Twin Lakes; the home where Trayvon was staying; the site of the shooting; Zimmerman’s home; the site of the 7-11; and other sites of interest.
- ^ The autopsy report can be found at “Trayvon Martin Autopsy Report: Killed By Bullet Fired At Intermediate Range”. The Huffington Post. Retrieved September 18, 2012.
- ^ An Orlando Sentinel source reported in May 2012 that Zimmerman told investigators that Martin “was circling” his vehicle at one point, but news stories after Zimmerman’s statements to police were released reported that he said Martin “circled” his vehicle.
- ^ Some referenced information is from the embedded video of Robert Zimmerman’s interview,
- ^ a b c “Zimmerman charged with second-degree murder”. CNN. April 11, 2012. Retrieved April 11, 2012.
- ^ a b McClam, Erin. “Potential Trayvon Martin case jurors get look at defendant George Zimmerman”. NBC News. Retrieved June 10, 2013.
- ^ a b c d George Zimmerman: Prelude to a shooting,
- ^ a b c d e Prieto, Bianca (March 14, 2012). “Trayvon Martin: ‘We are gathered here today to demand justice’ in teen’s fatal shooting”. Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved March 20, 2012.
- ^ Hamacher, Brian. “George Zimmerman Makes First Appearance Before Judge”. NBC Miami. Retrieved April 21, 2012.
- ^ a b c Robertson, Campbell; Schwartz, John (March 22, 2012). “Trayvon Martin death spotlights neighborhood watch groups”. NY Times. Retrieved June 23, 2012.
- ^ a b Joy-Ann Reid (July 18, 2012). “Zimmerman tells Hannity: ‘No regrets’ over his actions in Trayvon Martin shooting”. theGrio. Retrieved September 28, 2012.
- ^ a b “Exclusive: George Zimmerman breaks silence on ‘Hannity’”. Fox News.
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m “Affidavit says Zimmerman profiled Martin”. CNN. March 27, 2012. Retrieved May 11, 2012.
- ^ “Police: Trayvon Martin’s death ‘ultimately avoidable’”. CNN. May 18, 2012. Retrieved July 24, 2012.
- ^ Kovaleski, Serge F. (May 18, 2012). “Martin Spoke of ‘Crazy and Creepy’ Man Following Him, Friend Says”. The New York Times. Retrieved July 24, 2012.
- ^ David Kopel, “Florida’s Self-Defense Laws”, Volokh Conspiracy, March 27, 2012.
- ^ “New video, audio released of Zimmerman’s account of fatal fight”. CBS Miami. Retrieved June 28, 2012.
- ^ a b “George Zimmerman: Trayvon Martin attacked me”. CNN. June 21, 2012. Retrieved June 28, 2012.
- ^ Stutzman, Rene. “Trayvon Martin case: facts vs. rumors”. Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved April 19, 2012.
- ^ a b c d e f g h i “Sanford Police Initial Report”. February 26, 2012. Retrieved April 7, 2012.
- ^ a b Gray, Madison (March 28, 2012). “George Zimmermans Gun a Popular Choice for Concealed Carry”. Time. Retrieved March 31, 2012.
- ^ a b Photo of blood on back of Zimmerman’s head from — Gutman, Matt; Seni Tienabeso (April 20, 2012). “George Zimmerman Tells Trayvon Martin’s Parents ‘I Am Sorry’”. abc Good Morning America. ABC News. Retrieved April 21, 2012.
- ^ a b c d Gutman, Matt. “Trayvon Martin Case: Timeline of Events”. ABC News. Retrieved May 21, 2012.
- ^ a b Strassman, Mark (March 27, 2012). “What happened right after Trayvon Martin’s shooting?”. CBS News. Retrieved May 21, 2012.
- ^ “Sanford Police Say They Lack Evidence To Arrest George Zimmerman”. The Florida News Journal. March 12, 2012. Retrieved March 25, 2012.
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Trotta, Daniel (April 3, 2012). “Trayvon Martin: Before the World Heard the Cries”. Reuters. Retrieved April 7, 2012.
- ^ a b c Chris Francescani (April 25, 2012). “George Zimmerman: Prelude to a shooting”. articles.chicagotribune.com. Retrieved June 12, 2013.
- ^ a b Wisniewski, Mary (March 24, 2012). “Rallies held around country for Trayvon Martin”. Reuters. Retrieved March 25, 2012.
- ^ Copeland, Larry (March 23, 2012). “Trayvon Martin rally draws thousands in call for arrest”. USA Today. Retrieved March 25, 2012.
- ^ Gutman, Matt. “Neighborhood watch shooting of Trayvon Martin: Probe reveals ‘questionable police conduct’”. ABCNews. Retrieved April 25, 2012.
- ^ a b Sedensky, Matt (March 30, 2012). “Old photos may have shaped public opinion in Martin case, experts say”. NBC Miami (NBCUniversal, Inc). Retrieved May 1, 2012.
- ^ “Governor Rick Scott Announces New State Attorney and Task Force in Response to Trayvon Martin Incident”. flgov.com. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
- ^ “Zimmerman charged with second-degree murder”. CNN. April 11, 2012.
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- ^ “Anti-Sharpton Black Leader Rips CNN’s Roland Martin Over Trayvon Case”. RealClearPolitics. 2012-03-27. Retrieved 2013-06-30.
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- ^ a b Hernandez, Arelis R. (March 24, 2012) “Trayvon Martin case: New Black Panthers offer $10,000 bounty for capture of George Zimmerman” Orlando Sentinel
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- ^ “Police: Trayvon protesters ransack store”. WPLG. March 28, 2012. Retrieved April 24, 2012.
- ^ “Vandals Scar NOLA Monuments With Protest Messages”. WDSU. March 28, 2012. Retrieved April 24, 2012.
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- ^ “Spike Lee re-tweets incorrect address of Trayvon Martin shooter”, The Washington Times, March 27, 2012
- ^ Spike Lee Under Fire for Tweeting Wrong Address in Trayvon Martin Controversy, The Hollywood Reporter, March 27, 2012
- ^ “Elderly couple abandons their home after address is posted on Twitter as that of George Zimmerman”. Articles.orlandosentinel.com. 2012-03-29. Retrieved 2013-06-30.
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- ^ Smerconish, Michael (April 24, 2012). “Case against George Zimmerman may be doomed”. Star Tribune. Retrieved May 1, 2012.
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- ^ “Angela Corey, prosecutor in Trayvon Martin case, wins re-election”. WTSP. Retrieved January 2, 2013.
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- ^ Zorn, Eric (April 20, 2012). “The 411 about the Trayvon Martin timeline”. Chicago Tribune.
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- ^ a b Mirkinson, Jack (May 21, 2012). “Geraldo Rivera Sharply Criticized By Trayvon Martin Lawyer Benjamin Crump: ‘You’re Embarrassing Your Son Again’”. The Huffington Post.
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- ^ “Judge revokes Zimmerman’s bond”. CNN. January 29, 2004. Retrieved June 5, 2012.
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- ^ Pearce, Matt (June 4, 2012). “George Zimmerman has undermined his credibility, defense admits”. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 5, 2012.
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- ^ a b c Wemple, Erik (March 31, 2012). “NBC to do ‘internal investigation’ on Zimmerman segment”. The Washington Post.
- ^ “Zimmerman atty.: Shooting isn’t racist”. CNN. March 23, 2012
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- ^ Trotta, Daniel (March 25, 2012). “Black friend defends shooter of Florida teen”. Reuters
- ^ “Zimmerman family member calls NAACP ‘racists,’ says ‘there will be blood on your hands’ if George is hurt”. Daily Caller. Retrieved April 3, 2012.
- ^ Zimmerman’s family: George handed out fliers, protesting police coddling of white suspect Orlando Sentinel (April 5, 2012)
- ^ “Trayvon Martin Told Friend About Man Following Him in Final Moments”. ABC News. Retrieved 3 July 2013.
- ^ a b Muller, Sarah. “Zimmerman case: Is Rachel Jeantel on trial, too?”. MSNBC. Retrieved 3 July 2013.
- ^ “Friend says she believes Trayvon Martin’s encounter with George Zimmerman was racially charged”. The Washington Post. Retrieved 3 July 2013.
- ^ “Zimmerman testimony focuses on letter given to Trayvon Martin’s mom”. NBC News. Retrieved 3 July 2013.
- ^ “Rachel Jeantel faces 2nd day of questioning in George Zimmerman trial”. Click Orlando. Retrieved 3 July 2013.
- ^ “George Zimmerman trial: Race is a subtext, not the focus”. The Washington Post. Retrieved 3 July 2013.
- ^ Gutman, Matt (March 13, 2012). “Orlando Watch Shooting Probe Reveals Questionable Police Conduct”. ABC News. Retrieved March 20, 2012.
- ^ Clint Van Zandt, 911 calls released in deadly Florida shooting, MSNBC, Retrieved March 21, 2012.
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- ^ a b c Elliott C. McLaughlin (11 July 13). “Ex-Sanford police chief: Zimmerman probe ‘taken away from us’”. CNN. Retrieved 11 July 13.
- ^ a b The 2011 Florida Statutes, Title XLVI Crimes, Chapter 776 Justifiable use of force, posted at Official Internet Site of the Florida State Legislature.
- ^ “Use of Deadly Force for Lawful Self-Defense”. Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. February 16, 2007. Retrieved March 24, 2012.
- ^ Chow, J.D., Andrew (March 21, 2012). “‘Stand Your Ground’ Laws: State by State”. Reuters. Retrieved March 23, 2012.[dead link]
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- ^ David Kopel, “Florida’s Self-Defense Laws”, Volokh Conspiracy, March 27, 2012. “The particular legal changes resulting from Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ and ‘Castle Doctrine’ laws (deadly force in the home/automobile; no duty to retreat in public places; Fourth Amendment arrest standard affirmation; protection from civil suits) simply have nothing to do with whether Zimmerman’s actions were or were not lawful.”
- ^ Opinion Staff (Aug 9, 2012). “Will George Zimmerman win his “stand your ground” hearing?”. The Palm Beach Post (Cox Media Group). Retrieved November 17, 2012.
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- ^ “Friend: George Zimmerman scared for his life”. Click Orlando. Retrieved 2013-06-29.
- ^ “Misconceptions in the Trayvon Martin Case”. Retrieved 2013-06-29.
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- ^ Sowell, Thomas (April 24, 2012) “Who is ‘Racist’?” The American Spectator. Retrieved May 3, 2012.
- ^ “Did Trayvon Martin’s shooter use slur in 911 tapes?”. Anderson Cooper 360 (CNN). March 22, 2012. Retrieved April 2, 2012.
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- ^ “CNN’s Martin Savidge reports on forensic analysis of 911 tape”. CNN. April 6, 2012.
- ^ “Did George Zimmerman Complain About ‘F*cking C**ns’ In 911 Call Before Killing Trayvon Martin?”. Mediaite. March 20, 2012.
- ^ Coates, Ta-Nehisi (March 22, 2012). “Did George Zimmerman Use A Racial Slur?”. The Atlantic.
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- ^ a b Sheffield, Matthew. “NBC News President: Network Should ‘Probably’ Apologize On-Air for Repeatedly Running Fake Zimmerman Clip”. Newsbusters.org. Retrieved April 23, 2012.
- ^ “Lilia Luciano report on Trayvon Martin, Mar 20″. NBC Today Show. Youtube.com. March 20, 2012. Retrieved June 29, 2012.
- ^ “Lilia Luciano report on Trayvon Martin, Mar 22″. NBC Today Show. Youtube. March 22, 2012. Retrieved June 29, 2012.
- ^ “NBC issues apology for edited Zimmerman 911 call”. Fox News. April 3, 2012. Retrieved April 4, 2012.
- ^ Carr, David (April 22, 2012). “TV News Corrects Itself, Just Not on the Air”. The New York Times.
- ^ “NBC Station Fires Reporter For Making Similar Edit in George Zimmerman 911 Call – TVSpy”. Mediabistro.com. 2012-04-25. Retrieved 2013-06-30.
- ^ Robles, Frances (25 April 201). “NBC6 fires local reporter Jeff Burnside in editing of Zimmerman police call”. Miami Herald.
- ^ Stelter, Brian (April 6, 2012). “NBC Fires Producer of Misleading Zimmerman Tape”. The New York Times. Retrieved April 6, 2012.
- ^ “Today Show Luciano Report transcript, Mar 20, 2012, 0700 EST”. LexisNexis. NBC Company. March 20, 2012. Retrieved June 29, 2012.
- ^ Ariens, Chris. “Another Misleading Edit Costs Another NBC News Employee Her Job”. TVNewser.com. Retrieved May 3, 2012.
- ^ Mirkinson, Jack (May 3, 2012). “Lilia Luciano Fired By NBC News Over Botched George Zimmerman Edit”. The Huffington Post. Retrieved May 3, 2012.
- ^ “George Zimmerman sues NBC over edited 911 call”. Fox News Latino. Associated Press. December 6, 2012. Retrieved December 7, 2012.
- ^ Martinez, Michael. “George Zimmerman sues NBC Universal over edited 911 call”. CNN.com (Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.). Retrieved December 7, 2012.
- ^ “George Zimmerman sues NBC and reporters”. USA Today. Retrieved February 4, 2013.
- ^ a b Gutman, Matt (March 28, 2012). “Trayvon Martin Video Shows No Blood or Bruises on George Zimmerman”. ABC News. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
- ^ “Police surveillance video of Zimmerman may show head injury”, The Daily Caller, March 29, 2012
- ^ Matt Gutman (April 2, 2012). “George Zimmerman Video Shows Little Evidence of a Broken Nose, Doctor Claims”. Good Morning America. ABC News.
- ^ “Trayvon Martin: ABC enhances George Zimmerman video”, Orlando Sentinel, April 2, 2012
- Zimmerman Defense websites:
- Other George Zimmerman legal websites:
- Collected news and commentary
- Walk throughs and graphics of events leading up to the shooting:
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