Story 2: Obama’s and Clinton’s Failed Foreign Policy in Libya of Strategic Patience Leads To 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians Beheaded By Islamic Jihadist Terrorists — Islamic State — Videos
ISIS ISIL DAESH Libya video Beheadings of 21 Egyptian Christians Breaking news
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ISIS Video Shows Beheadings of 21 Egyptian Christians – Video
RAW VIDEO) SHOWS ISIS beheadings of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians
n a new propaganda video released Sunday by ISIS, the group claims to have beheaded over a dozen members of Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority on a Libyan beach.
The video shows an apparent mass execution with jihadists in black standing behind each of the victims, who are all are dressed in orange jumpsuits with their hands cuffed behind them.
The five-minute video, released by the terror group’s propaganda wing al-Hayat Media, includes a masked English-speaking jihadi who says, “The sea you have hidden Sheikh Osama bin Laden’s body in, we swear to Allah, we will mix it with your blood.”
The Egyptian government has yet to confirm the killings.
ISIS releases video claiming beheadings of Egyptian Coptic Christians
Isis claims abduction of 21 Christians in Libya
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“We’re going to take out seven countries in 5 years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran” –
General Wesley Clark. Retired 4-star U.S. Army general, Supreme Allied
Commander of NATO during the 1999 War on Yugoslavia
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ISIS BEHEADS 21 CHRISTIANS, PROMISES TO ‘CONQUER ROME, BY ALLAH’S PERMISSION’
The Islamic State terror group released a video on Sunday showing the Islamic jihadis beheading 21 Egyptian Christians who were previously kidnapped in Libya.
The Egyptian Copts, who were dressed in prisoner-like orange jump suits, were lined up along a beach and abruptly beheaded in the graphic five-minute video.
The Islamic State’s Al Hayat Media, the group that has published the previous beheading videos in the Middle East, produced the Libya video titled, “A Message Signed With Blood To The Nation Of The Cross.”
“All praise is due to Allah the strong and mighty,” said an ISIS jihadist dressed in military fatigues in American-accented English. “And may blessings and peace be upon the ones sent by the sword as a mercy to all the worlds,” he added.
The masked ISIS member continues:
Oh people, recently you have seen us on the hills of Al-Sham and Dabiq’s plain, chopping off the heads that have been carrying the cross for a long time, and today, we are on the south of Rome, on the land of Islam, Libya, sending another message.
All crusaders: safety for you will be only wishes especially if you are fighting us all together. Therefore we will fight you all together. The sea you have hidden Sheikh Osama bin Laden’s body in, we swear to Allah we will mix it with your blood.
After the ISIS leader finishes speaking, his fellow terrorists then commence the beheading of the 21 Egyptian Christians. “And we will conquer Rome, by Allah’s permission, the promise of our Prophet, peace be upon him,” The militant leader says after his comrades slaughter the Christian hostages.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi immediately brought in his national defense council after being notified about the brutal murder of the twenty-one Egyptians. “It is with deep sorrow that President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi mourns the Egyptian victims of an abhorrent act of terrorism in Libya and offers his deepest condolences to the Egyptian people for their grave loss,” said a statement from the Egyptian president’s office.
Libya has largely fallen into a state of civil war and complete lawlessness following the U.S.-led effort that ultimately deposed its late autocrat Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Islamist militias, some of which have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, have been fighting fierce battles against the forces of secular, anti-Islamist Libyan General Khalifa Haftar.
Today, the United States is stronger and better positioned to seize the opportunities of a still new century and safeguard our interests against the risks of an insecure world. The President’s new National Security Strategyprovides a vision and strategy for advancing the nation’s interests, universal values, and a rules-based international order through strong and sustainable American leadership. The strategy sets out the principles andpriorities that describe how America will lead the world toward greater peace and a new prosperity.
We will lead with purpose, guided by our enduring national interests and values and committed to advancing a balanced portfolio of priorities worthy of a great power.
We will lead with strength, harnessing a resurgent economy, increased energy security, an unrivaled military, and the talent and diversity of the American people.
We will lead by example, upholding our values at home and our obligations abroad.
We will lead with capable partners, mobilizing collective action and building partner capacity to address global challenges.
We will lead with all instruments of U.S. power, leveraging our strategic advantages in diplomacy, development, defense, intelligence, science and technology, and more.
We will lead with a long-term perspective, influencing the trajectory of major shifts in the security landscape today in order to secure our national interests in the future.
We will advance the security of the United States, its citizens, and U.S. allies and partners by:
Maintaining a national defense that is the best trained, equipped, and led force in the world while honoring our promises to service members, veterans, and their families.
Working with Congress to end the draconian cuts imposed by sequestration that threaten the effectiveness of our military and other instruments of power.
Reinforcing our homeland security to keep the American people safe from terrorist attacks and natural hazards while strengthening our national resilience.
Transitioning to a sustainable global security posture that combines our decisive capabilities with local partners and keeps pressure on al-Qa’ida, ISIL, and their affiliates.
Striving for a world without nuclear weapons and ensuring nuclear materials do not fall into the hands of irresponsible states and violent non-state actors.
Developing a global capacity to prevent, detect, and rapidly respond to biological threats like Ebola through the Global Health Security Agenda.
Confronting the urgent crisis of climate change, including through national emissions reductions, international diplomacy, and our commitment to the Green Climate Fund.
We will advance a strong, innovative, and growing U.S. economy in an open international economic system that promotes opportunity and prosperity by:
Strengthening American energy security and increasing global access to reliable and affordable energy to bolster economic growth and development worldwide.
Opening markets for U.S. goods, services, and investment and leveling the playing field for American workers and businesses to boost our economic competitiveness.
Advancing a trade agenda – including the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – that creates good American jobs and shared prosperity.
Leading efforts to reduce extreme poverty, food insecurity, and preventable deaths with initiatives such as Feed the Future and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.
Proving new sustainable development models like the President’s Power Africa Initiative.
We will advance respect for universal values at home and around the world by:
Holding ourselves to the highest possible standard by living our values at home even as we do what is necessary to keep our people safe and our allies secure.
Promoting and defending democracy, human rights, and equality while supporting countries such as Tunisia and Burma that are transitioning from authoritarianism.
Empowering future leaders of government, business, and civil society around the world, including through the President’s young leaders initiatives.
Leading the way in confronting the corruption by promoting adherence to standards of accountable and transparent governance.
Leading the international community to prevent and respond to human rights abuses and mass atrocities as well as gender-based violence and discrimination against LGBT persons.
We will advance an international order that promotes peace, security, and opportunity through stronger cooperation to meet global challenges by:
Working with partners to reinforce and update the rules of the road, norms, and institutions that are foundational to peace, prosperity, and human dignity in the 21st century.
Strengthening and growing our global alliances and partnerships, forging diverse coalitions, and leading at the United Nations and other multilateral organizations.
Rebalancing to Asia and the Pacific through increased diplomacy, stronger alliances and partnerships, expanded trade and investment, and a diverse security posture.
Strengthening our enduring commitment to a free and peaceful Europe by countering aggression and modernizing the NATO alliance to meet emerging threats.
Pursuing a stable Middle East and North Africa by countering terrorism, preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, and reducing the underlying sources of conflict.
Building upon the success of the U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit by investing in Africa’s economic, agricultural, health, governance, and security capacity.
Promoting a prosperous, secure, and democratic Western Hemisphere by expanding integration and leveraging a new opening to Cuba to expand our engagement.
Story 1: Historic Progressive Politicians and Media Snow Job — Man-Made Computer Model Consensus Weather Forecast Busted — Never Mind — Dallas Hits 75 Degrees — Blame It On Global Warming — Give Me A Break — It Is Called Winter, Stupid — Both Weather and Climates Change — Videos
Gilda Radner Miss Emily Litella
The Global Warming Hoax Explained for Dummies
ManBearPig, Climategate and Watermelons: A conversation with author James Delingpole
The World Weather Forecast
National Weather Service apologizes for blizzard forecast miss
Brenda Lee – I’m Sorry
I’m sorry, so sorry
That I was such a fool
I didn’t know
Love could be so cruel
Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-yesYou tell me mistakes
Are part of being young
But that don’t right
The wrong that’s been done(I’m sorry) I’m sorry
(So sorry) So sorry
Please accept my apology
But love is blind
And I was too blind toseeOh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-yesYou tell me mistakes
Are part of being young
But that don’t right
The wrong that’s been done
Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-yesI’m sorry, so sorry
Please accept my apology
But love was blind
And I was too blind to see(Sorry)
Winter Storm Juno How US reported blizzard
New York snow: Winter Storm Juno downgraded as ‘one of the largest snowstorms
Winter Storm JUNO 2015 : Blizzard for Historic New York City – RAW VIDEO Compilation
New York blizzard: Winter snow storm ‘Juno’ hits US East Coast, in pictures
A huge snowstorm has slammed into northeastern US, shutting down public transport, cancelling thousands of flights and leaving roads and streets deserted as snow blanketed an area that’s home to tens of millions of people. Authorities ordered drivers off the streets in New York and other cities like Boston in the face of a storm that forecasters warned could reach historic proportions, dumping up to three feet (up to a metre) of snow in some areas
Winter storm looms with record level snow threat; 7,700 flights canceled
Seven states on the Northeast are in watch mode as a potentially record-setting storm is churning up the coast, threatening to dump up to 3 feet of snow in parts and paralyze the region from Philadelphia to Maine.
More than 7,700 flights for Monday and Tuesday have been canceled as of Monday evening, with Boston’s Logan Airport and Providence’s T.F. Green Airport closed outright. Delays and the knock-on effects of stranded planes and lost connections will start hitting the entire nation’s air-travel system Tuesday.
Winter Storm Juno: Blizzard Warnings for New York City, Boston, Parts of 7 States; Potentially Historic Northeast Snowstorm Ahead
Millions of people in the Northeast are bracing for Winter Storm Juno, which threatens to become a major snowstorm Monday through Wednesday with the potential for blizzard conditions and more than 2 feet of snow.
The high confidence in forecast wind and snowfall led the National Weather Service to issue blizzard warnings well in advance of the storm. As of late Sunday evening, those warnings were posted from the New Jersey shore all the way to Downeast Maine, including the cities of New York City, Boston, Providence, Hartford and Portland. The warnings were scheduled to go into full force as early as noon Monday along the Jersey Shore. The aforementioned stretch of Northeast coast will be fully under blizzard warnings by sunrise Tuesday, unless some are downgraded before then. Most of the warnings are set to run through late Tuesday night.
Winter Storm Juno: A Pummeling for the History Books
The East Coast already looks like a snow globe thanks to winter storm Juno, but the worst is yet to come.
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a press conference Sunday, “This could be the biggest snowstorm in the history of this city.” The National Weather Service (NWS) and Weather Channel meteorologist Chris Dolce have both said the impending storm is “potentially historic.” So, what does historic mean, and how strong is this “potentially”? It depends on your definition, but this storm could be one for the record books, and not just in the highest-3 point-shooting-percentage-in-the-third-quarter-with-two-bench-players-on-the-court-on-a-Tuesday type of statistic.
Based on a new experimental forecast from the NWS, as of Monday morning there is an 80 percent chance that NYC will receive at least 12” of snow. Since record keeping in Central Park began in 1869, there have been 35 events exceeding a foot of snow, so 12″ wouldn’t be a big record. But there is a 62 percent chance for at least 18” of snow, and there have only been 11 events reaching that marker. Despite the seeming endlessness of last year’s winter, only one event (on February 13th and 14th) made the 12”+ snow event list for New York City. New York has only seen snowfall totals above two feet twice, first in December 1947 and more recently in February 2006.
To be recorded in official weather history, what matters most for NYC is the official snowfall in Central Park. This is where the longest period of record is for the city, so it’s what is used for most of the statistics on weather events. While the NWS is calling for 20-30″ in most areas around NYC, local bands of snow will likely cause several more inches in some places. Scientists have difficulty predicting where these bands will occur, but whether such a band forms over Central Park could be the difference between a nuisance-maker and a history-making nuisance.
Blizzard 2015 New York City, Brooklyn, Historic Northeast Blizzard
CNN’s Anderson Cooper looks at some of the biggest nor’easters to hit the East Coast.
Tens of millions of people in the Northeast hunkered down on Monday for a historic blizzard that was expected to drop more than 2 feet of snow, whipped around by winds approaching hurricane..
Blizzard 2015 Airports Begin to Close as Historic Northeast Blizzard NearsBLIZZARD ’15: THE LATEST Nearly 7000 flights have been cancelled. Amtrak has suspended Tuesday service between New.
Tens of millions of people in the Northeast hunkered down on Monday for a historic blizzard that was expected to drop more than 2 feet of snow, whipped around by winds approaching hurricane.
Meteorology 101 – UniversalClass Online Course
Jamie Cullum – What A Difference A Day Made
Dinah Washington ‘Difference-complete TV segment
Dinah Washington singing here with the Louis Jordan Band. This is the complete TV Show segment with Dinah singing ‘What A Difference A Day Made’ and ‘Making Whopee’. Louis and Ronald Reagan make the announcements and I love the way Louis calls him ‘Ronnie’! The show was dated March 8th 1960.
Gilda Radner – LIVE FROM NEW YORK!
Storm Fails To Live Up To Predictions In Some Areas As National Weather Service Meteorologist Apologizes
A howling blizzard with wind gusts over 70 mph heaped snow on Boston along with other stretches of lower New England and Long Island on Tuesday but failed to live up to the hype in Philadelphia and New York City, where buses and subways started rolling again in the morning.
Gary Szatkowski, meteorologist-in-charge at the National Weather Service in Mt. Holly, New Jersey, apologized on Twitter for the snow totals being cut back.
“My deepest apologies to many key decision makers and so many members of the general public,” Szatkowski tweeted. “You made a lot of tough decisions expecting us to get it right, and we didn’t. Once again, I’m sorry.”
Jim Bunker at the agency’s Mount Holly office said forecasters will take a closer look at how they handled the storm and “see what we can do better next time.”
In New England, the storm that arrived Monday evening was a bitter, paralyzing blast, while in the New York metro area, it was a bust that left forecasters apologizing and politicians defending their near-total shutdown on travel. Some residents grumbled, but others sounded a better-safe-than-sorry note and even expressed sympathy for the weatherman.
At least 2 feet of snow was expected in most of Massachusetts, potentially making it one of the top snowstorms of all time. The National Weather Service said a 78 mph gust was reported on Nantucket, and a 72 mph one on Martha’s Vineyard.
“It felt like sand hitting you in the face,” Bob Paglia said after walking his dog four times overnight in Whitman, a small town about 20 miles south of Boston.
Maureen Keller, who works at Gurney’s, an oceanfront resort in Montauk, New York, on the tip of Long Island, said: “It feels like a hurricane with snow.”
As of midmorning, the Boston area had 1½ feet of snow, while the far eastern tip of Long Island had more than 2 feet. Snowplows around New England struggled to keep up.
“At 4 o’clock this morning, it was the worst I’ve ever seen it,” said Larry Messier, a snowplow operator in Columbia, Connecticut. “You could plow, and then five minutes later you’d have to plow again.”
In Boston, police drove several dozen doctors and nurses to work at hospitals. Snow blanketed Boston Common, and drifts piled up against historic Faneuil Hall, where Samuel Adams and the Sons of Liberty stoked the fires of rebellion. Adjacent Quincy Market, usually bustling with tourists, was populated only by a few city workers clearing snow from the cobblestones.
As the storm pushed into the Northeast on Monday, the region came to a near standstill, alarmed by forecasters’ dire predictions. More than 7,700 flights were canceled, and schools, businesses and government offices closed.
But as the storm pushed northward, it tracked farther east than forecasters had been expecting, and conditions improved quickly in its wake. By midmorning Tuesday, New Jersey and New York City lifted driving bans, and subways and trains started rolling again, with a return to a full schedule expected Wednesday.
While Philadelphia, New York and New Jersey had braced for a foot or two of snow from what forecasters warned could be a storm of potentially historic proportions, they got far less than that. New York City received about 8 inches, Philadelphia a mere inch or so. New Jersey got up to 8 inches.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie defended his statewide ban on travel as “absolutely the right decision to make” in light of the dire forecast.
And New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who drew criticism last fall after suggesting meteorologists hadn’t foreseen the severity of an epic snowstorm in Buffalo, said this time: “Weather forecasters do the best they can, and we respond based to the best information that we have.”
In New York City, Susanne Payot, a cabaret singer whose rehearsal Tuesday was canceled, said the meager snowfall left her bemused: “This is nothing. I don’t understand why the whole city shut down because of this.”
Brandon Bhajan, a security guard at a New York City building, said he didn’t think officials had overreacted.
“I think it’s like the situation with Ebola … if you over-cover, people are ready and prepared, rather than not giving it the attention it needs,” he said
National Weather Service to evaluate work after missed call
A National Weather Service official says the agency will evaluate its storm modeling after a storm that was predicted to dump a foot or more of snow on many parts of New Jersey and the Philadelphia region delivered far less than that.
“You made a lot of tough decisions expecting us to get it right, and we didn’t. Once again, I’m sorry,” said meteorologist Gary Szatkowski of the NWS.
Jim Bunker, who leads the weather service’s observing program in the Mount Holly office, says the storm tracked a bit to the east of what forecasting models predicted.
Parts of Long Island and New England are getting slammed. But many parts of New Jersey received less than 4 inches.
Bunker says the agency will evaluate what happened to see how it can do better in the future.
Blame De Blasio and Cuomo and Christie for the Blizzard Snow Job
As politicians rushed to out-serious each other, New Yorkers were whipped into a fear frenzy.
Every modern event has a hashtag and this morning, as New York City takes stock of the #snowmageddon2015 that wasn’t, it’s turning to #snowperbole.
On Monday, as Governor Cuomo, Governor Christie, and Mayor de Blasio rushed to out-serious each other, New Yorkers were whipped into a fear frenzy. Supermarket shelves were stripped bare, photos of Whole Foods depleted of kale circulated, and people stocked up for what would likely be days (maybe weeks!) indoors.
Even as we were doing it, we acknowledged it didn’t make much sense. After all, we’re in New York City. Bodegas never close. Delivery guys on bicycles have been a constant through all previous winter storms. All New Yorkers have their stories. That time we ordered Chinese Food during the snowstorm of 1994. Swimming on Brighton Beach during Hurricane Gloria. Buying Poptarts at the corner bodega during Sandy. Driving from Manhattan to Brooklyn and back again during the blackout of 2003. Yes, those are all mine.
BLIZZARD 2015: HOW NEW YORKERS AND NEW ENGLANDERS SHARED PHOTOS
As we waited for the storm deemed “historic,” the only real history was made when the subway shut down for the first time ever in preparation for snow. The real insult came when it was reported later that the trains were indeed still running, empty, as trains needed to keep moving to clear the tracks. Citibike was shut down. Cars were banned from the roads and anyone who didn’t take heed risked being fined.
These are all symptoms of our infantilizing “do something!” culture. Everyone understands the pressure politicians feel to be seen as proactive. But this time they went way too far in the name of protecting us. It’s one thing to warn drivers that conditions are dangerous and that they go out at their own risk. It’s another to shut down all roads in the city that allegedly never sleeps.
The 11 p.m. curfew resulted in lost wages for delivery people who count on larger-than-usual tips during inclement weather. Why couldn’t they make their own decisions about working during the snow? Not everyone makes a salary the way our mayor and governor do. Many workers count on their hourly wage, and their tips, to make their rent each month.
The storm was a dud, but even if had been as severe as predicted, bringing a city like New York to a preemptive standstill makes little sense. The people who keep New York humming take the subway after 11pm and can decide for themselves whether to keep their businesses open. Preparedness doesn’t have to mean panic.
Warning, when you check out, be on the lookout for pickpockets.
The latest green movement cause du jour is the banning or taxing of disposable plastic and paper bags. These laws or city ordinances are designed to nudge or coerce customers to bring their own reusable tote bag when they shop for groceries and other merchandise.
A number of United States cities including Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Boulder, Austin and now unfortunately Dallas have either banned or taxed disposable plastic and/or paper bags or so-called “single-use carryout bags.” According to the Earth Policy Institute, over 20 million people are currently covered by 132 city and county plastic bag bans or fee ordinances in the U.S.
For decades most American and European businesses have provided their customers bags, at no additional charge, to carryout and transport their purchase. In the 1980s businesses began to give their customers a choice of paper or plastic.
On March 26, 2014, the Dallas City Council passed an 8 to 6 City Ordinance No. 29307. It requires business establishments that provide their customers “single-use carryout bags” to register with the city annually each location providing these bags and charge their customers an “environment fee” of 5 cents per bag to promote a “culture of clean” and “to protect the natural environment, the economy and the health of its residences.”
Give me a break. It is a new tax to raise millions in new tax revenue for the City of Dallas. Who are the elected Dallas-8 council member watermelons (green on the outside, red on the inside) that ordained this tax on the people and businesses of Dallas? The names of the Dallas-8 are Tennell Atkins, Carolyn R. Davis, Scott Griggs, Adam Medrano, Dwaine R. Caraway, Sandy Greyson, Philip T. Kingston, and Mayor Mike Rawlings.
The Dallas-8 are led by council member Caraway, who wanted to completely ban plastic and paper single-use carryout bags. Instead they decided to shake down Dallas businesses and their customers with a new highly regressive tax. Caraway refuses to call it a tax and claims the new ordinance which went in effect on January 1 is “a ban with a fee, such as other cities are doing across the United States.”
The eight-page ordinance includes the definition and standards that reusable carryout bags must satisfy: “A reusable carryout bag must meet the minimum reuse testing standard of 100 reuses carrying 16 pound.” Reusable bags may be made of cloth, washable fabric, durable materials, recyclable plastic with a minimum thickness of 4.0 mil or recyclable paper that contains a minimum of 40 percent recycled content.
All of the above reusable bags must have handles with the exception of small bags with a height of less than 14 inches and a width of less than 8 inches.
Business establishments can either provide or sell reusable carryout bags to its customer or to any person.
The city ordinance exempts some bags from the single-use carryout definition including:
Plastic bags used for produce, meats, nuts, grains and other bulk items inside grocery or other retail stores,
Single-use plastic bags used by restaurants to take away prepared food only where necessary to prevent moisture damage from soups, sauces, gravies or dressings,
Recyclable paper bags used by restaurants to take away prepared food,
Recyclable paper bags from pharmacies or veterinarians for prescription drugs,
Laundry, dry cleaning or garment bags,
Biodegradable door-hanger and newspaper bags, and
Bags for trash, yard debris and pet waste.
The Dallas 5 cent paper and plastic bag tax or environment fee applies only to single-use carryout bags defined as bags not meeting the requirements of a reusable bag.
Businesses that violate the ordinance can be fined up to a maximum of $500 per day.
Lee Califf, executive director of the American Progressive Bag Alliance, a bag manufacturing group, said “This legislation applies to a product that is less than 0.5 percent of municipal waste in the United States and typically less than 1 percent of litter in studies conducted across the country;” “Placing a fee on a product with such a minuscule contribution to the waste and litter streams will not help the environment: but it will cost Dallas consumers millions more per year on their grocery bills, while hurting small business and threatening the livelihoods of the 4,500 Texans who work in the plastic bag and recycling industry.”
Stop the shakedown of Dallas businesses and their customers. Repeal the inconvenient tax on paper and plastic disposable bags by voting out of office the Dallas-8 city council members who voted for this tax, Dwaine Caraway. Support your Texas state representatives in passing a new law that would prohibit cities such as Dallas and Austin from banning or taxing paper and plastic carryout bags.
On January 1, 2015, the Carryout Bag Ordinance will start in Dallas.
Are you ready?
Retailers offering single-use bags to customers must:
Register ELECTRONICALLYHERE; works best on Chrome or Firefox (if you need to register using a paper form via USPS, clickhere)
Assess a five-cent environmental fee for each single-use bag; the environmental fee is not subject to sales tax
Print total number of bags and fee on each receipt
Keep records available for inspectors
Post signs in controlled parking lots reminding customers to bring their bags
Post signs in the store, within six feet of each register, per the ordinance SAMPLE HERE
The full link to the Code Compliance carryout bag website, with forms and additional information, is here
Retailers offering only reusable bags, as defined by the ordinance, have different requirements.
All retailers should look at their operations and determine if their bags are single-use, reusable, or exempted from the single-use definition. Consult the full ordinance for all details pertaining to the ordinance and what is expected for each type of bag including thickness, language on the bag, durability, signage, and other considerations.
Customers, you are encouraged to bring your bagand keep your change.Single-use carryout bags have a five-cent per bag environmental fee. A single-use bag can be paper or plastic.Reusable bags do not have the environmental fee, though stores may charge you to offset costs. Reusable bags stores offer can be made from cloth or other washable woven materials, recyclable paper, or recyclable plastic so long as they meet certain requirements. However, any bag you bring with you to use is considered reusable since you are reusing it.There are some bags that are exempted from the single-use bag definition:
Laundry, dry cleaning or garment bags;
Biodegradable door-hanger and newspaper bags;
Bags for trash, yard debris or pet waste;
Plastic bags used for produce, meats, nuts, grains and other bulk items inside grocery or other retail stores;
Recyclable paper bags from pharmacies or veterinarians for prescription drugs; and,
Recyclable paper bags used by restaurants to take away prepared food.
Single-use plastic bags used by restaurants to take away prepared food only where necessary to prevent moisture damage from soups, sauces, gravies or dressings.
Remember to recycle the bags you can recycle appropriately.
Many wonder why the City passed this ordinance. The Dallas City Council passed the ordinance to help improve the environment and keep our city clean. The City is currently spending nearly $4 million dollars to remove litter from our community to keep it beautiful and thriving.
The Carryout Bag ordinance is intended to encourage shoppers to use reusable bags to carry goods from stores, restaurants, and other locations to reduce the number of bags that can end up loose in the environment as litter.
To help you understand, we have created this list of frequently asked question.
The carryout bag ordinance outlines the City’s “desire to protect the natural environment, the economy and the health of its residents,” and the “negative impact on the environment caused by improper disposal of single-use carryout bags.” The Dallas City Council approved the ordinance on March 26, 2014.
The ordinance takes effect on January 1, 2015.
Retailers and customers should be ready and know all the details. This website and the City’s Code Compliance Services website have details to help retailers prepare. The links to the Code website on DallasCityHall.com are below.
Some are still unclear how the ordinance may impact them.
Businesses will have to register each location with the City in order to offer single-use bags. No registration is necessary if a business is only offering reusable bags or bags that are exempted from the single-use bag definition in the ordinance. Businesses must be registered before distributing single-use carryout bags starting January 1, 2015. Businesses are required to collect a five-cent environmental fee for every single-use bag used by a customer.
Customers will be charged a five-cent environmental fee for each single-use bag, paper or plastic, they receive from retailers. Again, reusable bags and bags exempted from the definition of single-use bags do not carry the environmental fee. You can avoid the environmental fee by bringing your own bags with you. The five cent fee assessed for the single-use bag is not subject to sales tax.
Will I still be able to get plastic carryout bags?
Yes, provided your retailer chooses to offer them and collect the environmental fee.
Can I bring my own reusable bags to carry out items I purchased?
Yes. Customers are encouraged to bring their own reusable bags to carry out their items instead of paying the five-cent environmental fee per single-use plastic or paper bag.
If I reuse a single-use carryout bag, will I have to pay the fee again?
Whatever bag you bring — tote bag, golf bag, diaper bag, satchel, purse, or produce bag — if you bring it with you to reuse, you do not have to pay the environmental fee.
Where does the money go?
A portion of the fees will be used to pay for enforcement of the ordinance and for public education efforts. Stores keep 10 percent of the five-cent fee to help offset administrative costs.
Does this ordinance apply to all businesses?
All retailers that offer single-use carryout bags in Dallas are subject to this ordinance.
What about non-profits or charities?
If the non-profit or charity offers food, groceries, clothing, or other household items free of charge to clients, they may still use single-use carryout bags for the specific function of distributing those items. However, the ordinance will apply to any bags used at the point of sale for any goods sold through the non-profit or charity.
Additionally, any non-profit or charity that collects goods for donation from the public or which leaves informational material for the public must be sure any door-hanger bags left for collecting those goods or providing that informational material are biodegradable.
Does the ordinance include all bags?
The ordinance applies to single-use paper or plastic carryout bags used by businesses as defined in the ordinance language.
What if businesses don’t follow the ordinance?
Businesses that violate the ordinance could face fines of up to $500 per day.
How will the ordinance be enforced?
City Code Compliance inspectors will respond to complaints and provide proactive enforcement.
How can the City know if businesses aren’t complying with the law? Will they be doing more inspections?
There will be proactive enforcement and periodic audits. Additionally, the City will respond to complaints from residents.
Will the ban on single-use bags at city facilities apply to retailers at American Airlines Center, city museums, the Omni Dallas Hotel, and Fair Park?
Yes. The City Attorney’s Office will work with Code Enforcement to determine which facilities are affected and how.
Whom should I contact if I have additional questions?
Call 3-1-1, the Office of Environmental Quality, Code Compliance or email us email@example.com.
NEW⇒ Where can I find the forms? Forms and more information are available on the Code Compliance website dedicated to the Carryout Bag Ordinance here.
But beginning January 1 retailers will have to charge customers who want them “an environmental fee” of five cents per bag, and they will get to keep 10 percent of that money. The ordinance also says retailers who want to keep handing out plastic and paper bags will have to register with the city and keep track of bags sold.
The city says the money raised from the bag fees will help go toward funding enforcement and education efforts that assistant city manager Jill Jordan told the council could cost around $250,000 and necessitate the hiring of up to 12 additional staff members.
Wednesday’s vote came a year after council member Dwaine Caraway asked the city attorney to draft an ordinance that completely banned the bag. The council member says the ordinance passed today was a compromise born out of “a fair process” that included environmentalists, bag manufactures and retailers. Several of his colleagues wanted to send the proposed ordinances back to committee for further debate. But Caraway wanted a vote now.
“You get to a point where it’s time to make decisions, decisions that will have a great impact on the city of Dallas and our environmental status … and the beautification of our city,” he said. The process has “been pretty tough. it’s been back and forth. We listened and listened fairly.”
But six of his colleagues disagreed: Sheffie Kadane said the fee-based ban will result in a lawsuit from retailers and manufacturers. Rick Callahan called it a “government intrusion.” Jennifer Staubach Gates said it wouldn’t do any good, because in five years the reusable bags supported by the environmentalists will end up in landfills too. And Jerry Allen said the three options being considered by council, including a full-out ban, represented “a lack of clear conviction,” which he found disappointing.
And then there was Lee Kleinman, who on Friday indicated he supported the fee-based ordinance. Five days later he’d changed his mind and said he no longer cared what happened in his colleagues’ districts.
“I would personally probably stay more focused on my own district, which does not have the same trash problems as others,” he said, to the amazement of some of his southern sector colleagues. “Why should I care if someone is shopping like at Southwest Center Mall and they want a plastic bag? If people in that community are satisfied with the conditions around that mall, why should I utilize my position in North Dallas to improve those conditions? I should just focus my energies on North Dallas redevelopment projects and not help another improve quality of life in other areas of the city.”
That entire speech is above, thanks to my colleague Scott Goldstein.
Vonciel Jones Hill, who has said in the past she opposes any ban or bag tax, was no present for today’s vote. Monica Alonzo also voted against it, but said nothing.
In a statement released following the vote, the American Progressive Bag Alliance said it’s “a move that will fail to accomplish any environmental goals while jeopardizing 4,500 Texas jobs and hurting consumers.”
Its executive director, Lee Califf, said in a statement that “the vote to approve a 5-cent plastic and paper grocery bag fee in Dallas is another example of environmental myths and junk science driving poor policy in the plastic bag debate.”
But it’s not clear if the state will allow Dallas’ new bag “ban” — or bag tax, more appropriately.
Attorney General Greg Abbott is going to weigh in on the legality of bag bans, following a request by state Rep. Dan Flynn of Canton on behalf of the Texas Retailers Association. Jerry Allen asked Dallas City Attorney Warren Ernst if the state allows bag bans.
“We are ready to defend that position,” Ernst said. “If it’s the will of the council to pass the ordinance, we’ll defend that as a legal action by the city.”
Allen was not convinced, insisting “there’s a tremendous amount of uncertainty.” Ernst appeared to agree.
Those council members opposed to the ordinance said Dallas needs to do a better job of enforcing its litter laws. Jordan told the council that the city spends $4 million annually on trash pick-up, “and we still have litter.”
In the end, said council member Scott Griggs, “this is just one step. We tackle the bags then we can move on to Styrofoam and other issues that cause trash. This is a large elephant we’ll have to take on as a city and a council.”
Kroger’s Gary Huddleston, also of the Texas Retailers Association, shared a hug with Dwaine Caraway following today’s council vote.
Following the vote, Gary Huddleston, head of the Texas Retailers Association, said he wasn’t sure whether his organization would sue the city. He noted that they are awaiting the attorney general’s ruling on the legality of a fee.
“It will affect the retailers in the city of Dallas and it will affect our customers,” Huddleston said. “They’ll have to pay for their paper and plastic bags or they bring in their reusable bags.”
“We personally believe the solution to litter in the city of Dallas is a strong recycling program and also punishing the people that litter and not punishing the retailer,” Huddleston said.
The fee means that businesses will have to institute additional programming and training in order to enforce ordinance and track the fees. Customers will “have to pay a nickel a bag, whereas maybe they use that nickel to buy more product in my store.”
But Huddleston’s concerns didn’t stop him from hugging Caraway outside chambers. The two men smiled and embraced in front of television cameras.
The council member said he was pleased with the result of more than a year of work. He refused to call the fee a “tax.”
“It’s a ban with a fee, such as other cities are doing across the United States,” Caraway said.
He said it’s important for residents to know the ban does not cover a variety of bags, such as those in the produce section of grocery stores or at restaurants
“Folks need to understand that these are single-use carryout bags,” Caraway said. “These are simply those thin, flimsy bags that take flight and that are undesirable and bad for the environment.”
Staff writer Scott Goldstein contributed to this report.
Dallas Will Charge Fees for Plastic Bag Use
By Josh Ault and Ken Kalthoff
The City of Dallas has implemented new rules for plastic grocery bags, imposing a 5 cent fee on single-use plastic or paper grocery bags. The rules go into effect in January. (Published Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014)
Thursday, Mar 27, 2014 • Updated at 5:56 AM CST
The Dallas City Council has passed a proposal ordering retailers to charge a fee for one-time use plastic bags while partially banning them from city-owned facilities.
In a 8-6 vote, the council passed the ordinance requiring retailers to charge customers a $0.05 fee if they request single-use plastic or paper bags.
Dallas Plastic Bag Ban Vote Wednesday[DFW] Dallas Plastic Bag Ban Vote Wednesday
The Dallas City Council is expected to vote on plastic bag ban issue on Wednesday. (Published Monday, Mar 24, 2014)
Dallas City Councilman Dwaine Caraway accepted the compromise of a bag fee after spending a year fighting for a ban on single-use bags.
“This is an opportunity for us to clean our city, to clean our environment and to move forward, and to be like the other cities across the country and around the world,” Caraway said.
Zac Trahan with Texas Campaign for The Environment said Austin and eight smaller Texas cities have taken stronger action by banning single-use bags, but he still supported the Dallas regulations.
“It’s still a step in the right direction because it will still result in a huge reduction in the number of bags that will be distributed,” he said.
The ordinance also requires those retailers to register with the city and track the number of single-use bags sold.
The retailer would keep 10 percent of the environmental fee with the remainder going to the city to fund enforcement and education efforts.
Lee Califf, the executive director of the bag manufacturers’ group American Progressive Bag Alliance, released the following statement after the ordinance was passed.
“The vote to approve a 5-cent plastic and paper grocery bag fee in Dallas is another example of environmental myths and junk science driving poor policy in the plastic bag debate. This legislation applies to a product that is less than 0.5% of municipal waste in the United States and typically less than 1% of litter in studies conducted across the country. The City Council rushed through a flawed bill to appease its misguided sponsor, despite the fact that 70% of Dallas residents opposed this legislation in a recent poll.
“Placing a fee on a product with such a minuscule contribution to the waste and litter streams will not help the environment; but it will cost Dallas consumers millions more per year on their grocery bills, while hurting small businesses and threatening the livelihoods of the 4,500 Texans who work in the plastic bag manufacturing and recycling industry. Councilman Caraway may view this vote as a victory for his political career, but there are no winners with today’s outcome.”
Several Council Members opposed any new restrictions.
Rick Callahan said grocery bags are only a small part of the Dallas litter problem and better recycling education is needed.
“Banning something or adding a fee, putting more regulation on business is not the answer,” Callahan said.
The ordinance does ban single-use plastic or paper bags at city-owned facilities and events.
It still allows distributing multi-use, or stronger, paper or plastic bags for free so stores can get around charging the fee by offering better bags.
The ordinance goes into effect Jan. 1, 2015.
After more than a year of considering a ban on disposable shopping bags, the Dallas City Council voted instead last week to impose a 5-cent “environmental fee” on each bag.
In previous columns, Steve Blow had opposed a ban, while Jacquielynn Floyd had supported it. Today, they debate the council’s new approach.
Steve: Leave it to the Dallas City Council to take a bad idea and find a way to make it worse. I thought a ban on shopping bags was a bad idea, but slapping a new tax on Dallas shoppers is even more pointless.
This isn’t just a new tax, it’s a new mini-bureaucracy at City Hall. There’s talk of hiring 12 new people to run the program. And I’m sure someone is already writing a job description for a Deputy Junior Assistant City Manager for Retail Packaging Assessment and Oversight.
Good grief. I had little faith that a ban would accomplish much. I’m even more dubious about a bag tax — except as a tool of government growth.
Jacquielynn: Dude, it’s a nickel. Nobody’s getting taxed into bankruptcy here.
I hope, in fact, that this modest 5 cents is enough to assign at least minimal value to these awful bags. The reason they end up on fences, in fields and as tree garbage is that they’re so free and plentiful.
Almost everybody collects them every day — yet they have virtually no value. It’s human nature to take something for free, then toss it or lose track if you don’t need it.
Like it or not, this is the direction cities are headed. Los Angeles has had a ban in effect for more than a year. New York and Chicago are talking about either banning or limiting plastic bags.
I don’t think this is a case of forcing people to bow to the authoritarian rule of government overlords — we’re asking for a very minor change in their habits. It makes environmental sense, like other conservation and recycling measures that have become routine.
Steve: They don’t end up as litter because they’re free and plentiful. They end up as litter because a few dopes among us litter. A nickel is not going to transform those dopes into responsible citizens. Anyone careless with trash is not going to suddenly become careful with 5-cent trash.
On a fundamental level, this issue chaps my inner libertarian. I don’t think “government regulation” is automatically a dirty word. But I firmly believe the need must be obvious and compelling before we add more regulation.
Jack, you may be fixated on plastic bags as you drive around, but I promise they make up a small percentage of the litter that’s out there. I see more cups than anything. Will we be required to carry around reusable cups next? Or pay a cups tax?
Jacquielynn: Steve, I agree that clueless dolts dump all kinds of garbage, from burger wrappers to moldy old sofas.
Plastic bags are a particular problem, though, for the very qualities that make them such a successful consumer product: They’re cheap, durable, lightweight and water-resistant. They’re mobile, easily blown into trees, creeks, fences and even for miles out into rural areas. A farmer who lives outside Dallas told me this week he hates plastic bags because when they land on his property, baby calves can choke on them.
Most of us don’t have calf problems, but the bags’ weightlessness makes them vulnerable to any breeze. Even if they’re responsibly discarded, they’ll blow out of open trash cans, trucks, you name it.
They’re not just a blight — they’re a highly contagious blight.
Steve: Oh, c’mon. How am I supposed to rebut choking baby calves?
I will point out that Washington, D.C., has a real paradox on its hands. It implemented a 5-cent fee on disposable bags in 2010. And in a survey last year, residents reported using 60 percent fewer bags.
But get this: Tax revenue from the bags has been going up, not down as was expected. The city had originally projected to collect $1.05 million in fiscal 2013. Instead, bag fees topped $2 million.
The dollars don’t lie. More bags are being used after four years. Sure, some people will switch to reusable bags. But this sure isn’t going to make plastic bags disappear. Is a regressive new tax really worth it?
Jacquielynn: I’d be happy to sidestep the entire “tax” issue by banning bags outright. If you want groceries, make sure you have a way to get them home.
But if cities aren’t ready to take that step, and they actually see a windfall out of bag taxes, maybe that should be dedicated to cleanup efforts.
Ideally, though, stores wouldn’t have the things at all. They can make boxes available (a la Costco). They can sell heavier plastic multiple-use bags for 25 or 50 cents. Shoppers buying just one or two items could learn to use the flexible appendages at the ends of their arms to carry stuff away.
The mail I’ve received from angry readers makes it plain that a lot of people loathe this plan, whether you call it a ban or a tax.
But I just don’t think we’re asking for a dramatic change in the way we live our lives. If we don’t stop assuming that everything we send to the landfill magically disappears, the landfill is going to start coming to us. Do you really want to live in a city that has garbage in the trees?
Steve: No, it’s not a drastic change. Just a needless one. And I’m looking out my office window at six or seven trees with nary a bag in sight. Except for a few spots, the litter problem has been overblown.
I just wish we had tried a major public-awareness campaign before imposing more taxes and more regulation. 1. Recycle bags where you get them. 2. Try reusable bags. 3. Don’t litter, you dope.
Jacquielynn: On those points, we’re in wholehearted agreement.
Don’t bag it. Butt out. That’s the message Wednesday to Attorney General Greg Abbott from supporters of efforts to ban the use of plastic bags in Texas. The Attorney General has been asked to determine whether or not city ordinances like the one in Austin go too far and violate state law. While Abbott was told to back off, the state lawmaker who asked the Attorney General to get involved explained why he made the request.
It’s no longer legal in Austin for a retailer to provide customers with plastic bags. Wednesday, those who want to keep the bag ban on the books gathered at the state capitol to send a message.
“We call on the Attorney General today to keep his nose out of local government’s business of protecting the health of their residents and local communities, and leave well enough alone,” said Robin Schneider who is the Executive Director of Texas Campaign for the Environment.
The group is filing a legal brief to convince the Attorney General that cities in Texas have the Home-Rule authority to out-law plastic bags. Austin is among nearly a dozen towns that have passed bag ban ordinances. Wednesday is the deadline to weigh in before the Attorney General issues an opinion. The question is whether or not a municipal ban violates the state health and safety code.
The state lawmaker who requested the legal opinion, state Rep. Dan Flynn (R) Vann said his concern is not necessarily about the use of plastic bags but about the perceived abuse of power.
“The last this particular law was looked at was about 20 years ago,” said Rep. Flynn.
The Republican from Van heads up a House Committee created to make government more transparent. According to Flynn, he made the request for a legal opinion after getting several calls asking for clarification.
“It’s not about Austin, it’s all about state authority and the power grab by some cities over state law, that’s just about the easiest way to say it.”
When a ban on plastic bags was approved in Austin, the lack of a similar, free, option spurred much of the opposition. Shoppers are required to buy their own reusable cloth of thick plastic bags. Some stores in Austin do provide paper bags but typically charge for them,” said Flynn.
“They’re not charging in Fort Stockton,” said Darren Hodges, Mayor Pro Tem of that west Texas town.
The Fort Stockton city council worked with local retailers before being one of the first to pass a ban. According to Hodges, free biodegradable bags are offered to Fort Stockton shoppers. That kind of option, he agreed, could help reduce back lash in communities considering similar action.
“It’s best to get with your big bag people and work with them on something that they can live with, at least get everyone involved in the process and see if you can move forward,” said Hodges.
An A.G. ruling against bag bans will not strike down any ordinance. It could provide a legal foot-hold for any group that takes a city to court.
The Dallas city council, earlier Wednesday, considered its own bag ban. Instead of out-lawing them, in a close vote, the Dallas council passed an environmental fee ordinance, which is essentially a new tax.
Starting next year shoppers in Dallas will be charged 5-cents for every plastic and paper bag that they use.
In reaction to the Dallas council vote, the American Progressive Bag Alliance issued the following statement:
“The vote to approve a 5-cent plastic and paper grocery bag fee in Dallas is another example of environmental myths and junk science driving poor policy in the plastic bag debate. This legislation applies to a product that is less than 0.5% of municipal waste in the United States and typically less than 1% of litter in studies conducted across the country. The City Council rushed through a flawed bill to appease its misguided sponsor, despite the fact that 70% of Dallas residents opposed this legislation in a recent poll.”
Los Angeles rang in the 2014 New Year with a ban on the distribution of plastic bags at the checkout counter of big retailers, making it the largest of the 132 cities and counties around the United States with anti-plastic bag legislation. And a movement that gained momentum in California is going national. More than 20 million Americans live in communities with plastic bag bans or fees. Currently 100 billion plastic bags pass through the hands of U.S. consumers every year—almost one bag per person each day. Laid end-to-end, they could circle the equator 1,330 times. But this number will soon fall as more communities, including large cities like New York and Chicago, look for ways to reduce the plastic litter that blights landscapes and clogs up sewers and streams.
While now ubiquitous, the plastic bag has a relatively short history. Invented in Sweden in 1962, the single-use plastic shopping bag was first popularized by Mobil Oil in the 1970s in an attempt to increase its market for polyethylene, a fossil-fuel-derived compound. Many American customers disliked the plastic bag when it was introduced in 1976, disgusted by the checkout clerks having to lick their fingers when pulling the bags from the rack and infuriated when a bag full of groceries would break or spill over. But retailers continued to push for plastic because it was cheaper and took up less space than paper, and now a generation of people can hardly conceive of shopping without being offered a plastic bag at the checkout counter.
The popularity of plastic grocery bags stems from their light weight and their perceived low cost, but it is these very qualities that make them unpleasant, difficult, and expensive to manage. Over one third of all plastic production is for packaging, designed for short-term use. Plastic bags are made from natural gas or petroleum that formed over millions of years, yet they are often used for mere minutes before being discarded to make their way to a dump or incinerator—if they don’t blow away and end up as litter first. The amount of energy required to make 12 plastic bags could drive a car for a mile.
In landfills and waterways, plastic is persistent, lasting for hundreds of years, breaking into smaller pieces and leaching out chemical components as it ages, but never fully disappearing. Animals that confuse plastic bags with food can end up entangled, injured, or dead. Recent studies have shown that plastic from discarded bags actually soaks up additional pollutants like pesticides and industrial waste that are in the ocean and delivers them in large doses to sea life. The harmful substances then can move up the food chain to the food people eat. Plastics and the various additives that they contain have been tied to a number of human health concerns, including disruption of the endocrine and reproductive systems, infertility, and a possible link to some cancers.
California—with its long coastline and abundant beaches where plastic trash is all too common—has been the epicenter of the U.S. movement against plastic bags. San Francisco was the first American city to regulate their use, starting with a ban on non-compostable plastic bags from large supermarkets and chain pharmacies in 2007. As part of its overall strategy to reach “zero waste” by 2020 (the city now diverts 80 percent of its trash to recyclers or composters instead of landfills), it extended the plastic bag ban to other stores and restaurants in 2012 and 2013. Recipients of recycled paper or compostable bags are charged at least 10ȼ, but—as is common in cities with plastic bag bans—bags for produce or other bulk items are still allowed at no cost. San Francisco also is one of a number of Californian cities banning the use of polystyrene (commonly referred to as Styrofoam) food containers, and it has gone a step further against disposable plastic packaging by banning sales of water in plastic bottles in city property.
All told, plastic bag bans cover one-third of California’s population. Plastic bag purchases by retailers have reportedly fallen from 107 million pounds in 2008 to 62 million pounds in 2012, and bag producers and plastics manufacturers have taken note. Most of the ordinances have faced lawsuits from plastics industry groups like the American Chemistry Council (ACC). Even though the laws have largely held up in the courts, the threat of legal action has deterred additional communities from taking action and delayed the process for others.
Ironically, were it not for the intervention of the plastics industry in the first place, California would likely have far fewer outright plastic bag bans. Instead, more communities might have opted for charging a fee per bag, but this option was prohibited as part of industry-supported state-wide legislation in 2006 requiring Californian grocery stores to institute plastic bag recycling programs. Since a first attempt in 2010, California has come close to introducing a statewide ban on plastic bags, but well-funded industry lobbyists have gotten in the way. A new bill will likely go up for a vote in 2014 with the support of the California Grocers Association as well as state senators who had opposed an earlier iteration.
Seattle’s story is similar. In 2008 the city council passed legislation requiring groceries, convenience stores, and pharmacies to charge 20ȼ for each one-time-use bag handed out at the cash register. A $1.4 million campaign headed by the ACC stopped the measure via a ballot initiative before it went into effect, and voters rejected the ordinance in August 2009. But the city did not give up. In 2012 it banned plastic bags and added a 5ȼ fee for paper bags. Attempts to gather signatures to repeal this have been unsuccessful. Eleven other Washington jurisdictions have also banned plastic bags, including the state capital, Olympia. (See database of U.S. plastic bag initiatives and a timeline history.)
A number of state governments have entertained proposals for anti-plastic bag legislation, but not one has successfully applied a statewide charge or banned the bags. Hawaii has a virtual state prohibition, as its four populated counties have gotten rid of plastic bags at grocery checkouts, with the last one beginning enforcement in July 2015. Florida, another state renowned for its beaches, legally preempts cities from enacting anti-bag legislation. The latest attempt to remove this barrier was scrapped in April 2014, although state lawmakers say they will revisit the proposal later in the year.
Opposition to plastic bags has emerged in Texas, despite the state accounting for 44 percent of the U.S. plastics market and serving as the home to several important bag manufacturers, including Superbag, one of America’s largest. Eight cities and towns in the state have active plastic bag bans, and others, like San Antonio, have considered jumping on the bandwagon. Austin banned plastic bags in 2013, hoping to reduce the more than $2,300 it was spending each day to deal with plastic bag trash and litter. The smaller cities of Fort Stockton and Kermit banned plastic bags in 2011 and 2013, respectively, after ranchers complained that cattle had died from ingesting them. Plastic bags have also been known to contaminate cotton fields, getting caught up in balers and harming the quality of the final product. Plastic pollution in the Trinity River Basin, which provides water to over half of all Texans, was a compelling reason for Dallas to pass a 5ȼ fee on plastic bags that will go into effect in 2015.
Washington, D.C., was the first U.S. city to require food and alcohol retailers to charge customers 5ȼ for each plastic or paper bag. Part of the revenue from this goes to the stores to help them with the costs of implementation, and part is designated for cleanup of the Anacostia River. Most D.C. shoppers now routinely bring their own reusable bags on outings; one survey found that 80 percent of consumers were using fewer bags and that over 90 percent of businesses viewed the law positively or neutrally.
Montgomery County in Maryland followed Washington’s example and passed a 5ȼ charge for bags in 2011. A recent study that compared shoppers in this county with those in neighboring Prince George’s County, where anti-bag legislation has not gone through, found that reusable bags were seven times more popular in Montgomery County stores. When bags became a product rather than a freebie, shoppers thought about whether the product was worth the extra nickel and quickly got into the habit of bringing their own bags.
One strategy of the plastics industry—concerned about declining demand for its products—is an attempt to change public perception of plastic bags by promoting recycling. Recycling, however, is also not a good long-term solution. The vast majority of plastic bags—97 percent or more in some locales—never make it that far. Even when users have good intentions, bags blow out of outdoor collection bins at grocery stores or off of recycling trucks. The bags that reach recycling facilities are the bane of the programs: when mixed in with other recyclables they jam and damage sorting machines, which are very costly to repair. In San Jose, California, where fewer than 4 percent of plastic bags are recycled, repairs to bag-jammed equipment cost the city about $1 million a year before the plastic bag ban went into effect in 2012.
Proposed plastic bag restrictions have been shelved in a number of jurisdictions, including New York City, Philadelphia, and Chicago, in favor of bag recycling programs. New York City may, however, move ahead with a bill proposed in March 2014 to place a city-wide 10ȼ fee on single-use bags. Chicago is weighing a plastic bag ban.
In their less than 60 years of existence, plastic bags have had far-reaching effects. Enforcing legislation to limit their use challenges the throwaway consumerism that has become pervasive in a world of artificially cheap energy. As U.S. natural gas production has surged and prices have fallen, the plastics industry is looking to ramp up domestic production. Yet using this fossil fuel endowment to make something so short-lived, which can blow away at the slightest breeze and pollutes indefinitely, is illogical—particularly when there is a ready alternative: the reusable bag.
A Short History of the Plastic Bag: Selected Dates of Note in the United States and Internationally
Polyethylene is discovered by scientists at Imperial Chemical Industries, a British company.
Total global plastics production stands at less than 2 million metric tons.
Sten Thulin’s 1962 invention of the T-shirt bag, another name for the common single-use plastic shopping bag, is patented by Swedish company Celloplast.
Mobil Oil introduces the plastic bag to the United States. To recognize the U.S. Bicentennial, the bag’s designs are in red, white, and blue.
Safeway and Kroger, two of the biggest U.S. grocery chains, start to switch from paper to plastic bags.
Plastic bags already account for over 80 percent of the market in much of Europe, with paper holding on to the remainder. In the United States, the percentages are reversed.
The half-million-member-strong General Federation of Women’s Clubs starts a U.S.-wide letter writing campaign to grocers raising concerns about the negative environmental effects of plastic bags.
Plastic bag usage estimated to catch up to paper in U.S. groceries.
Maine passes a law requiring retailers to only hand out plastic bags if specifically requested; this is replaced in 1991 by a statewide recycling initiative.
The small Massachusetts island of Nantucket bans retail plastic bags.
Denmark begins taxing retailers for plastic bags.
Four of every five grocery bags used in the United States are made of plastic.
Captain Charles Moore discovers the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” in the remote North Pacific, where plastic is estimated to outweigh zooplankton six to one, drawing global attention to the accumulation of plastics in the ocean.
Mumbai, India, bans plastic bags, with limited enforcement.
Global plastics production tops 200 million metric tons.
Ireland becomes the first country to tax consumers’ use of plastic bags directly.
Bangladesh becomes the first country to ban plastic bags. Bags had been blamed for exacerbating flooding.
Italy begins efforts to pass a national ban on plastic bags; due to industry complaints and legal issues, these efforts are ongoing.
San Francisco becomes the first U.S. city to ban plastic grocery bags, later expanding to all retailers and restaurants.
The ACC spends $5.7 million on lobbying in California, much of it to oppose regulations on plastic bags.
China’s plastic bag ban takes effect before Beijing hosts the Olympic Games.
Rwanda passes a national ban on plastic bags.
Plastics overtake paper and paperboard to become the number one discarded material in the U.S. waste stream.
Hong Kong’s levy on plastic bags takes effect in chains, large groceries, and other more sizable stores; it is later expanded to all retailers.
Seattle’s attempt to impose a 20ȼ fee on both paper and plastic bags is defeated before it can take effect by a referendum financed largely by the American Chemistry Council (ACC).
Madison, Wisconsin, mandates that households recycle plastic bags rather than disposing of them with their trash.
Washington, D.C., begins requiring all stores that sell food or alcohol to charge 5ȼ for plastic and paper checkout bags.
Major bag producer Hilex Poly spends over $1 million in opposition to a proposed statewide plastic bag ban in California.
Plastic bags appear in the Guinness World Records as the world’s “most ubiquitous consumer item.”
In Oregon, Portland’s ban on plastic bags at major groceries and certain big-box stores begins.
Honolulu County approves a plastic bag ban (to go into effect in July 2015), completing a de facto state-wide ban in Hawaii.
Seattle’s plastic bag ban takes effect nearly three years after the first tax attempt failed.
A bag ban takes effect in Austin, TX.
During the Ocean Conservancy’s 2013 Coastal Cleanup event, more than 1 million plastic bags were picked up from coasts and waterways around the world.
Los Angeles becomes the largest U.S. city to ban plastic bags.
Members of the European Parliament back new rules requiring member countries to cut plastic bag use 50 percent by 2017 and 80 percent by 2019.
Over 20 million people are covered under 132 city and county plastic bag bans or fee ordinances in the United States.
Selected Plastic Bag Regulations in the United States
Boulder grocery stores charge 10ȼ for plastic and paper bags. The city’s reasons for applying the fee to both were that plastic bags are difficult to recycle and paper bag production is also energy- and water-intensive. Stores keep 4ȼ and the rest of the money goes to the city to cover administrative costs, to provide residents with free reusable bags, and to otherwise minimize the impacts of bag waste. Just six months after the fee began in 2013, the city announced that bag use had dropped by 68 percent.
The Chicago City Council has visited the idea of limiting plastic bags giveaways several times over the last six years. In 2008 a proposed bag ban was rejected in favor of a bag recycling program. A bill banning plastic bags at most retailers is under consideration.
Plastic bags and bottles make up about 40 percent of all the trash in the Trinity River that provides water to over half of all Texans, including those living in Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston, according to estimates by Peter Payton, Executive Director of Groundwork Dallas, a group that does monthly cleanups in the watershed. In March 2014, a 5ȼ fee on plastic and paper bags at all grocery and retail stores, along with a ban on plastic bags at all city events, facilities, and properties, was approved by the City Council. It will go into effect in January 2015. Nine tenths of the revenue generated from bag sales will go to the city.
In April 2012, Honolulu County joined the counties of Maui, Kauai, and Hawaii in banning non-biodegradable plastic bags. This amounts to a de facto statewide bag ban—a first for the United States. The ordinances state that plastic bag use must be regulated “to preserve health, safety, welfare, and scenic and natural beauty.” Retailers have until mid-2015 to comply.
Los Angeles County (Unincorporated), CA
In July 2011, a ban on plastic bags in large stores took effect in the unincorporated area of Los Angeles County, home to 1.1 million people. In January 2012, that ban expanded to include small stores, like pharmacies and convenience marts. Nearly 800 retail stores are affected. This was the first in California to add a 10ȼ charge for paper bags; since its enactment, all other California municipalities have included a paper bag charge. In December 2013, the Department of Public Works announced that the ordinance had resulted in a sustained 90 percent reduction in single-use bag use at large stores.
Los Angeles, CA
In June 2013, the City Council of Los Angeles voted to ban stores from providing plastic carryout bags to customers, as well as to require stores to charge 10ȼ for paper bags. Large retailers are affected in January 2014; smaller retailers are affected in July 2014. The city was spending $2 million a year cleaning up plastic bags.
Manhattan Beach, CA
After passing a plastic bag ban in 2008, the city became the first to be sued by the Save the Plastic Bag Coalition—a group of plastic bag manufacturers and distributors—for not preparing an environmental impact report as required under the California Environmental Quality Act. The Coalition claimed a shift from plastic to recycled paper bags would harm the environment. Two lower courts sided with the Coalition and ruled that a report was required, but in 2011, on appeal, the California Supreme Court said that any increased use of paper bags in a small city like Manhattan Beach would have negligible environmental impact and therefore a report was unnecessary. This precedent allowed many California cities to proceed with banning plastic bags without such a report.
Nantucket Island, MA
Nantucket, a small seasonal tourist town, banned non-biodegradable plastic bags in 1990. Facing a growing waste disposal problem, the town envisioned building a facility where as much material as possible could be diverted from the landfill to be recycled or composted; such a facility would only be able to accept biodegradable bags.
New York City, NY
Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed a 5ȼ tax on plastic bags in 2009, but the idea was later dropped in a budget agreement with the City Council. In March 2014, the City Council began to consider a proposal mandating a 10ȼ charge per plastic and paper bag at most stores.
San Francisco, CA
San Francisco was the first U.S. city to regulate plastic bags. The original ordinance, which was adopted in April 2007, banned non-compostable plastic bags at all large supermarkets and chain pharmacies. In October 2012 the law was applied to all stores, and in October 2013 the law expanded to restaurants. The Save the Plastic Bag Coalition sued the city, contesting the extensions to the ban, but those were upheld by the First District Court of Appeal in December 2013. In April 2014, the Supreme Court of California denied the Coalition’s first appeal, allowing the city to keep its bag ban.
Santa Monica, CA
Santa Monica has banned plastic bags from all retailers since September 2011. Grocery, liquor, and drug stores may offer paper bags for 10ȼ each, while department stores and restaurants may provide paper bags for no fee. Because the Save the Plastic Bag Coalition had sued other cities for not conducting an environmental impact review prior to the announcements of their bag bans, Santa Monica conducted a review and thus avoided a lawsuit. Plastic bags for carryout food items from restaurants and reusable bags made from polyethylene are allowed.
In July 2008 the Seattle government approved a 20ȼ charge on all paper and plastic checkout bags, but opponents collected enough signatures to put the ordinance up for a vote on the August 2009 primary ballot. The Coalition to Stop the Seattle Bag Tax—consisting of the American Chemistry Council’s Progressive Bag Affiliates, 7-Eleven, and the Washington Food Industry—spent $1.4 million on the referendum campaign (15 times more than fee supporters), and voters chose to reject the ordinance. It took until July 2012 for the city to enact its current ban on plastic bags and place a 5ȼ fee on paper bags. Seattle residents are largely in favor of the ban, and attempts to gather signatures to repeal it have not been successful.
In January 2010, Washington, D.C., began requiring a 5ȼ charge for plastic and paper carryout bags at all retailers that sell food or alcohol. Businesses keep a portion of the fee, and the remainder goes to The Anacostia River Clean Up and Protection Fund. A survey conducted in early 2013 found that four out of five District households are using fewer bags since the tax came into effect. Almost 60 percent of residents reported carrying reusable bags with them “always” or “most of the time” when they shop. Two thirds of District residents reported seeing less plastic bag litter since the tax came into effect. One half of businesses reported saving money because of the fee.
Story 1: Breaking News: Islamic Fanatic Terrorist Gunmen Attack French Leftist Satire Magazine Charlie Hebdo Killing 12 , Wounding 11 Others, 5 In Critical Condition — Videos
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BREAKING NEWS: 2 Gunment with AK47 & RPG Attack Paris Magazine, ACTIVE SHOOTERS
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Be on the lookout for people who lack a sense of humor and/or are easily offended. Political correctness kills.
On Wednesday two terrorist gunmen dressed in black with hoods masking their faces, apparently followers of the religion of peace, attacked and killed 12 including 10 employees and contributors of the provocative leftist satirical weekly, Charlie Hebdo, in their Paris headquarter offices and two police officers. Ten others were wounded, five critically. One of the police officers, Ahmed Merabet, pleaded for mercy as he was shot in the head at point-blank range. Most French police officers are unarmed as are French citizens.
Witnesses said the terrorists brandished and fired AK-47 rifles or “Kalashnikovs’ and shouted in fluent French, “We are from al-Qaida in Yemen.” “The Prophet has been avenged.” And “Allahu akbar” – Arabic for “God is great.”
The terrorists shot and killed Charlie Hebdo’s editor-in-chief and cartoonist Stephane Charbonner, aka Charb, deputy editor, economist and writer Bernard Marist, and cartoonists Georges Wolinski, Jean Cabut, aka Cabu, Philippe Honore and Bernard Verlac, aka Tignous, columnist Elsa Cayat, sub-editor Mustapha Qurrad, maintenance man Frederic Boisseau, a visitor Michel Renard, and Charbonnier’s police bodyguard Franck Brinsolaro.
Charlie Hebdo published cartoons and articles satirizing Islam and its Prophet Muhammad as well as other religions, including Christianity and Judaism. The paper also satirizes politicians, feminism, homeland security and nuclear energy. The Charlie Hebdo offices were firebombed in 2011 with Molotov cocktails and destroyed after it had published satirical cartoons about the Prophet Muhammad. A year later, Charbonnier dismissed repeated threats against his life by stating: “I would rather die standing than live kneeling.”
The terrorists gained access to the Charlie Hebdo offices when cartoonist Corrine Rey, aka Coco, returned with her young daughter from kindergarten and was confronted and brutally threatened by the gunmen. They wanted her to enter the security system digi-code on the interphone so they could enter into the newspaper’s offices. Rey entered the code and then hid under a desk with her daughter. Rey saw the gunmen shoot two other cartoonists, Wolinski and Cabu. Rey said the shooting in the offices lasted about five minutes.
A police witness said the terrorists were asking for editor and cartoonist Charbonnier by name and shouting, “Where is Charb? Where is Charb?” The witness said, “They killed him, then sprayed everyone else.”
The terrorist gunmen exited the building and started shooting in the streets, according to witnesses. They shot and killed a police officer who arrived on the scene on a mountain bike. The gunmen fled in a black car. Police and security forces gave chase, but the gunmen abandoned their car when it was in an accident and escaped with a hijacked car.
The French police subsequently identified the two terrorist gunmen as French nationals and brothers Cherif Kouchi, 32 and Said Kouchi, 34. The brothers came back from Syria last summer. The younger brother was arrested in 2005 and sentenced in 2008 to three years in prison with 18 months suspended, for his involvement in a network sending volunteers to fight in Iraq with an al-Qaida affiliate. A third suspect Hamyd Mourad, 18, surrendered to police at Charleville-Meziers late Wednesday evening.
According to news reports, the brothers went to Syria last year where they were sent by al-Qaida to Yemen for terrorist training. Former White House counter-terrorism adviser Richard Clark said, “This looks like a team that was selected, trained probably over the course of a long period of time and sent in with this particular target in mind.” On Friday according to the Associated Press, a member of al-Qaida’s branch in Yemen said the group directed the attack on the French magazine.
Last Friday morning French security forces killed the Kourchi brothers who fired their weapons as they exited from a printing factory north of Paris. A hostage who had been held by the brothers was released unharmed.
National leaders expressed their reaction and support of France and the French people.
President Barack Obama said, “I want to express my deepest sympathies to the people of Paris and the people of France for the terrible terrorist attack that took place earlier today. … The fact that this was an attack on journalists, an attack on our free press also underscores that these terrorists fear freedom of speech and freedom of the press. The values that we share with the French people – a universal belief in freedom of expression is something that can’t be silence by the senseless violence of a few.”
Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy said, “This is a direct savage attack on one of the principles of the French Republic we hold the most dear: Freedom of expression.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, “Shooting in France is not only an attack on French citizens, but freedoms of press and speech.
British Prime Minister David Cameron in the House of Commons said, “I know this House and this country stands united with the French people in opposition to all forms of terrorism and we stand squarely for free speech and democracy. These people will never take us off these values.”
French President Francois Hollande called for a day of mourning and said, “Our greatest strength is our unity.”
In cities across France, the people are coming out for “Je Suis Charlie” (I am Charlie) rallies.
A similar Islamic terrorist attack took place in the United States on Nov. 5, 2009 at Fort Hood, the nation’s largest Army post. U.S. Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan, 39, M.D., psychiatrist, and practicing Muslim of Palestinian descent, shot and killed 13 people (12 soldiers and one civilian) and wounded 32, mostly uniformed soldiers. A civilian police Sergeant Mark Todd exchanged gunfire with Hasan, who was wounded four times and paralyzed from the waist down. Hasan was subsequently found guilty of 13 counts of premeditated murder in 2013 and was sentenced to death. Hasan has yet to be executed.
In a memorial service for the Fort Hood victims, Obama refused to acknowledge that Islamic terrorism has a role in the shooting and said, “no faith justifies these murderous and craven acts.” The Obama administration instead considered the slaughter as “workplace violence.” This despite the fact that Hasan was yelling “Allahu Akbar” (God is Great) and had exchanged emails with the American born imam Anwar al-Awlaki, an al-Qaida terrorist leader in Yemen. Obama subsequently authorized in 2011 al-Awlaki’s killing by missiles fired by two Predator drones.
On Sept. 11, 2012, an al-Qaida affiliate, Ansar al-Sharia, attacked and killed four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and wounded 7 Americans, some seriously. Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice knew this was a well-planned, organized and executed terrorist attack, yet repeatedly mislead and lied to the American people claiming it was a “spontaneous demonstration” caused by an inflammatory YouTube video.
Obama went to the United Nations on Sept. 25, 2012, and said, “A crude and disgusting video sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world” and “I know there are some who ask why we don’t just ban such a video. And the answer is enshrined in our laws: Our Constitution protects the right to practice free speech.” Later in his remarks, he said, “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam. But to be credible, those who condemn that slander must also condemn the hate we see in the images of Jesus Christ that are desecrated, or churches that are destroyed, or the Holocaust that is denied.”
While Obama at least described the latest incident as a terrorist attack, he refuses to describe it as an Islamic jihadist terrorist attack, which all three events clearly were. The aim of those who practice political correctness is not to tell the truth but to limit and ideally stop the free expression and exchange of ideas and opposing points of view. Political correctness lives in the Obama administration. Political correctness kills. Time to tell the whole truth, not half-truths, Mr. President.
Gunmen Kill At Least 12 In ‘Terrorist Attack’ At French Satirical Newspaper
January 7, 2015 1:30 PM
PARIS (CBS News/CBSDC/AP) — Three masked gunmen stormed the Paris offices of a satirical newspaper Wednesday, killing 12 people, including its editor, before escaping in a car. It was France’s deadliest postwar terrorist attack.
CBS News’ Elaine Cobbe reports that, according to witnesses, two armed and masked men walked into the headquarters of the Charlie Hebdo magazine and opened fire in the entrance hallway, killing people as they saw them. The gunmen reportedly sought out members of the newspaper’s staff by name during the rampage through the 2nd floor office, which lasted between five and 10 minutes, according to witnesses.
Security forces were hunting for the gunmen who spoke flawless, unaccented French in the military-style noon-time attack on the weekly newspaper, located near Paris’ Bastille monument. The publication’s caricatures of the Prophet Muhammed have frequently drawn condemnation from Muslims.
President Francois Hollande called the slayings “a terrorist attack without a doubt,” and said several other attacks have been thwarted in France “in recent weeks.”
France raised its security alert to the highest level and reinforced protective measures at houses of worship, stores, media offices and transportation. Schools closed across Paris, although thousands of people jammed Republique Square near the site of the shooting to honor the victims.
Top government officials held an emergency meeting and Hollande planned a nationally televised address later Wednesday evening.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which also left four people critically wounded, and was condemned by world leaders as an attack on freedom of expression, but praised by supporters of the militant Islamic State group.
Clad all in black with hoods and carrying machine guns, the attackers forced one of the cartoonists arriving at the office building with her young daughter to open the door with a security code.
The staff was in an editorial meeting and the gunmen headed straight for the paper’s editor, Stephane Charbonnier – widely known by his pen name Charb – killing him and his police bodyguard first, said Christophe Crepin, a police union spokesman. Minutes later, two men strolled out to a black car waiting below, calmly firing on a police officer, with one gunman shooting him in the head as he writhed on the ground, according to video.
Ten journalists and two police office were killed, Crepin said, including one assigned as Charb’s bodyguard and another who had arrived on the scene on a mountain bike. Among the dead were Bernard Maris, an economist who a contributor to the newspaper and was heard regularly on French radio, and Georges Wolinski, a celebrated cartoonist who also worked for Paris Match magazine.
“Hey! We avenged the Prophet Muhammad! We killed Charlie Hebdo,” one of the men shouted in French, according to a video shot from a nearby building and broadcast on French TV. Other videoshowed two gunmen in black at a crossroads who appeared to fire down one of the streets. A cry of “Allahu akbar!” – Arabic for “God is great”- could be heard among the gunshots.
The video showed the killers moving deliberately and calmly. One even bent over to toss a fallen shoe back into the small black car before it sped off. The car was later found abandoned in northern Paris, police said.
Luc Poignant of the SBP police union said the attackers switched to another vehicle that had been stolen.
A reporter for Britain’s Telegraph newspaper in Paris told Sky News that the first two officers to arrive, who were apparently unarmed, fled after seeing gunmen armed with automatic weapons and possibly a grenade launcher.
Corinne Rey, the cartoonist who said she was forced to let the gunmen in, said the men spoke fluent French and claimed to be from al Qaeda. In an interview with the newspaper l’Humanite, she said the entire shooting lasted perhaps five minutes.
The Guardian reports a witness in the office building said one of the gunman asked where Charlie Hebdo was located.
“Then someone opened the door to our office and asked where Charlie Hebdo was. He had a rifle. We backed away. Afterwards he left, we heard gunfire. We went to the windows, there were two men running with guns, speaking in bad French … They were shouting outside, and shooting again. Afterwards I saw someone leaving the building with his hands covered in blood,” the unnamed witness said, according to The Guardian.
The security analyst group Stratfor said the gunmen appeared to be well-trained, “from the way they handled their weapons, moved and shot. These attackers conducted a successful attack, using what they knew, instead of attempting to conduct an attack beyond their capability, failing as a result.”
Both al Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have repeatedly threatened to attack France. Just minutes before the attack, Charlie Hebdo had tweeted a satirical cartoon of the Islamic State’s leader giving New Year’s wishes:
Charlie Hebdo has been repeatedly threatened for its caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad and other sketches. Its offices were firebombed in 2011 after an issue featured a caricature of the prophet on its cover. Nearly a year later, the publication again published Muhammad caricatures, drawing denunciations from the Muslim world because Islam prohibits the publication of drawings of its founder.
Another cartoon, released in this week’s issue and entitled “Still No Attacks in France,” had a caricature of a jihadi fighter saying “Just wait – we have until the end of January to present our New Year’s wishes.” Charb was the artist.
“This is the darkest day of the history of the French press,” said Christophe DeLoire of Reporters Without Borders.
The last tweet from the magazine came less than an hour before the reports of a shooting. It was a picture depicting Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, with a message wishing him, “Best wishes.”
“The motive here is absolutely clear; trying to shut down a media organization that lampooned the Prophet Mohammad,” CBS News security consultant and former CIA deputy chief Mike Morell told “CBS This Morning co-host Charlie Rose. “What we have to figure out here is the perpetrators and whether they were self-radicalized or whether they were individuals who fought in Syria and Iraq and came back, or whether they were actually directed by ISIS or al Qaeda.”
Morrell added a warning that law enforcement and intelligence agencies would need to “worry about copycat attacks, not only in France but in the rest of the world, and I would even say in the broader world to include the United States.”
The New York Police Department released a statement, saying it had a detective stationed in Paris and “will continue to closely monitor the situation.”
“There are standing contingency plans in place to adjust police deployments based on any unfolding situation in the world. That includes how we use and where we position and deploy specialized police resources, said Deputy Commissioner Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller.
In the winter 2014 edition of the al Qaeda magazine Inspire, a so-called chief describing where to use a new bomb said: “Of course the first priority and the main focus should be on America, then the United Kingdom, then France and so on.”
In 2013, the magazine specifically threatened Charb and included an article titled “France the Imbecile Invader.”
An al Qaeda tweeter who communicated Wednesday with AP said the group is not claiming responsibility, but called the attack “inspiring.”
CBS News national security analyst Juan Zarate also noted on “CBS This Morning” that “France has been dealing with the problem of French foreign fighters flowing into Syria and Iraq and coming back into France.”
He says it may be more likely, however, that the attack on Charlie Hebdo was carried out by “self-radicalized individuals, individuals who take their prompt from the propaganda of these groups and took it upon themselves, perhaps, to attack.”
Zarate pointed to the attack by young French Muslim man Mohamed Merah, who shot up a Jewish community center in the country’s south in March 2012, as an example of this sort of violence.
“France is not new to this, and the perpetrators could be a wide spectrum of individuals who were inspired to attack fellow French citizens,” said Zarate.
President Obama said he has reached out to Hollande to express his sympathies for the attack in Paris Wednesday. In remarks before a meeting with Secretary Kerry and Vice President Biden, Obama called the shootings “cowardly and evil.”
“The fact that this was an attack on journalists, an attack on our free press, also underscores the degree to which these terrorists fear freedom of speech, freedom of the press,” Obama said.
He continued, “A universal belief in freedom of expression is something that can’t be silenced because of the senseless violence of the few.” The president promised the U.S. would stand with France and said that U.S. counterterrorism was providing assistance to the French to help hunt for those responsible for the shooting.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said his country stood united with France,
“We stand squarely for free speech and democracy. These people will never be able to take us off those values,” Cameron said in the House of Commons.
Russian President Vladimir Putin also condemned the attack as a “cynical crime,” and pledged cooperation in fighting terrorism,
Mohammed Moussaoui, president of the Union of French mosques, condemned the “hateful act,” and urged Muslims and Christians “to intensify their actions to give more strength to this dialogue, to make a united front against extremism.”
On social media, supporters of militant Islamic groups praised the move. One self-described Tunisian loyalist of al Qaeda and the Islamic State group tweeted that the attack was well-deserved revenge against France.
Elsewhere on the Internet, the hashtag #JeSuisCharlie was trending as people expressed support for weekly and for journalistic freedom.
Standing together in defiance, thousands gather across France to show support for 12 people slaughtered by ‘Al Qaeda’ gunmen in attack on Paris magazine as manhunt for terrorists continues
Masked gunmen storm Paris headquarters with AK-47s shouting ‘Allahu akbar!’ and ‘the Prophet has been avenged’
Stalked building asking for people’s names before killing the editor, three cartoonists and the deputy chief editor
Editor Stephane Charbonnier had famously shrugged off threats, saying: ‘I’d rather die standing than live kneeling’
Horrific footage shows a police officer begging for his life before being shot in the head at point-blank range
Cartoonist Corrine Rey told how she cowered with her young daughter as she watched two colleagues gunned down
Killers fled in stolen car across eastern Paris after a ‘mass shoot-out’ with police officers and remain on the loose
Militants believed to be from Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula which was behind plane bomb plots in U.S. and UK
Newspaper had earlier posted a picture of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on its Twitter account
Publication’s offices were firebombed in 2011 for publishing satirical cartoon of Prophet Mohammed
White House had previously criticised Charlie Hebdo in 2012 for publishing its religiously sensitive cartoons
By SIMON TOMLINSON and PETER ALLEN and JAY AKBAR and CHRIS PLEASANCE FOR MAILONLINE
Thousands of people gathered across Europe tonight to show their support to an anti-Islamist newspaper, after its offices in Paris were targeted today by suspected Al Qaeda militants who massacred 12 people.
Among those slaughtered was a police officer as he begged for mercy.
Masked attackers brandishing Kalashnikovs burst into the Charlie Hebdo headquarters, opening fire on staff after seeking out journalists by name in France’s deadliest post-war terrorist attack.
Clad all in black with hoods and speaking flawless French, the militants forced one of the cartoonists – who was at the office with her young daughter – to open the door.
Witnesses said the gunmen were heard shouting ‘we are from the Al Qaeda in Yemen’, ‘the Prophet has been avenged’ and ‘Allahu akbar!’ – Arabic for ‘God is great’ – as they stalked the building.
They headed straight for the paper’s editor and cartoonist, Stephane Charbonnier, killing him and his police bodyguard, who had been recruited to protect him after extremists firebombed the offices in 2011 over a satirical cartoon about the Prophet Mohammed.
A year later, Mr Charbonnier famously dismissed threats against his life, declaring: ‘I would rather die standing than live kneeling.’
The militants also killed three other renowned cartoonists – men who had regularly satirised Islam – and the newspaper’s deputy chief editor.
Despite a shoot-out with armed officers, the gunmen escaped in a hijacked car and remain on the loose this evening, leaving the French capital in virtual lockdown as police and soldiers flooded the streets to join the search.
President Barack Obama offered U.S. help in pursuing the gunmen, saying they had attacked freedom of expression.
But it also emerged that the White House had previously criticised Charlie Hebdo in 2012 over its Prophet Mohammed cartoon, saying the images would be ‘deeply offensive to many and have the potential to be inflammatory.’
Meanwhile, horrific footage emerged showing an injured police officer slumped on the pavement as two gunmen approached him outside the office minutes later.
In an apparent desperate plea for his life, the officer is seen slowly raising his hand towards one of the attackers, who responds by callously shooting him in the head at point-blank range.
Scroll down for videos and audio
Demonstration: Protesters at the Place de la Republique in Paris tonight, following an attack by gunmen on the offices of Charlie Hebdo
Elsewhere: People gather at the Place Royale in Nantes to show their solidarity for the victims of the attack on the offices of the satirical weekly
Brutal execution: A police officer pleads for mercy on the pavement in Paris before being shot in the head by masked gunmen during an attack on the headquarters of the French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo, a notoriously anti-Islamic publication
Gunned down in cold blood: Horrific footage shows the injured police officer slumped on the pavement as two of the gunmen approach. In a desperate plea for his life, the officer slowly raises his hand towards one of the attackers, who callously shoots him at point-blank range
‘Massacre': The gunmen are seen brandishing Kalashnikovs as they move in on the injured police officer from their vehicle outside the office
Emergency: Police officers and firefighters gather in front of the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris today after gunmen stormed the building
Critical: Firefighters carry an injured man on a stretcher in front of the offices of French satirical paper Charlie Hebdo after the shooting
Terrifying video shows trained terrorists gunning down police
Despite a fierce firefight with police, the men were able to get away in a hijacked car, and, within an hour of the atrocity, appeared to have disappeared without trace.
France raised its security alert to the highest level and reinforced protective measures at houses of worship, stores, media offices and transportation.
President Francois Hollande described the bloodbath as a ‘barbaric attack against France and against journalists’ and vowed to hunt down those responsible.
Jacques Myard, French MP with opposition party UMP, said: ‘We knew something would happen. The (security) services used to say to us it’s not if but when and where. We know that we are at war. The Western nations – like Britain, France, Germany – we are at war.’
The Queen today sent her ‘sincere condolences to the families of those who have been killed’ in the attack, while Prime Minister David Cameron described the murders as ‘sickening’.
Social media users have responded to the Charlie Hebdo massacre with an outpouring of solidarity using the hashtag #jesuischarlie which is trending on Twitter.
By 4.15pm, nearly five hours after the attack, it had already been tweeted more than 250,000 times, according to one social analytics website.
Thousands of people also jammed Republique Square near the site of the shooting to honor the victims, holding aloft pens and papers reading ‘Je suis Charlie’ – ‘I am Charlie.’
Guy Verhofstadt, the President of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe tweeted: ‘A tragic day for the freedom of speech #jesuischarlie.’
Marches have also been organised through Paris and London in support of journalistic freedom.
As well as the AK47 assault rifles, there were also reports of a rocket-propelled grenade being used in the attack, which took place during the publication’s weekly editorial meeting at around 12pm (11pm GMT), meaning all the journalists would have been present.
A young mother and cartoonist who survived the massacre told how she had let the suspected Al Qaeda killers into the office.
Corrine Rey said she had returned from picking up her young daughter from a kindergarten when she was confronted by two heavily armed men wearing balaclavas.
‘I had gone to pick up my daughter at day care, arriving in front of the building, where two masked and armed men brutally threatened us,’ said Ms Rey, who draws under the name ‘Coco’.
‘They said they wanted to go up to the offices, so I tapped in the code,’ said Ms Rey, referring to the digi-code security system on the interphone.
Ms Rey and her daughter hid under a desk, from where they saw two other cartoonists being executed. ‘They shot Wolinski and Cabu,’ she said. ‘It lasted five minutes. I had taken refuge under a desk.’
Terrifying sounds of gunshots from rooftop above Paris offices
Faces of the victims: Among the journalists killed were (l to r) Charlie Hebdo’s deputy chief editor Bernard Maris and cartoonists Georges Wolinski, Jean Cabut, aka Cabu, Stephane Charbonnier, who is also editor-in-chief, and Bernard Verlhac, also known as Tignous
At large: The gunmen are seen near the offices of the French newspaper Charlie Hebdo before fleeing in a car. They remain on the loose
Forensic experts examine the car believed to have been used as the escape vehicle by gunmen who attacked the Charlie Hebdo office
A truck tows the car apprently used by armed gunmen who stormed the Paris offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, killing 12 people
A police photographer (partially hidden) works with investigators as they examine the impacts from machine gun fire on a police vehicle
Ms Rey said the men ‘spoke French perfectly’ and ‘claimed they were ‘Al Qaeda terrorists’.
Gunmen reportedly told another witness: ‘You say to the media, it was Al Qaeda in Yemen.’
A police source told the Liberation newspaper the gunmen were asking for the Mr Charbonnier by name, shouting: ‘Where is Charb? Where is Charb?’
The source added: ‘They killed him then sprayed everyone else.’
Mr Charbonnier was included in a 2013 Wanted Dead or Alive for Crimes Against Islam article published by Inspire, the terrorist propaganda magazine published by Al Qaeda.
The latest tweet published by the newspaper’s official Twitter account earlier in the day featured a cartoon of Abu Baghdadi, the leader of Islamic State, who wishes everyone ‘good health’.
Cartoonists Cabu, Tignous and Wolinski were all also reported dead.
Radio France chief executive Mathieu Gilet later announced on Twitter that a contributor, Bernard Maris, was another of the victims.
Meanwhile, there were reports of a car explosion outside a synagogue in Sarcelles, a commune in the northern suburbs of Paris, just hours after the Charlie Hebdo attack.
The blast, which happened at around 1.30pm GMT, is not thought to be connected to the massacre, according to Paris Metro which quoted the mayor of Sarcelles.
Florence Pouvil, a salesperson at Lunas France on Rue Nicolas Appert, opposite the Charlie Hebdo offices, told MailOnline: ‘I saw two people with big guns, like Kalashnikovs outside our office and then we heard firing. We were very confused.’
‘There were two guys who came out of the building and shot everywhere. We hid on the floor, we were terrified.
‘They came from the building opposite with big guns. It has a bunch of different companies inside. Some of our co-workers work there so we were frightened for them.
‘They weren’t just firing inside the Charlie Hebdo offices. They were firing in the street too.
‘We feared for our lives so we hid under our desks so they wouldn’t see us. Both men were dressed in black from head to toe and their faces were covered so I didn’t see them.
‘They were wearing military clothes, it wasn’t common clothing, like they were soldiers.’
According to the New York Times, one journalist at the Charlie Hebdo office, who asked not to be named, texted a friend after the shooting to say: ‘I’m alive. There is death all around me. Yes, I am there. The jihadists spared me.’
A man is carried into an ambulance. Ten people were reportedly in wounded, four critically, in the attack by suspected Al Qaeda militants
Life-threatening: An injured person is evacuated outside the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo’s office
Several people were left critically wounded when terrorists carried out a ‘military-style’ attack on the newspaper office
Shell-shocked: A woman cries outside the office. Witnesses reported hearing loud gunfire and at least one explosion during the attack
Trail of destruction: Police inspect the damage after a collision between police cars at the scene during a firefight with Islamic militants
ARE PARIS GUNMEN FROM YEMENI AL QAEDA CELL BEHIND PLANE BOMB PLOTS IN THE U.S. AND BRITAIN?
The gunmen being hunted by police over the Charlie Hebdo attack are believed to be from militant group Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
The group was established by Yusef al-Ayeri in 2003 in Saudi Arabia, but was forced to flee to Yemen after a series of attacks drove them back.
Yemen’s weak government allowed the group to rally and gain members, though they are only thought to have around 400 troops today.
While their attacks initially focused on targets in the Middle East, such as an attempted suicide attack on Saudi Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, they quickly spread to Western targets.
On Christmas Day in 2009, they were implicated in the underwear bomb plot after Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was discovered on a Detroit-bound plane trying to detonate liquid explosives in his underpants.
The following year AQAP also took responsibility for a plot to blow up two devices hidden inside printer cartridges loaded on to cargo planes travelling from Yemen to the United States.
One device was discovered during a stopover at East Midlands Airport in Britain, while another was uncovered in Dubai.
According to Stanford University the group is currently lead by Yemen-born Nasser al-Wuhayshi, who is an apprentice of Osama Bin Laden and was imprisoned for a time in Yemen, but escaped in 2006 along with 22 others.
The group has a global jihadist agenda. Like ISIS, they aim to create a single Arab caliphate, covering Pakistan Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen and the Levant – the area encompassing Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and Israel.
If today’s attack is confirmed as coming from AQAP, it will be the first time the group has used lone-wolf style tactics, in which gunmen act alone or in small groups to attack targets.
Officers were involved in a gunfight with the men, who escaped in a hijacked car and sped away from the office towards east Paris
On red alert: After the first shots rang out, it is thought that three policemen on bicycles were the first to respond to the atrocity
Benoit Bringer, a journalist with Agence Premiere Ligne, told the iTele network he saw several masked men armed with machine guns
Carnage: A police official, Luc Poignant, said he was aware of one journalist dead and several injured, including three police officers
Terror: In footage filmed from a rooftop, people are seen running for cover as the gunmen rampage through the building
A picture posted on Twitter appearing to show people taking refuge on the roof of the Charlie Hebdo office
Targeted: A picture posted on Twitter reportedly showing bullets in one of the windows of the Charlie Hebdo offices
Harrowing Instagram video captures audio of gunfire in Paris
Another witness, Gilles Boulanger, who works in the same building, told Itele: ‘A neighbour called to warn me that there were armed men in the building and that we had to shut all the doors.
‘And several minutes later, there were several shots heard in the building from automatic weapons firing in all directions. So then we looked out of the window and saw the shooting was on Boulevard Richard-Lenoir, with the police. It was really upsetting. You’d think it was a war zone.’
French journalist, Stefan De Vries, told Sky News: ‘There was protection at the door but they killed the police officers, they executed them and they started shooting in the offices.’
An unnamed eyewitness told the BBC World Service: ‘When I arrived at the scene it was quite disturbing as you can imagine. There were several corpses on the floor.
‘We saw the number of casualties was very high, so we just tried to help as we could – there were a lot of people down on the floor and there was blood everywhere.
‘I’m very traumatised by this attack and everything and now we’re in psychological hell where we’re being attended to by professionals.’
Benoit Bringer, a journalist at the scene who works next door, took refuge on the roof of the building, which is in the 11th arrondissement of Paris.
He said: ‘There were very many people in the building. We evacuated via the roof just next to the office. After around ten minutes we saw two heavily armed, masked men in the street’.
Another witness said: ‘There was a loud gunfire and at least one explosion. When police arrived there was a mass shoot-out. The men got away by car, stealing a car.’
A police official, Luc Poignant, said: ‘It’s carnage.’
After the shooting, hundreds of comments were posted on the Charlie Hebdo Twitter page, with one user, David Rault, writing: ‘A sad day for freedom of expression.’
Charlie Hebdo’s editor-in-chief Gerard Biard escaped the massacre because he was in London.
He told France Inter: ‘I am shocked that people can have attacked a newspaper in France, a secular republic. I don’t understand it.
‘I don’t understand how people can attack a newspaper with heavy weapons. A newspaper is not a weapon of war.’
France reinforced security at houses of worship, stores, media offices and transport after masked gunmen stormed the Charlie Hebdo offices
Mr Biard said he did not believe the attack was linked to the newspaper’s latest front page, which featured novelist Michel Houellebecq, who has previously sparked controversy with comments about Islam.
And he said the newspaper had not received threats of violence: ‘Not to my knowledge, and I don’t think anyone had received them as individuals, because they would have talked about it. There was no particular tension at the moment.’
A visibly shocked French President François Hollande, speaking live near the scene of the shooting, said: ‘France is today in shock, in front of a terrorist attack.
‘This newspaper was threatened several rimes in the past and we need to show we are a united country.
‘We have to be firm, and we have to be stand strong with the international community in the coming days and weeks.
‘We are at a very difficult moment following several terrorist attacks. We are threated because we are a country of freedom
‘We will punish the attackers. We will look for the people responsible.’
Defiant: Stephane Charbonnier, known by his pen name Charb, was editor of Charlie Hebdo, and gunned down by men with assault weapons
Mr Charbonnier was named as one of nine men the extreme Islamist group were targetting (pictured centre right). Their photographs were printed alongside the caption ‘a bullet a day keeps the infidel away’
Tragic: Cartoonist Georges Wolinski was named by officials as one of those shot dead at the offices of Charlie Hebdo
Lead cartoonist Jean ‘Cabu’ Cabut (left) was among the 12 massacred by terrorists in Paris today, along with Bernard ‘Tignous’ Verlhac (right)
Radio France chief executive Mathieu Gilet announced on Twitter that a contributor, Bernard Maris (above right) was another of the victims
Committee to Protect Journalists reacts to Paris attack
The Queen today sent her ‘sincere condolences to the families of those who have been killed’ in the attack.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister David Cameron described the murders as ‘sickening’.
He added: ‘We stand with the French people in the fight against terror and defending the freedom of the press.’
The British Foreign Office immediately updated is advice for travellers heading to Pairs, warning: ‘There is a high threat from terrorism.’
It added: ‘If you’re in Paris or the Ile de France area take extra care and follow advice of French authorities.’
Luce Lapin and Laurent Leger, who have both worked at Charlie Hebdo, were using Twitter hours before the attack, with the most recent tweet posted by Lapin praising cartoonist Cabu.
It read: ‘Cabu, a great man! And honest, he doesn’t eat foie gras.’
While Leger’s made a political point about taxes.
It said: ‘Macron [French ministry of economy] wants more billionaires in France, the same that use tricks for not paying ISF [solidarity tax on wealth].’
Mohammed Moussaoui, president of the Union of French mosques, condemned the ‘hateful act,’ and urged Muslims and Christians ‘to intensify their actions to give more strength to this dialogue to make a united front against extremism’.
David Cameron condemns barbaric gun attack in Paris
Location: Officers were involved in a gunfight with the men, who escaped in a hijacked car and sped away from the office towards east Paris
‘100 LASHES IF YOU DON’T DIE OF LAUGHTER': HOW CHARLIE HEBDO HAS BECOME A BYWORD FOR ANTI-ISLAMISM
Charlie Hebdo has become a byword for offensive statements in France after taking several highly provocative swipes at Islam.
The newspaper once named Prophet Mohammed as its guest editor, published cartoons of the holy figure in the nude, and once renamed itself Sharia Hebdo with the cover slogan ‘100 lashes if you don’t die of laughter’.
The controversy began in 2006 when the publication reprinted now-infamous cartoons of Prophet Mohammed by Danish artist Kurt Westergaard.
When the images originally appeared they lead to days of protests across the Middle East and in Western cities. The decision to reprint the images landed the then-editor in court under anti-terror laws, though he was later acquitted.
The Hebdo offices were burned to the ground in 2011 when attackers used Molotov cocktails to start a blaze early in the morning of November 2.
There was nobody in the building at the time, and the target was instead thought to be the newspaper’s computer system, which was completely destroyed.
Riot police were forced to stand guard outside the building for days following the attack, as the editors took a defiant stance, choosing to reprint the cartoon images multiple times.
In 2012 they again printed cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed as a deliberately provocative gesture while violent protests were taking place across the Middle East.
The following year the newspaper’s office again had to be surrounded by riot officers after they published a cartoon booklet depicting the Prohpet naked as a baby and being pushed in a wheelchair.
On the final page of the booklet there was a note from the editor, Stephane Charbonnier, saying the images were ‘halal’ because Muslims had worked on them, and that they were factually accurate as they had been derived from descriptions in the Koran.
The satirical publication, widely seen as France’s answer to Private Eye, prides itself on a mixture of tongue-in-cheek reporting and investigative journalism.
Hebdo’s current office building has no notices on the door to prevent a repeat of the attacks that have occurred in the past.
In an interview with De Volkskrant in January 2013, Mr Charbonnier revealed he had been placed under constant police protection for four months after one of the cartoon issues was published.
He shrugged off criticism that he was only publishing the images to gain notoriety for Hebdo, and insisted that he was instead defending the right to free speech.
Mr Charbonnier pointed out that the newspaper had poked fun at feminism, nuclear energy and homeland security, but the Islam issues always attracted the most publicity.
Charlie Hebdo was previously attacked with a firebomb in 2011
The offices of the same newspaper were burnt down in a petrol attack in 2011 after running a magazine cover of the Prophet Mohammed as a cartoon character.
At the time, the editor-in-chief, Stephane Charbonnier, said Islam could not be excluded from freedom of the press.
He said: ‘If we can poke fun at everything in France, if we can talk about anything in France apart from Islam or the consequences of Islamism, that is annoying.’
Mr Charbonnier, also known as Charb, said he did not see the attack on the newspaper as the work of French Muslims, but of what he called ‘idiot extremists’.
‘We have to be stand strong with the international community': A visibly shocked French President François Hollande arrives at the scene, where he promised to bring those responsible to justice
The cover showed Mohammed saying: ‘100 lashes if you are not dying of laughter’.
This week’s Charlie Hebdo also featured the author Houellebecq, whose new novel imagines Muslims taking over the French government in 2022.
Inside, there was an editorial, attributed to the Prophet Muhammad, and more cartoons – one showing the Prophet with a clown’s red nose.
Depiction of the Prophet is strictly prohibited in Islam, but the newspaper denied it was trying to be provocative.
A firebomb attack gutted the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo in November 2011 after it put an image of the Prophet Mohammed on its cover.
PARIS — At least two masked gunmen on Wednesday burst into the Paris offices of a satirical newspaper that had drawn threats for lampooning Islam, killing 12 people in a methodical hail of gunfire, fleeing by car as they battled on the street with the police and setting off a wide manhunt for the killers.
There were unconfirmed news reports late Wednesday that the police had arrested three suspects, all French nationals, including two brothers.
The terrorist attack on the newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, was among the deadliest in postwar France, setting the nation on edge, sending shockwaves through Europe and threatening to deepen the distrust of France’s large Muslim population. The attack came at a time when Islamic radicalism has become a central concern of security officials across Europe.
The attack, carried out with automatic weapons, was carried out with an unusual degree of military-style precision. President François Hollande of France calledit a display of extraordinary “barbarism” that was “without a doubt” an act of terrorism. He declared Thursday a national day of mourning.
He also raised the nationwide terror alert to its highest status, saying several terrorist attacks had been thwarted in recent weeks as security officials here and elsewhere in Europe have grown increasingly wary of the return of young citizens from Syria and Iraq, where they went to wage jihad.
The French authorities put some schools on lockdown for the day, and added security at houses of worship, news media offices and transportation centers, and conducted random searches on the Paris Metro.
The Paris prosecutor, François Molins, said witnesses said the attackers had screamed “Allahu akbar!” or “God is great” during the attack, which the police characterized as a “slaughter.”
Corinne Rey, a cartoonist known as Coco, who was at the newspaper office during the attack, told Le Monde that the attackers spoke fluent French and had said they were part of Al Qaeda.
An amateur video of the assailants’ subsequent gunfight with the police, showed the men shouting, “We have avenged the Prophet Muhammad. We have killed Charlie Hebdo!” The video, the source of which could not be verified, also showed the gunmen killing a police officer as he lay wounded on a nearby street.
The victims at Charlie Hebdo included some of the country’s most revered and iconoclastic cartoonists. The weekly’s editorial director, Stéphane Charbonnier, had already been received light police protection after earlier threats, the police and the prosecutor said. An officer assigned to guard the newspaper’s offices and its top editor was among the victims.
As news of the attack spread, an outpouring of grief mixed with expressions of dismay and demonstrations of solidarity for free speech. By the evening, not far from the site of the attack in the east of Paris, thousands gathered at Place de La République — young and old, and various classes — some chanting, “Charlie! Charlie!” or holding signs reading, “I am Charlie” — the message posted on the newspaper’s website.
Spontaneous vigils of hundreds and thousands formed in other cities around France and elsewhere in Europe.
Mr. Molin, thprosecutor, said that two men armed with AK-47 rifles and wearing black hoods, had forced their way into the weekly’s offices about 11:30 a.m., firing at people in the lobby, before making their way to the newsroom on the second floor, interrupting a news meeting and firing at the assembled journalists.
The attackers then fled outside, where they clashed three times with the police, shooting one officer as he lay on the ground on a nearby street. They then fled in a black Citroen, and headed north on the right bank of Paris. During their escape, prosecutors said, they crashed into another car and injured its female driver, before robbing and abducting a bystander.
The police said the precision with which the assailants handled their weapons suggested that they had received military training. During the attack, which the police said lasted a matter of minutes, several journalists hid under their desks or went to hide on the roof, witnesses said.
Meziani Zina, 32, who works at the reception of an employment center across from the building, said she heard several loud shots ringing from the weekly’s headquarters.
One journalist who was at the weekly during the attack and asked that her name not be used, texted a friend after the shooting: “I’m alive. There is death all around me. Yes, I am there. The jihadists spared me.”
Treasured by many, hated by some, and indiscriminate in its offensiveness, Charlie Hebdo has long reveled in provoking.
In 2011, the office of the weekly was badly damaged by a firebomb after it published a spoof issue “guest edited” by the Prophet Muhammad to salute the victory of an Islamist party in Tunisian elections. It had announced plans to publish a special issue renamed “Charia Hebdo,” a play on the word in French for Shariah law.
Clockwise from top left, the cartoonists Jean Cabut, known as Cabu; Bernard Verlhac, who used the name Tignous; Georges Wolinski; and Stéphane Charbonnier, known as Charb, who was also the editorial director of Charlie Hebdo.CreditStephane De Sakutin/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Police said the dead included four celebrated cartoonists at the weekly, including its Mr. Charbonnier, known as Charb, Jean Cabut, Georges Wolinski and Bernard Verlhac.
Mr. Charbonnier stoked controversy and earned the ire of the Muslim community in 2006, when he republished satirical cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that had been published in a Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten. His last cartoon for Charlie Hebdo featured an armed man who appeared to be a Muslim fighter with a headline that read: “Still no attacks in France. Wait! We have until the end of January to give our best wishes.”
The police said that an abandoned black Citroen with silvered wing-mirrors, used by the gunmen, was later discovered in the 19th arrondissement of Paris.
A senior United States counterterrorism official said on Wednesday that the American authorities were following the developments in Paris closely, but that they had not yet identified any individuals or groups who might be responsible for the attack.
Michael J. Morell, the former deputy director of the C.I.A. and now a consultant to CBS News, said it was unclear whether the attackers acted on their own or were directed by organized groups.
The cover of the current issue of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.
“This is the worst terrorist attack in Europe since the attacks in London in July of 2005,” Mr. Morell said. “The motive here is absolutely clear: trying to shut down a media organization that lampooned the Prophet Muhammad. So, no doubt in my mind that this is terrorism.”
He added, “What we have to figure out here is the perpetrators and whether they were self-radicalized or whether they were individuals who fought in Syria and Iraq and came back, or whether they were actually directed by ISIS or Al Qaeda.”
Dalil Boubakeur, the rector of the Grand Mosque in Paris, one of France’s largest, expressed horror at the assault on Charlie Hebdo. “We are shocked and surprised that something like this could happen in the center of Paris. But where are we?” he was quoted as saying by Europe1, a radio broadcaster.
“We strongly condemn these kinds of acts and we expect the authorities to take the most appropriate measures.” He added: “This is a deafening declaration of war. Times have changed, and we are now entering a new era of confrontation.”
The attack comes as thousands of Europeans have gone to join jihadist groups in Iraq and Syria, further fueling concerns about Islamic radicalism and terrorism being imported. Those concerns have been particularly acute in France where fears have grown that militants are seeking to target French citizens in retaliation for the government’s support for the United States-led air campaign against jihadists with the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq.
In Dijon and Nantes, a total of 23 people were injured when men drove vehicles into crowds, with one of the drivers shouting an Islamic rallying cry. The authorities depicted both drivers as mentally unstable. The attacks came after violence attributed to lone-wolf attackers in London in 2013, inCanada in October and last month in Sydney, Australia.
In September, fighters in Algeria aligned with the Islamic State beheaded Hervé Gourdel, a 55-year-old mountaineering guide from Nice, and released a video documenting the brutal killing. Mr. Gourdel was kidnapped after the Islamic State called on its supporters to target Europeans to avenge the airstrikes in Iraq and Syria.
President Obama issued a statement condemning the attack. “Time and again, the French people have stood up for the universal values that generations of our people have defended,” he said. “France, and the great city of Paris where this outrageous attack took place, offer the world a timeless example that will endure well beyond the hateful vision of these killers. We are in touch with French officials, and I have directed my administration to provide any assistance needed to help bring these terrorists to justice.”
The former French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, called the assault a “direct and savage attack against one of our most revered republican ideals: the freedom of expression.”
In a condolence letter addressed to President Holland, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany expressed condolences on behalf of the German people.
“This horrible act is not only an attack on the lives of French citizens and the domestic security of France,” Ms. Merkel said. “It also stands as an attack on the freedom of expression and the press, a core element of our free, democratic culture that can in no way be justified.”
Correction: January 7, 2015
An earlier version of this article misstated the location of the abandoned car believed to have been used by the gunmen, using information from the police. It was found in the 19th Arrondissement, not the 20th.
Charlie Hebdo (French pronunciation: [ʃaʁli ɛbdo]; French for Charlie Weekly) is a French satirical weekly newspaper, featuring cartoons, reports, polemics, and jokes. Irreverent and stridently non-conformist in tone, the publication is strongly antireligious and left-wing, publishing articles on the extreme right, Catholicism, Islam, Judaism, politics,culture, etc. According to its former editor, Charb (Stéphane Charbonnier), the magazine’s editorial viewpoint reflects “all components of left wing pluralism, and even abstainers”.
In 1969, the Hara-Kiri team decided to produce a weekly publication – on top of the existing monthly magazine – which would focus more on current affairs. This was launched in February as Hara-Kiri Hebdo and renamed L’Hebdo Hara-Kiri in May of the same year. (‘Hebdo’ is short for ‘hebdomadaire’ – ‘weekly’)
In November 1970, the former French president Charles de Gaulle died in his home village of Colombey-les-Deux-Églises, eight days after a disaster in a nightclub, theClub Cinq-Sept fire caused the death of 146 people. The magazine released a cover spoofing the popular press’s coverage of this disaster, headlined “Tragic Ball at Colombey, one dead.” As a result, the journal was once more banned, this time by the Minister of the Interior.
In order to sidestep the ban, the team decided to change its title, and used Charlie Hebdo. The new name was derived from a monthly comics magazine calledCharlie Mensuel (Charlie Monthly), which had been started by Bernier and Delfeil de Ton in 1968. Charlie took its name from Charlie Brown, the lead character ofPeanuts – one of the comics originally published in Charlie Mensuel – and was also an inside joke about Charles de Gaulle. In December 1981, publication ceased.
In 1991, Gébé, Cabu and others were reunited to work for La Grosse Bertha, a new weekly magazine resembling Charlie created in reaction to the First Gulf War and edited by comic singer Philippe Val. However, the following year, Val clashed with the publisher, who wanted apolitical mischief, and was fired. Gébé and Cabu walked out with him and decided to launch their own paper again. The three called upon Cavanna, Delfeil de Ton and Wolinski, requesting their help and input. After much searching for a new name, the obvious idea of resurrecting Charlie-Hebdo was agreed on. The new magazine was owned by Val, Gébé, Cabu and singer Renaud Séchan. Val was editor, Gébé artistic director.
The publication of the new Charlie Hebdo began in July 1992 amidst much publicity. The first issue under the new publication sold 100,000 copies. Choron, who had fallen out with his former colleagues, tried to restart a weekly Hara-Kiri, but its publication was short-lived. Choron died in January 2005.
In 2000, journalist Mona Chollet was sacked after she had protested against a Philippe Val article which called Palestinians “non-civilized”. In 2004, following the death of Gébé, Val succeeded him as director of the publication, while still holding his position as editor.
Controversy arose over the publication’s edition of 9 February 2006. Under the title “Mahomet débordé par les intégristes” (“Muhammad overwhelmed by fundamentalists”), the front page showed a cartoon of a weeping Prophet Muhammad saying “C’est dur d’être aimé par des cons” (“it’s hard being loved by jerks”). The newspaper reprinted the twelve cartoons of the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy and added some of their own. Compared to a regular circulation of 100,000 sold copies, this edition enjoyed great commercial success. 160,000 copies were sold and another 150,000 were in print later that day.
The suit by the Grand Mosque and the UOIF reached the courts in February 2007. Publisher Philippe Val contended “It is racist to imagine that they can’t understand a joke” but Francis Szpiner, the lawyer for the Grand Mosque, explained the suit: “Two of those caricatures make a link between Muslims and Muslim terrorists. That has a name and it’s called racism.”
On 22 March 2007, executive editor Philippe Val was acquitted by the court. The court followed the state attorney’s reasoning that two of the three cartoons were not an attack on Islam, but on Muslim terrorists, and that the third cartoon with Mohammed with a bomb in his turban should be seen in the context of the magazine in question which attacked religious fundamentalism.
In 2008, controversy broke over a column by veteran cartoonist Siné which led to accusations of antisemitism and Siné’s sacking by Val. Siné sued the newspaper for unfair dismissal and Charlie Hebdo was sentenced to pay him €90,000 in damages. Siné launched a rival paper called Siné Hebdo which later became Siné Mensuel. Charlie Hebdo launched its Internet site, after years of reluctance from Val.
In 2009, Philippe Val resigned after being appointed director of France Inter, a public radio station to which he has contributed since the early 1990s. His functions were split between two cartoonists, Charb (Stéphane Charbonnier) and Riss (Laurent Sourisseau). Val gave away his shares in 2011.
The paper’s controversial 3 November 2011 issue, renamed “Charia Hebdo” (a reference to Sharia law) and “guest-edited” by Muhammad, depicted Muhammad saying: “100 lashes of the whip if you don’t die laughing.”
Debris outside the paper’s offices following the November 2011 attack
In the early hours of 2 November 2011, the newspaper’s office in the 20th arrondissement was fire-bombed and its websitehacked. The attacks were presumed linked to its decision to rename a special edition “Charia Hebdo”, with the Islamic Prophet Mohammed listed as the “editor-in-chief”. The cover, featuring a cartoon of Mohammed by Luz (Renald Luzier), had circulated on social media for a couple of days.
Charb was quoted by AP stating that the attack might have been carried out by “stupid people who don’t know what Islam is” and that they are “idiots who betray their own religion”. Mohammed Moussaoui, head of the French Council of the Muslim Faith, said his organisation deplores “the very mocking tone of the paper toward Islam and its prophet but reaffirms with force its total opposition to all acts and all forms of violence.”François Fillon, the prime minister, and Claude Guéant, the interior minister, voiced support for Charlie Hebdo, as did feminist writer Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who criticised calls for self-censorship.
In September 2012, the newspaper published a series of satirical cartoons of Muhammed, some of which feature nude caricatures of him. Given that this came days after a series of attacks on U.S. embassies in the Middle East, purportedly in response to the anti-Islamic film Innocence of Muslims, the French government decided to increase security at certain French embassies, as well as to close the French embassies, consulates, cultural centers, and international schools in about 20 Muslim countries. In addition, riot police surrounded the offices of the magazine to protect against possible attacks.
Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius criticised the magazine’s decision, saying, “In France, there is a principle of freedom of expression, which should not be undermined. In the present context, given this absurd video that has been aired, strong emotions have been awakened in many Muslim countries. Is it really sensible or intelligent to pour oil on the fire?” However, the newspaper’s editor defended publication of the cartoons, saying, “We do caricatures of everyone, and above all every week, and when we do it with the Prophet, it’s called provocation.”
^ Jump up to:abMcNab 2006, p. 26: “Georges Bernier, the real name of ‘Professor Choron’, [… was] cofounder and director of the satirical magazine Hara Kiri, whose title was changed (to circumvent a ban, it seems!) to Charlie Hebdo in 1970.”
A mutiny has erupted among photographers who cover President Obama over what they say is the White House’s increasing practice of excluding them from events involving the president and then releasing its own photos or video.
On Thursday, the White House Correspondents’ Association and 37 news organizations submitted a letter to the press secretary, Jay Carney, protesting what photographers said amounted to the establishment of the White House’s own Soviet-style news service, which gets privileged access to Mr. Obama at the expense of journalists who cover the president.
“As surely as if they were placing a hand over a journalist’s camera lens,” the three-page letter said, “officials in this administration are blocking the public from having an independent view of important functions of the executive branch of government.”
The Obama administration has embraced social media as a way to get its message to the public beyond the traditional news media. Senior officials post tweets and blog items, while the chief White House photographer, Pete Souza, posts photos of the president on Facebook, Flickr and Instagram, often minutes after they are taken.
The White House defended its policy, arguing it is not logistically feasible to give photographers access to every event. The deputy spokesman, Josh Earnest, said, “We’ve taken advantage of new technology to give the American public even greater access to behind-the-scenes footage or photographs of the president doing his job.”
“I understand why that is a source of some consternation to the people in this room,” Mr. Earnest said during the daily White House briefing. “But to the American public, that is a clear win.”
¶Mr. Earnest faced persistent questioning from reporters who said the White House was setting a precedent on access and was substituting a government photographer for those from news agencies. Mr. Souza, a former photographer for The Chicago Tribune who became close to Mr. Obama when he was a senator from Illinois, referred questions to Mr. Earnest.
The letter cited seven recent examples of newsworthy events from which photographers were banned, including an outdoor lunch for Mr. Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, a meeting with Israeli and Palestinian negotiators, and a session in the Oval Office at which Malala Yousafzai, a young Pakistani human rights campaigner, spoke with Mr. Obama, his wife, Michelle, and their daughter Malia.
Administration officials have said these were private meetings. But in all of the cases, a White House photographer recorded the event and posted the pictures on Flickr or other social media sites. Major news organizations regularly publish the photos.
“They’re excluding photographers from events at the White House, which is a problem in and of itself,” said Steve Thomma, the president of the White House Correspondents’ Association. “But now they’re sending in their photographers and video crews and then releasing the photos and video. That sets up their own media operation.”
Tensions between the photographers and the White House have simmered for months. They flared during Mr. Obama’s visit to South Africa last summer, when photographers were allowed to take a single shot of the president in Nelson Mandela’s jail cell on Robben Island, but were excluded from the cell when he hugged his daughter Sasha. That moment was caught by Mr. Souza and widely distributed.
White House photographers have historically captured private moments of the president, with his family or conferring with advisers in the Oval Office or the Situation Room. During the debate over the civil war in Syria, Mr. Souza’s images of internal meetings provided a revealing account of the tensions felt by the president and his staff.
But the news organizations argue that the White House has expanded its restrictions to everyday activities, like the time when Mr. Obama went for a swim off Panama City, Fla., in 2010 to demonstrate that the water had been cleaned up after the BP oil spill.
“The way they exclude us is to say that this is a very private moment,” said Doug Mills, a photographer for The New York Times who has covered the White House since the Reagan administration. “But they’re making private moments very public.”
¶In a tense meeting late last month with Mr. Carney, Mr. Mills and other board members of the White House Correspondents’ Association showed a stack of photos that they said illustrated the problem.
“I said, ‘Jay, this is just like Tass,’ ” Mr. Mills said, referring to the Soviet state news agency. “It’s like government-controlled use of the public image of the president.”
White House blocks access to Obama events, news groups say
BY ANITA KUMAR
The nation’s largest news organizations lodged a complaint Thursday against the White House for imposing unprecedented limitations on photojournalists covering President Barack Obama, which they say have harmed the public’s ability to monitor its own government.The organizations accuse the White House of banning photojournalists from covering Obama at some events, and then later releasing its own photos and videos of the same events.“Journalists are routinely being denied the right to photograph or videotape the president while he is performing his official duties,” according to a letter the organizations sent to the White House. “As surely as if they were placing a hand over a journalist’s camera lens, officials in this administration are blocking the public from having an independent view of important functions of the executive branch of government.”
Presidents often look for ways to get their own messages out. But media experts say Obama’s administration has developed an aggressive strategy to use social media, including government-sponsored websites and blogs, as well as Twitter, Instagram and Flickr accounts, to circumvent the media’s constitutional duty more than its predecessors have.
“You are only seeing what they want you to see,” said Lucy Dalglish, the dean of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest defended the release of photos and videos, saying the practice helps Obama live up to his pledge of transparency by allowing the public to have greater access to the inner workings of the administration when it’s not feasible for news media to be in the room.
“What we’ve done is we’ve taken advantage of new technology to give the American public even greater access to behind-the-scenes footage or photographs of the president doing his job,” Earnest said. “To the American public, that’s a clear win.”
He said the news organizations’ protests were just part of the natural tension between journalists and those they covered.
“The fact that there is a little bit of a disagreement between the press corps and the White House press office about how much access the press corps should have to the president is built into the system,” he said at the daily White House news briefing. “If that tension didn’t exist, then either you or we aren’t doing our jobs.”
Relations between Obama officials and journalists have further deteriorated this year.
News reports last spring indicated that the Justice Department had secretly seized the telephone records of reporters at the Associated Press and investigated a Fox News reporter as a potential criminal for doing his job.
In the most recent situation, the news organizations stressed that they’re referring only to presidential activities of a “fundamentally public nature,” not private or restricted events, including ones that may affect national security. But the White House often says the closed events are private, even though it releases its own photographs of the events.
Examples cited in the letter are Obama’s meetings with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on July 10, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on July 29 and Pakistani human rights activist Malala Yousafzai on Oct. 11.
In each case, journalists weren’t allowed – and sometimes were unaware – of the event. The White House later released written summaries of the events, along with photos taken by a government photographer.
On Thursday, the presidents of the American Society of News Editors and the Associated Press Media Editors sent a letter to their members urging them to stop using handout photos and video from the White House.
“We must accept that we, the press, have been enablers,” the letter says. “We urge those of you in news organizations to immediately refrain from publishing any of the photographs or videos released by the White House, just as you would refuse to run verbatim a press release from them.”
It’s unclear how many news organizations use handout photographs from the White House. McClatchy-Tribune Information Services generally doesn’t do so unless they were shot in areas that the media don’t expect to have access to, such as the Situation Room or the private residence areas of the White House.
Harry Walker, the director of the McClatchy-Tribune Photo Service, said opening access to events was “the foundation for journalism, not just photojournalism.”
The letter was signed by 38 news organizations, including all the major broadcast and cable networks, wire services, online services and newspapers, including The New York Times, The Washington Post and the McClatchy Co., which owns 30 daily newspapers across the nation.
The White House Correspondents’ Association and White House News Photographers Association also signed the letter. McClatchy’s government and politics editor, Steven Thomma, is the president of the White House Correspondents’ Association.
The letter, which was addressed to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, a former reporter for Time magazine, requested a meeting to discuss the issue.
The use of the term “narcissism” to describe excessive vanity and self-centeredness predates by many years the modern medical classification of narcissistic personality disorder. The condition was named after a mythological Greek youth named Narcissus who became infatuated with his own reflection in a lake. He did not realize at first that it was his own reflection, but when he did, he died out of grief for having fallen in love with someone that did not exist outside of himself. Although this may not be the only version of the myth, it is one of the more popular ones.
The term “narcissistic personality structure” was introduced by Kernberg in 1967 and “narcissistic personality disorder” first proposed by Heinz Kohut in 1968.
Persons diagnosed with a Narcissistic Personality Disorder are characterized by unwarranted feelings of self-importance. They have a sense of entitlement and demonstrate grandiosity in their beliefs and behavior. They have a strong need for admiration, but lack feelings of empathy. These qualities are usually defenses against a deep feeling of inferiority and of being unloved.
Symptoms of this disorder, as defined by the DSM-IV-TR include:
Expects to be recognized as superior and special, without superior accomplishments
Is preoccupied with thoughts and fantasies of great success, enormous attractiveness, power, intelligence
Lacks the ability to empathize with the feelings or desires of others
Is arrogant in attitudes and behavior
Has expectations of special treatment that are unrealistic
Per the Mayo Clinic, narcissistic personality disorder is characterized by dramatic, emotional behavior, which is in the same category as antisocial and borderline personality disorders.
Narcissistic personality disorder symptoms may include:
Believing that you’re better than others
Fantasizing about power, success and attractiveness
Exaggerating your achievements or talents
Expecting constant praise and admiration
Believing that you’re special and acting accordingly
Failing to recognize other people’s emotions and feelings
Expecting others to go along with your ideas and plans
Taking advantage of others
Expressing disdain for those you feel are inferior
Being jealous of others
Believing that others are jealous of you
Trouble keeping healthy relationships
Setting unrealistic goals
Being easily hurt and rejected
Having a fragile self-esteem
Appearing as tough-minded or unemotional
In addition to these symptoms, the person may display arrogance, show superiority, and seek power. The symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder can be similar to the traits of individuals with strong self-esteem and confidence; differentiation occurs when the underlying psychological structures of these traits are considered pathological. Narcissists have such an elevated sense of self-worth that they value themselves as inherently better than others, when in reality they have a fragile self-esteem, cannot handlecriticism, and will often try to compensate for this inner fragility by belittling or disparaging others in an attempt to validate their own self-worth. It is this tendency that is characteristic of narcissism as opposed to other psychological conditions affecting level of self-worth.
In children, inflated self-views and grandiose feelings, which are characteristics of narcissism, are part of the normal self-development. Children typically cannot understand the difference between their actual and their ideal self, which causes an unrealistic perception of the self. After about age 8, views of the self, both positive and negative, begin to develop based on comparisons of peers, and become more realistic. Two factors that cause self-view to remain unrealistic are dysfunctional interactions with parents that can be either excessive attention or a lack thereof. The child will either compensate for lack of attention or act in terms of unrealistic self-perception.
The Childhood Narcissism Scale (CNS) measurements concluded that narcissistic children seek to impress others and gain admiration but do not have any interest in creating sincere friendships. Pathological lies and interpersonal exploitation are hallmarks of narcissism. CNS researchers have measured that childhood narcissism has become more prevalent in Western society; any types of activities that focus on overly praising the individual can raise narcissistic levels. More research is needed to find the reasons that promote or protect against narcissism.
The cause of this disorder is unknown, however Groopman and Cooper list the following factors identified by various researchers as possibilities:
An oversensitive temperament at birth
Excessive admiration that is never balanced with realistic feedback
Excessive praise for good behaviors or excessive criticism for bad behaviors in childhood
Overindulgence and overvaluation by parents, other family members, or peers
Being praised for perceived exceptional looks or abilities by adults
Unpredictable or unreliable caregiving from parents
Learning manipulative behaviors from parents
Valued by parents as a means to regulate their own self-esteem
Some narcissistic traits are common and a normal developmental phase. When these traits are compounded by a failure of the interpersonal environment and continue into adulthood, they may intensify to the point where NPD is diagnosed. Some psychotherapists believe that the etiology of the disorder is, in Freudian terms, the result of fixation to early childhood development.
A 1994 study by Gabbard and Twemlow. “The Role of MotherSon Incest in The Pathogenesis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder”. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, Vol. 42, No. 1, 171–189 (1994)
Pathological narcissism occurs in a spectrum of severity. In its more extreme forms, it is narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). NPD is considered to result from a person’s belief that they are flawed in a way that makes them fundamentally unacceptable to others. This belief is held below the person’s conscious awareness; such a person would, if questioned, typically deny thinking such a thing. In order to protect themselves against the intolerably painful rejection and isolation that (they imagine) would follow if others recognized their (perceived) defective nature, such people make strong attempts to control others’ views of them and behavior towards them.
Pathological narcissism can develop from an impairment in the quality of the person’s relationship with their primary caregivers, usually their parents, in that the parents could not form a healthy and empathicattachment to them. This results in the child’s perception of himself/herself as unimportant and unconnected to others. The child typically comes to believe they have some personality defect that makes them unvalued and unwanted.
To the extent that people are pathologically narcissistic, they can be controlling, blaming, self-absorbed, intolerant of others’ views, unaware of others’ needs and of the effects of their behavior on others, and insistent that others see them as they wish to be seen.
Narcissistic individuals use various strategies to protect the self at the expense of others. They tend to devalue, derogate and blame others, and they respond to threatening feedback with anger and hostility.
People who are overly narcissistic commonly feel rejected, humiliated and threatened when criticised. To protect themselves from these dangers, they often react with disdain, rage, and/or defiance to any slight criticism, real or imagined. To avoid such situations, some narcissistic people withdraw socially and may feign modesty or humility. In cases where the narcissistic personality-disordered individual feels a lack of admiration, adulation, attention and affirmation, he or she may also manifest a desire to be feared and to be notorious (narcissistic supply).
Although individuals with NPD are often ambitious and capable, the inability to tolerate setbacks, disagreements or criticism, along with lack of empathy, make it difficult for such individuals to work cooperatively with others or to maintain long-term professional achievements. With narcissistic personality disorder, the individual’s self-perceived fantastic grandiosity, often coupled with a hypomanic mood, is typically not commensurate with his or her real accomplishments.
People who are diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder use splitting as a central defense mechanism. According to psychoanalyst Kernberg, “the normal tension between actual self on the one hand, and ideal self and ideal object on the other, is eliminated by the building up of an inflated self-concept within which the actual self and the ideal self and ideal object are confused. At the same time, the remnants of the unacceptable images are repressed and projected onto external objects, which are devalued.”
The merging of the “inflated self-concept” and the “actual self” is seen in the inherent grandiosity of narcissistic personality disorder. Also inherent in this process are the defense mechanisms of devaluation, idealization and denial. Other people are either manipulated as an extension of one’s own self, who serve the sole role of giving “admiration and approval” or they are seen as worthless (because they cannot collude with the narcissist’s grandiosity).
Relationship to shame
It has been suggested that narcissistic personality disorder may be related to defenses against shame. Psychiatrist Glen Gabbard suggested NPD could be broken down into two subtypes. He saw the “oblivious” subtype as being grandiose, arrogant, and thick-skinned and the “hypervigilant” subtype as being easily hurt, oversensitive, and ashamed. In his view, the oblivious subtype presents for admiration, envy, and appreciation of a powerful, grandiose self that is the antithesis of a weak internalized self, which hides in shame, while the hypervigilant subtype neutralizes devaluation by seeing others as unjust abusers. Dr. Jeffrey Young, who coined the term “Schema Therapy“, a technique originally developed by psychiatrist Aaron T. Beck (1979), also links NPD and shame. He sees the so-called Defectiveness Schema as a core schema of NPD, along with the Emotional Deprivation and Entitlement Schemas.
The Personality and Personality Disorders Work Group originally proposed the elimination of NPD as a distinct disorder in DSM-5 as part of a major revamping of the diagnostic criteria for personality disorders, replacing a categorical with a dimensional approach based on the severity of dysfunctional personality trait domains.
Some clinicians objected to this, characterizing the new diagnostic system as an “unwieldy conglomeration of disparate models that cannot happily coexist” and may have limited usefulness in clinical practice.
In July 2011, the Work Group came back with a major revision to their original proposal. In this revision, NPD was reinstated with dramatic changes to its definition. The general move towards a dimensional (personality trait-based) view of the Personality Disorders has been maintained despite the reintroduction of NPD.
Seeks to counteract or cancel out deep feelings of inferiority and lack of self-esteem; offsets deficits by creating illusions of being superior, exceptional, admirable, noteworthy; self-worth results from self-enhancement.
Feels privileged and empowered by virtue of special childhood status and pseudo achievements; entitled façade bears little relation to reality; seeks favored and good life; is upwardly mobile; cultivates special status and advantages by association.
An individual whose self-esteem was severely arrested during childhood, who usually displays major paranoid tendencies, and who holds on to an illusion of omnipotence. These people are fighting delusions of insignificance and lost value, and trying to re-establish their self-esteem through grandiose fantasies and self-reinforcement. When unable to gain recognition or support from others, they take on the role of a heroic or worshipped person with a grandiose mission.
Other theorists have identified two types of narcissism. Those narcissists who have been diagnosed with narcissistic grandiosity express behavior “through interpersonally exploitative acts, lack of empathy, intense envy, aggression, and exhibitionism.” Another type of narcissism is narcissistic vulnerability. It entails (on a conscious level) “helplessness, emptiness, low self-esteem, and shame, which can be expressed in the behavior as being socially avoidant in situations where their self-presentation is not possible so they withdraw, or the approval they need/expect is not being met.”
Clinical strategies are outlined by Heinz Kohut, Stephen M. Johnson and James F. Masterson, while Johns discusses a continuum of severity and the kinds of therapy most effective in different cases. Schema Therapy, a form of therapy developed by Jeffrey Young that integrates several therapeutic approaches (psychodynamic, cognitive, behavioral etc.), also offers an approach for the treatment of NPD. It is unusual for people to seek therapy for NPD. Unconscious fears of exposure or inadequacy often cause defensive disdain of therapeutic processes. Pattern change strategies, over a long period of time, are for the narcissist to work on increasing their ability to become more empathetic in everyday relationships. To help modify their sense of entitlement and self-centeredness schema is to help them identify how to utilize their unique talents and to help others rather than for their own personal gain. This is not going to change their self-perception of their “entitlement” feeling but more so help them empathize with others. Another type of treatment would be temperament change.
Anger, rage, impulsivity and impatience can be worked on with skill training. Medication can also be an effective addition if needed. Anxiety disorders and somatoma dysfunctions are prevalent but the most common would be depression. Medication can be extremely beneficial when treating the disorder with regular therapy. Medications to help reduce impulsivity, depression, and anger (along with skilled training) will help the person create interpersonal relationships, be less impulsive, be less angry, and treat the depression/anxiety.
Group treatment has its benefits as the effectiveness of receiving peer feedback rather than the clinician’s may be more accepted, but group therapy can also contradict itself as the patient may show “demandingness, egocentrism, social isolation and withdrawal, and socially deviant behavior.” Relationship therapy stresses the importance of learning and applying four basic interpersonal skills: “effective expression, empathy, discussion and problem solving/conflict resolution.” Marital/relationship therapy is most beneficial when both partners participate.
NPD is comorbid with mood disorders, eating disorders, substance-related disorders and four personality disorders: antisocial, borderline, histrionic and paranoid. NPD is also comorbid with DSM Axis I major depressive disorder.
The study of Narcissism and the Narcissistic Defenses in the Eating Disorders was concerned with the correlation between eating pathology and narcissism. Two types of narcissism were observed: core narcissism, having extremely positive (high) self-esteem combined with delusions about the level and ability of achievement; and narcissistic defenses, defenses that are triggered when self-esteem is threatened. Such narcissists maintain self-esteem by seeing themselves as misunderstood and a subject to intolerable demands.
Two types of narcissistic defenses that were measured with eating pathology were “poisonous pedagogy” and “narcissistically abused”. Poisonous pedagogy is one who places blame on others and is overly critical of others’ inadequacies. The narcissistically abused are those who put others’ needs before theirs yet see themselves as being poorly treated (“poor me”). Two groups were measured: Clinical (83 women and one male with the mean age of 28.4) and Non Clinical (70 women mean age of 23.2). BMI of groups did not significantly vary. They filled out a questionnaire that was measured by eating characteristic and narcissism levels by the OMNI (O’Brien Multiphasic Narcissism Inventory) and the EDE-Q (Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire). OMNI measures pathological narcissism of narcissistic personality, poisonous pedagogy, and narcissistically abused personality. EDE-Q measures the common eating disorders: restraint, eating concern, body shape concern, and body weight concern.
The basic summaries of the questionnaire’s findings were the poisonous pedagogy defenses was related to restrictive mind-set; narcissistically abused defense related to restraint, eating concern, body shape concern, and body weight concern. The only main difference between the groups was the role of core narcissism in the clinical women’s levels of eating concerns. Further research is needed to better understand the relationship approaches in both groups.
In 2005, Board and Fritzon published the results of a study in which they interviewed senior business managers, assessing them for the presence of personality disorder.Comparing their findings to three samples of psychiatric patients, they found that their senior business managers were as likely to demonstrate narcissistic traits as the patient population, although were less physically aggressive.
Lifetime prevalence is estimated at 1% in the general population and 2% to 16% in clinical populations.
In 2009, Twenge and Campbell conducted studies suggesting that the incidence of NPD had more than doubled in the US in the prior 10 years, and that 1 in 16 of the population have experienced NPD.
In the film To Die For, Nicole Kidman’s character wants to appear on television at all costs, even if this involves murdering her husband. A psychiatric assessment of her character noted that she “was seen as a prototypical narcissistic person by the raters: on average, she satisfied 8 of 9 criteria for narcissistic personality disorder… had she been evaluated for personality disorders, she would receive a diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder.”
^ Jump up to:ab Development and Validation of the Childhood Narcissism Scale, SANDER THOMAES,1,2 HEDY STEGGE,1 BRAD J. BUSHMAN,3,4 TJEERT OLTHOF,1 AND JAAP DENISSEN. Department of Psychology, VU University, The Netherlands Department of Psychology, Utrecht University, The Netherlands Department of Psychology, University of Michigan Department of Communication Sciences, VU University, The Netherlands
Jump up^ Cooper AM: Narcissism in normal development, in Character Pathology. Edited by Zales M. New York, Brunner/Mazel, 1984, pp. 39–56.
Jump up^ Joseph Fernando, MPSY, M.D., The Etiology of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, (1998). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 53:141–158.
Jump up^ Gabbard, Glen O., Stuart W. Twemlow. 1994
Jump up^ Golomb, Elan PhD (1992). Trapped in the Mirror. New York: Morrow, pp. 19–20.
^ Jump up to:abInitial Construction and Validation of the Pathological Narcissism Inventory, Aaron L. Pincus, Emily B. Ansell, Claudia A. Pimentel, Nicole M. Cain, Aidan G. C. Wright, Kenneth N. Levy
Jump up^ Young, Klosko, Weishaar: Schema Therapy – A Practitioner’s Guide, 2003, chapter 10, pp. 373–424.
Jump up^ Golomb, Elan PhD (1992). Trapped in the Mirror. New York: Morrow, p. 23.
Jump up^ Kohut, Heinz, (1971). The Analysis of the Self: A Systematic Approach to the Psychoanalytic Treatment of Narcissistic Personality DisordersISBN 978-0-8236-0145-5
^ Jump up to:abc Sperry, Lynn (1999) Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Cognitive Behavior Therapy of DSM-IV Personality Disorders: Highly Effective Interventions for the Most Common Personality Disorders. (131-138). Ann Arbor, MI: Edwards Brothers.
For most of history, “tweet” has been the sound a bird makes. However, with the advent of Twitter, the word “tweet” has taken on a whole new meaning.
A tweet is an online posting, or “micro-blog” created by a Twitter user. The purpose of each tweet is to answer the question, “What are you doing?” However, tweets can contain any information you want to post, such as your plans for the weekend, your thoughts about a TV show, or even notes from a lecture. You can publish a tweet using a computer or a mobile phone. Once published, the tweet will appear on the Twitter home pages of all the users that are following you. Likewise, your Twitter home page will display the most recent tweets of the users that you are following.
Each tweet is limited to 140 characters or less. This limit makes it possible to show several tweets on one page without certain tweets taking up a lot more space than others. However, it also means that tweets must be brief, so you must choose your words wisely. Of course, there is no limit to how many tweets you can post, so if you really have a lot to say, you can publish several tweets in a row. After all, what better way to spend your time than to let the world know that you are at Starbucks, drinking a Frappuccino and reading the latest issue of TIME magazine. That is important information to share with the world.
a weak chirping sound, as of a young or small bird.
Digital Technology . a very short message posted on the Twitter Web site: the message may include text, keywords, mentions of specific users, links to Web sites, and links to images or videos on a Web site.
verb (used without object)
to make a weak chirping sound.
Digital Technology . to post a message on Twitter: She tweets a lot about movies.
verb (used with object)
Digital Technology . to post (a message) on Twitter for (people) to read: He tweeted his fans after the event.
“The Twitter Song” – Rockin’ Robin Spoof – I’m tweeting
Belly Dance How to: Hip Shimmy Move – Belly Dancing – with Neon
Gaga Who? Miley Cyrus Snatches Crown for Queen of Obscene at VMAs
With Lady Gaga set to open the MTV Video Music Awards, the audience braced themselves for a dose of patented Gaga shock treatment. For half a decade plus now, Gaga has served as the reliable producer of those jaw-dropping moments that dominate water cooler talk the next day.
And this year looked to be a return to form. Gaga, looking for a bit of a comeback after some time out of the spotlight, needed to hit the stage hard. Counting on her chatter-generating skills, MTV booked her Ladyship into the lead-off slot. On the red carpet before the show, Gaga was asked how she planned to stun the crowd. The expectations were high.
But after coming out standing in a milk carton, a few retrospective wig changes, smearing some paint on her face, the big moment? A quick spin to flash the singer’s teeny tiny thong.
Just when people began to relax after Gaga’s not-so-weird performance, the real sucker punch of the night came: when the girl who was still a practically a Disney princess while Gaga was rocking a meat dress – Miley Cyrus hit the stage.
Cyrus stepped up and assumed the throne for the strangest, most provocative performer at this year’s VMAs, fitting nicely into the crown for Queen of Obscene, funny hair horns and all.
The singer emerged in a furry gray leotard with the face of a seemingly-intoxicated teddy bear to perform her single “We Can’t Stop.” Following the theme of her music video, she was backed up by a gaggle of dancers with the giant teddy bear backpacks, folks in teddy bear suits, and the World’s Tallest Burlesque Dancer, Amazon Ashley, who stands at 6’7”.
Living up to her reputation for shamelessly working it, she didn’t disappoint as she playfully bounced, popped and thrust through the song that had viewers in a trance.
Once Robin Thicke came out to perform what is probably the song of summer ’13, “Blurred Lines,” Cyrus shed the fun fur to reveal a very Gaga-esque nude vinyl bikini, not much unlike the latex getup Gaga wore at the 2011 Grammys. And she just kept twerking like she copyrighted the move.
“Miley better get a pregnancy test after all that twerkin’, ” joked comedian Kevin Hart during the show. The whole audience may need to as well. The 20-year-old left Gaga in the dust with her gratuitous show of both skin and gesturing this year, blowing up social media with images and commentary on her performance.
After Miley’s dance, we’ll never look at a foam finger the same way again. Prancing about the stage with the prop, the singer made every rude, crude gesture imaginable. Then she took it a step further and made Robin Thicke the victim of some very lewd pokes.
Ultimately, Miley Cyrus has made it clear over and over again that she is all grown up and raising the bar for sexiness and strangeness with every appearance. Could she be the next Lady Gaga? Where do you think she’ll go from here?
As Jay Z says in “Somewhereinamerica,” “Somewhere in America / Miley Cyrus is still twerkin’ / Twerk, twerk Miley, Miley.”
Cyrus began to cultivate an adult image and mainstream pop sound with her extended playThe Time of Our Lives (2009). Peaking at number two on the Billboard Hot 100, its track “Party in the U.S.A.” became Cyrus’ highest-peaking single on the chart thus far. Her increasingly maturing image progressed with the release of the film The Last Song and her third album, Can’t Be Tamed in 2010. The latter project featured more prominent dance elements than her earlier releases, and was promoted through sexually-themed performances. In 2011, Cyrus was featured as a teenage rebellion in the drama film LOL, though its limited release failed to make back its budget. She also appeared in the direct-to-video film So Undercover. In 2013, Cyrus signed a recording contract with RCA Records, and announced plans to release her fourth album, Bangerz, later that year. Its lead single, “We Can’t Stop“, was noted for developing an increasingly provocative image, particularly through its accompanying music video.
Since her debut, Cyrus has become one of the most successful artists to originate from Disney. Cyrus ranked number thirteen on Forbes‘ 2010 Celebrity 100. For the 2011 Guinness World Records, she was named the “Most Charted Teenager” following her 29th US Billboard Hot 100 chart entry on November 7, 2009 with “Party in the USA”. She has attained a total of six Top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, and had four RIAA certified albums by the age of 18.
Twerking is a dance move that involves a person shaking the hips in an up-and-down bouncing motion, causing the dancer to shake, “wobble” and “jiggle.” To “twerk” means to “dance in a sexually suggestive fashion by twisting the hips.”
The word “twerking” is of uncertain origin. Possibilities include:
Ties have been made to many traditional African dances. An example of such traditional dances is Mapouka.
In popular culture
Twerking was introduced into hip-hop culture by way of the New Orleansbounce music scene. In 1993, DJ Jubilee recorded the dance tune “Do The Jubilee All” in which he chanted, “Twerk baby, twerk baby, twerk, twerk, twerk.” The video for the song increased the popularity of twerking. In 1995 New Orleans-based rapper Cheeky Blakk recorded the song “Twerk Something!” a call-and-response dance song dedicated to twerking. In 1997 DJ Jubilee recorded “Get Ready, Ready” in which he encouraged listeners to “Twerk it!”.
A great amount of credit for the expansion of twerking outside of New Orleans can be given to strip clubs in Houston and Atlanta. Twerking was receiving recognition in national releases at least as early as the year 2000, when the Atlanta-based Ying Yang Twins released their debut single “Whistle While You Twurk,” which received national airplay peaking at #17 on the Hip Hop Chart and was further referenced in their 2002 follow-up release, “Say I Yi Yi,” which prominently features the lyrics “She got her hands up on her knees and her elbows on her thighs, she like to twerk and that’s for certain I can tell that she fly.” In 2011 The Twerk Team was mentioned in the song “Round of Applause” by Atlanta-based rapper Waka Flocka Flame featuring Drake, including the line, “Bounce that ass, shake that ass like the Twerk Team”.Bandz A Make Her Dance rapper Juicy J has a lyric, “Start twerking when she hear her song”, while French Montana questions the ability of a girl to twerk by asking, “What you twerkin’ with” in his song “Pop That” featuring Drake, Lil Wayne, and Rick Ross. The song, along with “Express Yourself” by Nicky Da B & Diplo, “Made twerking the most popular dance move since the Dougie“.
Segment 2: The Great Divider Obama (GDO), “White African-American”, Incites Eric Holder and Department of Justice (DOJ) Community Relations Service (CRS) Racist Attack Against George Zimmerman To Rally Black Voters In 2012 Presidential Campaign — Holder Should Be Impeached — Racist Racketeering And Outside Agitators and Media Show Trial and Electronic Lynching — Videos
F.B.I and U.S. Justice department Black vs White Crime statistics.
Double Standard: Black Men Named Trayvon Get Killed all the Time, But The Left Doesn’t Care
PJTV: Chicago Murder Rate Proves That Liberals Do Not Care About Gun Deaths
Trayvon Tragedy: Manufactured Racism? How NBC Edited Racism Into the George Zimmerman 911 Call
Trayvon Tragedy: Did NBC Edit the Zimmerman 911 Tape to Serve a Political Agenda?
GLENN BECK,Trial by Media – Will Zimmerman lose because of bogus media reporting?
Prosecution Witness Describes Trayvon Martin As Attacking George Zimmerman On Night Of Murder
CHICAGO HAD 500 MURDERS IN 2012
90% of the murders in Chicago are black on black gangs killing each other where’s the outrage from our so called black leaders like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson they say nothing when blacks kill other blacks this is the biggest problem
Defense Rests Case in George Zimmerman Trial
Zimmerman Trial Indicates KKK Style Racist Injustice in Courts is Still with Us, Media is Culprit
Judge Napolitano To Megyn Kelly: Zimmerman Prosecution Brought Case To Court Out Of Public Pressure
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 interviewwith 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.
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.
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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.”
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.
^ ab Zimmerman’s father is white and his mother is a Hispanic from Peru. George Zimmerman’s ancestry includes an Afro-Peruvian great-grandfather.
^ ab 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.
^ 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,
^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.&