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Sunday, April 1, 2012

Audio, Video, and Justice for Trayvon Martin

With all the conflicting accounts of what happened on the night that George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin, two things remain clear:

1. George Zimmerman had no business being anywhere near Trayvon Martin when the shooting occurred.  He was told to stop following Travyon by the police.

2. George Zimmerman was in pretty good shape, certainly not recently having been beaten to an inch of his life, when he got out of the car at the police station within an hour after the killing.

We know the first because of the police recording of Zimmerman's call.  We know the second because of the video taping of Zimmerman's arrival at the police station.

Neither the audio nor the video are crystal clear.   There are parts of the audio that are in dispute (the racial epithet that many hear Zimmerman utter).   But the police injunction to Zimmerman to not follow Trayvon, and Zimmerman's not being seriously injured when he arrived at the police station, are beyond dispute.

This is not the first time that video has changed the game, tipped the scales in favor of justice, for victims of violence.   LAPD officers would never have been brought to justice had their beating of Rodney King in 1991 not been videotaped by an alert citizen.   Police officers would not have been reprimanded had their pepper spraying of Occupy Wall Street demonstrators exercising their First Amendment rights not been captured on video.

Nothing can bring Trayvon back.  But the eyes and ears of the cosmos, in the form of recordings which bear witness to the circumstances of his killing, will be the foundation of the justice that he deserves.

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