A detective said Martin initiated two confrontations with the neighborhood-watch volunteer who fatally shot him. That largely coincides with reports that George Zimmerman told investigators that he shot the teenager in self-defense. But a girlfriend who was on the phone with Martin had a different account.
WASHINGTON — A police detective told the father of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin that his son initiated two confrontations with the neighborhood-watch volunteer who fatally shot him.
Tracy Martin, describing the police version of events in a meeting Wednesday with Washington Post reporters and editors, said he did not believe the official account, which was conveyed to him two days after his 17-year-old son was killed Feb. 26.
The detective’s explanation, as relayed by Martin, largely coincides with recent news reports that George Zimmerman told investigators that he shot Trayvon Martin in self-defense.
According to Tracy Martin, the Sanford, Fla., detective recounted this sequence of events: Trayvon Martin walked up to Zimmerman’s vehicle and asked why he was following him. Zimmerman denied following the youth and rolled up the car window. Minutes after Trayvon walked away, Zimmerman got out of his vehicle.
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Then came the second encounter, according to Tracy Martin’s recollection of the detective’s account. Trayvon Martin appeared from behind a building in Zimmerman’s gated community, approached him and demanded, “What’s your problem, homie?”
When Zimmerman replied that he didn’t have a problem, Martin said, “You do now.” The unarmed teenager hit Zimmerman, knocked him to the ground, pinned him down and told him to shut up. During the beating, Zimmerman pulled his gun and fired one shot at close range into Martin’s chest. “You got me,” the teenager said, falling backward.
Tracy Martin and the 17-year-old’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, said Wednesday that they have never accepted this explanation for their son’s death.
“That was bull,” Tracy Martin said. “No way. At that point, I knew there was something terribly wrong.”
The Sanford Police Department said in a statement Wednesday that it will no longer answer questions from the news media.
A video shot by a security camera showed police marching a handcuffed Zimmerman into police headquarters the night he shot Martin and picked up no obvious sign of injury to the neighborhood-watch volunteer.
The video debuted Wednesday evening on ABC’s “World News with Diane Sawyer.”
Police say Zimmerman told them he shot Trayvon in self-defense after the 6-foot high-school junior punched him, got on top of him then began banging his head into a sidewalk.
Zimmerman was bleeding from his nose and the back of his head, according to a police report, but the video, provided ABC News by the city of Sanford, shows no obvious sign of injury.
The official account given to Trayvon Martin’s parents conflicts with a version of the incident from his girlfriend, who was on the phone with him in the minutes before the shooting and has described their conversation to interviewers on the condition of anonymity.
According to her, Trayvon Martin told her that someone was following him in a car. She has said she heard another voice asking him what he was doing in the area before the phone went dead.
Tracy Martin said police asked him to identify his son from a crime-scene photograph. He said that authorities have yet to provide him with the autopsy report and that he was unable to view any injuries his son may have suffered in the fatal struggle.
“We didn’t see the body until it got back to Fort Lauderdale and he was cleaned up and dressed up for the funeral,” Martin said.
Martin and Fulton said they are moved by the outpouring of support from people across the nation. They said they were particularly touched by the actions of Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., who on Wednesday donned a gray hoodie and sunglasses and spoke from the floor of the House of Representatives about the need for a full investigation of the death.
“I applaud the young people all across the land who are making a statement about hoodies, about the real hoodlums in this nation, specifically those who tread on our law wearing official or quasi-official cloaks,” Rush said on the House floor.
“Racial profiling has got to stop,” he said. “Just because someone wears a hoodie does not make them a hoodlum.”
As he spoke those words, he removed his suit jacket and lifted the hood over his head. Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss., presiding over the floor as Rush delivered his remarks, began to gavel almost immediately.
Shouting over Rush, who began to recite Bible verses, Harper said the congressman was out of order for donning the hood. Rules bar House members from wearing hats in the chamber. Rush was then escorted from the floor.