NY Times Details Missteps In Trayvon Martin Shooting Investigation
The New York Times reports the results of its reporters' investigation over the last several weeks into the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
It includes a lot of unnamed police sources and claims by unnamed witnesses made after the fact. Most of this stuff we've heard before, and I'd caution against assuming the New York Times is reporting facts. It's reporting what unnamed police sources and witnesses told the reporters, which may or may not be accurate. [More...]
The Times devotes a lot of space to one eyewitness who talked to them. The witness complains about being ignored. It seems to be the freaked out 911 caller whose call lasted more than 10 minutes.
In her 911 call, she said there were other neighbors whose porches were closer to the where the shooting occurred, who might have helped. It was too dark for her to see anyone clearly until after hearing the shot. She was so distraught during the call the dispatcher offered to send an ambulance to her house. She and her lawyer, Derek Brett of Orlando, later made the CNN rounds, with her face and voice being shielded. By then, she was convinced it was a young boy, Trayvon, who had cried out for help.
Her wording in her 911 call is similar to her later interviews: the "pop" sound, the thought someone might have been walking their dog in the rain, and a lot more.
She doesn't describe the man as Hispanic in her 911 call, only in later interviews does she say she could see the man walking away was Hispanic. What she saw was Zimmerman walking away after the shot when people with flashlights had arrived on scene. She didn't even have her window open when she first heard what sounded like a scuffle before the shot. Then she turned her attention elsewhere until she heard them again. She called 911, and appears to be looking out her window describing what she is seeing. She says she heard a "pop." She wasn't sure it was a gunshot. She couldn't identify who was on top during the scuffle. She assumes it was the younger person because the older one walked away after it was over.
She is the witness who describes an "authoritative" voice. She assumes the older person has the authoritative voice. As I've said before, we've heard Zimmerman's voice, it's timid. We haven't heard Travyon's voice. She hears Zimmerman say he shot someone and surrender to police.
This is a classic case of an eyewitness memory being contaminated by post-event information, where the witness' memory of the original event is blended with information received later through the media. The result is a new memory is formed that is not accurate.
Listen to her 911 call.
Then read the transcripts of her and her lawyers' CNN TV interviews. The witness' voice was disguised, sometimes as a male voice, but they all seem to be the same witness, the lawyer for the witness is the same, and it is the same lawyer as the one quoted about his client-witness in the New York Times article.
- Anderson Cooper Interview
- Ashleigh Banfield Interview
- Jane Velez Mitchell Interview
- Another CNN Interview with witness'lawyer
The only eye and ear witness accounts that should be considered reliable are the first ones the witnesses gave in their 911 calls and at the scene, when the witnesses were contemporaneously describing what they were seeing and hearing. All these witnesses later interviews were given after they comingled what they originally witnessed with information learned later. What a great example of why mistaken eye-witness evidence is the leading cause of wrongful convictions in this country. The witnesses aren't lying, they are just mistaken.
What inconsistencies do you notice between this witness' 911 call and later interviews?
As to the rest of the Times' article, Tom Maguire at Just One Minute lists his complaints.
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