On Friday, March 16, the Sanford Police Department released the 911 calls (LISTEN HERE) involving the tragic death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin who was shot and killed last month, while the shooter, George Zimmerman, remains a free man.
The recordings include the seven 911 calls neighbors made after hearing Trayvon cry for help and beg for his life before two shots were fired. George Zimmerman’s call was also made available, in which he details the suspicious person:
“This guy looks like he’s up to no good, or he’s on drugs or something,” Zimmerman tells the 911 operator. “He’s just staring, looking at all the houses. Now he’s coming toward me. He’s got his hand in his waistband. Something’s wrong with him.”
Zimmerman described Martin as wearing a hoodie and sweatpants or jeans. He continues: “He’s coming to check me out. He’s got something in his hands. I don’t know what his deal is. Can we get an officer over here?”
“These assholes always get away,” he says to the operator. Zimmerman is then heard giving directions to the dispatcher.
“Shit, he’s running,” Zimmerman says.
“Are you following him?” the dispatchers asked. “Yes,” Zimmerman responds.
“We don’t need you to do that,” the dispatcher says.
The 911 calls release follows a series of appearances by Martin’s family, including an interview Trayvon’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, gave to the Miami Herald on Thursday, a CNN interview with Fulton, Trayvon’s father, Tracy Martin, and attorney Ben Crump just before holding a press conference Friday, which included eye witnesses who refuted claims by Sanford police that they were lying. In addition to calling witness testimony “inconsistent”, a Sanford police officer also reportedly corrected a witness when she told him that she heard Trayvon cry for help; he told her it was actually Zimmerman.
According to Natalie Jackson, a family attorney, “You hear a shot, a clear shot, that we can only assume is a warning shot. Then a 17-year-old boy is begging for his life. Everything tells me that that was Trayvon Martin.” Trayvon’s mother could reportedly only listen to half of the recordings, while his father broke down at the end and “cried like a baby”. Both Crump and Jackson characterized what they heard as “murder” and demanded Zimmerman’s immediate arrest.
The handling of the case, which has been turned over to the Florida State Attorney’s Office, has been a major issue for the Martin family and supporters of justice for Trayvon with requests being made that the Department of Justice step in and intervene. The case has drawn support from across the country with over 260,000 signatures calling for Zimmerman to be prosecuted.