ZIMMERMAN TRIAL: EVIDENTIARY FLASHBACK: Zimmerman Recalls Fatal Fight to Police

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Below is a snippet from the transcript of the February 27, 2012 Sanford Police Department interview of George Zimmerman by Investigator Singleton, the day after the shooting of Trayvon Martin. (Strangely, the transcript states it was taken on February 22, but the shooting did not occur until February 26, so it is likely the transcriptionist simply misheard the date when listening to the audio recording.  "Twenty-second" and "twenty-seventh" can easily be confused on a poor quality audio recording replayed through a transcription machine.)

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. . .

Zimmerman:  I was leaving to go to the grocery store and, like I said, I saw him, uh, walking in the neighborhood, the same, in front of the same house that I had called the police before to come to because this guy leaves his doors unlocked and stuff and, he was walking leisurely and looking at the houses and, um, so I just pulled my car to the side and I called the non-emergency line.

 Singleton:  Okay.

Zimmerman:  Uh,--

 Singleton:  Were you, were you, were you armed at this point?

Zimmerman:  Yes, ma'am.

 Singleton:  You were already armed, okay.

Zimmerman:  Yes, ma'am.  And, I called the non-emergency line and I just reported that there was a suspicious person in the neighborhoo.  Um, the dispatcher, whoeever answered the phone, asked me where they went and I said I wasn't sure because I lsot visual of him when he went in between houses and, uh, he said, "Well, can you tell me what direction he went in," and I said, "Not really."  Um, and then all of a sudden I see him circling my car, and then he goes back into the darkness.  So--

 Singleton:  **** you pull out of your house and you're heading--

Zimmerman:  Yes, ma'am.

 Singleton:  You're on the phone and he dips between two houses, is that what you mean?

Zimmerman:  Yes, ma'am.  'Cause he--

 Singleton:  So, you lose sight of him.

Zimmerman:  Correct and then he comes back out.

Singleton:  Mm hmm.

Zimmerman:  And circles my car while I'm on the phone with the police.

Singleton:  Okay, is he saying anything to you?

Zimmerman:  I couldn't him.  My windows were up.

Singleton:  Okay.

Zimmerman:  As soon as I saw him coming at me, I rolled up my windows and I stayed on the phone with dispatch.

Singleton:  Okay, he, your car was running.

Zimmerman:  Yes, ma'am.

Singleton:  The lights were on?

Zimmerman:  Yes, ma'am.

Singleton:  So he knew somebody was in this car?

Zimmerman:  Yes, ma'am.

Singleton:  And he, is he walking completely around the car?

Zimmerman:  Yes, ma'am.

Singleton:  Okay.

Zimmerman:  Um, and dispatch asked me where he went.  I didn't know the name of the street that I was on.  I--

Singleton:  So, you'd come off your street and got onto another street.

Zimmerman:  Yes, ma'am.

Singleton:  Okay.

Zimmerman:  Goes and cuts through the middle, my neighborhood.

Singleton:  Okay.

Zimmerman:  I didn't know the name of the street, Um, or where he went so I got our of my car to look for the street sign and to see if I could see where he cut through so that I could tell the ****

Singleton:  So after he circled his car he disappeared again?

Zimmerman:  Yes, ma'am.

Singleton:  Okay.

Zimmerman:  Um, then dispatcher told me that, "Where are you?" and I said "I'm trying to find out where he went."  And, he said, we don't need you to do that.  And I said, "Okay."  Uh, he said, "We already have a police officer en route."  And I said, "All right," and I have gone where, through the dog walk where I normally walk my dog and walked back through to my stret, the street that loops around and he said, "We already have a police officer on the way," so I said, "Okay."  I told--base said, "Would you like a police officer to meet you?" and I said, "Yes," and I told him where my car was and the make and the model.

Singleton:  Mm hmm.

Zimmerman:  So, I was walking through to where my car was and he jumped out from the bushes and he said, "What the f**ck's your problem, homey?" and I got my cell phone out to call 911 at this time.

Singleton:  Mm hmm.

Zimmerman:  And I said, "Hey man, I don't have a problem," and he goes, "No, now you have a problem," and he punched me in the nose.  At that point, I fell down, uh, I tried to defend myself.  He just started punching me in the face, and, uh, I started screaming for help.  I couldn't see. I couldn't breath.  Then he started taking my **** --

Singleton:  Were you still standing at this point?

Zimmerman:  No, ma'am.

Singleton:  Okay.

Zimmerman:  I fell to the ground when he punched me the first time.

Singleton:  Okay.

Zimmerman:  I, it was dark.  I didn't even see him getting ready to punch me.  As soon as he punched me, I fell backwards, um, into the grass and he grabbed me.  He was wailing on my head and I, then, I started yelling help.  When I started yelling help, he grabbed my head and he started hitting my head into the-- I, I tried to sit up and I, and yell for help and then he grabbed my head and started hitting it into the sidewalk.  Um, when he started doing that, I slid into the grass to try and get out from under him and so that he would stop hitting my head into the sidewalk and I'm still yelling for help.  And, I could see people looking and some guy yells out, I'm calling 911 and I said, "Help me, help me.  He's killing me."  And he puts his hand on my nose and mouth and he says, "You're gonna die tonight," and I don't remember much after that.  I just remem, I couldn't breath and then he still kept trying to hit my head against the pavement or I don't know if there was a sign or what it was. So, I just, uh, when I slid, my jacket and my shirt came up and when he said, "You're gonna die tonight," I felt his hand go down on my side and I thought he was going for my firearm.  So I grabbed it immediately and as he banged my head again, I just pulled out my firearm and shot him.

Singleton:  Okay.  And then what happened? Did he, he, you, you're both on the ground?

Zimmerman:  I'm on my back.

Singleton:  And he's on top of you?

Zimmerman:  He's on top of me.

Singleton:  Okay.

Zimmerman:  He's mounted on top of me and I just shot him.

Singleton:  Okay.

Zimmerman:  And then he falls off and hels like all right, you got it.  You got it.

Singleton:  Does he fall to the side and he stays lying on the ground or does--

Zimmerman:  I don't ****, I, my vision was blurry--

Singleton:  Okay.

Zimmerman:  --and, uh--

Singleton:  You didn't feel him fall towards you?  He somewhow ended up to one side or the other oryou don't know?

Zimmerman:  I don't remember.  He, I think when I shot him, it might have pushed him back but I remembe.  I didn't know what he was hitting [me with].  It felt like he was hitting me with bricks.  So, I rememberI, once I shot him, I holstered my firearm, and I got on top of him and I held his hands down because he was still talking, and he, and, uh, I said, "Stay down. Don't move," and, uh, then somebody comes out and I couldn't see.  It was a flashlight in my head so I, I asked if it was a police officer and he said, no, it was a witness but he was calling the police, and I said, "The police are on their way.  They should be here already 'cause I had called.

Singleton:  Okay.

Zimmerman:  And, uh, he's like I'm calling the police and I said, "I don't need you to call the police.  I need you to help me with this guy."  And, uh, then an officer shows up.  Again, he had a flashlight so I couldn't see him and he asked me, uh, "Who shot this guy," and I said, "I did," and I put, I immediately put my hands on top of my head and I told the police officer where my firearm was and then he hendcuffed me and took me from there.

Singleton:  Okay, after you, after you shot him, he said, "You got me?"

Zimmerman:  Yeah.

Singleton:  Okay,  And then when you got on top, did he say anything else?

Zimmerman:  He said, "Ow, ow."

Singleton:  When he was, okay, um, you said you were, you had walked back there.

Zimmerman:  Yes, ma'am.

Singleton:  To try to find out where he went--

****

Singleton:  --and you were already on the phone with dispatch at that point?

****

Singleton:  You sad you called them from your car?

Zimmerman:  Yes, ma'am.

Singleton:  Okay, so the whole itme you were on the phone?

Zimmerman:  Yes, ma'am.

Singleton:  Were you still on the phone when he, when he came, when he jumped out?

Zimmerman:  No.

Singleton:  You had hung up?

Zimmerman:  Yes.

. . . . .

. . .

George Zimmerman: I saw him coming at me and I went to grab my phone. I don't remember if I had time to pull it out or not.

Investigator Singleton: Okay, you attempted to try to recall the --

George Zimmerman: To call the police.

Investigator Singleton: --to call the police, right.

George Zimmerman: 911 this time.

Investigator Singleton: Okay.

George Zimmerman: 'Cause the first time I called non-emergency.

Investigator Singleton: But you're not sure if you actually got it out of your pocket or not? Oh, okay and that's when it was, that's when he slugged you.

George Zimmerman: He just hit me, yeah.

Investigator Singleton: And what did he say before that? You said, he asked you like something about, I said, you got a problem?

George Zimmerman: He said, "You got a problem, homey?" and I said, "I don't have a problem." And he said, "Now you have a problem."

Investigator Singleton: Okay.

George Zimmerman: And that's when he hit me.

Investigator Singleton: And that's he struck you in the nose first.

George Zimmerman: Yes, ma'am.

Investigator Singleton: And that's what knocked you down?

George Zimmerman: Yes, ma'am.

Investigator Singleton: Okay. And, this is all, this is, you're saying this is behind the buildings, though?

George Zimmerman: Yes, ma'am.

Investigator Singleton: How, is there, are you sure, is it a patio that he's hitting 'cause you said he's hitting your head on a sidewalk.

George Zimmerman: No, no, it's the, it's the sidewalk.

Investigator Singleton: There's a sidewalk behind--

George Zimmerman: Yes ma'am.

Investigator Singleton: --the buildins?

George Zimmerman: It's a dog walk.

Investigator Singleton: Okay. . . . the dog walk is, is cement.

George Zimmerman: Yes ma'am.

Investigator Singleton: Okay. Okay. Okay, so he's hitting your head . . .

George Zimmerman: Yes, ma'am. As I went to sit up, then he grabbed me by the, the front of my head and started banging it into the--

Investigator Singleton: And that's when you could look either to your left or right and you could see this guy? And you were saying help me?

George Zimmerman: I don't remember. I screamed help me probably 50 times as loud as I could.

. . .

Speaker 1: Are you still [at this time] on the phone [police non-emergency number]--

George Zimmerman: Yes ma'am.

Speaker 1: --with dispatch? Okay. Are you giving them a description of ***--

George Zimmerman: Yes ma'am.

Speaker 1: --***? Okay. At, where does he go where you lose sight of him again?

George Zimmerman: He walked back into the darkness here.

Speaker 1: He went there? Okay. . . . By the time he gets here, you can't see him.

George Zimmerman: Correct

Speaker 1: Okay, and you're still in your car?

George Zimmerman: Yes ma'am.

Speaker 1: And you're watching him walk away?

George Zimmerman: Yes ma'am.

Speaker 1: Okay, and then what happens?

George Zimmerman: The dispatcher asks me what direction he went on and exactly what address I was at.

. . .

Speaker 1: Okay. So you're trying to figure out what street you're on, okay. So you see him go here and then so what do you do to try to--

George Zimmerman: I got out of my vehicle to look at this house's address and see if there was a sign there.

Speaker 1: Okay.

George Zimmerman: And there wasn't.

Speaker 1: Okay.

George Zimmerman: So I walked through the dog walk to see if there was a sign here or an address that I could make out easier.

Speaker 1: Okay and then what happens?

George Zimmerman: The dispatcher asked me if I'm out of my car--

Speaker 1: Mm hmmm.

George Zimmerman: --and I said yes and they said do you know what direction he went in. I said no and they said are you following him and I said, I don't, I don't know, I don't know where he went.

Speaker 1: Okay but you continue straight on the sidewalk--

George Zimmerman: Yes, ma'am.

Speaker 1: --up this side?

George Zimmerman: Yes, ma'am.

Speaker 1: Okay.

George Zimmerman: All the way through.

Speaker 1: And then what happens when you get there? You decided, you still don't know whether, where you're at?

George Zimmerman: I still don't know where I was at--

Speaker 1: Okay.

George Zimmerman: --but I was able to give the dispatcher a description from the clubhouse.

Speaker 1: Mm hmm.

George Zimmerman: I said they come in straight in past the clubhouse and my car is right here.

. . .

Speaker 1: So you walked here and when you get here you realize, okay I'm just gonna go back to my car. Is that what happens or--

George Zimmerman: No. The dispatcher says, um, would you like a police officer to still come out 'cause I said I don't know where he went.

Speaker 1: Okay.

George Zimmerman: He's, 'cause he asked me for the fir, what direction they went in--

Speaker 1: Okay.

George Zimmerman: --what road and I said I don't know where he went and they said, well do you still want a, uh, officer to meet you and I said yes and she, they said, where do you want them to meet you and I said at my car.

Speaker 1: Okay.

George Zimmerman: So I start walking back towards my car--

Speaker 1: Okay. Is this all dark in here?

George Zimmerman: Yes, ma'am.

Speaker 1: Okay. There's no lighting back here anywhere--

George Zimmerman: No.

Speaker 1: --unless it comes from someone's house--

George Zimmerman: Correct.

Speaker 1: --is that how it works? Okay and could you, is it all dark down here so--

George Zimmerman: Yes, ma'am.

Speaker 1: -you can't see anything down here.

George Zimmerman: Unless there's patio lights on.

Speaker 1: Okay so at what point and where from what bushes does he jump out?

George Zimmerman: It was somewhere around here.

Speaker 1: Okay. Do you know if the, is there bushes along this walkway or where are the bushes.

George Zimmerman: They're all, they're hedges around the, the sides and the back of the buildings.

Speaker 1: Okay. So you think it's up here somewhere where the T is, where he jumps out?

George Zimmerman: Yes, ma'am.

Speaker 1: Okay. Do you remember, um, you were walking this way. Did he jump out in front of you from somewhere or did he--

George Zimmerman: I--

Speaker 1: --come up behind you? Do you remember?

George Zimmerman: I don't recall.

Speaker 1: Okay but he was, from what you guess he was somewhere hiding at this T with the bush--

George Zimmerman: Yes, ma'am.

Speaker 1: --in the bushes when he jumps out. Okay and then where, where did, where's where do you end up when he, when he, when you guys are on the ground and after all this has all ahppened. Where, where, could you ****--

George Zimmerman: He punched me in the face and I fell backwards and I don't even know--

Speaker 1: You just know you're somewhere in the area.

George Zimmerman: --I ended up. Yes ma'am.

. . .

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Zimmerman's own testimony can, of course, be seen as self-serving.  Nevertheless, this is entirely legitimate evidence that the State must overcome if it is to prove Zimmerman guilty, beyond a reasonable doubt, of a crime in this case.