Trayvon Martin Case: Teen's death renews debate over ''Stand Your Ground'' law

10:36 AM, Mar 21, 2012   |    comments
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TAMPA, Fla. - A portion of the transcript from the 9-1-1 call to the Sanford Police Department has been released in the case of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. He's the black teen who was shot and killed Feb. 26 by a 28-year-old Hispanic neighborhood watch captain.

Photo Gallery:  Trayvon Martin photos

In the recording, the neighborhood watch volunteer, George Zimmerman, tells the 9-1-1 operator, "This guy looks like he's up to no good or he's on drugs or something. He's got something in his hands. I don't know what his deal is."

The operator responds, "OK, just let me know if he does anything."

Zimmerman then says, "OK. These a*&%$#@ they always get away."

Zimmerman, a college student, did not obey the 9-1-1 operator's advice to stop following Martin. He had called police saying the teen "looked suspicious."  

Click here to watch a previous story on the power of neighborhood watch organizations.

Zimmerman outweighed Martin by about a hundred pounds. Matin's family members in the Tampa Bay Area tell 10 News the teen at 6'3 and about 140 pounds was nicknamed "SLIMM" for his size.

Martin is from Miami. He was about to watch the NBA All-Star game while visiting his father and stepmother at their home in a gated community of Sanford. He left to purchase a bag of Skittles candies and a can of AriZona Iced Tea for his younger brother at a nearby 7-Eleven convenience store.

Martin was dressed in a hooded sweatshirt. It had been raining and he had the hood pulled over his head. He was not armed and was carrying a cell phone.

Zimmerman has a concealed weapons license and was carrying a 9 millimeter handgun. Neighbors say they heard a fight and started dialing 9-1-1 to report screams and then a gunshot. Martin was shot in the chest and died.

The teen's father says a person heard screaming in the 9-1-1 call was his son. Zimmerman, however, maintains the incident was self-defense and that he suffered a bloody nose in a scuffle with Martin before shooting him.

High-profile attorney Barry Cohen is not a part of the case, but says he doesn't believe Zimmerman can use Florida's "Stand Your Ground Law" in his defense because he was the one following Martin. Cohen says, "There's no evidence, no evidence whatsoever, of self-defense and even if this young boy struck this man, assuming the worst -- which I don't believe in this case is factually supported at all -- that still should not give this man the right to take this young boy's life."

We spoke with State Representative Perry Thurston, Jr. (D) District 93. He says he and other lawmakers are already talking about having the law changed. Representative Thurston says, "I think the major factor that we have to look at is how do we amend this such as a person who is the aggressor would not take advantage of this particular law if we're going to keep it on the books."

But former state Senator Durell Peaden, the Panhandle Republican who sponsored the 2005 legislation, says there's no way this law should be applied in this case. "This guy chasing someone down and shooting him. that has nothing to do with this law," Peaden said. "It's somebody trying to forestall arrest."

Peaden said he hopes the FDLE and FBI "and whatever special prosecutor the governor puts on this case will do what needs to be done instead of everybody standing around wringing their hands. "Put the guy in jail. It sounds like he shot a guy who was innocent. That has nothing to do with this law."

Meanwhile, Trayvon Martin's family members say they've been overwhelmed and grateful for all the support that's coming in from across the world. They say they want the protests to remain peaceful, but they do want to see Zimmerman arrested soon.

Carol Lewis and Darryl Williams say they're trying to remember the way Trayvon lived his life, not the way he lost it. Lewis says her cousin loved to ski, play football, and wanted to be a pilot. She smiles and laughs as she describes him. "Trayvon was just fun-loving and always smiling."

Williams, also Trayvon's cousin, says,  "It's just sad. If it was vice versa, if it was me against Mr. Zimmerman, it would have been a no brainer. I would have been in the county jail."

Zimmerman's father has released a statement to an Orlando newspaper saying that the media has it all wrong. He says his son is getting death threats and has had to move out of his home. He says George is a Spanish speaking minority with many black family members and friends.

More Trayvon Martin stories:

Trayvon Martin case to go before grand jury

Bubba the Love Sponge comments on Trayvon Martin

Trayvon Martin's death renews Stand Your Ground debate

More than 40000 sign Trayvon Martin petition

Trayvon Martin's parents call for FBI probe

Trayvon Martin's death gains national attention

Trayvon Martin: Protestors rally at Florida capitol

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