George Zimmerman strikes back, accusing Trayvon Martin of violent attack


ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 26: College student Jajuan Kelley covers his mouth with a Skittles wrapper as he stands in a crowd of thousands rallying at the Georgia State Capitol in memory of slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin on March 26, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. Protests have been nationwide in reaction to the death of Trayvon Martin, the Florida teenager whose shooting by a neighborhood watch captain has led to questions of the "Stand Your Ground" law in Florida and other states. (Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)


Jessica McGowan

The Florida man who shot and killed Trayvon Martin has reportedly told police that the black teenager attacked him first.

George Zimmerman told police Martin was the aggressor, striking him in the face first.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, Zimmerman said he lost track of Martin and was walking back to his car when the teenager approached him from behind and struck him. Zimmerman said after the first punch, Martin climbed on top of him and slammed his head into the sidewalk, leaving him bloody and battered. 

In a statement, the Sanford police said Zimmerman's story was "consistent" with the evidence. 

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Friends of Zimmerman have come forward in his defense. One friend, Joe Oliver, spoke with Soledad O’Brien on her CNN show, Starting Point. On the show he said Zimmerman has been "extremely remorseful, even though he took someone else's life in order to save his." He added, "Race had nothing to do with it.”

Oliver continued by commenting on his own race, adding: "I volunteered because I'm a black man and I understand what is happening because of this story. Like I said, if I didn't know George and if I didn't know what I know, I'd have been in downtown Sanford last night with everyone else. I would have been here the night before with everyone else. I understand why we're having this conversation, because I grew up with it. I lived it. I've had those conversations with my own son on what it's like to be a black man in this country. I get that. But what I also get is this was not a racial incident. This was an incident of a good man trying to do the right thing.”

According to Sanford police reports, Zimmerman suffered from a broken nose, a gash to his head and other injuries, though the police confirmed he did not warrant medical attention at the scene or seek any the next day, said The Daily Beast.

Zimmerman's account of the night contradicts many parts of the 911 tapes that showed Zimmerman following Martin, though the police urged him not to. His version of events also contrasts with a statement made by Martin's girlfriend who said she told him to run after he said he was being followed by an SUV, according to The Daily Beast.

Benjamin Crump, the Martin family's lawyer, said that the unnamed girlfriend was on the phone the entire time and heard Zimmerman approach Martin. "Trayvon turned around, asked him why he was following him, and Zimmerman asked Trayvon what he was doing there. That does not sound like Travyon approached him first or attacked him," according to Crump.

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New information has also been leaked about Martin, which his family believes was released as an attempt to assassinate their son's character. 

According to family spokesman Ryan Julison, Martin was suspended from school after traces of marijuana were found in a plastic bag in his book bag. Martin was serving the suspension and visiting his father at the time he was shot. 

Family attorney Benjamin Crump told the Washington Post, “If he and his friends experimented with marijuana, that is completely irrelevant. What does it have to do with killing their son?”

Martin was also suspended from school twice before. According to MSNBC, Martin had been suspended for being late or missing school, and once more with friends for writing "W.T.F" on a hallway locker. 

The Associated Press put in a public records request with the state Department of Juvenile Justice on Martin. The request showed Martin has no juvenile record. 

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