Former neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman, accused of murdering 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, appeared on broadcast television Wednesday night with Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity. In his first televised interview since the shooting of the teenager, Zimmerman describes in detail the night where the two met, how he perceived the series of events to have gone, and his feelings about the ordeal. There’s a chance this one-on-one interview changed the minds of those of us already familiar with the case, but there’s also a chance that this interview didn’t change anything. But regardless, we cannot change the facts; Trayvon Martin was killed, George Zimmerman has been charged with second degree murder and America’s public opinion on this highly publicized case is polarized.
We all know how the story goes, on February 26, 2012, Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman met in a Central Florida neighborhood. There was some type of physical confrontation, and the armed Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon. There are 911 calls of neighbors who saw the fight between the two and people who heard the fatal gunshot. In the aftermath, news reports immediately reported the shooting death of a teenager, as what’s normally expected, but facts that Trayvon was not armed, seemingly harmless in some thoughts, and George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watchman looking to rid his neighborhood of crime and suspicious activity, would explode this case from the local media into the national spotlight. In the two months following the shooting, tensions of the public grew. People became angry that a young man was killed and his admitted shooter was not arrested. The added factor that Trayvon Martin was black and George Zimmerman isn’t, caused people to take sides on a racial platform. Zimmerman would soon be arrested and charged in April.
Prior to Wednesday night, the only thing we’ve heard from George Zimmerman was through written statements, recorded videos and through legal advocates. This interview with Sean Hannity, is only unusual because George Zimmerman will likely be tried in a court of law for murder, and anything he says can and will be used against him there. We’ve seen suspects involved in criminal proceedings before where they have spoken publically. But fortunately for George Zimmerman, what’s different about this one is he did have his lawyer with him. They were very careful with what was being said and to some extent, what was being asked. George Zimmerman described the events of that night. How he saw Trayvon, thought he looked suspicious and called the non-emergency line for the police. Its important to note that in contrast to what police, the state attorney’s office and much of the general public are being led to believe, Zimmerman said he did not follow Trayvon to see what he was up to. That is one point of contention in this case. It is believed that while he was on the phone with the emergency communications officer, after being told directly not to follow him, Zimmerman racial profiled Trayvon, followed him and eventually shot and killed him. A few times during the course of the interview, Zimmerman adamantly professed that he did not follow him. Also in the interview, Zimmerman would go on to apologize to Trayvon’s family, saying he’s sorry they lost their son, but would also say how there’s nothing he would have done differently, and that it’s all a part of “Gods plan.”
Not for nothin’, but while this is the first time we heard his side of the story from George Zimmerman himself, its not anything new and that we haven’t heard before. Although it seems as if he has laid out his whole defense in just this interview, there’s still another side of the story, Trayvon’s side. Do we really know what happened that night the two came in contact with each other? Are we set to believe his side of the story of how it happened, when essentially the only person that can corroborate that story is the same person he shot and killed? It’s kind of a tragic irony.