March 29, 2012

Looking at the Zimmerman Video

Of course, the big take-away from the Zimmerman/Florida police video it that it contradicts his claim that Trayvon Martin left him bloody and battered. You can click just about anywhere today to see the video and hear that amplified. In one-minute-and-twenty-eight seconds, however, there’s a lot of visual data there, some related to Zimmerman and some to the police.

Regarding the claims of a fight, Zimmerman’s credibility is damaged not just for the lack of visible signs of a violent altercation but for the fact the police are not treating him as physically traumatized in any way, certainly needing no assistance getting out of the car.

What’s also interesting is the very casual approach to the suspect by the Sanford officers. Were it not for the handcuffs, you would think they were pulling in a guy who had too many parking tickets. Notice, for example, how they leave him standing alone outside the police car behind the two officers in the garage.

Regarding evidence, it’s probably completely innocuous, but given that wetness and grass stains were indicated as evidence at the scene, it is a little odd to see the young officer, at the 35 second mark, notice something on Zimmerman’s pants, wipe it with his hand, then wipe it off on his own pants. That’s right before, at the :50 mark, he checks the back of Zimmerman’s head.

If people are looking for police complicity, however, perhaps what the video reflects more than anything are small town police who are not all-that-competent.

I was also looking at the tape for behavioral signs. If I had just killed somebody in self-defense, I imagine I would be in shock, very tense in my body, either hypervigilant or else grief-stricken. Again, it’s very hard to draw any inferences at all from the tape, but Zimmerman does seem, well, pretty normal.

If there is anything really substantive to get out of the video besides lack of injuries, however, it’s that Zimmerman — previously reported as 5’9″ and over two-hundred pounds — looks like a guy who could take care of himself.

(Video via ABC. Huffington Post has a six minute version of the video that offers reverse-angle in the garage (showing that a second squad car was involved in bringing Zimmerman in. There’s also a whole lot of hallway walking.)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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