Yet More on the Zimmerman Case

I’m sure most of you have had you fill of the Zimmerman case, but I’m going to toss up one more post detailing my thoughts now that I’ve listend to the 911 recording (at least the most complete version I’ve found). After listening to the recording I think several things are worth noting.

First, the accusations of Zimmerman’s apparent racism are not upheld in the recording in my opinion. People mentioned Zimmerman’s apparent obsession with Martin’s race as Zimmerman reported Martin as a black male twice. It’s common for somebody giving a description to list race and gender first because they are two of the most easily noted characteristics of a person. Usually people start with the roughest information and move to more fine detail so it’s not uncommon for race and gender to precede estimated height, weight, and age. The description Zimmerman gave also including the clothing being worth by Martin, another common thing to report. I did not get any apparent racism coming from Zimmerman during the 911 call.

Second, the 911 operator never ordered Zimmerman to stop pursuing Martin as many (including myself) have reported. What the 911 operator did was ask Zimmerman if he was chasing Martin and when Zimmerman said yes the operator simply told Zimmerman that he didn’t need to do that. Neither the wording nor the tone of voice used by the operator projected an order. Furthermore as it became obvious that Zimmerman was still moving the 911 operator never asked Zimmerman if he stopped his pursuit (I also want to add that it’s not obvious from the 911 recording if Zimmerman stopped pursuing Marting and was returning to his vehicle or if he continued to pursue Martin).

Third, I was unable to hear Zimmerman use any racial slur as he has been accused of doing. A few parts of the recording were blanked out and it is possible Zimmerman said the slur at one of those times but if that’s the case, and this is the most complete recording of the call, I’m not sure how anybody came across such a statement. I also wish to add that I could have missed Zimmerman’s use of a racial slur but I was actively listening for it so I don’t believe that’s the case.

It’s worth noting that Zimmerman’s statements, tone of voice, and mannerisms did not indicate any vindictive behavior to me. Obviously such things can’t be entirely determined by an audio recording but it can be a good heuristic. Zimmerman sounded calm, collective, and not different from most officers I’ve heard giving updates on their activities during a contact. Reports have noted that Zimmerman was studying criminal justice, and combining that with his role in neighborhood watch, leaves me to believe he was acting based on received training.

Obviously I’m not an expert but condemning Zimmerman at this point, in my opinion, would be erroneous.