A Few Questions for Those
Upset by the Zimmerman Verdict
(This survey takes about 10 minutes to complete)
Please read this first!: This survey focuses specifically on some of the most underreported (or misreported) facts in this case -- facts that challenge many of the preconceptions created by the news media's coverage of this topic. It is not meant to be a balanced or comprehensive list of all the evidence and is not a scientific poll. Although anyone can take the survey, it is designed primarily for those who already believe that George Zimmerman should have been found "guilty" and focuses on facts that may contradict their assumptions -- facts most people don't know because they were ignored or widely misreported by a news media that wanted to tell a particular story.

Here's some quick background:

The primary issue in the Zimmerman Trial was whether there was enough evidence to conclude that Zimmerman may have legitimately acted in self-defense. During the trial, it wasn't necessary for the defense team to absolutely prove that Zimmerman acted in self-defense -- just that there was enough evidence (or lack of contrary evidence) to believe it was reasonably possible.

Zimmerman's defense claim is basically this:

Zimmerman was in his car when he spotted Trayvon Martin acting strange (wandering in the rain and staring at the houses), so he called the police. After seeing Zimmerman in his car, Martin started running off down the walkway between some of the buildings. Zimmerman then got out of his car but lost sight of Martin after a few moments. He continued in the same direction as Martin for a few hundred feet either to try to see where Martin went or to check the street name to give an address to the police (or both).

Zimmerman says he lost sight of Martin, but since the dispatcher advised him not to continue following, he started walking back to meet the police. Martin then approached him from behind and said "Yo, you got a problem?" Zimmerman said "No, I don't have a problem" and looked down to find his phone in his pants pocket to call the police. Martin then said "Well, you do now" and punched Zimmerman in the face. Zimmerman was knocked to the ground while Martin got on top of him and started hitting him and bashing his head into the ground. Zimmerman says that when Martin saw his gun he tried to grab it saying "You're going to die tonight, motherf***er" so he only fired the gun in self-defense, believing his life was in danger.

If that version of events was true, then Zimmerman had a legitimate self-defense claim. Martin would not have been justified in attacking him because he could not have reasonably thought he was being threatened by a guy walking back to his car, especially after he responded with "No" when Martin asked "You got a problem?"

If, however, Zimmerman lied about what happened and had actually confronted Martin and attacked him first (or intentionally tried to provoke him into fighting), he could not legitimately claim self-defense.

Many people believe, based on limited information gathered from the news media, that Zimmerman must be lying because they believe he was a racist who racially profiled Martin and followed him with the intention of killing him, or at least provoking a fight. Many believe Trayvon Martin was too young or too small to have attacked Zimmerman or that he had no history of violent behavior. They are convinced the jury made the wrong decision.

If you are one of those people, here are a few questions for you!

Keep in mind that if the jury concluded, based on the evidence, there was even a reasonable chance Zimmerman's version of events was true, they were obligated to find him "not guilty".

Please Also Note: Nothing in this survey is meant to suggest that Trayvon Martin deserved to die. It doesn't prove he did anything. Nor does it prove anything about Zimmerman's guilt or innocence. It's is simply meant to promote awareness of underreported facts that shed light on whether there was enough reasonable doubt to find George Zimmerman "not guilty" and whether the individuals and facts were portrayed accurately by the news media.
1. Do you think the jury in the George Zimmerman trial was right to find him "not guilty" of both the Second Degree Murder and Manslaughter charges?

(Answer "No" if you think he should have been convicted of either charge.)

2. Were you aware of the fact that Zimmerman never mentioned Martin's race until he was asked about it by the dispatcher?

3. Were you aware of NBC's editing of George Zimmerman's call the police in order to make him sound racist?

Here's the video:

4. Were you aware of the fact that this widely distributed photo of George Zimmerman was taken in 2005 when he was 22 years old (6 years before the incident)?

5. This was photo of Zimmerman on the night of incident. Have you ever seen this photo?

6. Were you aware of the fact that this widely-seen photo of Trayvon Martin looking like a child, was NOT what Trayvon looked like at the time of the incident?

7. Were you aware of the fact that Trayvon was 17 years old at the time of the incident?

8. Were you aware of the fact that Trayvon was nearly 6-feet tall and 158 pounds according to the coroner's report?

9. These 3 photos of Trayvon were taken closer to the time of the incident. Did you ever see any of these photos?

10. This photo of Trayvon was taken 9 days before the incident. Did you ever see this photo?

11. Did you ever see these photos from Trayvon's Facebook page?

Note that there are some similar photos of "Trayvon" on the web that have been debunked as fakes (or the wrong Trayvon Martin). These are not the fake ones.

12. Have you ever seen this video of Trayvon taken from the surveillance camera at the 7-Eleven a few minutes before his altercation with Zimmerman (or any snapshot taken from the video)?

13. At the time of the incident, Trayvon was serving a ten day suspension from school. Were you aware that this was his 3rd suspension in 4 months?

(This most recent suspension was for getting caught with a marijuana pipe and an empty bag containing marijuana residue.)

14. In October, 2011, 4 months before he was killed, Trayvon was caught on a security camera writing graffiti on a school door. When his backpack was searched by a police officer looking for the graffiti marker, the officer found 12 pieces of women's jewelry (silver wedding bands and diamond earrings), a man's watch and a flathead screwdriver the officer described as a "burglary tool". Did you ever hear anything about this incident?

At the time, the school police could not determine who the jewelry belonged to, so Martin was only suspended for graffiti. However, the jewelry and watch appear to match a description of items stolen during a burglary of a house about a half-mile from the school that took place on Oct. 21, 2011. It is unclear whether the jewelry was ever returned or definitively matched to the jewelry Martin had in his backpack.

15. Were you aware of the fact that text messages retrieved from Trayvon's cellphone show him talking to someone about selling a firearm?

16. These photos were taken from Trayvon Martin's cell phone. Have you ever see these photos?

(There is no indication of who is holding the gun or who it belongs to.)

17. Did you ever hear anything about this text message sequence taken from Trayvon's phone in which he brags about fighting and says he's not going to stop?

FRIEND: ...Wyd? [What you doing?]
MARTIN: Tired nd sore
FRIEND: Mee too, but wat happen tah yuhh??
MARTIN: Cause man dat nigga snitched on me
FRIEND: Bae y you always fightinqq man, you got suspended?
MARTIN: Naw we thumped afta skool in a duckd off spot
FRIEND: Ohh, Well Damee
MARTIN: I lost da 1st round :( but won da 2nd nd 3rd ...
FRIEND: Ohhh So It Wass 3 Rounds? Damn well at least yu wonn lol but yuu needa stop fighting bae Forreal
MARTIN: Nay im not done with fool... he gone hav 2 see me again
FRIEND: Nooo... Stop, yuu waint gonn bee satisified till yuh suspended again, huh?
MARTIN: Naw but he aint breed nuff 4 me, only his nose

18. Did you ever hear anything about Trayvon's text messages from 3 months before the incident in which he tells a friend he's been suspended from school for fighting?

FRIEND: Wyd [What you doing?]
MARTIN: Watchn tv
FRIEND: You Didn't Go To School?
MARTIN: Naw im suspended
MARTIN: Just chill
FRIEND: Wut Yhuu Did?
MARTIN: Fighin

The text message from his friend in question 17 also implies he had previously been suspended for fighting ("Nooo... Stop, yuu waint gonn bee satisified till yuh suspended again, huh?").

It's not clear whether Trayvon and his friend are referring to the suspension in October or another one in November. His family has said the 3rd suspension was for "tardiness and truancy", but since the school records have not been released, it can't be confirmed whether there were additional reasons for any of his suspensions.

19. Were you aware of the fact that Trayvon's older brother Stephen send him a Twitter message 5 days before he was killed saying "yu ain't tell me yu swung on a bus driver", suggesting Trayvon may have tried to hit a bus driver?

20. Trayvon Martin lived in Miami Gardens with his mother, but had been sent to stay with his father in the Twin Lakes community (where the incident took place) during his 10-day suspension. In one of Martin's text messages he tells a friend his mom sent him away because she was afraid he would get in more fights. Did you ever hear anything about this?

21. Were you aware of the fact that 2 police investigators testified that Trayvon Martin's father initially told them that the man's voice calling for help on the 911 recording was NOT the voice of his son?

(He later said it was his son's voice in his testimony at trial.)

22. Were you aware of the fact that Rachel Jeantel, the prosecution's witness who was on the phone with Martin just before he was shot, testified that she wasn't sure who's voice it was calling for help on the 911 recording?

Jeantel's testimony: "It could be. Like I said, I don't know but it could be. The dude sound kind of like Trayvon. Trayvon do got that soft voice and that baby voice sometimes, so it could be, I don't know."

23. Were you aware of the fact that Rachel Jeantel said she warned Trayvon Martin on the phone that the man following him might be a gay rapist and that Trayvon was freaked out by it just moments before his altercation with Zimmerman?

24. Did you ever hear about or see this interview with Rachel Jeantel in which she says she believes it was Trayvon who hit first (although she believes it was justified)?

25. Were you aware of the fact that an eye witness said he saw Martin on top of Zimmerman punching him "MMA style" during the struggle before the shots were fired?

Some sources had reported that there were two witness who saw Martin on top, but the second witness, who arrived on the scene immediately after the gunshot, only said Zimmerman looked like he had "got his butt beat". He had not witnessed the actual struggle.

26. During the trial, Timothy Smith, the first police officer to arrive at the scene, was asked to describe Zimmerman's clothing on the scene. He said "The back of it was wetter than the front of it. It was also covered in grass." and agreed that this was consistent with someone lying on his back in the wet grass (It had been raining).

Did you read or hear anything about this testimony?

27. Were you aware of the fact that Zimmerman's medical records from the day after the incident confirmed he had a broken (fractured) nose, two black eyes and lacerations on the back of his head?

Note that the prosecution and some news reports claimed he did not have a broken nose, apparently believing that, because he appeared to have a straight septum, that meant his nose was not broken. However, the medical report said it was a "closed fracture", which is considered a "broken nose" and the attending physician's assistant confirmed at the trial that he had a broken nose, despite the apparently straight septum.

28. Did you ever see any of these photos of Zimmerman from the night of the incident?

29. If you believe that it was actually Zimmerman who was on top during the struggle on the ground, do you have an alternate theory of how he got the injuries on the back of his head?   
30. Were you aware that, according to the autopsy report, the only injury Trayvon Martin had on his body, besides the bullet wound, was an abrasion on his knuckles?

31. Have you ever seen this police video in which Zimmerman gives his explantation of what happened to investigators?

32. Have you ever seen this map (or any similar map) of the area where the confrontation took place?

33. Were you aware that the total distance Zimmerman walked after leaving his truck was around 300 feet (assuming he went along the path he described from his truck to the point of the confrontation)?   
34. Have you ever seen this video in which Rachel Jeantel testifies that the following sequence took place while she was on the phone with Trayvon Martin?
  • After Trayvon told her a man was watching him she told Trayvon he should run.
  • She could hear that he started running.
  • The phone then disconnected.
  • Trayvon then called her back after 20 seconds or so and said he was "by the back of his father's fiancee's house" (where Trayvon was staying).
  • He was breathing hard at that point and it was clear that he had been running.
  • Trayvon then started talking to her in a low voice, "almost like a whisper".
  • Trayvon continued talking to her in a low voice for a couple of minutes and then told her he saw the man again.
  • Trayvon then went up to the man and said "Why you following me for?" and the man replied "What are you doing around here?"

35. If Rachel Jeantel's testimony that Martin said he was "by the back of his father's fiancee's house" means he was actually by the house, that would mean Martin ran home and then decided to go back up the walkway to confront Zimmerman (see map below). The dialog sequence would also mean Martin was the one who initiated the confrontation. Have you ever heard any mention of this possibility?

There is about a 4 minute gap between the time Martin started running (and Zimmerman lost sight of him) and his confrontation with Zimmerman, based on the time of the 911 calls from neighbors. Jeantel says she was on the phone with Martin for a couple of minutes after he called her back.

If Trayvon's comment simply meant that he was in the general area near his father's fiancee's house, then it could mean he stopped running somewhere closer to the point of the confrontation. That would mean he was doing something else for about 3 minutes -- either he was hiding because he was afraid of Zimmerman, as the prosecution argued (and he felt like he couldn't run home for some reason), or he was waiting for Zimmerman in order to confront him.

36. Were you aware of the fact that, contrary to what was widely reported, Zimmerman never said "f***ing coons" on the audio recording of his call to the police?

What he actually said was said "f***ing punks". Even the prosecution admitted this at the trial.

37. Did you ever hear about this separate CNN audio analysis of Zimmerman's call that confirms he said "punks"?

38. Were you aware of George Zimmerman’s arrest in 2005 for "assaulting a police officer"?

39. Other than hearing that Zimmerman was "arrested for assaulting a police officer," did you ever hear any of the following details or hear Zimmerman's version of what happened?

In July 2005 Zimmerman was at a college bar at UCF. While he was there undercover agents with the state ABT division were conducting a sting operation for underage drinking. An agent tried to arrest one of Zimmerman's friends, but Zimmerman, possibly not understanding what was happening, walked up to his friend and started trying to talk to him. The agent's report says Zimmerman refused to leave and at some point he "pushed" the agent causing a "short struggle."

Zimmerman was arrested and charged with "resisting officer with violence" and "battery of law enforcement officer". Those charges were immediately reduced to "resisting officer without violence" and then dropped altogether when Zimmerman agreed to enter a "pre-trial diversion" program, which is common for first-time offenders. The program usually entails paying fines and taking various classes such as Anger Management, Life Skills, Victim Awareness, etc.

In his application to the citizens' police academy Zimmerman disputed the police report, insisting that the undercover agent "never told me he was an officer". He wrote "I hold law enforcement officers in the highest regaurd [sic] as I hope to one day become one. I would never have touched a police officer."

http://www.examiner.com/article/george-zimmerman-arrested-for-assaulting-officer-charges-dropped http://www.sa18.state.fl.us/page/misdemeanor-diversion.html
40. Were you aware of the fact that the FBI also investigated the case and, after interviewing nearly three dozen people, found no evidence that Zimmerman was racist?

41. Were you aware of the fact that Zimmerman is half Peruvian?

42. Were you aware of the fact that, in 2004, Zimmerman and a black friend started a business together (an Allstate insurance office)?

43. Were you aware of the fact that Zimmerman took a black girl to his high-school prom?

44. Were you aware of the fact that Zimmerman was a registered Democrat who voted for Obama?

45. Were you aware of the fact that, in 2010, Zimmerman helped organize a Sanford City Hall community forum to protest the beating of a homeless black man who was beaten up by a white kid?

46. Did you ever hear any of the following facts?

  • Residents in the said gated community said there had been dozens of reports of attempted break-ins and would-be burglars casing homes
  • 7 months before the incident a black teenager stole a bicycle off the Zimmermans' porch
  • 5 months before the Trayvon incident two young black men broke into the house of Olivia Bertalan, Zimmerman's neighbor, while she was in the house. She hid upstairs and called the police while the two men tried to steal her TV. When the police arrived, they fled. One of them ran through the Zimmermans' yard.
  • The next month, because of all the burglaries, several residents of the neighborhood asked the neighborhood association to create a neighborhood watch and Zimmerman was asked to run it.
  • The next month, two more houses in the neighborhood were robbed.
  • 3 weeks before the incident, Zimmerman spotted a young black man looking into the windows of a neighbor's house. He called the police and said "I don't know what he's doing. I don't want to approach him, personally." By the time the police finally arrived, the man was gone.
  • 4 days later another house was burglarized. Witnesses said two of the robbers were black teenagers. One of them was soon caught with a laptop stolen from the house. He turned out to be the same man Zimmerman had previously reported looking in windows.
  • Zimmerman's black neighbor was quoted as saying "Let's talk about the elephant in the room. I'm black, OK? There were black boys robbing houses in this neighborhood. That's why George was suspicious of Trayvon Martin."
  • Many of the perpetrators of the prior burglaries and thefts were apparently never caught.

47. Two weeks after the last burglary, Zimmerman saw Travyon Martin walking through the gated community. According to what he told the police Zimmerman didn't recongnize Martin as a resident (Martin was temporarily staying with his father during his 10-day suspension). Zimmerman then called the police saying:

"Hey, we've had some break-ins in my neighborhood, and there's a real suspicious guy [near] Retreat View Circle. This guy looks like he's up to no good or he's on drugs or something. It's raining and he's walking around, looking about...He was just staring...He's just walking around the area looking at all the houses...Something's wrong with him."

Did you ever hear about this part of Zimmerman's phone call in which he describes being suspicious of Martin because of his behavior?

48. Several media reports have mentioned that it was a violation of the Neighborhood Watch rules to carry a gun. However, Zimmerman was not on Neighborhood Watch duty that night. He was simply on his way to the grocery store when he saw Martin. Were you aware of this fact?

49. On the recording of Zimmerman's call to the police, just before he gets out of his car, Zimmerman tells the dispatcher "he started running" and the dispatcher says "He's running? Which way is he running?" Zimmerman then gets out of the car (the door chime can be heard) while he tells the dispatcher where Martin is heading.

Do you think the dispatcher's question could reasonably be interpreted as an instruction to follow him and find out?

Zimmerman later told the police Martin had run down the walkway between the houses. See the map above.

Raw Audio: http://www.wftv.com/videos/news/raw-911-call-zimmerman-made-to-sanford-police/vGZq9/
Transcript: http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/326700-full-transcript-zimmerman.html
50. Were you aware of the fact that the police dispatcher did NOT tell Zimmerman to stay in his car?

From the audio recording, it's clear Zimmerman had already started on foot in the direction Martin had run. After about 10 seconds when he tells this to the dispatcher, the dispatcher simply says, "we don't need you to do that" and Zimmerman says "OK". After a few more seconds, the pace of his breathing slows to normal and it seems clear that he is walking (no longer running or jogging).

He and the dispatcher then start to discuss where he should meet with the police and Zimmerman tells the dispatcher he doesn't know where Martin went. Zimmerman later told the police he had stopped trying to find Martin by that point, but there is no way to tell what he did after hanging up.

Raw Audio: http://www.wftv.com/videos/news/raw-911-call-zimmerman-made-to-sanford-police/vGZq9/
Transcript: http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/326700-full-transcript-zimmerman.html
51. Were you aware of the fact that Zimmerman passed a police Voice Stress Analysis (lie detector) test the day after the incident?

During the test Zimmerman was asked, "Did you confront the guy you shot?", to which Zimmerman answered, "No." He was also asked, "Were you in fear for your life, when you shot the guy?", to which Zimmerman answered, "Yes." The examiner concluded that Zimmerman "told substantially the complete truth" in the examination, and Zimmerman was classified as "No Deception Indicated [NDI]"

52. During the interrogation of Zimmerman at the police station that night, Detective Chris Serino, who led the homicide investigation, told Zimmerman that someone had caught the entire incident on video. The detective was bluffing, but Zimmerman didn't know that. The detective said Zimmerman's reaction was "Thank God, I was hoping somebody would videotape it." Did you ever hear about this?

53. Were you aware of the fact that, in the trial, Zimmerman's defense case was not based on the Florida "Stand Your Ground" law?

Zimmerman claimed that, because Martin punched him in the face and pinned him to the ground, he was unable to retreat and therefore acted in legitimate self-defense, even without the "stand your ground" law.

Without "stand your ground", Florida law still allows for the use of deadly force when a person "reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another" and they cannot retreat. All US states have a similar allowance for self-defense and most do not have a "duty to reteat".

Some have noted that, although the jury instructions did include "stand your ground" language, that language is part of the standard jury instruction [3.6(f)] in all cases where the defendant claims self-defense. It does not mean it was necessarily relevant to the case.

However, one of the jurors has since said the jury did discuss the "stand your ground" law even though it was not used as part of Zimmerman's defense. They felt it would have supported his self-defense claim even if some members of jury doubted his inability to retreat. But it does not appear "stand your ground" was the determining factor in their verdict. The prosecution simply hadn't provided enough evidence to disprove, beyond reasonable doubt, the key parts of what Zimmerman said happened.

54. Do you think it's likely Trayvon Martin confronted Zimmerman and attacked him?   
55. Do you think it's possible (within reason) that Trayvon Martin confronted Zimmerman and attacked him?   
56. Do you think it's possible (within reason) that Zimmerman shot Martin in legitimate self-defense?   
57. Are you aware that our criminal justice system requires a jury to believe a defendant is guilty beyond all reasonable doubt in order to convict him?   
58. Do you think the jury was right to find George Zimmerman "not guilty" of both the Second Degree Murder and Manslaughter charges?

(Answer "No" if you think he should have been convicted of either charge.)
59. From which of the following sources do you get your news?

60. Do you think most of your news sources did a good job of presenting all the facts in this case?   
61. Do you have any comments about this survey? (Please read the note at the top of the page first.)

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