tv Anderson Cooper Special Report CNN October 13, 2013 10:00pm-11:00pm EDT
he destroyed his family. and everything he touched. >> in a way it's fair. >> it's fair? >> a good movie. >> he didn't [ mute ] it up. >> no. i'm anderson cooper. it's been three months since george zimmerman was cleared of murder charges in the killing of 17-year-old trayvon martin and allowed to walk freely from the spotlight. instead he appears to be unable to escape that spotlight. he's helped a family from an overturned car, been pulled over for speeding while carrying a gun, and is now involved in an ugly divorce played out before the public in a nasty confrontation caught on camera. what emotions and circumstances have contributed to making him one of the most recognized men in america today? david mattingly puts it all in perspective in this investigation into the case and the trial that riveted a nation. >> there's a real suspicious
guy. looks like he's up to no good. >> someone screaming help. there's a gunshot. >> there's a black guy down. it looks like he's been shot and he's dead. >> he sat up and looked and said you're going to die tonight. and i pinched his arm and i grabbed my gun and fired one shot. >> we don't have anything to dispute his claim of self-defense. >> we're hearing that another young black man is killed and nothing is going to be done. >> this was the tensest situation i'd ever walked into. >> we were a tinderbox. we had people referring to us as racists, as no good cracker town. >> to me sanford is a good ole boy town. they only look out for their own.
>> we want an arrest! we want an arrest! >> by now, you're probably already familiar with the story. on a rainy february evening, an african-american teenager trayvon martin is shot and killed after getting into a fight with a gun-carrying neighborhood watch leader george zimmerman. many react angrily. martin is only 17. he's not armed. and he's not breaking the law. he's just walking home from a convenience store after buying a cold drink and some candy. >> we want justice! >> that anger soon takes on a life of its own. and the case becomes much more than a murder trial. >> this case is about racial profiling. >> but why this case? why here?
to understand you only need to start looking a couple of miles away from where trayvon martin is killed. the goldsboro section of southern florida. >> the murder of trayvon martin seems to tell black young men, i am trayvon martin, i am being targeted. and i live in a small city like sanford. >> francis oliver runs the community museum. she says people here distrust poli police. how far back does this distrust in police go? >> 1911. >> 1911? what happened then? >> that's when the city of sanford dismantled the goldsboro charter. >> goldsboro was the second all black city when it was swallowed up by the growing white city of
sanford. minor league rookie jackie robinson was supposed to play here. >> ku klux klan said he couldn't do it. not in sanford. he was in the stadium getting ready to play. the ku klux klan had gathered across the street in the stadium. and he told the chief either they bring him out of there or they'd go in and get him. >> in 1970, 16 years after segregated schools were ruled illegal, a federal court forced seminole county to integrate. >> the federal government had to send to seminole county to say desegregation will take place in '70. >> and most recently in sanford, there are several unsolved murders of young black men. we're talking about a hundred years of tension? >> yes. >> animosity? >> yes. >> lack of trust. and it all comes out when trayvon martin is killed. >> uh-huh.
can't keep the secrets anymore. sanford doesn't have secrets anymore. we're letting pandora out of the box. >> we've had some break ins in my neighborhood. there's a suspicious guy that looks like he's up to no good. >> the retreat at twin lakes is a gated community of condos, a place recently troubled by break ins. 28-year-old george zimmerman calls it home. trayvon martin is just a visitor, staying with his dad's girlfriend for a few days while he's suspended from school. >> this guy, is he white, black, or hispanic? >> he looks black. >> a phone call to police marks the moment the two paths cross. >> did you see what he was wearing? >> yeah. dark hoodie, like a gray hoodie and he's just staring. looking at all the houses. >> he's walking around the area? >> now he's just staring at me.
>> let me know if this guy does anything else. >> okay. these [ mute ] they always get away. he's running. >> are you following him? >> yeah. >> okay, we don't need you to do that. >> okay. >> a series of panicked 911 calls describe what happens next. >> 911, do you need police fire or medical? >> maybe both. i'm not sure. there's someone screaming outside. i think they're yelling "help," but i don't know. just send someone quick. please, fast. >> do you think he's yelling "help"? >> yes. >> all right. what is your -- >> there's gunshots. >> you just heard gunshots? >> yes. >> i just heard a shot right behind my house. >> there's someone screaming. i heard gunshot.
hurry. they're outside my house. >> i'm pretty sure the guy's dead out here. holy [ bleep ]. >> zimmerman shoots martin in the chest. the bullet hits his heart. >> and i just pinched his arm and grabbed my gun and fired one shot. >> martin is not breathing and police can't revive him. searching his pockets they find a pack of skittles and a can of fruit punch. george zimmerman's nose is broken. police take his gun and he told them he pulled the trigger because he feared for his life. >> he took my head and slammed it into the concrete several times. i felt like i was going to lose consciousness. and then i really -- i started screaming for help. >> coming up, a fire storm.
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police back to the scene and delivers a detailed story saying he acted in self-defense. >> and then when i got to right about here, he yelled from behind me to the side of me. he said, yo, you got a problem. i turned around and said i don't have a problem, man. he said you got a problem now and then he was here and punched me in the face. >> and when it comes to pulling the trigger, zimmerman says he only did that after trayvon martin tried to take his gun. >> he said you're going to die tonight. and he reached for it. i grabbed it and he was on top of me like this and i shot him. >> i made a promise that i won't stop until justice is brought to me son. >> days pass with no arrest. trayvon martin's parents plead for action. >> i'm a normal mother. i just want answers from the
police department about what's happened with my son. >> and the longer zimmerman remains a free man, the louder the voices grow. soon the ongoing police investigation struggles to continue under mounting pressure. >> the evidence and testimony that we have so far does not establish that mr. zimmerman did not act in self-defense. we don't have anything to dispute his claim of self-defense. >> this whole situation is a nightmare. and i don't understand why this man has not been arrested. >> based on the evidence and testimony that we collected on scene, we didn't have probable cause to arrest george zimmerman that night. >> when you hear that, what are you hearing? >> we're hearing that another black man is killed and nothing is going to be done. and it's just going to be swept
under the rug. >> a simmering anger begins to boil. >> it was clear that this was the tensest situation i'd ever walked into. >> i have a nephew that was killed. there was no arrest. >> it was clear that sanford is a town that was really in many ways two towns. we have the town of goldsboro which is the old black town that has felt disrespected that the people that were sworn to protect them weren't doing any of that. >> the story is getting bigger by the day stretching across the country as it touches a cord with people from new york. to l.a. and everywhere in between.
>> my main message is to the parents of trayvon martin. you know, if i had a son, he'd look like trayvon. >> bowing to pressure, sanford city officials make the 911 recordings public. police chief bill lee tells cnn's george howell he asked him not to do that. >> my recommendation was not to release the 911 tapes. and it was for the reason to maintain the integrity of the investigation. tough keep the evidence confidential. >> there's someone screaming outside. >> okay. do you see anybody? >> mr. bonaparte and i made that decision. we just felt it was the right thing to do. >> did you give any consideration as to what sort of impact you might have on the judicial process by putting this inflammatory piece of evidence out in the public? >> we went back and forth on why would we do it and it came back to why wouldn't with do this?
>> mike nejame believes that tainted the legal process. >> like wildfire, it spreads through the internet and people have preconceived notions about what did or did not occur. >> city manager bonaparte later fires police chief bill lee. >> did the police chief do anything wrong in this investigation? >> not that i'm aware of. >> why is he unemployed now? >> they took a vote to say they don't have any confidence in him. it is not possible for him to have any authority when they have no confidence in him. >> rick scott orders states attorney angela corey to the case. she's in jacksonville, 120 miles away from sanford. >> we have this out of town prosecution who says i'm not going to the grand jury. i'm going to make the decision.
that just smacks of a political prosecution. >> april 11, 2012. trayvon martin's parents get the announcement they've been waiting for. >> today we filed an information charging george zimmerman with murder in the second degree. a capias has been issued for his arrest. >> george zimmerman comes out of hiding and turns himself in. nine days later, zimmerman takes the stand at his bond hearing and surprises trayvon martin's parents with an apology. >> i wanted to say i am sorry for the loss of your son. i did not know how old he was. i thought he was a little bit younger than i am. and i did not know if he was armed or not. >> it is just the beginning of zimmerman's plan to argue self-defense. up next, the trial. outside protests focus on issues
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race. but everybody knows was there. race was central to every aspect of this case. there's no question about it. >> shortly before jury selection, there is no question about the message george zimmerman's attorneys are sending when they make these photographs public. unflattering images of teenage trayvon martin along with text messages from his phone saying he's no stranger to pot, to fighting, to guns. >> he's used to fighting. he has used drugs in the past. and many 17-year-olds have, but that he has as well. >> who was on trial here? was it george zimmerman? or was it trayvon martin? >> george zimmerman was actually the person on trial. the defense was extremely creative in their defense. and one of the things they chose to do was to use the most frightening photos of trayvon martin they could find to trigger the bias of jurors as a way of trying to scoot the
outcome. >> and in pretrial motions, a victory for george zimmerman. the judge actually discourages attorneys from using the term racial profiling. >> that the term racial profiling alone is a close call and probably should not be used. >> legally was this about race? >> well, the way that the court's rulings came out, no. if you just stick to the four corners of the law, there was no mention of race whatsoever. that's why it was always done by innuendo and it was always done very subtly by both sides. >> there is nothing subtle, however, about the jury. the challenge is to find six people who had not formed hard opinions after months of relentless media coverage. but when jury selection was over, no one predicted the jury would look like this. no men. no african-americans. all women. five are white. one is hispanic.
>> the jury has been selected in the george zimmerman murder trial. sonny hostin is a former prwith. >> it wasn't that there weren't any potential jurors that could have made it on this jury. but they did not. >> when you saw this final jury, what went through your mind? >> first thing i said, i actually said it as we were covering it on cnn. i sure wish it was a better cross section. >> it all comes down to which story this jury believes. was george zimmerman acting in self-defense or was he out to kill the moment he encountered trayvon martin? the prosecution comes out swinging. >> good morning. [ bleep ] punks. these [ bleep ], they always get away.
those were the words in that grown man's mouth as he followed in the dark a 17-year-old boy who he didn't know. >> attorney don west then counters with a shocking approach to begin the defense. >> knock knock. who's there. george zimmerman. george zimmerman who? all right, good. you're on the jury. nothing? >> the jury isn't laughing. >> i don't think in any of my years as an attorney i ever heard a joke being made in opening statements. >> the joke bombs. and the prosecution drives its point home. >> george zimmerman did not shoot trayvon martin because he had to. he shot him for the worst of all reasons.
because he wanted to. >> they call witnesses to craft an image of zimmerman as a wannabe cop then taking the law into his own hands. >> it was said at every meeting do not get close to anybody, stay at a safe distance, and call 911. >> then the state's star witness takes the stand. >> rachel jen teal. >> she is on the phone with trayvon martin. >> he says why are you following me for. and i heard a hard breath man come say what you doing around here. >> she testifies that zimmerman is following martin and martin is afraid. but her choice of words and demeanor seemed to help zimmerman instead. >> i had asked him how the man looked like. he looked like a creepy ass
cracker. >> okay. make sure we got that. creepy ass cracker. >> she brought the issue of race front and center. >> and then he says he's following me now. >> how did she do that? >> she used the "n" word ending with an "a" instead of an "er." and she used the word cracker. and saying they weren't racial words. >> was there a possibility that it was trayvon racially profiling zimmerman than the other way around? >> i think by her statements, i think absolutely. >> and the defense exploits this in a long combative cross examination. >> take as much time as you want. read the whole thing if you want. make we can break until the morning if -- >> no. i'm leaving today. >> are you refusing to come back tomorrow?
>> to you? >> i think miss jentill came across with attitude because she was there. i don't think she took kindly to the way mr. west was examining her. >> but the most critical piece of evidence, a series of 911 calls can still make or break the case against zimmerman. >> i want to play a recording for you, ma'am. >> is someone yelling "help"? >> yes. >> all right what is your -- >> who is that screaming for help when the gun is fired? expert testimony hired by the prosecution has deemed it inadmissible. so the state relies on the testimony of trayvon's mother. >> ma'am, that screaming or yelling, do you recognize that? >> yes. >> and who do you recognize that to be, ma'am?
>> trayvon benjamin martin. >> if only the state could have stopped there. >> okay. what you're saying today to me and to the jury is that you have no memory of any of the events surrounding the autopsy itself? >> yes. i try very hard. >> the medical examiner who performs martin's autopsy is the state's final witness and he is a disaster. >> i've just never seen anything like it. he was so incompetent. >> and then to end their case with that is -- i mean, you want to start with a high and end with a high. you sure don't want to end with a thud. coming up -- >> i think that by calling olivia the defense was masterful in vocalizing every juror's fear. um... where's mrs. davis?
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yet to surface. the defense launches into its best hope for acquittal. >> what the defense did was make it more of an old fashioned self-defense case. >> the question of who is yelling for help on the 911 tapes is again front and center. the defense calls george zimmerman's mom. >> do you think he's yelling "help"? >> yes. >> all right, what is your -- >> do you know whose voice that was screaming in the background? >> yes, sir. >> and whose voice was that? >> my son george. >> and mrs. zimmerman isn't the only defense witness to make that claim. >> not only i heard his scream, i felt his scream like my nephew is screaming for his life. >> absolutely, it's my son george. >> definitely it's georgie. >> do you have an opinion whose voice that is? >> i thought it was george. >> i think the defense was very effective with calling person
after person after person after person to testify that it was george zimmerman yelling for help. >> it's an effective strategy because if the jury believes that is george zimmerman screaming for help, then it's reasonable to believe he feared for his life and pulled his gun in self-defense. in all, the defense calls nine witnesses who say that is george zimmerman's voice. but it's the tenth person who draws all the attention. sanford police investigator christopher serino says trayvon martin's own father thought it would be george zimmerman calling for help. he played him the tapes after it happened. >> i inquired if that was his son calling for help. >> what was his response? >> he looked away and under his breath as i interpreted said no. >> it sounds like tracy martin
inadvertently helped his son's killer. in a surprise, the defense puts martin on the stand. and he does his best to push back. >> if i didn't tell him no, that wasn't trayvon, i think that i kind of pushes away from the table and just kind of shook my head and said i can't tell. >> so your words were i can't tell. >> something to that effect. but i never said no, that wasn't my son's voice. >> the defense then tries to prove martin is the aggressor in the fight. the man on top. >> so you're saying trayvon martin had to physically be on top like this. >> i'm saying that physical evidence is consistent with mr. martin being over mr. zimmerman. >> the prosecution actually helps the defense make its case. when prosecutor john guy
recreates the fight with a life size dummy and puts martin on top. >> as the defendant described it to you -- >> it's a stunning flip-flop. >> they came in with all the range of witnesses and said what? they said that george zimmerman was really on top. and then when that completely fell apart almost towards the end of the trial when they had that dummy presentation, what did they have? they had george zimmerman on the bottom. never even gave the jurors a hypothetical that george zimmerman could have, in fact, been on top. >> and from there the defense borrows the dummy and steals the show. were the injuries on mr. zimmerman's back of his head consistent with someone doing this? >> all that is left for the defense to do now is to try and erase that image of george zimmerman as an out of control neighborhood watchman. a zimmerman neighbor testifies
about being robbed in her home by young black men. >> i was locked in my son's bedroom and he was shaking he doorknob trying to get in. i was sitting there with a pair of rusty scissors and my son in one arm. the police came and they ended up leaving. >> olivia says in the end it is george zimmerman who makes her feel safe. >> when mr. zimmerman came to you to talk to you about having been victimized by a home invasion, did you consider that strange? >> no. >> were you appreciative of his efforts to help you out? >> very. >> she draws the picture of zimmerman as a caring neighborhood friend. but when you look between the lines, some say another picture emerges. >> by calling olivia, the defense was masterful in vocalizing every juror's fear of
the looming large black male. that the defense wanted to portray trayvon martin as. >> when all is said and done, george zimmerman doesn't have to say a word. the question of whether or not he will testify is almost a forgone conclusion. >> have you made a decision? >> yes. >> and what is your decision? >> after consulting with counsel, not to testify, your honor. when we come back -- >> just when i thought this case couldn't get any more bizarre. ye knew all about a bike accident, just by talking to a helmet. it grabbed the patient's record before we even picked him up. it found out the doctor we needed was at st. anne's. wiggle your toes. [ driver ] and it got his okay on treatment from miles away. it even pulled strings with the stoplights. my ambulance talks with smoke alarms
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nthat's why they deserve... aer anbrake dance. get 50% off new brake pads and shoes. if the leadup to george zimmerman's trial is all about race, then the end is all about age. trayvon martin was 17 when he died. legally a child. >> when one commits an nonenumerated felony of child abuse and the child dies, that
too constitutes felony murder. >> by asking the judge to let the jury consider the lesser judge of third degree murder. that's murder while committing a felony. the state argues that by killing trayvon martin george zimmerman committed child abuse. >> just when i thought this case couldn't get any more bizarre. >> the new wrinkle outrages defense attorney don west. >> the state is seeking third degree murder based on child abuse? >> it was almost a sign that the prosecution may have detected that they were losing this case and they needed somewhere else for the jury to go. >> i don't think that the evidence supports -- >> the judge denies the question, but does allow the jury to consider manslaughter which is killing without premeditation. it's the charge many court watchers believed the prosecution should have focused
on instead of second degree murder. >> i think they could have done a better job if they honed in on the manslaughter by showing that george zimmerman overreacted to the situation. they should have gotten into the potential fight he had that night with his wife. that he was in a passionate emotional state. that he was irresponsible by following somebody while carrying a firearm. while legal, it was irresponsible. >> with the possibility of manslaughter now on the table, the prosecutor moves in for a conviction. >> a teenager is dead. he is dead through no fault of his own. because this defendant made the wrong assumption. he profiled him as a criminal. he assumed that trayvon martin was up to no good. >> he also defends his star
witness saying rachel jeantel may not have been eloquent, but that doesn't make her a liar. >> her using colorful language doesn't mean her testimony is less credible. just because she's not the highly educated individual. >> sunny hostin believes it's much-needed damage control. >> there wasn't anything about rachel jeantel that seemed not credible. you don't get to choose your witnesses as a prosecutor. so witnesses that are out at 3:00 a.m. watching someone get killed, i put those witnesses on the witness stand all the time. they don't speak the king's english either, but they know what they saw. >> this is what really matters. >> but when it comes down to the last words in the trial, both sides end as they began. >> proving to you beyond a reasonable doubt that he acted in self-defense. >> arguing self-defense versus
murder. >> the defendant didn't shoot trayvon martin because he had to. he shot him because he wanted to. that's the bottom line. >> trayvon martin that night -- >> mark o'mara using visual aides to help make a point. and he showed that he was armed. >> that is a sidewalk. and that is not an unarmed teenager with nothing but skittles trying to get home. that was somebody who used the availability of dangerous items from his fist to he concrete to cause great bodily injury. >> the defense made it seem as if trayvon martin was sort of this tall, large, looming black
child -- black male. not even child. >> was it not fear? >> the prosecution counts on an emotional reaction from the jury. reminding them george zimmerman took the life of a child. >> isn't that every child's worst nightmare? to be followed on the way home in the dark by a stranger. >> but florida law could be on zimmerman's side. self-defense is his only path to freedom. >> do you have a reasonable doubt that my client may have acted in self-defense? and if you reach that conclusion, you get to stop. you really do. why? because self-defense is a defense to everything. >> powerful words. and under florida law, seemingly inescapable logic. but what will the jury say?
a conviction could send george zimmerman to prison for 30 years to life. an acquittal risks reigniting the anger and outrage that launched the case. >> we have have a verdict. >> outside anticipation. >> live in sanford, florida, where we are awaiting a verdict in the george zimmerman murder trial. >> it was my conviction he would be convicted of something. when we come back -- >> juror b-51, is this your verdict? >> when the verdict came back, what was the reaction? >> we did have some people that actually went down on their knees. have hail damage to both their cars. ted ted is trying to get a hold of his insurance agent. maxwell is not. he's on geico.com setting up an appointment
zimmerman not guilty. >> aside from a few smiles and quiet tears from his wife, the reaction from zimmerman's side is subdued. trayvon martin's mother and father are not in the courtroom. they later speak to cnn's anderson cooper. >> it came as a complete shock for me, and the reason i say that is because i just look at people as people. when i heard the verdict, i kind of understand the disconnect in that maybe they didn't see trayvon as their son. they didn't see trayvon as a teenager. they didn't see trayvon as just a human being that was minding his own business. >> worried predictions about a jury that is all women with no african-americans seemed to come true when george zimmerman goes free. most jurors stay silent hoping to disappear and remain anonymous. but the juror known as b-37 speaks so anderson cooper. and says trayvon martin's race
was never discussed. >> did you feel that george zimmerman's racially profiled trayvon martin? do you think race played a role in his view of trayvon martin as suspicious. >> i don't think he did. i think just circumstances caused george to think that he might be a robber or trying to do something bad in the neighborhood. >> so nobody felt race played a role. >> i don't think so. i can't speak for them. >> that wasn't part of the discussion in the jury room? >> no. >> the only other juror to speak publicly b-29, told nbc news she believes zimmerman is guilty. >> for myself, he's guilty. because the evidence shows he's guilty. >> he's guilty of? >> killing trayvon martin. but as the law was read to me, if you have no proof that he killed him intentionally, you can't find -- you can't say he's guilty. george zimmerman got away with
murder. but you can't get away from god. >> george zimmerman was victimized by a publicity campaign to smear him, to call him a racist when he wasn't, and to call him a murderer when he wasn't. >> justice for trayvon! >> disappointment at the verdict hits home in sanford. the goldsboro community was outraged where it first erupted. >> was this community defeated by this? >> yes. it was like it had hit them in the chest. we did have some people here that actually went down on their knees. we had grown men crying. >> but there is some consolation as the zimmerman case brings changes to sanford. >> people were hurt and angry and they felt that the sanford police department was not adequate in how it investigated
murders particularly those of african-americans. and how the sanford police department policed the african-american community. so we've made changes. >> as for zimmerman himself, he can't seem to escape the spotlight. four days after he's found not guilty, zimmerman is seen at an accident helping a family out of an overturned car. later he's pulled over by police three times. once because his window tinting is too dark. >> i'm going to check your window tint here. >> and twice for speeding. >> 60. >> pulled over in texas, zimmerman reveals he is again carrying a gun. >> if i was advising george zimmerman and his family, i would say trial's over, stay out of the spotlight. >> but the nation's most notorious murder case has turned into the nation's ugliest divorce. arguments with his soon-to-be
ex-wife keeps him in the news. >> he continually has his hand on the gun saying step closer. he's just threatening all of us with the firearm that he's going to shoot us. >> get on your knees! cross your feet! >> shellie zimmerman later says she never saw a gun. no charges are filed. she goes on the "today" show doubting her husband's innocence. >> i think anyone would doubt that innocence, because i don't know the person that i've been married to. >> the final chapter has not been written when it comes to the killing of trayvon martin. >> the justice system isn't done here. we've hit a comma, maybe a semicolon, but not the period yet. there is a federal phase criminal and civil. we have not heard the final word yet. >> the u.s. justice department continues to investigate trying to determine if george zimmerman
violated trayvon martin's civil rights. and parents all over the country take the lessons of this case to heart. >> telling boys don't run because they think you're suspicious. but now don't walk slowly because that also means you're suspicious. we have to figure out what is the pace which a black man can walk in america and be beyond suspicion. >> what would you tell parents out there? >> that's a very difficult subject for me, because my oldest son, he likes to go out with his friends. he likes to go to the movies and things like that. i'm very afraid right now. because i have no clue what to tell him. >> he was just a teenager walking home from a convenience store after buying a cold drink and some candy. but the killing of trayvon martin hit too close to home for too many to be easily forgotten.
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