George Zimmerman, the man who shot and killed Florida teen Trayvon Martin, claims the teen was the aggressor, laying him out with a single punch, smashing his head on the ground repeatedly and trying to grab his gun, he tells police.
The neighborhood watch captain has not spoken publicly, but Zimmerman’s version of the nationally controversial Trayvon Martin case leaked on Monday.
The Orlando Sentinel reports that Martin in the Sanford, Fla., neighborhood he regularly patrolled.told police he lost 17-year-old
He was walking back to his vehicle, he says, when the youth approached him from behind. The two exchanged words briefly then, Zimmerman said.
It was at that point that he claims Martin then punched him, jumped on top of him and began banging Zimmerman's head on the sidewalk.
Zimmerman said he cried for help; Martin's family thinks it was their son who was crying out. Witness accounts differ and 911 tapes are not clear.
A statement from Sanford police, who have not charged Zimmerman, said the Sentinel story was "consistent" with evidence turned over to prosecutors.Because Martin was black and Zimmerman has a white father and Hispanic mother, the case has become a racial flashpoint that has civil rights leaders and others leading a series of protests in Sanford and around the country.
Meanwhile, Martin's parents are blaming police for leaking information about their son being suspended from school for marijuana. Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton, and family attorneys said it was part of an effort to demonize her son.
"They killed my son and now they're trying to kill his reputation," Fulton told reporters.
Martin was suspended byschools because traces of marijuana were found in a plastic baggie in his book bag, family spokesman Ryan Julison said. Martin was serving the suspension when he was killed.
Martin family attorneysaid the link between the youth and marijuana have no bearing on the probe into his shooting death. State and federal agencies are investigating, with a grand jury set to convene April 10.
Sanford Police insist there was no authorized release of the information but acknowledged there may have been a leak. The City Manager, Norton Bonaparte, Jr., said it would be investigated and the person responsible could be fired.