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The lawyer for Trayvon Martin's family is filing a formal request with the Justice Department, asking whether Florida prosecutors were negligent in not charging George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watchman who killed him.

The Martin family wants to know why the Florida state attorney Norm Wolfinger allegedly overruled police who wanted to arrest Zimmerman on February 26.

Wolfinger stepped down from the case last month. Angela Corey, Wofinger's replacement has been re-interviewing witnesses and examining evidence.

Trayvon Martin, 17

The case sparked questions nationwide about whether race played a role in the killing, during which Zimmerman insisted he shot Martin in self-defense.

Zimmerman has said he was jumped and threatened in a Sanford, Fla., gated community, and that the attack by Trayvon Martin left him in fear for his life.

Zimmerman's brother said medical records would in fact prove that this was an act of self-defense, even if the police video doesn't show any obvious injuries.

Martin's relatives, including his brother, do not accept that story.

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An elderly couple has reached a settlement with director Spike Lee after the pair had to abandon their home after he erroneously re-tweeted their address as that of George Zimmerman, the Florida man who shot and killed Trayvon Martin.

The couple's attorney, Matt Morgan, announced the settlement Thursday.

Specifics of the settlement weren't disclosed, but Morgan says Lee proactively called the couple to apologize profusely for re-tweeting their address.

Spike Lee Pic

Elaine and David McClain are in their 70s. Elaine's son from a previous marriage is named William George Zimmerman, who once lived in their home.

He is no relation to 28-year-old George Zimmerman, who has controversially not been charged with a crime after he killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

The neighborhood watch volunteer has said he acted in self-defense, but the issue has raised racial tensions and widespread outrage across the U.S.

After someone posted the address believed to be Zimmerman's, Lee's re-tweet sent it to 250,000 people, some of whom harassed the McClains.

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George Zimmerman's brother Robert spoke on Piers Morgan Tonight Thursday to say that George is innocent, his life was in danger after Trayvon Marin attacked him violently, and that medical records will prove his brother's injuries were real.

Robert Zimmerman Jr. spoke to CNN last night, saying he wanted to correct some of the "mythology" and untruths that have been spread about the case.

"We're confident the medical records are going to explain all of George's medical history," Robert Jr. said. "His nose is swollen in that video. I'm his brother."

George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, said he shot Trayvon Martin in self defense after the teen attacked him the night of February 26.

Martin, 17, was walking through the gated community back to the house of his father's fiancee, was wearing a hoodie in the rain and was unarmed.

Sanford, Fla., authorities say Zimmerman has not been charged because there are no grounds to disprove his account that he acted in self defense.

Critics say Zimmerman, who is half Hispanic, racially profiled Martin, who was black.

The shooting of Martin has sparked an intense national debate about race, leading to widespread debate. It was even addressed by President Barack Obama.

Like the POTUS, Robert Zimmerman Jr. also called the shooting a tragedy, however, he warned that some of the responses by the media and public have shown bias against Zimmerman and degraded the memory of the deceased.

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George Zimmerman's father, Robert Zimmerman, says Trayvon Martin threatened to kill his son, then beat him to the point where he had no choice but to defend himself against the 17-year-old in Sanford, Fla., on February 26.George Zimmerman Picture

The elder Zimmerman spoke, on camera but without showing his face, to Orlando, Fla., TV station WOFL, to share his son's side of the national story.

He claims Trayvon Martin attacked first and may have killed Zimmerman.

"It's my understanding that Trayvon Martin got on top of him and just started beating him," Robert Zimmerman told WOFL. "Martin said something to the effect of, 'You're going to die now' or 'You're going to die tonight.'"

"He continued to beat George. At some point, George pulled his pistol ... and what he did."

"He was punched in the nose. His nose was broken," Robert Zimmerman insists. "He was knocked to the concrete. Trayvon Martin got on top of him and started beating him."

"Beating him in the face. In his nose, hitting his head on the concrete."

The comments came just after the George Zimmerman surveillance video, taken at police headquarters the night of Martin's killing, was released.

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Police surveillance video footage of George Zimmerman hours after he shot Trayvon Martin does not appear to show any injuries or bloodstains on the man who claims he killed the Florida teen in self defense February 26.George Zimmerman Picture

His attorney says the video is too grainy to be revealing, however.

The footage, obtained by ABC News late Wednesday, shows the handcuffed Zimmerman getting out of the police car, unaided, and walking into the police station where he was escorted after the shooting in Sanford, Fla. Watch:

In the police tape, taken about four hours after the deadly incident, there are no visible signs of injuries to Zimmerman's head or blood on his clothes.

However, he is wearing a red jacket, which could obscure a lot.

Zimmerman's attorney Craig Sonner described the video as "very grainy" on NBC's Today, noting that Zimmerman had been "cleaned-up" and received first aid care in the hours between the incident and his arrival at the police station.

Sonner previously said that his client suffered a broken nose and a gash to his head during the altercation in which he says Zimmerman feared for his life.

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A pair of videos - one featuring celebrities, one starring ordinary people - have surfaced online as public service announcements and tributes to Trayvon Martin.

In the first, singer Chaka Khan enlists help from celebrity friends Kelly Price, Eric Benét, Eva Pigford, Kenny Latimore, Terry Crews, Angela Bassett, Kimberly Elise and Loretta Devine, creating this public service announcement for Trayvon Martin:

Donning a black hoodie, Chaka sings “A mama’s cryin’ ’cause another young man has gone and died. He’s not some statistic. He’s an awesome destiny denied.”

In a second video, filmmakers from Newark, N.J., assembled 30 African-American males to lend their voices to speak out on the Trayvon Martin case and the way they believe black males are being perceived in the media and society.

They, too, wear hooded sweatshirts as audio of a 911 dispatcher speaking to George Zimmerman, and Geraldo Rivera's comments, play in the background:

The tributes are moving, however, some have suggested that Martin becoming a national symbol and media obsession has indirectly led to bias against George Zimmerman, who claims self-defense and has not been charged with a crime.

Martin's death is a tragedy and the public is right to question why an unarmed teen was slain. Yet making Trayvon into a martyr or entertainment form oversimplifies a complex matter does little to honor his memory - or the accused's right to due process.

It's important to consider all sides of the issue. Do you agree?

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George Zimmerman, the man who shot and killed unarmed teen Trayvon Martin, is not a racist and is devastated by the recent events, according to a friend.

The Feb. 26 death of Martin, and the Sanford, Fla., police department's decision not to arrest Zimmerman, has turned the case into a national obsession.

It has devastated Martin's parents, sparked widespread debate over racial profiling, gun rights and self-defense laws. President Obama even weighed in.

Almost entirely silent throughout the firestorm of the last month? The neighborhood watch captain who shot and killed the 17-year-old.

  • George Zimmerman Picture
  • Trayvon Martin, Hoodie

There has been near-universal backlash, and some might say heavy media bias against Zimmerman, who friends say is going through his own torment.

"He's not the man that I knew before the shooting," Joe Oliver tells People in its cover story. "He's a completely different man; he'll never be the same."

"He prays for Trayvon and he prays for the Martin family. He is so distraught that he took a life. That's the price he had to pay for saving his own."

Oliver says he stands behind his friend, who says Martin was the aggressor in the self-defense slaying, and who he insists is not a racist human being.

"He's not a racist," says Oliver, an African-American. "I wouldn't be speaking out on his behalf if he were. This didn't have anything to do with race."

"George was looking out for his neighborhood and he saw someone he didn't recognize acting suspiciously. In his mind, he shot in self-defense."

"He felt he had no other choice."

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After director Spike Lee erroneously re-Tweeted their address as belonging to Trayvon Martin killer George Zimmerman, a school-cafeteria lunch lady and her husband were essentially forced to flee their home amid unwanted attention.

Death threats, hate mail, swarming reporters and fearful inquiries from neighbors were all too much for the woman, 70, who has a heart condition, and her husband, 72, who temporarily moved to a hotel to avoid the spotlight and possible danger.

Spike Lee Pic

According to reports, the confusion arose because the woman has a son, William George Zimmerman, who lived with her in 1995 and still lives in Central Florida.

He is no relation to George Zimmerman, 28, the un-charged shooter in the Trayvon Martin case, which is sparking national outrage and international interest.

Zimmerman traced the tweet - which did not initially come from Spike Lee, but gained massive interest after Lee re-Tweeted it - to a man in California.

Zimmerman said he has implored the man to stop and said he received this response, "Black power all day. No justice, no peace" and an obscenity.

Lee's tweet has been removed, but it continues to be re-tweeted.

Man. Spike hasn't flown off the handle and wished he could take it back this badly since his taunting of Reggie Miller sparked the Pacers guard's 25-point fourth quarter explosion in Game 5 of the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals.

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Fox News pundit Geraldo Rivera has issued an apology - or at least a response - to critics of his recent comments on slain Florida teen Trayvon Martin.

Rivera now infamously said (below) that the unarmed 17-year-old's hoodie was to blame for his death as much as George Zimmerman, who shot him.

Realizing how monumentally offensive, insensitive and just plain wrong that comment was, Rivera is now walking back the statement ... partially.

Rivera is standing by his message, and saying that while others took it as pure flame-fanning, he saw it more as honest, accurate and a PSA of sorts.

"I apologize to anyone offended by what one prominent black conservative called my 'very practical and potentially lifesaving campaign urging black and Hispanic parents not to let their children go around wearing hoodies,'" he told Politico.

"My own family and friends believe I obscured or diverted attention from the primary fact, which is that an unarmed 17-year-old was shot dead by a man who was never seriously investigated by local police. And if that is true, I apologize."

But not, he continued, because he was incorrect.

"I remain absolutely convinced of what I said about asking for trouble. There's enough trouble for minority boys not to provoke mad responses from paranoid jerk-offs."

That should simmer everyone down. Probably. Maybe. Okay, not really.

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The leak of George Zimmerman's statement to police have shed new light on the Trayvon Martin case, along with accusations of bias against the media and public.

Until Tuesday, the case had been framed from Martin's standpoint, which is certainly understandable to a point, as he was unarmed when he was shot and killed.

However, Zimmerman’s defense depicts Trayvon not as an unsuspecting youngster chased by an armed vigilante, but as a violent aggressor who left him no choice.

Some commentators point to Zimmerman’s story as evidence that the media and public have been too quick to lay blame in a case that has gripped the nation.

  • George Zimmerman Mug Shot
  • Trayvon Martin Photo

Zimmerman’s claim that he was jumped and beaten to the point where he shot Martin in self-defense seems dubious, especially if a dispatcher told him not to pursue the boy.

Nevertheless, he hasn't been charged with a crime.

You wouldn't know it by the mug shot, taken after a previous arrest, circulated by the media for the last month - most times, next to a five-year-old photo of Martin.

The contrast of the above images has indirectly but significantly shaped the way the sensationalized case is framed, turning the 17-year-old into an innocent martyr.

Martin's tragic death has sparked important public debate over racial profiling, gun laws and other broad social issues. Yet the media tends to sell a single narrative.

Consider how the following photos might portray the case instead:

  • George Zimmerman Picture
  • Trayvon Martin, Hoodie

Do a smiling Zimmerman in a suit and tie, or a current photo of Martin looking more like an adult, change your perception of either party? Probably at least a little.

NOTE: The authenticity of the Martin photo above, as well as others on the web (in which he sports fake good teeth), is disputed, but the point remains the same.

Stories such as President Obama's remarks or the "Million Hoodie March" get enormous attention and make the public fall in love with the idealized version of Martin.

The fact of the matter is, though, they have little to do with the case.

Police in Sanford, Fla., deserve to be under scrutiny for their decision not to arrest Zimmerman, but the April 10 grand jury investigation also needs to play itself out.

The truth, as is so often the case, won't be found easily. It almost unavoidably lies among a thousand shades of grey in a case of great complexity and magnitude.

By oversimplifying it and/or turning into an entertainment form, the media and public fail to honor both the deceased's memory and the accused's right to due process.

You tell us: Is there media bias in the Trayvon Martin case?

 

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