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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Eyewitness identification now an issue in the Trayvon Martin case

In the book it is shown that faulty eyewitness identification is one of the major sources of wrongful conviction.

Now, this issue will greatly impact the case of George Zimmerman who shot and killed Trayvon Martin after an altercation that really no one knows how it started or why it turned deadly (some of my Facebook friends think they know, but none of us really knows because everything we think we know comes from media accounts, based on things like these kinds of eyewitness accounts.

Only, now they are changing. For example:

Four days after the shooting, one woman told police she "saw two guys running" and then "a fistfight--just fists, I don't know who was hitting who." But on March 20, she told investigators she saw just one person.

"I couldn't tell you if it was a man, a woman, a kid, black or white," the woman, "Witness 2," said. "I couldn't tell you because it was dark and because I didn't have my contacts on or glasses. I just know I saw a person out there."

Another witness, who was initially interviewed on March 20, said she saw two people on the ground immediately after the shooting, but was not sure who was on top.
But in another interview with investigators six days later, the paper reported, she was sure: It was Zimmerman on top.

"I know after seeing the TV of what's happening, comparing their sizes, I think Zimmerman was definitely on top because of his size," the woman, "Witness 12," said.

Don't believe everything you see. And especially not what other people swear they saw.

A third witness, "Witness 6," told police on the night of the shooting he saw a black man on top of a lighter-skinned man "just throwing down blows on the guy, MMA-style." He said the light-skinned man was calling for help. Interviewed later by investigators, he said he was not sure who was calling for help, and is not sure any punches were thrown.

A fourth witness also interviewed on the night of the shooting said he heard the shooting, ran outside, and saw Zimmerman standing with "blood on the back of his head." According to "Witness 13," Zimmerman told him that Martin "was beating up on me, so I had to shoot him."

A month later, the same witness described Zimmerman's demeanor: "[It was] not like 'I can't believe I just shot someone!' It was more like, 'Just tell my wife I shot somebody,' like it was nothing."

I fear we may never know what actually happened that night.

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