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New allegations against Trayvon Martin

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    Wednesday, April 11 2012 9:52 AM EDT2012-04-11 13:52:36 GMT
    Sanford Police have released the 911 calls placed on the night of a fatal shooting which took the life of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
    Sanford Police have released the 911 calls placed on the night of a fatal shooting which took the life of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
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  • Robert Zimmerman interview

    Robert Zimmerman interview

    For the first time since that fateful night on February 26, the father of a neighborhood watch volunteer who shot and killed an unarmed teenager sat down for a television interview.
    For the first time since that fateful night on February 26, the father of a neighborhood watch volunteer who shot and killed an unarmed teenager sat down for a television interview.

The controversy surrounding the shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin took a new turn Monday when the Orlando Sentinel reported neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman told police Martin decked him with a single punch, then repeatedly slammed his head into the sidewalk.

The Sentinel reported much of Zimmerman's account had been corroborated by witnesses, according to authorities.

As Zimmerman's version of events surfaced on a day the defense fought back, thousands rallied in Sanford to mark the one-month anniversary of 17-year-old Martin's death and press for Zimmerman's arrest.

Martin's father, Tracy, told the crowd at the Sanford Civic Center, "We're not asking for an eye for an eye. We're asking for justice, justice, justice."

Martin's parents also leapt to his defense Monday afternoon, saying that reports he had been suspended from his high school because an empty baggie with traces of marijuana had been found in his book bag were designed to "disrespect" him.

"They've killed my son and now they're trying to kill his reputation," said Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton.

Later Monday, the Miami Herald reported another wrinkle in Martin's school record: a suspension for writing graffiti on a school locker last October and an earlier suspension for tardiness and truancy.

The Herald reported, at the time of the graffiti incident, a school security employee found 12 pieces of women's jewelry and a large flathead screwdriver in his bag. The paper reported Martin said a friend had given him the jewelry and he was not disciplined over the discovery.

Ben Crump, an attorney for the family, said Martin's parents had never heard about the jewelry and "don't believe it's true. If it were true, why wouldn't they call the parents? Why wasn't he arrested?"

"We think everybody is trying to demonize him."

As time has passed since the Feb. 26 shooting, questions have only multiplied about what happened as Martin walked home from a 7-Eleven in a gated community in Sanford.

Zimmerman, reportedly in hiding, has claimed he shot Martin in self-defense.  Martin was unarmed.

Martin's family and thousands who have turned out at rallies on his behalf nationwide claim he was murdered without provocation and raised questions about racism and police handling of the case.

The Sentinel reported Monday that authorities had provided the paper with Zimmerman's account of events, in which he said he called police after spotting Martin, then lost sight of him and was returning to his SUV when the teen allegedly approached him from the left rear and they exchanged words.

Zimmerman said Martin punched him in the nose, then as he fell to the ground, got on top of him and slammed his head into the sidewalk, causing Zimmerman to yell for help.

The paper said at least one witness told police he saw Martin pounding Zimmerman.   Benjamin Crump, attorney for Trayvon Martin's family, doesn't buy that.

"We believe they're inaccurate based on the 911 tapes. He's chasing Trayvon," said Crump. Crump says that Trayvon's girlfriend, the last person to the teen before he was killed, says Trayvon told her he was being followed seconds before his phone went dead. "It's one of those situations that Zimmerman is alive and can say whatever. Trayvon is dead and can't defend himself," said Crump.

Reverend Al Sharpton defended Trayvon and says he warned the 17-year-old's family that their fight for justice would not be an easy one.

"I said to the parents, as much as it will hurt, they will try to make your son a junkie, a thief ... everything else before this is over, because they've done this in every case we've fought."

It has been almost two weeks since Sanford Police addressed details of the investigation. Chief Bill Lee told FOX 35 at that time that there was a 60 to 90 second window when the fight began between Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin when there were no witnesses.

It's unclear if more witnesses have come forward providing police with new information.

ABC News added an additional element on Monday, reporting that, according to a police source,  Zimmerman originally told police that Martin tried to take his gun.

Reports had surfaced earlier of people hearing cries for help, but it was not clear if they came from Zimmerman or Martin.

A woman, who said she and her roommate witnessed the last moments of Martin's life, told Dateline NBC that they heard the voice of what sounded like a young person in distress just before hearing a gunshot.

"It sounded young," Mary Cutcher said. "It didn't sound like a grown man is my point."

She added that they also saw Zimmerman straddling the teen's body with his hands pressed on his back, making no effort to aid him.

"We are dealing with a self-appointed 'watch-guy', who disobeyed the dispatcher's instructions that he agreed to. All else is irrelevant," Sharpton said.

The police dispatcher, when contacted by Zimmerman, told him he didn't need to follow

Martin.

 

Sanford City Commission hears grievances

Crowds watched outside the Sanford Civic Center as the Sanford City Commission heard from speakers about growing concerns surrounding the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin.

Resident Andre Turner said it was great to finally be heard by local leaders. "The rally went well, but I think there should be more done with the justice system in Sanford."

While many are still angry that an arrest has not been made, they say Monday's meeting brought them hope. Ronnie Sims came from Brevard County.

"It was good, it really was. A lot of points were made and I think something will be done now."

With new evidence being leaked from the police department, saying Martin attacked shooter George Zimmerman, some spectators tell us they're not convinced the neighborhood watch volunteer acted in self-defense.

Nanette Stewart agrees. "I'm just displeased with it. All we can do is hope and pray and the best is yet to come."

Some came from out of state banking for a change, while sending out a message. Joseph McCollum traveled from North Carolina. "It's about the rally and selling shirts. We want justice for Trayvon Martin."

Meanwhile, Turner holds on to his 4-year-old grandson, with hope for the future. "I want him to learn that there is justice in the system and to believe in it."
 

FOX 35's Holly Bristow and Valerie Boey contributed to this report.  Some information taken from NewsCore wire stories.

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