As George Zimmerman's supporters work to stem the rising tide of public outrage aimed at the neighborhood watchman who shot and killed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin last month, a new picture of the victim—culled from the 17-year-old's Twitter account and witness testimony leaked from local law enforcement—has emerged.
"With a single punch," the Orlando Sentinel, citing police sources, reported Monday, "Trayvon Martin decked the Neighborhood Watch volunteer ... climbed on top of [him] and slammed his head into the sidewalk several times, leaving him bloody and battered."
"That is the account Zimmerman gave police," the paper said, "and much of it has been corroborated by witnesses, authorities say."
Zimmerman's attorney, Craig Sonner, says that Zimmerman acted in self-defense and is not a racist as some have portrayed him.
"I think we need to let the investigation come forward and let all the facts in this case come out," Sonner said on the "Today" show. "I think it's going to tell a different story than the way it's been related and portrayed in the media."
According to a CNN poll released Monday, 73 percent of Americans think police should arrest Zimmerman.
Meanwhile, the difference between the typical teenager Martin's family and supporters say he was and the way he presented himself on social media is the subject of increasing debate.
As Dan Linehan, a blogger at Wagist.com, pointed out, correspondence with Martin on Twitter before he died alludes to an incident with a bus driver. "Yu ain't tell me you swung on a bus driver," Martin's cousin wrote to him on Feb. 21.
The same week, Martin was suspended for 10 days from Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School in North Miami-Dade. "He was not suspended for something dealing with violence or anything like that," his father said. "It wasn't a crime he committed, but he was in an unauthorized area [on school property]," declining to offer more details.
But a family spokesman told the Associated Press on Monday that Martin was suspended because marijuana residue was found in his book bag.
More than 25,000 were expected to attend an afternoon rally in Sanford, Fla., on Monday for Martin, including the Rev. Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and other civil rights leaders.
"The media is getting the Trayvon Martin story wrong," Michael Brendan Dougherty wrote on BusinessInsider.com, comparing it to the 2006 Duke lacrosse case, in which three members of the lacrosse team were accused of rape, resulting in a media firestorm and public outcry. The accuser's case unraveled, and the charges were eventually dropped.
"Oh how little we have learned," David Shane wrote on PolicyMic.com. The media has rushed to judgment yet again. Now, it's quite possible that Zimmerman is guilty of everything his worst foes accuse him of. There is plenty about this case that troubles me. But that's exactly the point—I don't know. Neither does anyone else, and both the scope and tone of the media coverage ought to reflect that fact."
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