Phone Records May Help Zimmerman's Defense
In the case that public opinion polls found has Americans divided by race, generation, politics and economic status, closer analysis of George Zimmerman's phone calls may prove he did not kill Trayvon Martin because of his race.
Zimmerman, 28, fatally shot Martin, 17, on February 26. The case triggered nationwide attention and debate after Zimmerman's phone call to 911 was interpreted to be racially motivated. Martin was unarmed, wearing a hoodie, and Zimmerman reportedly said, "This guy looks like he's up to no good. He looks black," according to phone records.
As CNN reports, forensic audio expert Tom Owen, who analyzed the 911 recordings, agreed the garbled word that raised controversy was "punks," not a racial slur some people said they heard.
When Owen, chairman emeritus of the American Board of Recorded Evidence, used a computer application to remove cell phone interference, the word became clearer, he said. After discussions with linguists, he said he became convinced that Zimmerman said "punks."
He provided CNN with a copy of the newly processed audio.
CNN also enhanced the sound of the 911 call, and several members of CNN's editorial staff repeatedly reviewed the tape but could reach no consensus on whether Zimmerman used a slur.
According to NY Daily News, in the seven phone calls that Zimmerman made do the Sanford, Flo. non-emergency police line between August 2011 and February 2012, he never mentioned the race of the person he deemed suspicious before he was asked.
But this week, the network admitted it had accidentally edited out a key part of the conversation which actually went
Zimmerman: This guy looks like he's up to no good. Or he's on drugs or something. It's raining and he's just walking around, looking about."
Dispatcher: Okay, and this guy — is he black, white or Hispanic?
Zimmerman: He looks black.
Owen and another audio expert, Ed Primeau, analyzed the recording and have stressed they cannot say who was screaming in phone call.