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Was George Zimmerman a Cop Wannabe?

Aired July 3, 2013 - 19:00   ET


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Tonight, mind-blowing testimony in the Zimmerman murder trial as the prosecutor paints defendant George Zimmerman as a bitter, wannabe cop who profiled 17-year-old Trayvon Martin before gunning him down. Was this volunteer Neighborhood Watchman obsessed with becoming a cop? And did that lead to an innocent teen`s death?

Good evening. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell coming to you live.


GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, ON TRIAL FOR SHOOTING TRAYVON MARTIN (via phone): This guy looks like he`s up to no good, like he`s on drugs or something.

(on camera): I grabbed it, and I just grabbed my firearm, and I shot him one time.

I thought he was going for my firearm. I just pulled it out and shot him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This guy is a wannabe cop.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He has applied to be a police officer before. He still wants to be one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This solidified my chances of a law enforcement career.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He shot the person. He just said he shot the person. Why would this man just shoot him?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Zimmerman was a Neighborhood Watch volunteer, but he used a lot of cop lingo. The prosecution says he would stop at nothing to become a police officer. Did Zimmerman delude himself into playing a sick game of cops and robbers, which led him to follow, confront and shoot unarmed teen, Trayvon Martin?

Zimmerman`s obsession with a career in law enforcement goes back years and years. In stunning testimony today, the jury learned that four years ago, George filled out an application to become a police officer back in Virginia. But he was rejected because he had bad credit.

Still, he didn`t give up. George then took criminal justice classes and applied to go for a ride-along, as they call it, with Sanford, Florida, cops, the very cops he called when he saw somebody he thought was suspicious, somebody who turned out to be an unarmed teen, Trayvon Martin, walking home with Skittles.

Listen to this.


ZIMMERMAN: I was just calling because we`ve had a lot of break-ins in our neighborhood recently, and I`m on the Neighborhood Watch.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He has applied to be a police officer before. He still wants to be one.

Does the person indicate whether or not they have a reason for wanting to go on these ride-alongs?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is that reason?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It states here, "Solidify my chances of a law enforcement career."


VELEZ-MITCHELL: "Solidify my chances of a law enforcement career." That`s what George Zimmerman said.

What do you think? Call me: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

Straight out to the Lion`s Den. We`ve got a fiery panel tonight. Did the prosecutors prove that George Zimmerman was a wannabe cop? Frustrated because he never actually managed to get a badge and become a real cop?

And I`m going to start with Tanya Young Williams.


I think the prosecution has laid out a case that George Zimmerman, one, is not credible. But two, he wanted nothing more than to be a police officer.

He was an underachiever, and therefore, if you can`t be a cop, be a wannabe cop and work your neighborhood patrolman. I think the language he used consistently, trying to befriend the police officers, trying to make him seem like he`s one of the old boys. I think George never -- I think the prosecutor has clearly shown that this was George`s desire and his goal in life.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Frank Taaffe, former neighbor of George Zimmerman, friend and supporter?

FRANK TAAFFE, FRIEND OF GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: You know, Jane, first of all, George was a volunteer. He was applying to be a police officer, and he also did Neighborhood Watch out of his duty to serve the public. He had a desire to make sure the safety of everybody concerned in our neighborhood, no matter what.

And I think it`s great that they did bring it out, because it shows the true George, that he wanted to be into a position where he could serve his community. And isn`t that all what law enforcement does, to serve their community?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Is this what he did ultimately, serve his community by shooting a teenager who turned out to be not doing anything wrong and was gunned down and shot dead? Is that -- let me go to Kelly Saindon, former prosecutor in Chicago?

KELLY SAINDON, FORMER PROSECUTOR: You nailed it. Absolutely not. He absolutely was hungry for power. It`s ridiculous.

He kept getting turned down. He was trying alternate routes. He went above and beyond anything a logical...

TAAFFE: Can I answer that, please?

SAINDON: ... reasonable citizen would do. There`s not -- it is not a question pending. He`s not -- he`s a wannabe. Frank, he`s a wannabe.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s give everybody a chance first. Evangeline Gomez, criminal defense attorney.

EVANGELINE GOMEZ, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Absolutely not, Jane Velez. We heard the state`s own witness say guess what? He was offered a position as a patrolman, where he would have been driving around in a marked car and he would have had -- he would have had powers like a police officer. And guess what? George Zimmerman said no. A wannabe cop would have jumped on that -- on that position immediately.

No. 2, a wannabe cop does not call nonemergency 911 to report suspicious behavior. A wannabe cop gets out of the car and says, "Put your hands up. You`re under arrest." Not a wannabe cop.


WILLIAMS: Oh, I`m sorry. Well, you know, he did exactly that. He called 911, because that`s what is set for protocol. But then he went out on his own and did what he thought a cop would do, is follow someone that he thought was a suspect.

GOMEZ: He did it at the instruction of an operator.

WILLIAMS: No, please. Let`s be clear. They told him, "Do not continue to..."

GOMEZ: At the instruction of the operator.

WILLIAMS: And this is -- this is after he called someone a punk. So he was taking the law into his own hands...

TAAFFE: It`s not...

GOMEZ: He did not take the law into his own hands...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me continue on...

TAAFFE: There`s no connection.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... with the defense.

TAAFFE: There`s no connection.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What do you mean? There`s no connection with what?

TAAFFE: Calling somebody a punk and being a wannabe cop? I...

WILLIAMS: There`s absolutely a connection.



WILLIAMS: ... only time we`ve had a lack of understanding.

TAAFFE: Please...


TAAFFE: You`re obfuscating the truth.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hold on. Let her talk, Frank.

WILLIAMS: There`s one phone call, and we watched his mannerisms progress from the first time he got the police on the phone and was...

TAAFFE: You are obfuscating the truth.

WILLIAMS: ... and then...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Frank, do you want to listen?

TAAFFE: Obfuscation of the truth. Go ahead.

WILLIAMS: Look, I`m speaking the truth and it`s relevant. And everybody who`s watching this trial can see. He became a different person as he was losing contact with sight of Trayvon Martin as he was following him, although he was told to stop doing it. And in that conversation...

TAAFFE: Then what did he do? He said OK.

WILLIAMS: That`s when he called him a punk. No, he didn`t.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me move on for a second, because I want to focus in a little bit on the language that George Zimmerman uses. And what does that reveal about his mental state, which is crucial here?

Investigator Doris Singleton (ph) read George Zimmerman`s written statement about how he says things unfolded the night he shot Trayvon Martin. Listen to how many times George, in his own words, immediately refers to Trayvon as the suspect, each when he first glances at him.


DORIS SINGLETON (PH), INVESTIGATOR: "The suspect emerged from darkness and circled my vehicle. The suspect once again disappeared in direction the suspect went. The dispatcher told me not to follow the suspect. The suspect emerged from the darkness. Suspect punched me in the face. The suspect got on top of me. The suspect told me, "Shut the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) up." The suspect slammed my head into the sidewalk.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Straight out to the Lion`s Den again. All right, I`m going to go to Kelly Saindon, former prosecutor, Chicago. You see that, in his own statement, he is referring to Trayvon Martin as a suspect. Does that betray a cop wannabe mentality or not?

SAINDON: A hundred percent. That is not just a Neighborhood Watchman saying, "I saw a young man walking in my neighborhood."

TAAFFE: Oh, my God!

SAINDON: That is somebody who`s saying perpetrators.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let everybody talk.

SAINDON: Who cares if he -- who care if we see a crime show? The reality of the situation is, this is somebody who wants to be a cop.

TAAFFE: Really?

SAINDON: He`s escalating his own status. Yes, really. He`s escalating his own status.

TAAFFE: You`ve never used the word "suspect" before?

SAINDON: And he`s singling someone out.

TAAFFE: You`ve never used the word "suspect"?

SAINDON: When I suspect something is wrong. Not when I`m chasing someone and end up killing them, no.

TAAFFE: Suspect. Suspect or suspect?

SAINDON: That is not the situation. Thirty-seven times in one report? Thirty-seven times in one report, "the suspect" this?

TAAFFE: So what?

SAINDON: How about "the young man"? How about "the gentleman walking through"? How about that?

TAAFFE: He had a care and concern for the safety of the community. We`d been burglarized seven times in 11 months.

WILLIAMS: But he didn`t -- Frank, he didn`t...

TAAFFE: Is that your neighborhood? What are the crime stats in your neighborhood?

WILLIAMS: What was he doing -- George...


TAAFFE: What are the crime states in your neighborhood? Listen, what are the crime stats in your neighborhood?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: There is a lady on the panel who...


TAAFFE: Please.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And the reason is...

SAINDON: There are crimes in my neighborhood. I live in Chicago. But anybody that walks by isn`t a suspect.


TAAFFE: Seven burglaries in 11 months.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jean Casarez, help me out here. You`re in the courtroom. Part of the problem here, Florida`s laws. I was reading them. I have stacks of information here.

At the end of the day, after discussing it with lawyers and former prosecutors for hours, it`s really a very subjective judgment call to say if somebody is acting in self-defense or if somebody is acting aggressively in a situation where there aren`t cameras.

JEAN CASAREZ, HLN LEGAL CORRESPONDENT: You make a great point, because the law is going to determine this case. There`s no question about it.

And today, the witness that took the stand, last name of Carter, who was a professor that George Zimmerman took a class and got an "A" from, the defense, amazingly, in that cross-examination, turned it around to be a real lecture on self-defense in basic terms, and the jury listened and it was very understandable.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, absolutely. It`s very understandable.

I want to get back to my fiery panel. We`re talking about cop wannabe and whether he was legitimately acting in self-defense, or if he was a cop wannabe, who either consciously or let`s not forget it could be subconsciously, wanted to have a confrontation because he was so frustrated that he was unable to become an officer, despite his repeated attempts to do so in taking all these courses and making an application.

I mean, it may not be that consciously he wanted to become a cop and have a confrontation. It may have been, I mean, he consciously wanted to become a cop, but it may not have been consciously that he wanted to have a confrontation but that he subconsciously wanted to play cop. You don`t buy it at all, Frank Taaffe?

TAAFFE: Jane, you know, law-enforcement officers go through a battery and a regimen of examinations. And one of the things that he was excluded on was collections.

So what does that say? That, you know, his psychological profile was good. His other scoring in other areas were excellent. And the reason why he was not employed by that legal -- that law enforcement agency was on the basis of collections.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Bad credit. Bad credit.

TAAFFE: Totally non-synonymous with wannabe.

SAINDON: So doesn`t that mean that he really wanted to do it, and if his credit was better he would have been an officer? Didn`t you just make our case?

TAAFFE: Then you and I wouldn`t be sitting here, right?

GOMEZ: No, because he didn`t apply to numerous places. He applied once.

TAAFFE: Right.

GOMEZ: A wannabe cop applies 40 or 50 times to various local police departments.

SAINDON: Forty or 50? What, are they going to move?

GOMEZ: That`s a wannabe cop. OK?

No. 2, driving around in a cop car is a prerequisite for your criminal justice class. Does not make you a wannabe cop? If you look at many students who take those classes, that is a prerequisite. That`s a requirement. It`s part of the class in order to pass.

This is a -- I`m sorry, pardon my French -- but it`s a half-baked theory that the prosecution is trying to advance. And as of yet, I`ve seen no reliable or credible evidence, and I don`t think the jury is going to allow itself to be exploited, to be used and confused by idle speculation.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hold on a second. Let me get to the phone lines. I want to get Quantisha (ph) from Florida. You`ve been waiting patiently. Your question or thought, Quantisha (ph)?

CALLER: I have a question. The theory is that Trayvon Martin was on top of Zimmerman. Is there a possibility that...

TAAFFE: It`s not a theory, it`s a fact.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let her finish.

CALLER: ... that Zimmerman was over Trayvon and perhaps grabbed him by the front of his hoody and then shot him?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, listen. There have been many, many residents of this gated community who have testified. It was a dark, rainy night. Everybody saw something a little bit different. Some of them have contradicted themselves, because they`ve given various statements. Some of them have contradicted each other. Some saw what they believe was George Zimmerman on top of Trayvon Martin. Others saw Trayvon Martin on top of George Zimmerman.

We`re going to take a break. On the other side, more stunning testimony. Was he a wannabe cop? Or was this legitimate self-defense? Stay right there, and we`re taking your calls.


ZIMMERMAN: So I didn`t see anything again and I was walking back to my truck, and then when I got to right about here, he yelled from behind me, to the side of me and said, "Yo, you got a problem?"




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does he look hurt to you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can`t see him. I don`t want to go out there. I don`t know what`s going on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell them to send the cops.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think he`s yelling "help"?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. What is your...



VELEZ-MITCHELL: What happened that dark and rainy night? Even the experts cannot agree.

Today, a crime lab analyst who examined the bullet hole in Trayvon`s clothing took the stand. She testified that Zimmerman`s gun was against Trayvon`s sweatshirt when he fired. Listen to this.


AMY SIEWERT, FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: This is consistent with residues and physical effects of a contact shot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So again, evidencing that the end of the gun was against the material when it was fired?



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dr. Lawrence Kobilinsky, there is the now-famous -- you saw the hoody and his T-shirt, his sweatshirt with the bullet hole right there. This woman, who testified, this expert is saying that the gun was right there, right up against his clothing. Does that dovetail or contradict with the autopsy report?

DR. LAWRENCE KOBILINSKY, FORENSIC EXPERT: Well, first of all, Jane, it does contradict the autopsy report. The medical examiner found that the shot was at an intermediate distance, which tells me that the muzzle of the gun was 6 to 18 inches away from the body.

Now, remember, the ballistics expert is looking at the clothing, looking at gunshot residue, and these particles, the microscopic particles that come out of the muzzle of the gun when it`s fired. So she`s looking at the -- the clothing, drawing a conclusion. The medical examiner is looking at the body, and remember, the particles are not always going to penetrate through to cause the stippling or...



VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... if two expects, this expect witness cannot agree with the autopsy report, I mean, how are average people supposed to come to a conclusion like jurors?

KOBILINSKY: Well, they`re looking at slightly different things, which might explain the conclusion difference. But for all intents and purposes, it really makes no difference. It indicates a close-end shot and a struggle. It`s certainly consistent with a struggle.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me jump in there. Because I think that it might indicate something different. Kelly Saindon, former prosecutor, Chicago, if the gun is right up there against the clothing, wouldn`t that indicate more of sort of an execution...

SAINDON: Absolutely.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... as opposed to intermediate, or would intermediate indicate I`m aiming and firing?

SAINDON: You know, I think you can actually argue both, but it would seem more that he was determined to cause very serious injury if he put the gun at a point blank range and pulled the trigger. Versus if he`s struggling, trying to get someone off him, and there`s a distance of 8 to 18 inches where he pulls the trigger, intermediate.

Either way, it`s going to come down to was it reasonable, given the circumstances? Was he in fear of actually being killed himself? Did he have any other alternative? And I think the jury is going to say the answer is yes, he had other alternatives. He didn`t have to use deadly force, and he`s going to be convicted.

TAAFFE: Like what, hit him in the head with wet grass? What other alternative did he have? And I want to go back to the...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Frank -- Frank, hold on. Frank, make your point. Make your point, and then we`ll get responses. What was your point? Frank Taaffe, talk.

TAAFFE: Jane, Ms. Velez-Mitchell, I have spoken to a weapons expert, and the prosecution`s assertion that it was a contact shot is preposterous.

That weapon, when the muzzle is placed against the body, the slide will move back. When the slide move back -- moves back, it`s called out of battery. This will prevent the gun from firing at the slightest millimeter of that slide up against the body. It`s called out of battery. And you can check it out, and it`s...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Did the defense bring this up today? I didn`t -- I mean, listen, there were hours of testimony.

TAAFFE: Yes, yes!


TAAFFE: The defense -- prosecution brought it up, saying it was a contact shot.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, that we all heard.

TAAFFE: And what they want -- what they wanted to pose in the mind of the jurors is that, like what you just said, and may I reiterate the fact you said "execution-style."

Kobi said it was intermediate. That`s a fact. OK. It was 6 to 12. The stippling was more pronounced around the fabric, which was hovering down on top...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Look, Kobi -- Kobi, did you say it was intermediate, or did you say that the autopsy report showed that it was intermediate? You were quoting the autopsy report.

KOBILINSKY: That is correct. The autopsy report.

TAAFFE: Right. I`m just echoing what he said.

KOBILINSKY: Bottom line is it was a struggle. And just because it`s a contact shot...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Great. There`s no...

KOBILINSKY: ... shouldn`t be interpreted as an execution. This is just the distance that the muzzle was against the clothing. If she`s accurate, and I think she is.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. OK. Well, imagine what`s going through the jurors` minds as they try to process all this information. I can tell you, they were taking a lot of notes. We know that.

On the other side, a very provocative piece of testimony, and we`re going to debate it in the Lion`s Den. Stay right there.


MARK O`MARA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think you said he`s your best friend?

MARK OSTERMAN, ZIMMERMAN`S BEST FRIEND: Best one I`ve ever had. He said that he was on his back and Trayvon Martin straddled him and began punching him in the face.

BERNIE DE LA RIONDA, PROSECUTOR: I think you quoted him as saying he took his hand that was covering my nose and went for my gun, saying something at that point, correct?


DE LA RIONDE: He said -- what words did he mutter?

OSTERMAN: He said, "You`re going to die," and he used the "M-F" term again.




ZIMMERMAN: When he was hitting my head, my head felt like it was going to explode.

O`MARA: Could those screams have come from somebody who was having this done to them?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This guy was beating me up and I shot him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "And I defended myself, and I shot him."


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The prosecution tried to establish today that George Zimmerman took criminal justice courses in which he studied Florida`s stand-your-ground law and self-defense laws, prior to killing Trayvon Martin, implying that Zimmerman lied when he told Sean Hannity in an interview that he never heard of "stand your ground." Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you discuss specifically self-defense and stand-your-ground laws in connection of violent crimes such as murder?


SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Prior to this night, this incident, had you even heard of "stand your ground"?


HANNITY: You never heard about it before?



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Straight out to the Lion`s Den. So you heard right there, Hannity saying, "You ever heard of stand your ground?" He`s like, "No, no." Well, turns out he got an "A" in a course that included "stand your ground" and self-defense. So was George lying? Did he know about "stand your ground," since it was taught in a class that he excelled at? And I`m going to start with Kelly Saindon, former prosecutor, Chicago.

SAINDON: He absolutely knew it. And what`s funny is Frank is going to just -- he`s going to argue with me, and he`s going to say, "That`s not a fact. That`s not a fact, Jane. You don`t know what you`re talking about," because he`s selectively picking the facts.

Obviously, this guy knew the law. His story has changed repeatedly. He got caught lying to Hannity because he couldn`t stay out of the limelight, because he wanted attention, he wanted power and he`s a cop wannabe.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Why don`t we -- why don`t we throw it to Evangeline Gomez?

GOMEZ: Let`s remember the testimony that was given today. The professor stated that he covered self-defense generally. He didn`t refer to it as stand-your-ground law.

TAAFFE: Thank you.

GOMEZ: And the book itself did not include this text in it. So we`ve got to make sure that we`re listening to the testimony that`s being given and we`re not just deriving our own conclusions, our own testimony.

TAAFFE: Thank you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tanya Young Williams.

WILLIAMS: Jane, the prosecution realizes this is a game of chess and not checkers, and they are chipping away at his credibility every single day.

His statement to Hannity, that`s a lie. His statement to his friend, where he was speaking about other issues of how Trayvon had two hands over his mouth, not plausible. All of these things he`s saying are not real or realistic. And therefore, his credibility is going down the pot.

And if he doesn`t take the stand, no one is going to believe self- defense, because the evidence doesn`t support it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Frank, do you think -- you`re a buddy of George Zimmerman -- that he needs to take the stand? It seems like we`re almost at the end of the prosecution`s case. So this decision could be coming up as the defense case starts in the next few days.

TAAFFE: You know, Jane, the elephant in the room is still how the prosecution is going to present just how George received all those wounds and lacerations and the broken nose. I`m still trying -- I`m still pondering about that. And OK, oh yes, all right...

WILLIAMS: Frank, Frank, Frank...

TAAFFE: Yes. I guess they haven`t gotten to that. Now -- now let me ask about the "stand your ground." "Stand your ground" is a new law here in Florida.

WILLIAMS: Frank, this is not a whodunit. He shot and killed Trayvon Martin. Therefore...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wait a second, Tanya, I have to say Frank raises a point. I mean, I can visualize George Zimmerman`s version of events because he did a reenactment video. It`s harder for me to visualize the prosecution`s version of events, Tanya.

WILLIAMS: But Jane, you have to realize...

TAAFFE: No, no, answer the question. Don`t...

WILLIAMS: Frank, Frank, listen, Frank, let me be clear. You dictate how you want to speak and I`ll speak how I want to, to make my point.

TAAFFE: Thank you. All right.

WILLIAMS: At the end of the day, this is not a whodunit.

TAAFFE: We know that.

WILLIAMS: Trayvon Martin was shot and killed and admittedly so by Zimmerman. Therefore, they have to show why it was self-defense. If they cannot show to this jury that it was actually for self-defense...

TAAFFE: The burden of proof is on the state! Are you a lawyer? Are you a lawyer?

WILLIAMS: Yes, I am.

TAAFFE: The burden of proof is on the state. And I don`t want...

WILLIAMS: The burden never shifts...

TAAFFE: ... to be. I don`t want to be. I don`t want to be.

WILLIAMS: The burden that...


TAAFFE: I`m an average guy. I`m an average guy. I don`t want to be a cop. And I don`t want to be...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`ll be back in a second. You can continue arguing amongst yourselves. We`ll be back in a second with more arguments from the Lion`s Den.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who saw what? Who heard what? Who do you believe? If you`re not watching it, you`re missing it on the only network with the most coverage. HLN, America is watching.




GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, ON TRIAL FOR DEATH OF TRAYVON MARTIN: He jumped out from the bushes and he said, "What the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) is your problem, homie."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you think he`s yelling help?


CHRIS SERINO, POLICE INVESTIGATOR: Either he was telling the truth --

ZIMMERMAN: He said, "You`re going to die (EXPLETIVE DELETED)."

SERINO: Or he was a complete pathological liar.

ZIMMERMAN: The operator said "Are you following him?" I said "Yes." He said "We don`t need you to do that." I said "Ok."


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you don`t know why.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t know why.


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HLN HOST: Tonight, was George Zimmerman a cop wannabe? Today, stunning testimony revealed that he applied to be a police officer back in 2009 but was rejected because he had bad credit and more recently he had asked to go on a ride-along with cops in Sanford. And there was information presented in court today that he took criminal justice courses where he learned about Stand Your Ground even though he said to Sean Hannity he didn`t know anything about Stand Your Ground.

Now, the jury`s also heard a slew of information about Zimmerman`s past phone calls to 911 and according to Trayvon`s friend, a star witness for the prosecution, he was acting like a kind of investigator that rainy night.

Listen to this.


RACHEL JEANTEL, FRIEND OF TRAYVON MARTIN: I asked him how the man looked like. He just told me the man -- the man looked creepy.

BERNIE DE LA RIONDA, PROSECUTOR: He said the man looked creepy?

JEANTEL: Creepy white -- excuse my language -- cracker.

DE LA RIONDA: And what did you say? They`re having trouble hearing you, so take your time.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: And so the prosecutor today trying to establish that George Zimmerman, the shooter, was a wannabe cop, bitter that he never actually got a badge. But given all that information we learned today about George Zimmerman`s not so stellar past.

What about Trayvon`s past? Does that open the door -- should that open the door to discussing Trayvon`s school suspensions and the fact that he didn`t have a clean record and according to school documents, he was suspended several times, caught writing graffiti on a door, skipped school caught with marijuana residue in his backpack.

Straight out to "The Lion`s Den", given that the jury is now hearing information on George Zimmerman`s past, should the judge now allow Trayvon`s school suspensions in. And we will start with -- how about Evangeline Gomez?

EVANGELINE GOMEZ, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Absolutely, Jane. What`s good for the goose is good for the gander. AS you recall Mark O`Mara made a pretrial motion asking that this evidence about Trayvon Martin -- this is evidence portraying the real Trayvon Martin, not photos of a 12 or 13-year-old Trayvon Martin. Who he really was at the time that this incident occurred, and the judge said no.

So why is it relevant? Why is it probative for the prosecution to allow this evidence in about George Zimmerman`s life? We don`t need to know about his life.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tanya Young-Williams.

TANYA YOUNG WILLIAMS, ATTORNEY: Well, first of all Trayvon Martin as we know is dead and he is not on trial. Most importantly he doesn`t have the opportunity to take the stand and explain away these things you`re saying that portray him as the real Trayvon Martin.

Where George Zimmerman, he has every opportunity to take the stand and explain away all of these things that you think are damaging his reputation. He can also explain away his racist comments about the Mexican. He also can talk about how he was arrested for domestic violence.

George Zimmerman -- let`s talk about the real George Zimmerman. Let him go there on the stand and explain these things away. Trayvon Martin cannot do that.


FRANK TAAFFE, FRIEND OF GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: Hey, hey you know what -- this might shock you, but I have to agree. I don`t want -- you know, Trayvon Martin is dead. We`re not here to dehumanize a dead young man. I think the facts and the evidence in this case -- and I know you guys are going into shock on the other end, I`m agreeing with you on this -- but that`s not what is in play here.

What`s in play is the condition of self-defense. That`s what we`re talking about. Trayvon could have been this, he could have been that; and George could have been this and George could have been that --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But the whole point is --

TAAFFE: -- but at the moment -- here, let me finish. At the moment that this happened, he was being beaten up, ok? Trayvon, for all we know, could have been this, could have been that. That`s not the purpose is to dehumanize that young man. If they want to drag George through the mud, we`ve got plenty of evidence that`s going to acquit this man.

And if I was the prosecution, I would get those tents packed up right away and get the bus fired up and get back to Jacksonville, because this party is over.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Kelly Saindon (ph), former prosecutor, then why would George Zimmerman have any reason to stop this young man who was walking home with Skittles and a soft drink? What was it about this young man, who the prosecution says, and the defense admits was not doing anything but going on a 7-Eleven run, why does he stop him?

KELLY SAINDON (PH), FORMER PROSECUTOR: Because it goes back to a cop wannabe and neighborhood watch that he was upset about the burglaries. I think he`s hungry for power and he wanted to control the situation. He wanted to walk up and when -- maybe he did get punched, maybe he got knocked to the ground, he didn`t like it and he had a gun.

TAAFFE: Maybe -- did you say maybe?

SAINDON: Yes, I said maybe. You say everything is a fact. You say everything is a fact. Bottom line is --


TAAFFE: Well, was there not a photo of his head and nose? Did you not see it?

SAINDON: You know what -- and there was an expert witness that said that it was a superficial wound from one hit. Big deal. You don`t kill someone for that.

TAAFFE: You mean a medical examiner who examines dead bodies?


SAINDON: Shoot him in the knee. You don`t kill -- now you like the medical examiner.

TAAFFE: He wasn`t the attending physician.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Let`s go out to the phone lines.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Christine, North Carolina, you`ve been waiting patiently. Your question or thought Christine?

CHRISTINE, NORTH CAROLINA: Hey, Jane. You`re wonderful. I`m just laughing at your panel, I`m sorry. And congratulations on your award.


CHRISTINE: you know, I just want to say I`ve taken notes for everything on this trial, and I`ve got pages and pages, and I personally think he wanted to be a wannabe cop. Everybody is talking about these big lacerations and how his nose was busted in. He was just beat to a pulp.

You know, he walked away, Trayvon didn`t. And I believe that he let Trayvon beat him up, then somehow they got standing up and Trayvon got shot. Because there`s no way he could have fallen off of a person with his arms underneath his body. And he left in a body bag.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Fascinating. Again, Dr. Kobilinsky, we get back to the point where we have no idea how Trayvon Martin`s arms got underneath his body. And it totally contradicts what George Zimmerman says about spreading his arms out, the first photo that`s taken just seconds after the shot rings out when a neighbor runs around is -- the neighbor does it with a cell phone -- his hands are underneath his body.

DR. LAWRENCE KOBILINSKY, FORENSIC SCIENTIST: I`ve heard one explanation, which I think is a possibility. And that is that after the shot was fired, it penetrated the right ventricle, which would result in bleeding, obviously. The thing is, a person doesn`t die immediately. Obviously, there was pain to the chest. He could have very well have drawn his arms in to cover the pain.


KOBILINSKY: To cover the chest.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We wanted to warn our viewers, there is a series of photos of a young man, and that photo you just saw a second earlier is what was taken on the cell phone camera by the neighbor. So you`re saying that the pain of that shot would have caused Trayvon to pull his arms like this to try to block the pain and he could have done that in the seconds after George Zimmerman got up and was walking away?

KOBILINSKY: I`m saying that that`s a possible explanation. I was surprised myself after hearing that the arms were spread out, how did they come back underneath the body? And that`s a reasonable possibility.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re going to take a short break. We`ve got more stunning testimony from today. A look at what`s ahead. Your calls. More debate in "The Lion`s Den".

Stay right there.


DE LA RIONDA: Was there any indication that Trayvon Martin, Trayvon Benjamin Martin, the young man I think 20 days past that just turned 17 was committing a crime that evening, sir?

SERINO: No, sir.

DE LA RIONDA: Was there any evidence that that young man was armed?

SERINO: No, sir.



MARK OSTERMAN, AUTHOR: The head bashing on the concrete stopped and Trayvon reached for the firearm that was at his side, grabbed a-hold of it. He didn`t have it to go out and commit a crime of hunting someone down and harming them. It was for self-protection. And I`m glad that that firearm was used to protect George.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And that`s the BFF of defendant George Zimmerman talking. He`s a guy who actually wrote a book on this case, which may not have helped his buddy, the defendant, because it contradicts some of the things that George Zimmerman told the cops.

Now, this was a big day for the prosecution, but the defense, George Zimmerman`s defense. The question is, did they wipe out all of the gains made by the prosecution today with one simple exchange? Listen carefully and we`re going to debate it.


DON WEST, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: You don`t have to wait until you`re almost dead before you can defend yourself?

CAPT. ALEXIS CARTER, FORMER PROFESSOR OF GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: No, I would advise you probably don`t do that.

WEST: And I take it when you`re under attack, you never really never know where that moment will be.

CARTER: No, unfortunately you don`t.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, let`s go into "The Lion`s Den" and debate that. You saw George Zimmerman with a rare smile and laugh. He`s been very expressionless during this case, and yet he was laughing there. I have to say that that was a very good point.

And I`ll throw this one at you, Kelly Saindon, former prosecutor. You don`t have to wait until you`re almost dead to defend yourself, and you never know when that`s going to happen. Would it have been better to go for manslaughter, would that have been an easier win for the prosecution, given the murkiness of this entire situation?

SAINDON: You know, I do think that that would have been an easier win. However they usually go big because they know if they get a conviction they can get a lesser offense and in this case there are multiple opportunities. For example, Zimmerman could have hit Trayvon Martin in the face with the gun. He could have used it as a weapon instead of deploying a bullet and killing him. He had the opportunity to do other things prior to using lethal force. And that`s what I think they`re trying to prove. And so manslaughter would be in the heat of the moment, the fact that he had the gun, the fact that everyone things he was from the prosecution`s side a wannabe cop and that he did pursue this gentleman when he was told not to. That is what the prosecution is going for.


TAAFFE: Yes, ma`am. Two things, first of all, Mark O`Mara stated that he`s not going to plea out an innocent man. And secondly the state would have to find some way to blow up the theory of self-defense before manslaughter even entered in. Secondly, that`s not an option, because manslaughter carries with a weapon and loss of life 25 years, minimum. So, you know, where are you going with that one? We`re not going manslaughter.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re not going for that -- it`s a dark and murky night. You have a bunch of witnesses who are conflicting -- giving conflicting accounts. You know, in confusion, there can be reasonable doubt.

And then you have this excellent point made about the nature of self- defense, when nobody is watching, is that do you have to wait until you`re almost dead to defend yourself and do you ever know when that moment is going to happen? I thought that was one good moment for the defense today.

And I want to throw it to Tanya Young-Williams to give her perspective.

YOUNG-WILLIAMS: Well Jane -- right. Well, the judge came in and explained that is not the law. And the law for self-defense, I believe under the Florida statute is your fear of death or great bodily harm. So although this is what this witness testified, it`s not the law, it`s not the instruction that the judge is going to give the jury.

TAAFFE: Correct.

YOUNG-WILLIAMS: When it comes to manslaughter, the prosecution couldn`t go for manslaughter because George admitted to shooting and killing Trayvon Martin. He didn`t say there was a tussle. He didn`t say it was heat of passion. The prosecution had to go second degree. But Frank, where you`re incorrect and you`re not an attorney, is that a lesser included can be presented to the jury --

TAAFFE: Yes, you already stated that and I already admitted that. Thank you for bringing that back up.

YOUNG-WILLIAMS: Frank, Frank --

TAAFFE: Let me bow to you. You want me to bow. You want me to prostate myself before you?

YOUNG-WILLIAMS: You won`t be the first Frank.


TAAFFE: You know what -- I`m a fairly intelligent average guy who can read the statute and decipher what`s going on.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think Tanya Young-Williams said that manslaughter will be a lesser included. I don`t know that for a fact. The jury is -- we`ll see. We shall see. More on the other side.


ZIMMERMAN: This guy looks like he`s up to no good. Like he`s on drugs or something.

SERINO: On drugs, why?

ZIMMERMAN: He kept looking around, looking behind him, just kept shifting where he was looking.



JOHN GUY, PROSECUTOR: He told the police that it was just after he hung up with Sean (inaudible), the 911 emergency dispatcher, that Trayvon approached him, confronted him, said a couple of words to him, and then punched him, knocked him to the ground -- just moments after that. Ladies and gentlemen, that did not happen.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here`s another discrepancy prosecutors pointed out. George Zimmerman said that as soon as he hung up the phone, Trayvon Martin approached him and they have words. But the state points out that Trayvon Martin remained on the phone with a girl in Miami, according to phone records, for two minutes after George Zimmerman hung up with the cops. They can`t both be right.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, that was just one of more than a dozen lies that the prosecution promised to prove in opening statements. We are nearing the end of the prosecution`s case.

Evangeline Gomez, have they shown those lies and laid them out for the jury?

GOMEZ: In every case you`re going to find inconsistencies that are made, because people do not speak perfect English. But let me tell you something, Jane, a jury is not going to give George Zimmerman life. They`re not going to give him years in jail because of these minor inconsistencies. It`s just not going to happen.


SAINDON: I disagree. He`s going to be convicted and they`re going to bank on the fact that this guy is a liar, who wanted fame, and --

GOMEZ: There`s no reliable evidence. He`s not going to be convicted.

SAINDON: I disagree. I absolutely think he will be convicted, because he killed someone when he didn`t have to.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. We`re going to take a short break. We`ll have to see. We don`t know. What`s in the minds of the jurors?

Stay right there.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Will George Zimmerman be found guilty or not guilty? We`ve been debating it in "The Lion`s Den".

I am heading to Florida, and I will be there live for the duration of this case until a verdict comes in. So please stay with us as we are all over this extraordinary trial, and we`ll stay with it till the dramatic conclusion. And it will be dramatic.

Nancy, next.