Thursday, 17 May 2012

Sources: Medical report says Zimmerman had broken nose, other injuries after fight

(CNN) -- A medical report by George Zimmerman's family doctor shows the neighborhood watch volunteer was diagnosed with a fractured nose, two black eyes and two lacerations on the back of the head after his fatal confrontation with Trayvon Martin.
The medical exam, which was taken a day after Zimmerman's February 26 altercation with the unarmed 17-year-old, says Zimmerman suffered a "closed fracture" of his nose, according to two sources who have detailed knowledge of the investigation.
Zimmerman, 28, is accused of killing Martin on February 26 as the African-American teenager walked back to the Sanford, Florida, house where he was staying, after visiting a convenience store. Prosecutors have said Zimmerman, who is a white Hispanic, killed Martin unjustly after profiling him.
Zimmerman, who acknowledges shooting Martin but claims self-defense, has entered a not guilty plea in the case, which has not yet been scheduled for trial.
Zimmerman faces a second-degree murder charge in the case, which has gripped the country, caused nationwide protests and has shined a light on race relations and gun laws in Florida.
After the shooting, Zimmerman told police that Martin rushed him after they exchanged words, knocked him to the ground and repeatedly hit his head against a concrete sidewalk.
The medical report appears to lend support to Zimmerman's claims. It also mirrors earlier statements made by Zimmerman's father, brother and lawyer.
Zimmerman's brother spoke of the medical reports in a March interview with CNN's Piers Morgan.
"We're confident the medical records are going to explain all of George's medical history," Robert Zimmerman Jr. said at the time. "You return force with force when somebody assaults you. George was out of breath, he was barely conscious. George (would have been) dead if he had not acted decisively and instantaneously in that moment."
The Martin family has questions about the medical report, said Benjamin Crump, the family attorney.
"The family has very strong positions about this family physician's report that was done the next day," Crump said. "What we do know is on February 26, the ER personnel did not believe his injuries were significant enough for him to go to the hospital. They didn't even put a Band-Aid on his head. That's important."
Also Tuesday, CNN affiliate WFTV reported that Martin's autopsy showed the teen had injuries to his knuckles when he died.
That evidence could also support the theory that Martin and Zimmerman fought.
Crump also responded to that report Tuesday night.
"He was fighting for his life," he told Anderson Cooper. "Let's not forget that Trayvon Martin was fighting a man with a 9-millimeter gun. We also have to remember that he didn't start this fight. George Zimmerman got out his car and pursued Trayvon Martin."
On the night of the shooting, Zimmerman had called 911 to complain about a suspicious person in the neighborhood, according to authorities.
In the call, Zimmerman said he was following Martin after the teen started to run, prompting the dispatcher to tell him, "We don't need you to do that."
Zimmerman apparently disregarded that advice.
Sanford police initially declined to arrest Zimmerman, saying there was no evidence to contradict his claim of self-defense under Florida's "stand your ground" law, which allows people to use deadly force anywhere they feel a reasonable threat of serious injury or death.
After weeks of protests demanding his arrest, a special prosecutor appointed by Florida Gov. Rick Scott filed the second-degree murder charge against Zimmerman.
He was arrested on April 11 and briefly jailed. He has returned to hiding after his release on $150,000 bond.

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