Published June 21, 2012
| Associated Press
SANFORD, Fla. – In a newly released video, Florida neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman is shown at the scene where he fatally shot Trayvon Martin a day later giving police a blow-by-blow account of his fight with the teen.
In the video, posted on a website by Zimmerman's defense team, Zimmerman said Martin saw his gun and reached for it as the two scuffled on the sidewalk at a gated apartment community in Sanford. That's when Zimmerman said he pulled the gun and shot the teenager.
The video was made public on the same day Sanford City Manager Norton Bonaparte fired police chief Bill Lee, who had been criticized for his department's initial investigation into the shooting.
The tape shows two butterfly bandages on the back of Zimmerman's head and another on his nose. There are red marks on the front of his head.
On the tape, Zimmerman did a reenactment of the scuffle with Martin in the moments before he shot the 17-year-old from Miami. Zimmerman said Martin kept "slamming and slamming" his head on the sidewalk. "It felt like my head was going to explode," he said.
Zimmerman told police the confrontation began when he saw Martin walking toward him on the evening of Feb. 26.
Zimmerman had already called 911 after spotting the teen in the neighborhood. Police say Martin was staying at his father's girlfriend's townhome in the Retreat at Twin Lakes, a gated community in Sanford. The teen was walking back to the home after going to a nearby convenience store.
Martin was reported missing by his father, Tracy Martin, the next morning.
The Orlando Sentinel reported that Tracy Martin called 911 the morning after the teen's shooting and said he had been missing since the night before. During the 3-minute call, he gave the dispatcher identifying information about his son. A few minutes later, the dispatcher called back to get more information about the teen and told Martin an officer was on his way for an interview.
Officials released a transcript of the 911 call Wednesday.
Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder in the shooting. He claims he shot the teen in self-defense, under Florida's "stand your ground" law.
Police chief fired over Trayvon Martin shooting
Saying he's lost the trust of officials, a city manager fired a central Florida police chief who was criticized for his agency's initial investigation of Trayvon Martin's shooting death at the hands of a neighborhood watch volunteer.
Sanford City Manager Norton Bonaparte said in a Wednesday statement that he relieved Chief Bill Lee of duty because he "determined the Police Chief needs to have the trust and respect of the elected officials and the confidence of the entire community."
"We need to move forward with a police chief that all the citizens of Sanford can support," Bonaparte said. "I have come to this decision in light of the escalating divisiveness that has taken hold of the city."
The initial lack of an arrest following the death of Martin, an unarmed black teenager, by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in February led to protests across the nation and spurred a debate about race and the laws of self-defense. Zimmerman's father is white and his mother is from Peru.
The local prosecutor recused himself from the case, prompting Gov. Rick Scott to appoint special prosecutor Angela Corey, who charged Zimmerman in April with second-degree murder. The 17-year-old Martin was fatally shot following a Feb. 26 altercation with Zimmerman, who claims self-defense and has pleaded not guilty.
Lee took a leave of absence in March and offered his resignation in April. The city council rejected Lee's resignation by a 3-2 vote. Several council members indicated they wanted to let a Department of Justice review of the police investigation play out before making a final decision.
In a statement, Benjamin Crump, an attorney for Martin's parents, said the parents respected the city manager's decision.
In May, Rick Myers took over as Sanford's interim police chief, saying he wanted to heal the emotional wounds caused by Martin's death. He has said he would reach out to people in Sanford who feel they've been ignored by the police.
Bonaparte said he had been in contact with the Police Executive Research Forum about the search for a successor to Lee.
"I believe that there are many law enforcement officials who will find accepting the opportunity to serve as Sanford's Police Chief a welcome challenge for their careers", the city manager said. "I expect the search for a new chief to take several months."
Lee will get three months of severance and one week's salary, in addition to any earned time off, under his contract.
"I wish Chief Lee all the best in his future endeavors," Bonaparte said.