I’ve gotten numerous comments and requests asking for my opinion in regards to the clubhouse CCTV videos. My final thoughts on the matter is that I don’t see anything in them of any real value in evidentiary terms. I am not a lawyer but from my viewing I don’t see how the videos would either hurt or help George’s case. However, given what I have seen from the State so far I could speculate how they could intend on using the videos against George. Quite simply, they could Crump the tapes. To Crump something is to apply the logic used by Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump to a certain aspect of the case.
For instance, since ABC released the video of George being escorted into the Sanford police station after the shooting, Crump has repeated ad nauseam that all one has to do is to look at what he calls “objective evidence”. Following that, he will often leave one to wonder instead of stating what he means by that, that is, he leaves the listener to draw their own conclusions. He has done the same for George’s Non Emergency call “listen to the objective evidence” he again declares ad nauseam to every media outlet. Sometimes he will qualify it but the main point is to insinuate; insinuation that something is off and so with the ABC video, given that it is such a poor quality image and so small of an image, the insinuation is anything from George hardly having any injury to justify his use of force all the way up to conspiracy on part of the police helping George build a self-defense claim by helping him with applying the injuries that we see in later photographs.
With this tactic of argumentation then the State could present, to the court and/or jury, the tapes and declare that one cannot see George parked at the clubhouse as he states in his statements to police. They don’t have to qualify their statement, all they have to do is insinuate that something is off, that is, Crump it. However the clubhouse videos are in even worse shape than the ABC video. There is no clear shot of where George states he parked his Silver Honda Ridgeline, there is no clear shot of the mailbox area, there is no clear shot down Twin Trees Lane, of course one cannot see George parked at the clubhouse. It is merely a statement of fact that one cannot see George park his SUV at the clubhouse, it would be fallacious to draw from that statement of fact that George is lying. In the end all of that is a red herring anyway as all that really matters legally and even non legally is what occurred approximately six minutes later when Trayvon assaulted George.
With that then let me address the CCTV videos themselves. There are three elements of the videos I find of value; when, how long and how much it rained, cars driving down Twin Trees Lane and when police arrived; the police arriving is not terribly exciting but we can gauge an approximate time as to when they arrive, most seem to enter from the back gate or the front gate and go down Retreat View Circle instead of Twin Trees Lane. Given that, I will focus on the rain and cars and what those aspects tell me.
All of the information I derive comes from one of the nine videos titled “East Pool”. The East Pool video is an extremely wide angle lens that gives us a shot of Twin Trees Lane. In the Second Discovery Documents 284 Page PDF the investigators note on page 87 that the video timestamp is eighteen minutes slow. The video timestamp begins at 6:30pm and ends at 7:15pm. Applying the eighteen minutes, the true time then would be 6:48pm to 7:33pm. One important fact to also keep in mind is that the time from the videos may be off by minutes from other time sources such as Seminole County Dispatch. Another thing that should be taken into account is that the video is shot at a very slow frame rate, one shot every 1.5 seconds.
Looking at the East Pool video then, the rain looks to pick up, at what looks to be a light to medium rain, at approximately 6:58pm and dies down at approximately 7:10pm. This actually confirms both George’s and Trayvon’s friend’s, DeeDee, statements. The State might then use this aspect of the tapes to bolster the credibility of DeeDee, however by doing so they also do for George. Many lawyerly types though have commented that the State does not intend on actually calling DeeDee and that she would also be disastrous for the State, more on her at another time.
The State may also say that since it was raining, at that time, Trayvon had reason to be wearing his hooded sweatshirt up over his head thereby default George wrongfully assumed Trayvon was acting suspiciously due in part by what he saw as someone trying to obscure themselves with a hood. The problem with that argument is that in none of George’s statements nor in his Non Emergency call does Trayvon wearing a hood ever play a part aside from when the dispatcher asks for a description of what Trayvon was wearing. It was Trayvon’s actions that raised George’s suspicions, and rightfully so, and not Trayvon’s clothing nor his skin color.
Here is the list of cars I see driving down Twin Trees Lane. George’s statements were that he drove South then East down Twin Tress Lane. The connection time for that call is 7:09:34. The cars are unidentifiable as to make and model.
South then East 10:55(6:59pm).
North then West 12:36(7:00pm)
Two cars South then East at 14:13(7:02pm)
South then East at 19:04(7:07pm)
South then East at 19:35(7:07pm)
South then East at 22:50(7:10pm)
North then West 23:31(7:11pm)
North then West 27:05(7:15pm)
South then East at 31:10(7:19pm)
North then West 36:24(7:24pm)
South then East at 38:26(7:26pm)
Two cars South then East at 39:00(7:27pm)
North then West 39:40(7:27pm)
South then East at 41:15(7:29pm)
South then East at 42:23(7:30pm)
South then East at 44:39(7:32pm)
What I find of value in regards to the cars driving down that road is the amount of cars driving through that time and how that relates to Trayvon’s mindset. If we take DeeDee’s statements at face value and apply them to this then what we get is that one should not be alarmed that someone, in this case George, is driving and parked down the street. If it is as she states and Trayvon’s phone records show and Trayvon is standing around the mailboxes for nearly fifteen minutes then at least eight cars drove by him. Also, judging by numerous photographs and video of the area shows that people often park on the street.
The main point I’m making for now is that it seems like unusual behavior for someone to think that one of these cars that drives past him and parks down the street is a threat, especially in a gated community, where cars need a code to get in through the gate and the area itself, although crime being on the rise that past year, is not exactly crime ridden East St. Louis. On top of that add the fact that Trayvon’s father reportedly gave Trayvon “the talk” and so in Trayvon’s mind, as reported by DeeDee, Trayvon was being watched by a white man. In my opinion Trayvon should not have even felt surprised much yet threatened if he felt he were being watched by someone in that community, quite the opposite, he should have expected it.
Given everything I know about this case, Trayvon and life experience I am left with two explanations as to why Trayvon ran from a person who was sitting in their car; either he had some drugs on him, thought George may have been an undercover cop and ran to stash what was possibly weed or he ran to lure George out of the car down the barely lit path. I’ll expound more on Trayvon’s actions in another post.
In the end I will state I have seen the numerous efforts by others to examine the clubhouse tapes and put forth their various theories. I wish them well in their endeavors but as for me I am through with the tapes aside from what I have expressed here. Until something else definitive is said about them or unless the State or defense brings them up, I am done.