On Monday morning ABC News published an interview with a 16-year old girl who is believed to have been on the phone with Trayvon Martin moments before neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman shot him dead.
“He said this man was watching him, so he put his hoodie on. He said he lost the man,” Martin’s friend said told ABC News, in an interview with lawyers asking the questions because the girl is underage. “I asked Trayvon to run, and he said he was going to walk fast. I told him to run but he said he was not going to run.”
ABC News verified phone records and the girl’s statements are believed to be accurate.
“Trayvon said, ‘What, are you following me for,’ and the man said, ‘What are you doing here.’ Next thing I hear is somebody pushing, and somebody pushed Trayvon because the head set just fell. I called him again and he didn’t answer the phone,” the girl went on to say.
But at the moment Martin’s call ended, several 911 call recordings pickup right as someone is heard screaming for help in the background. And this is where some say local police have shielded Zimmerman.
Several witnesses said they heard cries that sounded like a boy wailing — howling silenced by the crack of gunfire — and were shocked to hear police later portray the cries as Zimmerman’s. One witness said police ignored her repeated phone calls.
The police chief was accused of telling lies big and small in ways that shielded Zimmerman. The family hired attorneys who helped devise a national campaign to demand a federal investigation.
According to a statement by the Justice Department, “The department will conduct a thorough and independent review of all of the evidence and take appropriate action and the conclusion of the investigation. … The government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person acted intentionally and with the specific intent to do something which the law forbids. Negligence, recklessness, mistakes and accidents are not prosecutable under the federal criminal civil rights laws.”
Close to 550,000 people have signed an online petition on Change.org urging law enforcement officials to step in and arrest Zimmerman. ColorOfChange.org has also launched a petition that calls for the local police department be made accountable for mishandling Martin’s case.
A grand jury will also look into the shooting death of Martin, Brevard County State Attorney Norm Wolfinger announced on Tuesday.