Jonathan Capehart is a Washington Post opinion writer. Follow him on Twitter: @CapehartJ
The killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman in Sanford, Fla., on Feb. 26, 2012, sparked a national debate on race, justice and the wisdom of “stand your ground” laws. But many of the facts in the case have been in dispute, from the moment this tragedy captured the public’s attention and through the ongoing Zimmerman trial. Misconceptions and misinformation abound about what happened, who did what and who said what to whom.
1. On the night of the shooting, the police ordered Zimmerman to stay in his vehicle.
“Are you following him?” the operator for the Sanford police’s non-emergency line asks Zimmerman. “Yeah,” he says. The dispatcher on the phone tells him: “We don’t need you to do that.”
Who the aggressor was that fateful night is the central — and most unanswerable — question of the case. Those who fault Zimmerman have latched on to this back-and-forth with Sean Noffke, the operator, as proof that Zimmerman defied a direct police order.