George Zimmerman Medical Records Reveal Broken Nose, Lacerations

James Joyner has made note of the fact that the records of the autopsy of Trayvon Martin have been made public, so it seems relevant to note the other story in the news today, which is the release of the medical records of George Zimmerman:

A medical report compiled by the family physician of Trayvon Martin shooter George Zimmerman and obtained exclusively by ABC News found that Zimmerman was diagnosed with a “closed fracture” of his nose, a pair of black eyes, two lacerations to the back of his head and a minor back injury the day after he fatally shot Martin during an alleged altercation.

Zimmerman faces a second degree murder charge for the Feb. 26 shooting that left the unarmed 17-year-old high school junior dead. Zimmerman has claimed self defense in what he described as a life and death struggle that Martin initiated by accosting him, punching him in the face, then repeatedly bashing his head into the pavement.

(…)

The morning after the shooting, on Feb. 27, Zimmerman sought treatment at the offices of a general physician at a family practice near Sanford, Fla. The doctor notes Zimmerman sought an appointment to get legal clearance to return to work.

The record shows that Zimmerman also suffered bruising in the upper lip and cheek and lower back pain. The two lacerations on the back of his head, one of them nearly an inch long, the other about a quarter-inch long, were first revealed in photos obtained exclusively by ABC News last month.

But the report also shows Zimmerman declined hospitalization the night of the shooting, and then declined the advice of his doctor to make a follow-up appointment with an ear nose and throat doctor.

In addition to his physical injuries, Zimmerman complained of stress and “occasional nausea when thinking about the violence.” But he was not diagnosed with a concussion. The doctor noted that it was “imperative” that Zimmerman “be seen with [sic] his psychologist for evaluation.”

According to the report, prior to the shooting Zimmerman had been prescribed Adderall and Temazepam, medications that can cause side effects such as agitation and mood swings, but in fewer than 10 percent of patients.

A neighbor told ABC News that the day after the shooting he saw Zimmerman as he spoke to officers outside his home. He too recalled seeing black eyes and significant swelling — as well as a bandage over his nose.

Moments after the shooting Zimmerman told eyewitnesses he shot Martin in self defense. He later told officers his head was being pounded into the pavement and that he feared for his life, but that it was only when Martin seemed to reach for the gun wedges in his waistband that Zimmerman drew his weapon and fired directly into Martin’s chest — killing him.

The medical notes may bolster Zimmerman’s claim that he acted in self-defense because he was being attacked.

Indeed, when combined with the autopsy reports of bruising on Martin’s knuckles, it does appear that these documents would be useful to Zimmerman’s defense team in establishing his claim of self-defense and bolstering the veracity of his version of what happened that night. As I’ve said before that I am loath to try this case in the court of public opinion, though, and one of the reasons for that is that these documents are only part of the evidence that will be evaluated during the course of any trial or hearing on Martin’s self-defense claims. Zimmerman’s doctor will have to testify, as will the Medical Examiner who conducted the autopsy. There will be photographs from the autopsy and, presumably, photographs of Martin’s injuries from the night of the incident, and of Zimmerman’s injuries from the night the incident and the day after as well. Zimmerman himself will also have to testify. Only after all of this, and after the witnesses have been cross-examined, will the finder of fact make their determination. So, let’s not jump to any conclusions on this case just based on these two pieces of evidence

Of course, that’s exactly what the legal experts on cable will be doing.

FILED UNDER: Crime, Law and the Courts, Quick Takes, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Paul L. says:
  2. JKB says:

    All we really know is so far none of the evidence is moving away from the key moment. That is, was there an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury at the moment the shot was fired? The head bashing injuries and the fight over retention of the firearm all lean toward imminent threat.

  3. @Paul L.:

    Zimmerman himself will also have to testify.

    Actually, he does. Not as a legal matter, but as a practical matter. He can’t make the self defense claim unless someone testifies that Martin started the fight, and since no one else saw the start, the only person who can testify to that is Zimmerman himself. So if he wants to take the fifth, he has to give up the self defense claim to do so.

  4. @Paul L.:

    Paul given the nature of Zimmerman’s defense it will be virtually impossible for his lawyers to put on a self-defense case without his testimony. You’re correct he has a right NOT to testify, but as a practical matter he’s most likely going to have to do so.

  5. @JKB:

    Don’t forget that Martin has stand your ground rights too. The firearm retention fight could just as easily be seen as turning Martin’s actions from “trying to killed Zimmerman” to “struggling to keep Zimmerman from shooting him”.

  6. Eric Florack says:

    At the bottom line this evidence points to zimmerman telling the truth since day 1. Which, I suspect, is precisely why weve not heard thisuntil now…

    if you will recall are you said this would happen. the silence from the usual suspects is going to be deafening.

  7. PD Shaw says:

    @Paul L.: I believe the general rule is that if one pleas self-defense, one can be compelled to testify. The rule may change from state-to-state, but
    the plea of self-defense admits to a killing, so the plea itself is incriminating, though with extenuating circumstances. The possibility of federal charges may make a difference though.

  8. @Eric Florack:

    At the bottom line this evidence points to zimmerman telling the truth since day 1.

    Not really, all this confirms is that there was a fight, but says nothing about the key question, who started it?

    To believe Zimmerman’s version of the story, you have to believe that Martin realized he was being followed, attempted to escape, and then just after having succeeded suddenly, and for no reason, decided to go back and try to kill his pursuers with his bare hands.

    That story makes no sense in terms of the way real human beings behave. I think Zimmerman is lying when he said that’s what happened.

    Unfortunately I can’t prove he was lying.

  9. mantis says:

    At the bottom line this evidence points to zimmerman telling the truth since day 1.

    No it doesn’t.

  10. Franklin says:

    @Eric Florack: As I said in another thread, we already knew Zimmerman had some injuries, we didn’t know the extent. But none of it says who instigated the altercation. All we know is that Zimmerman was chasing some guy around town with a gun, and that guy beat him up before getting shot.

  11. Seerak says:

    Yes it does.

    The differences you are carefully failing to get are:

    1. It points to his telling the truth that there was a fight (and to the lie that he was uninjured), but not to who started it

    2. “Points to” does not mean “proves”.

  12. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Even one of my old law professors would be able to figure out this is relevant evidence.

    That aside, Zimmerman certainly is not out of the woods. Let’s not be naive. We need to know the demographic breakdown of the trial jury before we reasonably can opine on his chances of beating the case. Sometimes evidence matters not in connection with trials. Jurors have been known to nullify, at times in favor and at other times against defendants, based solely upon such pernicious items as race.

    The most important part of any criminal trial is not necessarily the evidence presented. The voir dire process and the embedded biases of the jurors can be far more critical.

  13. Eric Florack says:

    there is a sad commentary. You’re suggesting the demographics overrides truth?

  14. Moderate Mom says:

    @Eric Florack:

    That seems to have been the case in the Rodney King beating trial. And, before being sent to jail on unrelated charges, O. J. Simpson was still on the hunt for the real killers.

  15. @Moderate Mom:

    And, before being sent to jail on unrelated charges, O. J. Simpson was still on the hunt for the real killers.

    The OJ jury reached the right verdict. When the policeman in charge of the investigation is asked on the stand “did you manufacture any evidence in this case, or file any false reports” and responds by taking the fifth, the jury has little choice but to acquit. People should be mad at the LAPD for letting OJ get away with it thanks to crappy policework, not the jury for failing to ignore it.

  16. @Stormy Dragon:

    That is, the LAPD did what they would normally do in a case like this: identify the most likely suspect and then frame them. Usually they happen to frame the guy who actually did. But if not, they don’t really care. Unfortunately this time they got caught, since they were up against a real lawyer instead of a public defender just going through the motions.

  17. Ben Wolf says:

    @Eric Florack:

    if you will recall are you said this would happen. the silence from the usual suspects is going to be deafening.

    The only silence from the usual suspects is yours on any issue other than a dead black kid. Funny how you suddenly appear once an opportunity to fan the flames of race hate coalesces.

  18. bandit says:

    @Ben Wolf: Take a look in the mirror. It’s sad that the kid is dead but the race baiters are you and your side including the POSUS.

  19. JKB says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    First off, Stand your Ground has no impact on this case. Zimmerman was trapped and unable to escape even if he’d been required to try. There is no claim that Zimmerman assaulted Martin or otherwise tried to force him to leave an area he was lawfully permitted to be in.

    As to Martin fighting to control the gun in defense, who will make that claim? On what evidence or testimony?

    In any case, Martin being on top, bashing Zimmerman’s head into the concrete is reasonable fear of death or serious bodily injury. Which is the fact that will drive self defense.

    This case shows how quickly the aggressor status can switch in an altercation and how use of deadly force can move between individuals depending on whose actions have created a reasonable fear of imminent death or serious bodily injury.

    Cops enjoy a bit more leeway since they can lawfully order compliance and put their hands on another individual for other than self defense. Even then the right to defend yourself against a police officer is generally denied by statute except from imminent death or serious bodily injury.

  20. Ben Wolf says:

    @bandit: As usual you’re drunk, angry and bitter. I suggest you listen to your doctor and start taking that mood stabilizer again.

  21. bandit says:

    @Ben Wolf: Like I said take a look in the mirror.

  22. Ben Wolf says:

    @bandit: No seriously, showing up at OTB once every month to dance in Trayvon Martin’s blood pretty much reveals the tiny man your are inside. How many of those shooting range targets did you buy?

    t

  23. @JKB:

    There is no claim that Zimmerman assaulted Martin or otherwise tried to force him to leave an area he was lawfully permitted to be in.

    Martin’s girlfriend is claiming precisely that.

    As to Martin fighting to control the gun in defense, who will make that claim? On what evidence or testimony?

    The prosecution can make that claim, based on Zimmerman’s own testimony that Martin was grabbing for his gun.

  24. Franklin says:

    @Seerak: Who are you talking to? Most of us have always known there was altercation (by always, I mean after a couple days of information trickling out). The fact that Zimmerman said as much doesn’t suddenly make him the arbiter of truth.

    We still don’t know who instigated the altercation. Again, the only thing we know is that Zimmerman was following a guy around with a gun, he got the crap beat out of him by that guy, and then he shot him. Why people are down-voting these facts, I don’t really know. If you’ve got more information or don’t agree with the facts, by all means let’s see the evidence rather than cowardly down-voting.

  25. JKB says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Actually the girlfriend doesn’t. All I’ve seen of her account is that they exchanged words, Z’s being ” What are you doing here?”, then the phone went dead. You are inferring actions not known.

    The prosecution can’t make that claim unless there is evidence to support it. But, in any case, that the imminent threat went from bashing Z’s head on the concrete to a fight over the firearm, being pulled to stop the threat, doesn’t alter the imminent threat. After you fear someone is trying to kill you, fighting over the weapon you hope to use to stop that threat is still reasonable fear.

  26. bandit says:

    @Ben Wolf: Good projection – anonymous personal attacks on the www are so insightful. If Zimmerman is guilty he’ll get his due in this world or the next – then you can revel in your sanctimonious racebaiting.

  27. PD Shaw says:

    @Franklin: “We still don’t know who instigated the altercation.”

    For purposes of the criminal lawsuit I think we do. At the bond hearing, the state was not challenging the notion that Martin was the initial aggressor, or at least their investigator testified he had no evidence to contradict Zimmerman’s claim that Martin attacked first. What the state appears to be arguing is that Zimmerman’s conduct in “profiling,” i.e. watching, trailing, and challenging Martin was intended to provoke Zimmerman into attacking, and the resulting death was intentional consequence of that misconduct.

    This doesn’t seem an easy or natural approach to what we think we know.

  28. @JKB:

    All I’ve seen of her account is that they exchanged words, Z’s being ” What are you doing here?”, then the phone went dead.

    She also says she heard Martin grunt from being hit right before it cut out.

  29. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Tell me, how does one tell a “grunt from being hit” from a “grunt from throwing a punch” over a cell phone?

  30. @Jenos Idanian:

    Tell me, how does one tell a “grunt from being hit” from a “grunt from throwing a punch” over a cell phone?

    What was that, Mr. “I can tell where Zimmerman was standing based on how fast he was breathing”?

  31. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Huh? I thought I said that Zimmerman was breathing hard while following Martin, then stopped breathing hard — meaning that he had probably stopped. And then he gave his location, which I’m assuming was accurate as he was talking (indirectly) to the police, whose presence he wanted.

    How that became some kind of retrocognitive echolocation to you, I dunno.

    But back to your statement: how do YOU tell the two grunts apart? Especially since your conversation, unlike mine, wasn’t recorded?

  32. @Jenos Idanian:

    How that became some kind of retrocognitive echolocation to you, I dunno.

    When you jumped from “Zimmerman lost sight of Martin and slowed down” to “Therefore Zimmerman must have been walking back to his car”.

    But back to your statement: how do YOU tell the two grunts apart?

    I don’t. As I’ve said, I think Zimmerman is going to be acquitted due to lack of evidence. But you asked me who was going to testify that Zimmerman started the fight and I told you. Whether that testimony is credible or not is up to the jury, but once it’s on record the prosecuter can argue from it.

  33. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Stormy Dragon: When you jumped from “Zimmerman lost sight of Martin and slowed down” to “Therefore Zimmerman must have been walking back to his car”.

    Actually, I was saying “Zimmerman stopped pursuing,” I didn’t say “was walking back to his car.” But I’ll say it’s plausible — out of “pursuit mode,” he could walk at a pace where he wouldn’t be short of breath. Further, as I said, I’m taking Zimmerman’s statements before the shooting at face value — he had no reason to lie about his location and activities, and every reason to tell the truth. He WANTED the police there and on his side at that point, remember?

    And the testimony of the girlfriend will be very weak, legally — by her own admission, she only heard a single statement and a grunt. As I noted, all they have to do is ask her how she is so certain that Martin’s grunt came from being hit (which has no physical evidence to back it up) and not from throwing a punch (which he apparently did).

  34. al-Ameda says:

    @Eric Florack:

    O. J. Simpson was still on the hunt for the real killers.

    Even OJ would have no trouble here, the real killer is George Zimmerman, who instigated the entire fiasco.

  35. An Interested Party says:

    Good projection – anonymous personal attacks on the www are so insightful.

    Insightful enough that bandit himself uses them…fancy that…

  36. Alex Knapp says:

    @JKB: So now we get to re-define self-defense as – “I started the fight, and he fought back! So I shot him!”

  37. PD Shaw says:

    @Alex Knapp: Aggressors have rights to self defense in most states, including Florida. The question of who throws the first punch has been given too much weight in these back-seat discussions. I think JKB’s first comment is spot on: The aggressor can justifiably act in self defense if in reasonable fear of serious bodily injury or death.

    I don’t expect people to be comfortable with it. I would suggest they consult their local Criminal Code and write their legislator about it if they are not. That was specifically part of Justice Steven’s complaint about federalizing self-defense principles against the states (via a hand-wave to the Second Amendment) — reasonable people can disagree about the rights of aggressors and other components of self-defense.

  38. JKB says:

    @Alex Knapp:

    No redefine, just imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury. Plus, this presumes Zimmerman initially provoked the use of force, which doesn’t include following a person in public space or asking them what they are doing.

    <blockquote>Finally, Florida law guaranteeing self-defense rights express excludes anyone who “Initially provokes the use of force against himself or herself.” Fla. Stats. 776.041. As is typical in other states, the provoker can only regain self-defense rights if:

    (2)(a) Such force is so great that the person reasonably believes that he or she is in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm and that he or she has exhausted every reasonable means to escape such danger other than the use of force which is likely to cause death or great bodily harm to the assailant; or
    (b) In good faith, the person withdraws from physical contact with the assailant and indicates clearly to the assailant that he or she desires to withdraw and terminate the use of force, but the assailant continues or resumes the use of force.

  39. rodney dill says:

    OK, I got it. It was Colonel Mustard, in the kitchen, with a wrench.

  40. Ron Beasley says:

    @Stormy Dragon: And that detective, Mark Fuhram, is now a regular “expert” appearing on Faux News.

  41. MarkedMan says:

    So I assume I’m one of the usual suspects. Here’s what I think happened. Zimmerman is one of those loud mouth gun rights macho wannabe’s. He saw a scrawny 17 year old kid and since he had a 100 pounds on him and was carrying his beloved piece, he felt juiced up enough to go after him. First he trailed him slowly in a pickup truck, freaking out Martin, who wondered what this obviously hostile redneck was doing. Martin turned off the road and Zimmerman got out and followed him into the dark. When Martin turn around and confronted him, he pulled out his gun and started waving it around to put a little fear into the thug and prove his manhood to himself and to all his gun rights buddies when, later on they tossed back a few cold ones and he told them about the scared look on the little thugs face. Martin, seeing the gun come out and fearing for his life hit Zimmerman with everything he had and got him on the ground and started pummeling him and trying to get the gun away. Zimmerman, sh*tting his pants and blubbering by now, managed to hold onto the gun and kill the 17 year old boy, leaving parents devastated, a community up in arms, and his own life shattered. He’ll get off. He’ll retain the right to carry a gun and he will continue to do so, living in fear that someone will come after him for what he’s done. Pity the person who accidentally bumps into him on a dark corner.

    You probably have a different story in your head, one where Martin is indeed a thug and Zimmerman some kind of neighborhood hero. But it doesn’t matter because Zimmerman killed the only other witness and now we only get one side of the story. So my story is worth nothing and your story is worth nothing and Zimmerman’s story is whatever he wants it to be so he can live with himself.

  42. superdestroyer says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I wonder if progressives and blacks realize who stupid they look with the argument that bad police work is a sign of innocence for OJ but bad police work is a sign of guilt for Zimmerman.

    But since the difference is that OJ is black and Zimmerman is “half-white” I guess the logic somehow make sense to progressives.

  43. superdestroyer says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    The girlfriend will probably end up being a very poor witness who has already been caught exaggerating what she did. She has also been coached by the lawyers of Martin’s parents. The girlfriend is a poor witness and the physical evidence that has been released can be used to contradict her initial claims to the media.

  44. Jenos Idanian says:

    @MarkedMan: If you mean you’re one of the “usual suspects” who simply makes up crap to fill in the blanks in your pre-cooked scenario, you’re absolutely right. Just a quick scan of your story shows two flagrant falsehoods.

    He saw a scrawny 17 year old kid and since he had a 100 pounds on him…

    Martin was 2-3 inches taller; Zimmerman 20-30 lbs. heavier.

    When Martin turn around and confronted him, he pulled out his gun and started waving it around to put a little fear into the thug and prove his manhood to himself and to all his gun rights buddies when, later on they tossed back a few cold ones and he told them about the scared look on the little thugs face. Martin, seeing the gun come out and fearing for his life hit Zimmerman with everything he had and got him on the ground and started pummeling him and trying to get the gun away.

    Zimmerman was on the phone to 911 during this part of the incident. He told the operator that Martin turned towards him, then turned away and ran. Maybe Zimmerman did draw his gun, maybe not — but it’s clear that Martin did not, at that point, “hit Zimmerman with everything he had and got him on the ground and started pummeling him and trying to get the gun away.”

    May I suggest you try again, this time actually using the information available and setting aside your ugly profiling of Zimmerman?

  45. @superdestroyer:

    I wonder if progressives and blacks realize

    Yes, because obviously only progressives and blacks could be concerned about the shooting of an unarmed person.

    who stupid they look with the argument that bad police work is a sign of innocence for OJ but bad police work is a sign of guilt for Zimmerman.

    I never said it was a sign OJ was innocent. I said it meant he should have been acquitted even though I thought he did it. Exactly like I have been saying I think Zimmerman will be acquitted even though I think he did it.

  46. Franklin says:

    I don’t know if it’s been discussed here yet, but I believe Martin’s autopsy showed he was shot from ‘intermediate’ range. Anyone know what distance range that suggests?

  47. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Franklin: In the other thread, I linked to an expert on gunshots. “Intermediate” is based on powder burns and stippling; physically, it can translate from a few inches to five feet or so. It’s entirely consistent with Zimmerman’s story.

    As has pretty much every other bit of evidence to come out so far…

  48. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Franklin: Here’s the link. Let me sum it up, if you’re in a hurry:

    Contact: pressed against the skin.
    Near-contact: almost touching the skin.
    Intermediate: an inch to five feet away.
    Distant: More than five feet.

    Those are approximations. They’re based on powder and stippling on the victim, and each shot is different. One gun can leave a “near-contact” wound at several inches, while another could almost come across as “distant” at the same range.

    As in so many other facts in this case, it’s consistent with Zimmerman’s story, but not absolute proof.