Tuesday, June 26, 2012

George Zimmerman Video: Where did 2-5 seconds and fifteen feet go?

Okay, I'm going to do this quickly and from memory.

All body language and analysis are based on a couple of principals:

  • Body language has always been a part of being human, and humans have always displayed body language.  It is only the last 3-4 decades that the study of body language developed.
  • Primordially we do things to protect ourselves.
  • Body language can be analyzed on the basis of dominance and submissiveness.
  • Body language can be analyzed on the basis of confidence and insecurity.

A little overview of the facts: What we know from the two witness is at one point Martin had the upper hand in the struggle and had Zimmerman pinned to the ground.  At that point Martin was dominant.  We know from the other witness that this changed after Martin was shot and the positions were reversed.

Now it would be good to watch the whole video...

A couple of things stand out almost immediately.  When and where Zimmerman first saw Martin he states that there were break-ins in certain houses.  Police should investigate if this was indeed correct. If it is correct then it is easy for Zimmerman to make a connection between the break-ins and Martin (bad timing of being at the wrong place at the wrong time) on a subconscious level. IF however this was not the case then Zimmerman is making a statement that shows he is attempting to influence the detectives and he is not being truthful or confident in his position.

Following a person who is on foot in a car is a dominant and aggressive behavior.

When he states he lost him, and couldn't give the police an address, he could have given him the address of the house immediately behind him and told him he was heading up towards the other street.  He states his goal was to get a street number on the street up the hill, but I do not remember if he reached his stated goal.  if he did not reach his stated goal then he was searching for Martin.

Now the important part of the incident: Where did 2-5 seconds and 15 feet go?

Watch the two below videos describing the incident from the point when both individuals start verbally communicating and becoming physical.

Interview at the police station...

  video platform video management video solutions video player

Now Let's take a closer look at the most interesting part of the reenacting video...

Okay did you notice some things?

1) It is not reasonable or believable that he would look down for his phone.  From a body language prospective we do not place ourselves in a more dangerous position by taking our eyes off the potentially dangerous person, even for a split second.

2) At some point he states, "...to be honest," which we all know is a clear indication of deception and he not confident in what he is saying.

3) He also go on to say something like,  "...I don't remember exactly."

From a statement analysis perspective we have gone from them being separated to being within each others personal space.  Zimmerman does not fully explain how this has occurred.  Furthermore there is another lapse in time lapse, when he states, "...somehow I end up on my back." This was some 15 feet from where is was standing in the video. This is a VERY STRONG area where he needs to be confronted about with a micro time interview.  

It would have been better for the detectives to ask him to lay down when describing what happened.  I find it odd that he reverses roles so easily. He is playing the part of Martin when Martin was being aggressive and hurting him.  Often times the police will actually ask the victim to take on the role of their attacker, by saying things like: show me how he held the knife, how he swung his fist.  Most always the victim does not want to do this, and feels very uncomfortable, and does so with little or no confidence- after all you are asking the victim to "relive" the horrible experience and this often is unsettling. In another post I'll explain this tactic.

He is very clear about the words that both Martin and himself used throughout the incident, until this one time where he states what Martin said immediately after Zimmerman shot him.  When describing that part of the incident he uses two sentences.  He also states that he didn't think he hit him with the bullet.  He is distancing himself from the actual act.

When their positions changed, Zimmerman was holding Martin's arms out to the side, and for the first time states he thought he might have been holding something.  He should have mentioned that earlier if in fact he really thought Martin was holding something.   Zimmerman is very clear about Martin hands being on him at all times. He is explaining his actions, of why he was continuing to be more dominant, when he didn't need to be dominant. 

Now what is funny, at the end he states"...shot one time." and holds his palms up in a clear sign of honestly.  As we know he never disputed shooting him.  What is most interesting about this statement is notice how confident and comfortable he is with this one statement.  More than any other thing that was said in the whole video.

Zimmerman is not confident in many parts of his statement, and you can see he uses nearly identical words and sentences to describe the event.  This is usually a sign of at least some prior preparation.

On at least three plus occasions, he feels the need to explain why he did what he did, attempting to convince someone is not confident and are hot spots, especially if it turns out any of them are untrue.

Now I'm going to speculate as to what occurred based on logical guesses based on the above analysis:

Zimmerman was dominant and aggressive when following Martin in his car. This would not be appreciated by Martin. Whomever spoke first when they were approximately 15 feet from each other would be dominant.  They both were dominant and confrontational.  Zimmerman did not take his eyes off of Martin and likely they both approached each other, each in their own way feeling threatened. Quickly the confrontational became physical.  Martin gained the upper hand physically and Zimmerman shot him.  Zimmerman knew he shot him immediately (and it is likely Martian said so), Zimmerman used this as an opportunity to gain the upper hand. I do not know if he felt like he had to continue to be physical, but it is unlikely because Zimmerman even said that Martin said something and showed that he was giving up by raising his hands.  If this is the case it is up to a MD to determine if Zimmerman continuing to hold Martin down contributed to his death. Likely it did not because close range gunshot wounds to the stomach are the worst and almost always lead to death.

Had this been a real analysis of the above videos, it would have taken hours and the tapes would have been reviewed countless times. First for initial impressions, another time transcribing the actually words, then based solely on body language (sound off), write up notes and think through it all, collecting my thoughts, taking a break, and watching it several more times. The next day watch it again, maybe another time if there is anything I am still interested in at this point. With this one I simply watch each of the videos once, so I was able to hear about the actual incident that likely lasted a minute or so 4 times in all.