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Emotional Testimony, Rachel Jeantel: “I told him to run”

 Rachel Jeantel was talking to Trayvon Martin just moments before he was killed by George Zimmerman.  [photo: Global Grind]

Rachel Jeantel was talking to Trayvon Martin just moments before he was killed by George Zimmerman. [photo: Global Grind]

Jayne Surdyk  [photo via HLN]

Jayne Surdyk [photo via HLN]

THE FIRST news today was that Circuit Judge Debra Nelson will allow the jury to hear the series of calls George Zimmerman made to the Sanford Police that happened in the 6 months before the Trayvon Martin shooting, which were played in court on Tuesday. That was just the beginning of an emotional trial day that continues, including several witnesses, among them Jayne Surdyk, then Rachel Jeantel, the 19 year-old friend of Trayvon Martin, who was the last to speak to him moments before he was killed.

The Global Grind is livestreaming the trial.

The questioning of Rachel Jeantel made her emotional from the start, with a break called before the defense cross examined her. One of the things she said before the break was that Trayvon Martin told her he was being followed just minutes before he was shot. She is continuing to testify as this post was published.

Defense attorney West is having a lot of trouble with his cross-examination, as is the court stenographer, with Rachel Jeantel’s voice soft, her answers quick. It’s a difficult job for the best lawyer, with Rachel Jeantel clearly in distress, the best way I can describe her demeanor, which makes her a tough witness for the defense. West is desperately trying to draw out Ms. Jeantel’s her initial impression, which she says didn’t seem serious.

Jeantel testifies that Trayvon Martin identified George Zimmerman as a “creepy ass cracker.” Not long afterwards, Rachel Jeantel says that Martin tells her, “the nigga is still following me.”

She hears the first exchange between Zimmerman and Trayvon. Trayvon to the man following him: “Why are you following me for.” Jeantel she hears another “hard-breathing man” say “What you doing around here?”

- She hears a bump, and grass sounds, like people are rolling around or the phone dropped on the ground. She asks Trayvon what’s going on and she hears Trayvon saying “get off, get off.” The phone shuts off again.

She tells court that she didn’t hear from Trayvon again. “I had thought he was by his daddy’s house so somebody would come help him. ” On Monday there was a rumor that he was killed. She didn’t find out it was absolutely true until a friend texted her an article.

- She told the jury that she didn’t realize she was the last person to speak to Trayvon.

[Global Grind]

Rachel Jeantel is still testifying, with the jockeying with Mr. West not helping the defense at this point.

Earlier, Jayne Surdyk, a former neighbor of George Zimmerman, sat on the witness stand while listening to her emotional 911 call the day Trayvon Martin was killed, lowering her head at one point, but otherwise non-reactive to what had to affect anyone listening to the call. The 911 operator showed incredible professionalism and composure as he attempts to calm Surdyk down, who at one point in the call completely breaks down.

“Oh my god I don’t know what he did to that person,” said Surdyka. [HLN]

9:25 a.m. ET: “I heard like from my window a pop, pop, pop.” said Surdyka. “You know I don’t know what a gun really sounds like.”

9:24 a.m. ET: Surdyka said the last yelp she heard was made by the “boy” in her opinion.

[HLN Live Blog]

At one point in the cross-examination with defense attorney West, Surdyk is asked to comment on the higher pitched voice, as it is being described. “It sounded more like a boy to me,” said Surdyk.

West also made a point to emphasize that Jayne Surdyk initially told the 911 operator she did not want to be a witness. Later changing her mind, she agreed to be interviewed if her identity and voice were completely disguised. She appeared on CNN to talk with Ashleigh Banfield.

One legal analyst said something that everyone should keep in mind. Watching trials like this on TV there is a penchant for deciding who is “winning” or “losing,” though in the George Zimmerman case, I’d say there are no “winners.” The reality is that lawyers will make headway in one moment then slide back as the trial ticks by. It’s the cumulative effect that matters to the jurors.

What isn’t on trial is the fact that having a concealed carry permit requires a great deal of responsibility of the gun owner. Considering Trayvon Martin was unarmed, and even considering the pictures of Mr. Zimmerman’s injuries, there is no reason to believe that George Zimmerman’s life was in danger. Unfortunately, with so-called Stand Your Ground laws, which is in place in Florida, the Second Amendment has been broadened to mean something it shouldn’t, placing in the hands of people the power to take lives in situations that don’t warrant it.

According to the defense attorney West on Tuesday, Trayvon Martin had a weapon, too. It was the sidewalk. It sounds ridiculous, but that was what Mr. West said.

George Zimmerman had a 9mm semi-automatic Kel-Tec pistol, which is anything but a top tier gun, according to my husband, who is a gun expert and has had a concealed carry license, which I’ve written about many times before.

There is no comparison, as the outcome proves.

This post has been updated.

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28 Responses to Emotional Testimony, Rachel Jeantel: “I told him to run”

  1. mjsmith June 26, 2013 at 4:53 pm #

    I remember hearing reports that Zimmerman had no marks or scratches on him. Zimmerman had a responsibility to report anyone he saw that he felt was suspicious.

    You can hate Zimmerman and think the worst of him. You can say that people should not arm themselves.

    I do not see anything that shows Zimmerman is guilty of second degree murder.

  2. Taylor Marsh June 26, 2013 at 5:20 pm #

    Make the call, don’t follow, but Mr. Zimmerman ignored that he wasn’t to involve himself.

    People have a right to arm themselves. We’re a gun owning family. I pushed my husband to get a concealed carry permit.

    What isn’t good is someone who uses a concealed carry because he’s getting punched. For anyone who knows anything about the responsibilities of a concealed carry this is unconscionable behavior that deserves punishment.

    It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks, except the jury.

    The only good that can come of this trial is that so-called Stand Your Ground laws will get a second look, because there is nothing in the Second Amendment that supports them.

    • Alaskan June 26, 2013 at 8:26 pm #

      “What isn’t good is someone who uses a concealed carry because he’s getting punched. For anyone who knows anything about the responsibilities of a concealed carry this is unconscionable behavior that deserves punishment.”

      Taylor, your statement above is not necessarily correct. If, in fact, you are in fear of your life (and I would be if someone was punching/smashing my face), I would not hesitate to use my concealed carry. If you think you would wait until later it may be too late for you.

      The Alaskan

      • Taylor Marsh June 26, 2013 at 8:42 pm #

        A punch in the nose and a few cuts isn’t proof that George Zimmerman’s life was in danger, only that he was scared so pulled a weapon on an unarmed man, making the biggest mistake of his life.

        Too many people with concealed carry permits obviously don’t understand the enormous responsibility they have, with Stand Your Ground laws making it worse.

        • Alaskan June 26, 2013 at 9:13 pm #

          Zimmerman’s injuries may or may not be proof that his life was in danger. That is neither for you nor I to decide; it is up to the prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt. As a defendant Zimmerman is innocent until proven guilty.

          How could you possibly know what Taylor’s intention was? I don’t. How could Zimmerman know Taylor was unarmed? If someone attacked you, how would you know they are unarmed? I wouldn’t. The only thing you know is that they intend on harming you.

          If, in fact, Zimmerman was in fear of his life, he was fully justified in using deadly force. Those that don’t understand that should not be carrying concealed or open.

          Nothing at all wrong with Stand Your Ground laws.

          • Alaskan June 26, 2013 at 9:20 pm #

            Sorry, in the above post I meant Trayvon instead of Taylor. :-)

  3. secularhumanizinevoluter June 26, 2013 at 5:48 pm #

    Zimmermon was a documented violent idividual who disregarded the rules of Neighborhood Watch and the Police by taking a gun, stalking Trayvon Martin and then getting out of his vehicle and there by initiating the confrontation that lead to him shooting an unarmed 17 year old.
    My question is HOW ON EARTH did this loser get a concealed carry permit?!!!!!

    • Taylor Marsh June 26, 2013 at 6:04 pm #

      I realize the concealed carry angle isn’t the issue of the trial.

      If only more people were talking about the concealed carry angle & Stand Your Ground laws. Beyond the obvious cultural and ethnic collision, which is evident throughout the trial, this is the issue that caused this confrontation to explode.

    • mjsmith June 26, 2013 at 6:22 pm #

      If this is what happened, I would have to (gulp) agree with you. This case and Zimmerman had been mis-represented to the public from the very start.

  4. mjsmith June 26, 2013 at 6:27 pm #

    Zimmerman could of stopped following Martin when he was asked to do so. He could of used his gun only to protect himself because he felt that he would die if he didn’t. Martin could of been the person who initiated the fight. There is no evidence right now that suggests otherwise.

    I do not own a gun and I intend to live out the rest of my life without owning a gun.

    • secularhumanizinevoluter June 26, 2013 at 8:29 pm #

      Wonder what your reaction and comments would be if a Black teenager…an UN armed Black teenager had successfully wrestled a gun away from some guy who had been stalking him first in a Car and then on foot and shot HIM dead or had beaten him to death…I mean…wasn’t Trayvon allowed to stand HIS ground?

      • Alaskan June 26, 2013 at 10:31 pm #

        Let me ask you this: how do you know when someone is armed or unarmed? Would you just assume they are not, or would you go up to them and ask them if they are armed? What if your assumption is wrong, or they lie to you, telling you they are unarmed when they really are armed? How would you deal with the consequences then?

        The Alaskan

        • secularhumanizinevoluter June 27, 2013 at 5:19 am #

          How about you don’t go up to them and do anything like the cops told you to? I wonder what your reaction would be if Trayvon had disarmed and shot the stalker who followed him as he walked alone at night first in a vehicle and then on foot?

          • Alaskan June 27, 2013 at 7:32 am #

            IF Trayvon actually got as far as disarming Zimmerman that would mean that Zimmerman wasn’t trained in HOW to use the handgun he was carrying concealed. That was not the case, though, so your scenario is completely irrelevant.

            Your turn to answer my questions, now, since you avoided them the first time. :)

          • secularhumanizinevoluter June 27, 2013 at 3:17 pm #

            “IF Trayvon actually got as far as disarming Zimmerman that would mean that Zimmerman wasn’t trained in HOW to use the handgun he was carrying concealed. That was not the case, ”

            REALLY? you KNOW Zimmermoan was “trained in how to use the handgun he was carrying concealed”?!! So dead eye was cruising around with one in the chamber and safety off….THAT is your version of knowing “how to use the handgun he was carrying concealed”?
            Very interesting, very interesting indeed.

            From everything I have seen so far it would appear that a Black teenager was stalked by an armed cop wannabee vigilantee who had already called in SIX times over the past couple of months about BLACK youngsters walking(HOW DARE THEY) and was documented by his own words enraged that the punks keep getting away tried to take matters into his own inept and frankly candy assed hands, bit off more then he could chew and so shot the INNOCENT OF ANY CRIME other then walking while Black teenager to death.

            As for your “questions” they are irrelevant if you follow the directions of the organization you claim to be a part of AND the police and NOT carry a gun while on watch and NOT follow the innocent teenager.

  5. Solo June 26, 2013 at 10:55 pm #

    After reading all these posts from people desperately trying to explain away a cold blooded murder of an unarmed kid it is clear we still need laws to protect the rights of the minority against the tyranny of the majority. All of you George Zimmerman fans are never going to be able get past a few simple facts. Trayvon Martin wasn’t committing any crime and he didn’t instigate the confrontation with Mr. Zimmerman. Between those two people it’s Mr. Zimmerman who have the violent criminal history.

  6. spincitysd June 27, 2013 at 1:50 am #

    Well this is just swell, I’m agreeing with Solo. There is something just inherently wrong with this state of affairs.

    One more time Zimmermann fans, there is a problem when a man armed with a 9mm concealed carry semi-auto pistol is somehow has his life placed in danger by a teen armed with a bag of Skittles.

    At best this is a man who was epically incompetent in matters of situational awareness. At best this is man with a very vague notion of the rules surrounding use of force. At best this is a man who was a brass-plated idiot.

    Ownership of a firearm requires a extra measure of prudence and probity. When one acquires such a weapon they acquire responsibilities beyond the common herd of homo sapiens. Ownership of a small arm requires an extra measure of maturity and caution. You own an object whose purpose is to deal grave injury and death. In the matter of seconds you can rip a huge hole in the lives of many people.

    Use of force requires the use of your higher cognition, it requires you to the very Acme of responsible citizenry. Unfortunately Stand Your Ground has done away with that common sense notion. Passing out Concealed Carry Permits like candy has also subverted any notion of added need for caution or maturity. Instead, people who have no business owning a gun not only get a green light for such ownership but are also allowed to tear-ass around the town with that gun neatly tucked away from plain sight. They are allowed to live out their immature and reckless Lone Ranger dreams in real life; to the detriment of the common good.

    Zimmermann has proved that he is man who can not be trusted with any object more dangerous than a plastic butter knife. That the laws of the State of Florida placed in his uncertain hands the right to carry a concealed weapon and protected him from the consequences of his grossly negligent actions for far too long is an indictment of the whole 2nd Amendment uber alles dementia our nation suffers under. Is there any doubt that this whole tragic train wreck would never had happend if Zimmermann was only armed with pen, paper and cellphone, which is the sum total of what any sensible “neighborhood watch” should have on their person.

  7. spincitysd June 27, 2013 at 2:00 am #

    Hum, $333.00 for a blued version of the Kel Tech; yup, it’s a bottom feeder for sure.
    It’s one third of the cost of a 9mm H&K USP Compact. I don’t know about you but I’m not getting a fire-arm that sits at the same price point as the 16 Gb iPod Mini.

    • Alaskan June 27, 2013 at 8:18 am #

      Cost alone is not a great way of determining which handgun is right for you. What is more important is how comfortable you are with it. How does it fit your hand? How accurate can you shoot with it, and at what range(s)? How fast are your reactions with it? While perhaps not a top shelf weapon, the Kel Tech reliably performs for such a compact weapon at point blank range. In Alaska, a bit more stopping power is generally preferred (ie: 45 cal for open carry, and 45-70 Govt for bear/moose attacks), albeit a 45 is much more bulky.

      • Taylor Marsh June 27, 2013 at 10:30 am #

        Appreciate your contribution, Alaskan, but spincitysd is more accurate on this one from everything I’ve learned from experts.

        You’re also being disingenuous re: cost & gun buyers.

        • mjsmith June 27, 2013 at 11:03 am #

          I think at least an iPad mini would be a better price point comparison than and iPod mini, to that fire arm model, based on what I know from the experts I learned from.

        • Alaskan June 27, 2013 at 2:34 pm #

          Taylor, my point was that some people think that simply spending more money will get them a “better” weapon, as spincitysd implies. I am saying that is not necessarily true because of the factors I brought up. If you disagree with that, okay then,… but I’m certainly not being disingenuous, thank you.

          • spincitysd June 27, 2013 at 4:37 pm #

            People who know guns know what a top draw fire arm costs. H&K are top draw stuff. There is a minimum price point for just about everything out there. Go below that price point and you are buying junk. A semi auto at the price of a iPad mini is junk. It is slapped together with indifferent machining, will most likely start rusting out immediately, and will have piss-poor grouping. Is one thousand dollars too much? Most likely. Your now purchasing a weapon for the last 10% of engineering. You can probably get 90% of the effectiveness of an H&K for about a 30% to 40% discount. But go below that price point and you take a serious hit in manufacturing, reliability and ease of use. You do get what you pay for, at least to a certain point. After that you are paying a whole bunch of money for incremental improvements and/or for status.

          • secularhumanizinevoluter June 27, 2013 at 6:24 pm #

            You mean MA GUN IS GIGGER THEN YORN!?

        • secularhumanizinevoluter June 27, 2013 at 3:20 pm #

          “You’re also being disingenuous”

          Looks like a slow ball down the middle…she swings…SHE HITS……and that ball is OUTTA HERE!!!!

  8. Alaskan June 27, 2013 at 11:11 pm #

    spincity, your arguments are laughable. Its is drop dead obvious that you think you know much much more about guns than you really do. I’m sure that gun manufacturers just love you, though, since the only metric for choosing a weapon is price. :) That said, I have some high bluff ocean front property in Arizona for sale that you might be interested in… its pricey, but the view is to die for. LOL. :)

    Taylor, I was curious as to why your blog had such a limited audience of posters, and now I know why. They are either disingenuous, uninformed, or both! Either way, a complete waste of time to reason with.

    Good luck on your blog; I hope you can improve it someday.

    • secularhumanizinevoluter June 28, 2013 at 12:32 pm #

      “Good luck on your blog; I hope you can improve it someday.”

      Gosh….we will try to contain our utter disappointment that we won’t be the lucky recipients of your pearls of wisdom.

    • mjsmith June 28, 2013 at 2:20 pm #

      Alaskan – Perhaps we could take a look at your blog so we can see what you are talking about. Let us see your example of what a blog should be so that we may all improve. Please Alaskan, if you could be so kind as to share the link to your blog with us. I am curious to see the broad audience your blog has.

      I do not feel that this blog has a limited audience. I am not really sure in what areas in needs improvement. Do you mean there are not a bunch of people posting “lol”? People post (at least to the people posting) meaningful responses here and not a one word or one line zinger as you see in many other places.

      I have a blog for my work and I am happy if just one person goes there. I also have a group on google+ that really is growing and robust and I don’t even put any work into it more than once a week.

.... a writer is someone who takes the universal whore of language
and turns her into a virgin again.  ~ erica jong