(SANFORD, Fla.) — Prosecutors in the George Zimmerman murder trial will try to convince a Florida judge on Tuesday to allow them to play for the jury calls Zimmerman made to police in months prior to shooting Trayvon Martin in which he complains about black suspects in his neighborhood.
Prosecutors played one call during the first day of the trial on Monday. In that call, Zimmerman told police there was a suspicious black male in the neighborhood.
Zimmerman’s lawyers objected, saying the call was irrelevant, but prosecutors believe that call and others speak to Zimmerman’s mindset the night he encountered Martin, a 17-year-old black teenager.
Judge Debra Nelson will hear arguments regarding those calls from both sides at the start of Tuesday’s testimony.
Zimmerman, 29, is charged with second degree murder in Martin’s death on Feb. 26, 2012. He has insisted that he shot Martin in self-defense.
The racially charged case has revolved so far around Zimmerman’s calls to police.
In the opening day of testimony, both sides parsed a call Zimmerman made to a non-emergency police number to report what he said was a suspicious black teenager in his Sanford, Fla., neighborhood.
Sean Noffke, the dispatcher who answered Zimmerman’s call, is heard instructing Zimmerman to “let me know if this guy does anything else.”
During the call Zimmerman can be heard grumbling “F***ing punk” and telling the dispatcher “these a**holes always get away.”
At one point Zimmerman tells Noffke that Martin has started running.
“Why did you ask ‘Are you following him?’” prosecutor Richard Mantel basked Noffke.
“It sounded like movement and wind coming through the phone,” Noffke said.
Under cross examination, Noffke said Zimmerman did not sound hostile or angry despite the epithets he used. He conceded Zimmerman may have misinterpreted his instructions or felt compelled to follow Martin.
“I want to be clear, did you hear any of that hostility in the conversation?” asked Zimmerman’s lead defense attorney Mark O’Mara.
“No sir,” Noffke responded.
The non-emergency call is the first key piece of evidence that was brought before the court. Prosecutors allege Zimmerman overstepped his role as neighborhood watch captain by profiling and following Martin despite being told not to by Noffke.
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