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March 22nd, 2012
12:03 AM ET

Did Trayvon Martin's shooter use slur in 911 tapes?

CNN's Gary Tuchman explores a crucial part of the 911 call George Zimmerman made to police before Trayvon Martin died. Jeffrey Toobin explains why it's significant to the case. A warning, some of the language you'll hear is offensive. It's uncensored because it is evidence, and bleeping it could make it even harder to hear anything.

soundoff (57 Responses)
  1. Miriam

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    November 6, 2013 at 9:45 am |
  2. Garret

    Why look for shadow when we have the object. Zimmerman told 911 that " a BLACK boy in a hoodie. he is up to NO GOOD. He must be DOING DRUG or something." Zimmerman already hated Trayvon right from the beginning because he is black. What was suspicious about Trayvon? Why was Zimmerman following him? Just because he was black. Is that racial or not?

    April 23, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
  3. Anna

    Clear as a bell...... I know many supporters are so desperate and wish to be faithful to zimmerman..However, geez dont insult your own intelligence.. The guys uses racial slurs.. That is SOMETHING HE WILL HAVE TO DEAL WITH AS A CONSEQUENCE.....

    April 5, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
  4. rand

    Clearly he used the slur. Sad people are so desperate they refuse to accept facts.

    April 3, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
  5. Michael Pelletier

    It is incredible to watch this video, to watch them listening to "punks punks punks punks" play over and over again and see them scratch their empty heads wondering what the heck that word could possibly be. Unbelievable.

    March 30, 2012 at 9:27 am |
  6. Ronan

    "from some neighborhood watch guy"?????

    That also means you are not obligated to answer your school teachers, parents, childcare worker or anyone else. This world would be anarchy. So Zimmerman was in his car or a building (as it was raining) and there was a dude walking around with a hoody in the rain. Hmmm, suspicious? yea!

    March 29, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
  7. Thomas J Ruthaford Jr. III

    Sounds like punks to me, stop race-baiting.

    March 28, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
  8. Kateri

    Very troubling. As with most audio it's a case of what is really there vs what a person think's they hear. In the "unbiased" first run on the tap I did hear the C followed by an OO or U sound. The next letter I can't make out but I heard an unmistakable S at the end. I've run it through my own audio software and the more I clean it the more I am getting a T for that mystery letter...which even with his accent isn't a word relevant to anything.

    Does Zimmerman speak spanish? No one has said. Did he have a conceal carry permit? I haven't seen that either and it seems a common sense question.

    I'll sit on my opinions wait to see what they get when they put it through a truely high tech audio device. I also agree with an above post. I'd like to see that other tape analyzed to determine who's voice it is screaming for help.

    March 28, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
  9. James

    Sure you can bump up the bass and tweak this and that and if you play the recording backwards it even says "I want a hamburger".

    March 28, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  10. Scott

    Sounds like "phone" to me. Sounds like Zimmerman's crying for help on the 911 calls too. Match those up with you fancy computer.

    March 28, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
  11. Andre'

    I have to say I heard it. What is crazy to me though is put this aside and every single other fact in this case, now what are you left with????? ZIMMERMAN MURDERED THIS HUMAN BEING, PERIOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ARREST HIM NOW. I dont care what color you are, if you are walking and somebody kills you, justice should be served. Then to top it all off he called 911 before he killed Trayvon, come on America, WAKE UP!!!!!!!! That to me made it a sealed shut, zimmerman is guilty, case in my mind. This is one of the saddest moments in our country when you have this much in your face evidence and this guy is out an about.

    March 28, 2012 at 2:31 am |
  12. anderson

    There is a hard "ks" sound that almost sounds like "xs" as it is heard at the end of the word box. There is no way to say what they are alleging he said and make the "XS" sound at the end of the word.
    I wish people would stop looking so hard to make race an issue. Racism is a two way street in this situation.

    March 27, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
  13. TINA

    CLEAR AS DAY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! well play hiscry for help help help to and see if it matches !!!!

    March 27, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
  14. MeLissa

    I listened to the enhanced version last night on Andreson Cooper and was convinced of the word that was used, and had developed my opinion. I fell asleep watching TV and was awoke by the repeat of the program and the playing of the tape...In my half awake state I heard "phone". F***** Phone. Now I'm not sure what to think. I hope justice is served and Trayvon's family finds peace.

    March 27, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
  15. Hayley

    People hear what they want to hear. I am undecided on this case, but I know he said "punks".

    March 26, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • Hallows99

      I don't hear that at all. I hear phones. Like he is complaining about his phone reception. Not saying he was in the right. Just that there is enough other evidence to focus on instead of this muddy little piece.

      March 27, 2012 at 8:09 am |
  16. Roxanne

    He said and he was racial profiling!!! How can anyone say they didn't hear it??? No justice No peace!!!

    March 24, 2012 at 4:26 am |
  17. Robert Garcia

    it does sound like it

    March 23, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
  18. Anita Watson

    It does sound like it to me. Has this man been arrested and jailed. At least until there is a hearing. The bottom line is the poor boy is dead nothing can bring him back. At least it is cut and dry he shot the boy period. This man looks foreign to me or maybe he had just been on the sunbed!!! What the police Departments all over the world should understand if the shoe was on the other foot. The perpetrator would have been thrown in no questions asked later DON'T THEY GET IT. The boy is someone's child,friend and most of all a person who GOD put on this earth. LET JUSTICE BE SERVICED. JAIL THE MURDERER FOR LIFE. What are they waiting for.

    March 23, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
  19. Marjorie Morgan

    Yeah its clear what was said....he had every intention of killing that young man not in self defense but out if pure racial hatred......he should definitely be prosecuted at this point.....

    March 23, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
  20. Tre Bazil

    Yeah he did say it. I heard it on the first recorder. This is a shame.

    March 23, 2012 at 11:22 am |
  21. Dalana Pleasant

    Sounds like it to me as well!!!!

    March 23, 2012 at 11:19 am |
  22. DeeDee

    Yes it was a racial slur. Zimmerman's neighbor wants to claim he said, "f'ing cold". Well, basic phonics proves that the word "cold" is a hard K and long "O" sound.

    March 23, 2012 at 11:06 am |
  23. Todd White

    He says punks. Clear as day.

    March 23, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • D WREN

      i agree it sounds like punks to me

      March 24, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • John

      Really, "punks", not even close...stop trying to play it down....so sad!!

      March 25, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • alvaro

      no sir you can clearly hear coons with a strong K sound in the beginning and not a P. definitely no k in the middle as in punKs. Phonetically they aren't even similar in sound.

      March 26, 2012 at 1:33 am |
  24. alina ebrie

    It's definitely there. He said it!

    March 23, 2012 at 10:04 am |
  25. Duane Simmons

    Zimmerman did used the racial slur you can hear it plain as day. Why is this man taking the easy way out, do him like he did young and innocent Martin. Zimmerman is a cold-blooded killer, let the street trail him if the justice system is that scary.

    March 23, 2012 at 9:44 am |
  26. Jazmen

    I am comfused on how he is not in Jail, He is not an officer he was a "Volunteer" neighborhood watch man. I can not believe George Zimmerman is not in jail. Also it sounds like a racial slur to me. Hope the family gets justice!! My heart goes out to them.

    March 23, 2012 at 7:46 am |
  27. Iliana Harper

    Well organized story. He does not need to give an explanation to someone who ran up to him asking questions. We teach our kids stranger danger. On top of that Zimmerman did not answer Treyvon's question which is why are you following me. If he would have stood back and answered THAT question, this murder would never have happened. Again the question is this!! WHERE IS ZIMMERMAN and why do external people (NOT THE COPS) are finding all this information!!!

    March 23, 2012 at 7:34 am |
  28. Mrs Nash

    Of course he said it. I dont know why anyone without a hearing problem wouldnt hear this.

    March 23, 2012 at 7:10 am |
  29. Mary Vinson

    Yes, unfortunately he clearly is saying f.....king coon, but let's see how they(authorities) try to spin this because they seem to be trying to prove Zimmerman is innocent of killing this young man. How could they not drug test him?, nor confiscate his weapon for testing, and if he claims there was blood on his shirt why didn't the confiscate his shirt to see who's blood was on that shirt. Isn't that police work 101? So now to cover their behinds and to save their jobs I don't trust how they will try to spin this phone call. Nobody seems to answer or ask this question either. Why did Zimmerman even get out of his vehicle the kid was just walking down the street. And when the police dispatcher told him not to follow, why did he continue? How can this be self defense. My understanding is he has moved. Where is He? do the authorities even know this information? has he now fled the country? In addition everybody involved with this case that night should be fired. How did they let this young man lay in the morgue for 3 days without trying to identify him when they had his cellphone? SAD

    March 23, 2012 at 6:07 am |
    • Jeff

      They DID confiscate his firearm.

      March 28, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  30. Ebony

    Its clearly a racial slur!!!!

    March 23, 2012 at 5:55 am |
  31. Vanessa Baldwin

    Anyone who states they can't hear what is being said, they're full of it! It's clear what was said, police just don't want to do nothing about it.

    March 23, 2012 at 5:46 am |
  32. Christine Martin

    Now that you've enhanced that audio, and uncovered the truth about what Zimmerman said, why not enhance the audio of Trayvon's last desperate cries for help, just before he was shot. That will also add proof that it wasn't self defense.

    March 23, 2012 at 2:58 am |
  33. Jim

    Hey Anderson why don't you ask the Rev. Sharpton was to express for the rape and murder of Channon Christian and her boyfriend. take a look at the case. The black male rape of a white is a racially motivated but there was no outrage.for a hate crime to be charged. Why – because the victim were white. Who keeps your selective coverage "honest"'.
    As to this case, this was an idiot wannabe cop that was overly aggressive when he should have left it to the cops and got in over his head and now will go to prison as he probably should.

    March 23, 2012 at 2:57 am |
    • Ryan

      The point is that he might not go to prison. He's still not in prison now, and he still hasn't been arrested. Without public outcry, he likely wouldn't have been. In the case of Channon Christian, the perpetrators were arrested, tried, and found guilty, one receiving the death penalty. That's quite different from this case.

      March 23, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
  34. Diana

    What is the slur? I don't hear anything.

    March 22, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
  35. Jennifer M

    Yeah, there's no doubt about it...the racist slur is in there. Very sad...

    March 22, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
  36. Lep

    Oh he DEFINITELY SAID IT!

    March 22, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
  37. Paul Ernest Show

    Stand your ground or not, who was Zimmerman standing his ground against? A teenage boy with candy in his hands. A boy he could have acted like a caring adult and demanded to return to his home. I do that sometimes, when I feel a kid is out at the wrong time or place. Sometimes, I have to give them rides home and get to know their families. Racial slur or not, he identified the kid as black and went further to say they always get away. A clear sign that he was already frustrated from somewhere in his past. That kids like young Martin were perpetrators of crime and getting away with it, so he vented his long held frustrations. When you carry a gun, there's great need for you to be subdued and open-minded. You know you are lethal at that point. A little negative force can drive you to loose your cool.

    March 22, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
  38. Michael

    I amy angry at this case. I know it is dislike of a Latino man of an African American boy. A guy who sounded like he desperately wanted to be a cop but who settled for Neighborhood Watch Volunteer job. Okay. I got all that, a perfect setup for the Stand Your Ground Law.

    What I cannot understand is why the Florida legislators and the past Governors of Florida and the chief lobbyist of the NRA, are exempt from blame. The NRA lobbyist threatened and promised, like an abusive parent,, and who slammed this bill though and who pushed, until she got more shoot to kill fixes to the amendments. What about their responsibility? Why can't they be sued by the citizens of Florida and the families of the people who were killed by this ignorant, racist, disgusting bill?

    March 22, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
  39. Kiisha

    great job!! i honestly couldn't hear it clearly yesterday....I thought that's what he said, but i wasn't willing to bet on it...Now there is no doubt in my mind.

    March 22, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
  40. Tom M

    Yep, sounds like a racial slur to me......Anyone that can't hear it needs to clean the crap from their ears

    March 22, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
  41. jeff doyle

    sounds like it to me

    March 22, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • harry plopper

      Yes,he said it and meant it too

      March 23, 2012 at 5:42 am |
  42. Dee

    I'm curios as to why Frank Taffe was on the Jane Veliz-Mitchell show tonight DECLARING with much CONTEMPT that George Zimmerman did NOT in anyway make a racial slur...saying instead that Zimmerman said it was F***ing COLD....and that we all need to keep it real and stop SENSATIONALIZING as this is much ado about nothing. When Rolanda Jones said that nevertheless no matter what was said a child was killed. To which Taffe responded he was NOT a child he was a 17yr old TEENAGER with a very menacing look on his face. He then said it Trayvon had simply stated his business in the neighborhood he would still be alive.I am just unsure what to make of Taffe's responses he acts as if Trayvon is at fault and caused his own death.

    March 22, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
  43. jonathan

    Hey im an adiuo eninner
    play the tape trough a program that allows the sound to go to a filter and be typed on into another program
    you will here the slur this way

    March 22, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
  44. murray cyprus

    I am a dual citizen - US/CANADIAN Question - Did Zimmerman have a permit to own the gun he used to shoot Trayvon? Question: Did Zimmerman have a permit or licence to carry the gun he used to shoot Trayvon ? Did Zimmerman handle the gun in a manor that compiled to the all rules and regulations set out in the permits or licences issued or any other government rules and regulations? So, if the answer is that Zimmerman - as a neighborhood watch volunteer person complied with all the rules and regulations and did not violate anything then please let me know - I have a dozen buddies at least who are prepared to volunteer and who would like to apply for neighborhood watch positions down in Florida -

    March 22, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  45. Jill Hopper

    YES, it sounded like a racial slur. WHERE IS THE FBI?
    PS: Will be at the old court house in Titusville, FL 3 pm on Sunday ... asking Norm Wolfinger to try the case (State Attorney for Brevard-Seminole)

    March 22, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • Lyne

      Yeah he said it and I heard it before they went to just that frame, hopefully an arrest will be soon

      March 22, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
  46. Jill Hopper

    YES, it sounded like a racial slur. WHERE IS THE FBI?

    March 22, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  47. tony

    Why isn't anyone showing Martins mug shots? He was in Orlando because his mother threw him out of the house for smoking pot at school.

    March 22, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  48. Shame on you Anderson Cooper for trying to cause further racial tension.

    While I agree this should never have happened, many of us have lost faith in Anderson Cooper because last night he wanted people to believe that the word on that 911 tape was koon and not anything else. While it may have been, it also could have been punk. For the first time ever, Anderson Cooper acted like media trash, so shame on you for trying to incite more racial tension. God bless this young mans family, and I hope they get some closure soon.

    March 22, 2012 at 11:33 am |
  49. Sarah

    I was also fairly sure he said "punks" in the raw live audio – it sounds even more like it to me when they slow it down. I'm not saying race isn't or wasn't an issue in this case, but I definitely hear "punks". I think its clear Zimmerman had some issues and the evidence certainly supports the fact that he was following Trayvon (and not acting in self-defense), but from what I've seen it doesn't seem clear cut that he was racist. The cops on the other hand...I just have a hard time believing they would have handled everything the same way had Trayvon been a white kid.

    March 25, 2012 at 5:25 pm |

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