The Zimmerman Interview: 7 Questions Hannity Should Have Asked
10 months ago
What wasn't asked almost as notable as what murder suspect said
After months as the news industry's most sought-after interview, George Zimmerman broke his silence Wednesday night when he sat down with Fox News host and pundit Sean Hannity. It was his first interview since he shot and killed 17-year-old Florida student Trayvon Martin.
The case gained international notoriety after police initially failed to arrest Zimmerman, whose subsequent behavior has also raised a few eyebrows. Civil rights activists have used it as an example of racial profiling facing young black men in America. Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder of Martin, whom he claims he shot in self defense.
The Hannity interview focused heavily on the night of the altercation, barely delving into the events of the last five months. Overall, Hannity squeezed a large number of questions into a relatively short time frame. Hannity's missed opportunities for crucial follow-up questions were just as notable as some of Zimmerman's responses.
In fairness, Zimmerman's legal team likely restricted the subjects that Hannity could broach during the interview. With that in mind, here are seven questions that should have been asked:
1. Why did you choose to trail Trayvon Martin after the dispatcher said "We don't need you to do that"?
Hannity did a good job of having Zimmerman describe what was going through his head as he spotted Martin walking home in the rain and while he was on the phone with police. However, the most crucial question with regard to Zimmerman's conversation with police lies with one of the dispatchers' last instructions. The dispatcher asks Zimmerman if he is following Martin. When he answers that he is, the dispatcher says "We don't need you to do that."
Those seven words have been central to the argument of many of Zimmerman's harshest critics. They say the sentence amounts to a direction, from a police dispatcher, not to follow Martin. If Zimmerman purposely ignored those instructions to pursue Martin, it could aid the legal argument that he initiated the conflict by getting out of his vehicle.
Why Zimmerman felt the need to get out of the car and follow Martin remains the central unanswered question — because had he done neither, the confrontation likely would not have occurred.
2. Do you believe Trayvon Martin had legitimate reasons to fear you?