The Florida special prosecutor investigating the Trayvon Martin shooting is bringing in independent voice analysis experts to enhance 911 tapes to learn more about the actions of George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who shot and killed the teen.
Angela B. Corey, who was appointed by Gov. Rick Scott (R) to investigate the shooting, said the experts will examine two potentially crucial aspects of the eight calls made to 911: a racial epithet Zimmerman might have muttered while talking to a dispatcher minutes before shooting the unarmed 17-year-old on Feb. 26, and the screams in the background of calls that residents made to police during the incident.
Screams can be heard in at least one call made to police before officers arrived at the scene in Sanford, Fla. Martin’s parents say the voice is their son yelling for help; a friend of Zimmerman’s has said it is Zimmerman screaming.
“The exact words and whose voice is whose will be the critical issues,” Corey said in an interview.
The Justice Department is also investigating the incident. Zimmerman’s 911 call, made moments before the shooting, is central to a case the federal government could bring under federal civil rights laws, Justice officials said.
Allegations have been made that Zimmerman used a racial epithet on the call, but the tape is unclear. If an epithet can be heard clearly on an enhanced recording, it could be evidence of a hate crime, the officials said.