Probably a Bad Idea to Mutter a Racial Slur on a 911 Call

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
March 22 2012 12:20 PM

Probably a Bad Idea to Mutter a Racial Slur on a 911 Call

If this story pans out, add another point to the blogosphere scoreboard. Two days ago, Daily Kos user ZappoDave listened closely to the audio of George Zimmerman's 911 call. At 2:18, he's giving chase to Trayvon Martin. It sounds for all the world like he's adding an editorial thought about Martin's race.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 


ZIMMERMAN: Shit, he's running.
911: He's running? Which way is he running?
ZIMMERMAN: Down towards the other entrance of the neighborhood.
911: Which entrance is that that he's heading towards?
ZIMMERMAN: The back entrance. [pause] Fucking coons.

If this is really what Zimmerman said, it puts a new weapon in the hands of Feds. Why? In 2009, new hate crimes language was written into the National Defense Authorization Act. It's written to nail anyone who "willfully causes bodily injury to any person or, through the use of fire, a firearm, a dangerous weapon, or an explosive or incendiary device, attempts to cause bodily injury to any person, because of the actual or perceived religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability of any person." In this context, a frustrated Zimmerman may have commented on the way Martin was running with -- look, I shouldn't have to spell it out, it's a racial stereotype.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 



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