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Zimmerman Sues NBC For Edited 911 Call

Murder suspect George Zimmerman sued NBC on Thursday, alleging that the network and its reporters manipulated the 911 tape in which he was heard to create “a racial powder keg” that would be sure to generate ratings in the wake of the death of black teenager Trayvon Martin.

In the recording heard by NBC viewers on the “Today Show”, Zimmerman seemed to say without prompting: “This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black,” according to the Washington Post.

Edited out was the 911 dispatcher asking Zimmerman whether the person he was suspicious of was “black, white or Hispanic.”

Zimmerman, a 29-year-old volunteer neighborhood watch captain, faces second-degree murder charges for shooting Martin, 17, during a confrontation in Sanford, Florida on Feb. 26. Martin was unarmed and walking back to his father’s girlfriend’s house when Zimmerman first confronted him.

Zimmerman is claiming self-defense under Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law, but the incident has sparked outrage across the nation.

In a lawsuit filed Thursday in Seminole County, Fla., near Orlando, Zimmerman claims the network intentionally edited the tape as to make him appear “a racist and predatory villain.”

NBC “pounced on the Zimmerman/Martin matter because [the network] knew this tragedy could be, with proper sensationalization and manipulation, a racial powder-keg that would result in months, if not years, of topics for their failing news programs, particularly the plummeting ratings for their ailing ‘Today Show,’ ” the suit alleges.

NBC News president Steve Capus told Reuters in April that the edit was a “mistake, not deliberate” misrepresentation.

But the complaint says the network never apologized to Zimmerman “for deliberately portraying him as a hostile racist who targeted Martin due to his race.”

Zimmerman is seeking an undisclosed amount of money in the lawsuit, which also names as defendants the NBC correspondents Ron Allen and Lilia Rodriguez Luciano, as well as Jeff Burnside, a reporter for the NBC-owned station in Miami.

Luciano, Burnside and an NBC producer were fired after a network investigation determined that the 911 tape had been edited.

NBC denied any wrongdoing in a statement issued Thursday night.

“We strongly disagree with the accusations made in the complaint,” it said in the statement. “There was no intent to portray Mr. Zimmerman unfairly. We intend to vigorously defend our position in court.”

Zimmerman is set to begin trial in June.

What people are saying

14 thoughts on “Zimmerman Sues NBC For Edited 911 Call

  1. Joshua Cook says:

    In June? We gotta wait til then to see justice

  2. Donielle Dee Collins says:

    This man is delusional? Does he really think he can take on a major network?!

  3. Norvel Thompson says:

    Sorry, Mr. Zimmermann…but SEVERAL accreditted News Networks have released information confirming that you had infact armed yourself, and WERE looking for African-American men, to target, as the result of alleged neighborhood break-ins. (NBC has portrayed you quite accurately, and All of America knows it, AND IS WATCHING!!!

  4. You should all step back and see what you've become … a Lynch mob. The comments here are an example of how African Americans have become what they have always hated: Racists. Easily manipulated racists at that. I don't care what color you are, if you threaten myself or my family, I will put you in the ground. I carry a gun because a 6' 6" "kid" decided to slam a 5th of vodka and attempt to assault me while I was getting ice cream with my 4 year old daughter. And yes he was black. I'm also sure that if I had been armed, and the cops didn't show up when they did that day, things could have escalated and you folks would be trying to fry me for self defense, no matter what the facts were. Shame on you all. Better yourselves.

  5. Anonymous says:

    this country needs more George Zimmermans.

  6. Dan Darrow says:

    Put that network in the ground!

  7. Joshua Cook says:

    Ummmm we're not going to this man house with a rope. I don't even want him dead. Ppl just want what's due. So Mike please stop being a closed minded dickhead

  8. Dan is right. Can't trust any of the major networks. They all are guilty of using this tragedy as a way to boost ratings by riling people up with half truths etc. Joshua Cook, you hardly deserve a response, and apparently have no concept of what an analogy is. You call me close minded, but how is looking at all the possibilities being close minded? Rejecting any possible scenarios besides what is spoon fed to you by major media is close minded. Resorting to immature name calling when you don't like what someone else has to say is close minded. You say people want what's due… and what would that be? So you know he's guilty? Were you there? I never said you personally want him dead, but Snider does…

  9. Joshua Cook says:

    Horrible analogy Mike. I've never thought hanging was something ppl played around with….

  10. and Afghanistan needs more Taliban.

  11. Anonymous says:

    No he can't but we can.

  12. Anonymous says:

    "and WERE looking for African-American men" If ones crime fighting strategy were based purely on statistics, this would be an effective one.

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