March 21st, 2012
03:00 PM ET

Did Trayvon Martin's shooter use a racial slur?

As outrage over the killing of a Florida teenager continues to spread online, social media and news outlets are debating whether the shooter uttered a racial epithet in one of his 911 calls. And if so, what he might have said.

Zimmerman, whom authorities described as white and family members say is Hispanic, said he shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in self-defense, according to police. Martin, who was black, was walking to his father’s fiancee’s house in Sanford, Florida, after a trip to a convenience store and was not armed.

Many people at CNN have listened repeatedly to the call but have been unable to reach any consensus on what was said. An audio engineer enhanced the sound on the 911 call but said it was difficult to improve the quality or to replicate the background noise. CNN continues to analyze the tape and consult outside experts.

Sanford police haven’t confirmed what was said on the recording but deny a news report they overlooked a racist remark during the investigation.

“I said we didn’t hear it; however, I am not sure what was said,” Sanford Police Sgt. David Morgenstern told CNN. “So I never said we missed a racist remark.

“I’m not sure what was said. I heard something, but again, not clear as to what was said. I did not hear it until it was pointed out to me.”

In the video above, listen to a nonenhanced recording of relevant audio of Zimmerman’s call at 1:48, after he says, "He's running."

Tell us in the comments: Do you hear a racial slur?

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Filed under: Florida • Justice • Trayvon Martin • U.S.
soundoff (928 Responses)
  1. Gabe

    "ANN GRIFFIN" is retarded and has 1 too many chromosomes... don't mind whatever gibberish she is saying. not even sure what she is saying?

    March 22, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Kermet

    This just amazes me, how can anyone claim self deffense when you CHASE someone. The right to stand your gorund does not give you the right to provoke a confrontation which is what he did. I have an 18 year old son and if he was chased by a grown man I would want him to deffend himself. This kid did exactly what he was supposed to do, he moved away from a confrontation and then ran away and still this idiot chased him (after being told NOT to) and yet we are even talking about self deffense? Huh? Did the entire world lose their mind? Seriously? STAND YOUR GROUND does not give you the right to chase someone. I'm still baffled at that other case where a guy LEFT a basketball court and went back to his house and got a gun and returned and then shot a man in front of his 8 year old kid and claimed self deffense. If YOU put yourself in that position it is NOT self deffense. Stand your ground allows that you do not have to retreat but it does not give you the right to RETURN to a seen or to CHASE someone.

    March 22, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • CA Central Valley

      Couldn't have said it better myself, Kermet. He shot a poor kid in cold blood who was walking away from him. If the shooter found a dead body laying on the sidewalk and suspected this young man as a murderer and possibly armed, it might be a different story.
      He mentions the kid "getting away," but from what?

      March 22, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Maybeliene

    "ANN GRIFFIN" is retahded and has 1 too many chromosomes... don't mind whatever gibberish she is saying. not even sure what she is saying?

    March 22, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Sounds clearly like he is saying to himself, and under his breath, "these f-ing c-ns."
      Not that tough once the noise was taken out of it by the CNN sound studios.
      Also seems like Florida law makes it legal to kill someone as long as there are no witnesses, and as long as you say the magic words, "I was meeting force with force." If California had had that law, we could have avoided the long OJ trial!

      March 22, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Goliath

    @ jerry what the hele is up with your keyboard? You type whole paragraphs of stuff in ALL CAPS... but your name is in little letters

    March 22, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Zaperdon

    I just can't tell!

    March 22, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ted Ryder

    Who cares?

    March 22, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Antel

    The picture of the Dude on the right looks like he's in need of Love.

    March 22, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  8. jimbo

    Why are people so surprised about the amount of racial or religious slurs being thrown about today? You hear it every day. Ask any black, asian, latino, jew, muslim, caucasian, etc. It is insensitive to those affected but prejudices will never cease.

    March 22, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bubba™

      True.. and you don't have to use a special word or symbol to commit a hate crime.

      March 22, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bubba™

      A crime itself implies hate and diregard against another person. so hate crime seems an oxymoron.

      March 22, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  9. George

    Millions of people killed in Iraq in a fake war, and people are spending so much time on the death of a single person

    March 22, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Geoff

    I agree with the person who said if you listen to it enough'll hear the Ocean.

    March 22, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Ted Ryder

    Sounds like "goons" to me–as in thugs.

    March 22, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. dumbdumb

    these are the same people that brought us hanging chads

    March 22, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  13. White Mexican

    Viva la Mexico!!! Cinco de Mayo ole ole ole!

    March 22, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Nasal Drip

    Such a tragic story. I hope that Zimmerman will get a good lawyer. I hate to see the Latino people being subjugated like this, I wonder if he will be able to get a fair trial? I doubt it.

    March 22, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Rob

    The word is clearly "punks". Anyone that hears anything else is just adding fuel to the fire.... grow up!

    March 22, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
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