tv CNN Newsroom CNN July 10, 2013 6:00am-8:01am PDT
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starting right now. good morning, we want to welcome our viewers. i'm wolf blitzer in for carol costello. this is a special edition of "newsroom." lots of news happening right now. stakes huge. tempers are hot in the george zimmerman murder trial. attorneys argued until late last night over what could be key pieces of evidence. listen to this rather testy exchange between prosecutors and zimmerman's defense lawyers. >> it's simply unfair for mr. zimmerman not to put on his defense because of the state's tactics. it was a strategy, obviously, because they had it in january and kept it from us. spent 10, 20, 30, 100 hours digging it out. playing games with us and lying to this court and now it's our fault. it's our fault. deny mr. zimmerman the right
violates both the florida and united states constitution. thank you. >> the state able to respond? >> because mr. west said i would offer him the opportunity right now to apologize for suggesting that i stood by silently with information that i did not have. >> i'm not getting into this. court is in recess. i will give my ruling in the morning. i'll see you at 8:00 in the morning. court is in recess. it is 9:56. no, court is in recess. thank you very much. with all due respect, we'll see you at 8:00 in the morning. >> i'm not physical able to keep up this pace that long. it is 10:00 at night, we had full days every day. weekends, depositions at night. >> that was dramatic moment as you heard, 10:00 p.m. last night and now we're back in the
courthouse. the session is about to resume where it stopped last night. these are live pictures you're seeing from the courtroom right now. judge deborah nelson having a side bar and meeting with the attorneys. you see mark o'mara defense attorney for george zimmerman and on the left part of the screen the other defense and prosecutors. she is going to get going momentarily. i want to bring in cnn's george howell. there are several very important issues on the agenda during this next hour without the jury present. she's going to make major decisions, george. >> well, wolf, look. here's what all the fighting is about. the defense is winding down its case, expected to rest its case today. and they want two pieces of evidence admitted into this trial. they want, number one, a computer reenactment of the crime scene and also they want text messages and photos from trayvon martin's cell phone. the prosecution wants none of
it. they don't want it in the trial and these attorneys, wolf, they stayed up so late arguing that even george zimmerman had to stay out past his curfew. >> i'm not getting into this. court is in recess and i'll give my ruling in the morning. >> reporter: court went a little later than expected tuesday. they wrangled late into the night. 10:00 p.m. over whether to admit text messages and photos from trayvon martin's phone and a computer animated reconstruction of the crime scene that defense attorneys want admitted as evidence. judge nelson questioned whether martin actually sent the messages or someone else. defense attorney don west argued the text messages and photos weren't turned over by the prosecution in a timely manner. after hours of arguing, the judge didn't rule on either issue. adjourned court and walked off. flashback to tuesday morning. famed forensic pathologist
vincent di maio took the stand. di maio reached this conclusion. >> if you lean over somebody, you will notice that the clothing tends to fall away from the chest. if, instead, you're lying on your back and somebody shoots you, the clothing is going to be against your chest. >> reporter: di maio told jurors that zimmerman's account that trayvon martin was on top of him is consistent with the evidence. it is because of the spray pattern around the bullet wound and di maio determined it was two to four inches away from the skin. also concluded martin may have been alive one to three minutes after the shooting. in cross-examination the prosecution got di maio to concede that the scenario could have been different. >> i'm saying that the physical
evidence is consistent with mr. martin being over mr. zimmerman. >> is it not also consistent with mr. martin pulling away from zimmerman on the ground and you would have the same angle he's pulling away and zimmerman shooting him at that time? >> yes. >> defense attorney called george zimmerman's former neighbor to testify via video conference. she told the court the night of the shooting she recognized zimmerman's truck parked near the crime scene. who she thought was screaming on the 911 audio from that night? >> based on the fact that i have only heard george's voice, i would say that it is his. >> so, it was a long night last night and looking in the courtroom now, will we see the
same fireworks today that we saw the other day. so far it looked so good, wolf, you know, people seem to be smiling and hopefully they got some rest and hopefully a smooth wednesday. we do know that court will start up here. within a few minutes we'll have a hearing without the jury present and then the jury will return around 10:00 a.m. eastern time and that's when we expect to get start would testimony, again. >> the judge's rulings on these two issues over the next hour could really be significant on that computerized animation or re-creation, if you will, of the encounter between trayvon martin and george zimmerman and also the text messages and the photos from trayvon martin whether both will be admitted as evidence. those are pretty powerful pieces of evidence, potentially. and there are strong feelings the defense they want them admitted. the prosecution certainly doesn't want them admitted. there could be some testy moments over theors course of next hour. >> absolutely, wolf.
when you talk about that video reenactment. sunny hostin said it best. juries love that type of evidence. they love that type of information because they're seeing this basically play out from start to finish. what you're seeing from the prosecution side, they're worried that that could bias and that could influence jurors as they head back to make that decision. also, when it comes to the information in trayvon martin's phone, which is still unclear what is in there, prosecutors don't want that evidence in. defense attorneys saying, hey, you had this evidence a long time ago. you made it hard for us to get to and hard for us to find and we want it in the trial. the prosecution saying they did not withhold that evidence and that they don't want it in this trial. >> what is their answer to the prosecution, george, the charge from the defense attorneys. they had this back in january and they refused or prevented under the discovery rules, if you will, the defense from even knowing that these video text messages, these video pictures
or text messages from trayvon martin's cell phone were available. >> well, you know, early on, wolf, in this case, you heard the defense team raise this issue about discovery violations. there were several other issues that they had with the prosecution and this is one of them. to my understanding, the judge will rule on this and others later, but they've been raising this issue all along and this particular situation with the information on trayvon martin's phone, not really new when it comes to what they've been talking about regarding how the prosecution has passed evidence to them. >> prosecutor john guy wanted an apology from the defense, i haven't heard an apology, at least not yet. we're going to monitor what is going on in that courtroom. could happen over the course of this hour. we're watching this closely. george, don't go too far away. just as tempers have flared,
local police are worried about a violent backlash to the verdict regardless of what the jury decides. one large swath of the population could be angered by the outcome of the racially charged trial. here is one public service announcement put together by the broward county sheriff's office. >> raise your voice and not your hands. >> we need is to stand together as one. >> let's give violence a rest because we could easily end up arrested. >> i know your patience will be tested, but law enforcement has your back. choose not to act up and deputies are with us, so, no need to act up. >> roll off your shoulders, watt of ae er off your back. >> i'm sheriff scott israel and law enforcement does have your back. >> broward county. that's ft. lauderdale area just north of miami. police say they're staying in close touch with activists and community leaders, as well as
state and federal authorities. they say they know of no specific plans for violence, but they fear any protests could quickly get out of hand. let's hope that doesn't occur. other enews we're following right now. new details emerging about the asiana crash 214 as investigators wrap up interviews with the crew. the pilot sitting next to him was serving as an instructor pilot for the first time. and it was the plane's main landing gear that hit the sea wall at the edge of the runway in san francisco. cnn's miguel marquez is joining us now and he has new information. all the latest information on what we're learning. but, miguel, hold on for a moment. save that thought. i want to go right to judge deborah nelson. >> the evidence may be used by the defense as a demonstrative exhibit based upon this ruling, the court does not need to do analysis. in regards to mr. conner, the defense is seeking to admit
information from mr. martin's phone through mr. conner, pursuant to 90.803 subsection 3. court finds that subsection does not apply the state's from the evidence of mr. martin's phone is sustained. at this time, mr. zimmerman, i need to advise you of some rights you have. if you could please stand for one moment. in any criminal trial you have the right to remain silent. during this trial, you do not have to say anythin, do anything or prove anything, you understand that? >> yes, your honor. >> you also have the right to testify, if you want to. that is the decision that you, alone, have to make. i mean the final decision is yours. but i want you to make sure you're having conversations with your attorneys about whether or not you're going to testify and i'm going to ask you again later whether or not you've had those discussions. i don't need to know what you talked about, but just that you had the discussions and then if you have made up your mind and i'll ask you some questions on
that. must be thinking about that now. thank you, sir. >> matter the reference text messages. not the only basis that admissibility was sought. and the notion that it is relevant evidence and there is no hearsay objection that could trump, if you will, constitution when such probative relevant, powerful evidence is off aered by the defense. so, the court hasn't addressed that. >> i'll address it now. the court had made a pretrial ruling about the admissibility of that evidence. so, that ruling stands, as does the ruling today, even in light of chambers. ready to call your next witness? we'll have the jury come in. >> yes, your honor. >> so, state ready for the jury
to come in? >> yes, your honor. >> all right, so, you heard the two decisions from the judge. that was quick. a lot faster than we thought it would occur. we thought the jury would come in around 10:00 a.m., but ruled against, against the defense on both of these sensitive issues. t neither the text messages from trayvon martin's phone, those won't be admitted either. two major setbacks for the defense right now. sunny hostin is sfatanding by a he has her reaction. page pate is with us, as well, the defense attorney. big wins for the prosecution. these two decisions from judge debra nelson. >> i think that's right. i think we could see where the judge was leaning. yesterday i was here until 10:00 at night, as well. little bit past that and she had trouble with authentication when it came to the text messages.
that means, in our legal terms, that she wasn't sure they were actually trayvon martin's. she voiced her concerns how other people have access to one's phone and she wasn't comfortable with that letting that in because of the authentication issues. i understand she was leaning that way. in terms of the animation, she also had trouble with it. she felt and voiced some concerns about the data points that this witness was using when he put this animation together. you know, he seemed to be picking and choosing certain versions of events from certain witnesses in conjunction with the defense attorneys. so, she voiced some concerns about that. now, wolf, i'm a little bit unclear because i'm getting some guidance from the courtroom. of course, i'm not in the courtroom right now because i'm speaking with you on set but some folks are saying that the animation may come in as demonstrative evidence as opposed to substantive evidence.
i'm not clear on that because i couldn't hear everything the judge was saying. >> what is the difference between demonstrative and substantive? >> demonstrative means you get to use it in closing arguments and it helps you explain the evidence. substantive evidence means you get to consider it as true, substance, as evidence of what happened that evening. there's a very big distinction in the law and so even if the defense can use it as demonstrative evidence. it's just an a aid. an aid to help the jury where substantive evidence means they can consider it as evidence of innocence or guilt. so, in any event, if the state or the defense can't use it as substantive evidence. >> so, that's a significant difference, although for practical purposes, page, if the jury gets to see that animation, they'll see it even though the
judge will -- >> that was the judge's ruling. the judge specifically said that she's not going to allow it in as substantive evidence but come in as a demonstrative aid if the judge wants to use it. the jury is still going to see this animation. the defense can use it, perhaps, with a witness. but more importantly in closing argument when they try to tie together all their pieces of evidence and try to let the jury see what george zimmerman saw that day and it is going to be real effective in a closing argument as a self-defense. >> the other thing, let me let page weigh in on this, those text messages and sunny makes a good point. the judge was clearly concerned and maybe somebody else had access to trayvon martin's cell phone and they can't authenticate that those text messages were actually written by trayvon martin. that is a significant blow to the defense right now because they wanted those text messages to come out. reportedly included some references to violence, maybe he wanted to get a gun, indications
like that that could have undermined trayvon martin's credibility, if you will. >> authentication was apparently a problem with those text messages, but i don't think that was the only problem. there was also an issue to relevancy. right now it's clear that the defense wanted to get those messages in and perhaps not so much for what was in the text but more, again, to show potential bad character. he was purchasing a firearm or looking to purchase a firearm. that is the kind of evidence that the defense wanted to get in and the judge this time said no. >> let's go back into the courtroom. there is mark o'mara the criminal defense attorney calling the first witness of the day and the jury is now in and they are in place. and here comes that first witness. let's get some information on what's going on. this could be potentially the last day of these witnesses appearing. stand by. >> i do. >> thank you.
>> good morning, sir. >> morning. >> state your name. >> dennis root. >> spell your last name. >> r-o-o-t as in tom. >> what is your occupation? >> currently self-employed as a safety in law enforcement trainer and also as a private investigator and expert witness. >> okay. is that the purpose that brings you here today, correct? >> yes. >> what i'd like you to do, if you would, begin, i guess at the beginning and tell us how you first got involved in law enforcement generally and we'll walk you through the steps of your career. >> okay, in april of 2011 i retired after completing just 22 years of law enforcement service. i began law enforcement career with the city of riviera beach.
i performed duties primarily for road patrol. also offered the opportunity to obtain an instructor certification for defense of tactics, which is the lead instructor's position for force related hand-to-hand type training. i went to subsequent training courses for oc, which is a pepper spray training and also impact weapons. and i managed to become the elite instructor for defensive tactics with the city of riviera beach, while i was there. >> sir, if i might. i know some of the terms from having spoken to you before and my experience doing this, but i want to make sure that the jury understands when we use term like impact weapons. >> oh, sure. >> if you could, as you go through it, i may interrupt you once or twice more along the way. if you could advise the jury what you mean and the science behind impact weapons? >> sure. for the impact weapons we're talking about the batons. anything from a side handled
baton to what most commonly carried now which is an expandable or collapsible baton. and they range from anything from a metal baton to wooden baton. impact weapon is geared towards those weapon systemdi designed r striking and blocking purposes. >> particular ways to acatually use those weapons as to just striking somebody with it? how does a lay person know the basis for your training and how to use a weapon like that? >> for an impact weapon, for all the weapon systems in law enforcement, there are what they call basic certification operation courses that are taught to law enforcement professionals. these courses are designed to teach them the laws surrounding the use of the weapon system. they're designed to educate them on how to carry, present and also utilize whether it's striking or blocking or some of the weapon systems and some of the techniques they teach can be
used for take downs and things like that. the idea behind the basic operator certification is to educate the operator on target areas. what you can expect injury wise from a variety of target areas. strikes to muscle mass versus connective tissue versus deadly force or final targets which would result in great bodily harm or death. the basic operator course designed to educate the operator through a minimum of usually about a four-hour class on how to properly utilize the weapon for defensive and offensive needs. >> okay. i think you said you had gotten a level of proficiency that allowed you to train other officers? >> yes. i became an instructor and then i eventually became an instructor trainer and after completing my career in law enforcement, i designed and implemented also an instructor level course that i taught throughout the state of florida and various other states in the united states where i now teach
the instructor of the instructors. i do the master level trainer where i do the instructor course so the instructors can go out and teach other trainers. >> let me try to keep this chronological and identify what certifications you got along the way. you were speaking to us about your initial law enforcement career beginning with riviera beach. >> yes, sir. >> what else did you learn or what other proficiencies did you acquire during that work? >> while there, like i said, i became a tactic instructor. i gained certification to teach open hand control techniques. striking, blocking, take down, arm locks, things like that. i also became an instructor for pepper sprays. pepper spray, again, just similar to impact weapons has a basic operator certification course and i went to the trainer's course to teach the basic course. that course involves proper deployment, target areasforth.
just a lower level on the force continuum that's evaluated by those being either using it or evaluating its use. so, myse certifications were th initial level. >> i want to ask you to explain force continuum. is that, explain to the jury what that is. >> it's basically, a force continuum is a systematic approach to the escalation and de-escalation of force options. it's basically looking at an event and saying that all events start, for example, with somebody being present. so, that would be one of the first things that you would look for as you begin your evaluation. who was there? how many were there so on and so forth. you have to evaluate each level and break it down for both the aggressor and you have to break
it down in law enforcement terms the aggressor or your subject and the officer. civilian terms the aggressor and the defender. okay. what you do is you look at the various levels of options available to that individual taking into consideration a wide variety of topics ranging from personal information, subject factors like their age, height, weight, things like that. moving through background training, experience, weapon availability, environment considerations. all these things come into a force continuum, which is a structured way of saying if i were to do "a," you would be permitted to do "b." and it's a structured system that allows to evaluate where the one person is on a force level in comparison to where the other person is permitted to be or what they really term to be accepted to be at. >> and is that information that you both learned as a law
enforcement officer and now teach? >> yes. i started, first time you take a force course, one of the first topics they go over is the law and the force continuums because without a thorough understanding of how and when you can do something, stlz there's no need to move further into weapon systems and what you can utilize for that. a basic foundation that everything else comes from. when you progress it through law enforcement, the options are quite different because there are so many things what i call the back belt. police officer has gear wrapped er around them from pepper spray and tasers. even though it could be taken down and looked at through other perspectives for an individual, the essence of the continuum remains the same, just the availability of options changes. >> and was this something -- where does this training begin? is this what you learn as a
rookie, they call it? or somebody in the academy. >> the training on force begins in the police academy. it's one of the -- what they call high liability courses that an officer must demonstrate proficiency in order to obtain their law enforcement certification. so, it is one of the key base building blocks that starts in the police academy and never ends. law enforcement agencies everywhere are required to maintain an ongoing level of training on all the various weapon systems, as well as communications because that's also considered a opponent of use of force. all the things that an officer can utilize during their career, they have to maintain a level of proficiency and that training never ends until the day they walk out of their career. >> we're talking about your work at riviera beach and you talked about some of the certifications, if you would continue with those. >> the other certifications i went to, i was very into traffic. in riviera i became the,
basically the onshift traffic unit. we had a small shift and didn't have an active traffic unit and i became involved with teaching dui, as well. i became certified with dui stops and things and acatually created a training program for the city of riviera beach that was approved through the state attorney office on how to conduct a dui investigation and how to properly document it throughout the entire dui process. >> in the -- how long are you with riviera beach? >> total about five years. >> and any other specialties or training focuses that you had with riviera besides those that you mentioned so far. >> the only other things that became certifications is while i was there i attended conferences geared towards defensive tactics. when i took my first certification case, i kind of fell in love with the topic and knew right then and there that that was something i wanted to
do and specialize in for the rest of my career, if not longer. and i went and became an instructor for various techniques like vascular restraints, a lot of people call them chokeholds. for layman terms, provide choke hold for lack of better term. also in control points, which are the pressure points on the human body. i became a certify understructor with that. i also became a certified instructor in ink pen knife defenses. what that was, the most common thing a police officer has on their person is an ink pen. when confronted with an adversary utilizing your pen it's a way to utilize the ink pen in defensive measures against somebody who has a knife or other edged object and you are not able to transition to your firearm. techniques to defend yourself. >> any other certifications we haven't talked about during that
first sort of chapter of your career? >> no, that was pretty much it there. >> and if i might, i have something more. >> a resume or a cv documenting some of this information. >> yes. >> would it be helpful to have it available to you as we go through your testimony. >> it would. if there was something i didn't know. it's my life, i'm pretty clear on it. unless you want a specific date, then i would probably have to look at my cv for that. >> so, let's move forward then from riviera beach. where did you go after that? >> the next agency i was with for a very brief period of time was the jupiter police department where i was assigned, again, to road patrol duties. >> okay. how long were you there?
>> that was just under a year. i was there just under a year and during that time, i had the opportunity to also take on a lead role as a defensive tactics instructor. when i was recruited by the city of jupiter, i started and immediately began being presented with opportunities to bring the skills and things that i had learned from riviera beach to the jupiter police department and began training with some of their other lead trainers on tactics and dealing with defensive tactics. >> in layman terms then, defensive tactics is how somebody would defend themselves against somebody else. >> it's fighting. layman terms is it's fighting. >> fighting in a way that minimizes injury to yourself. >> absolutely. >> initially termed defensive tactics in law enforcement when you utilize force, it's in response to another person's actions. became defensive in nature. even though there are offensive techniques. the whole goal in law
enforcement was you defended yourself or you defended another person and you just didn't walk up and start a fight. that's where the term came from. but the reality of it is, you're teaching people how to defend themselves through fighting techniques. >> why such a short period of time that -- >> when i started there in riviera because it was a very active city and riviera beach, i didn't spend any time on midnights. i actually was pretty much always on 3:00 to 11:00. you know, the evening shift when it was really, really busy. when i went to jupiter they had a seniority basis and you had to be on midnights until your seniority allowed you to leave that shift. while i learned while i was there i have a condition that doesn't allow my body clock to change. i couldn't adapt to midnights. i would sleep one to three and a half hours a day. i went to the administration and told them about it.
normally because you're on probation they would just terminate you because you can't perform the job the way they want it done. i was blessed that they moved me to a 4:00 to 12:00 which created a lot of strife because there were a lot more senior people ahead of me that should have been given that position. because of the conflict that it created, it just seemed like a better idea that other option as were presented to me and i felt it would be a good idea to follow them. >> clear up any concerns that anyone may have. was the short duration of your time with jupiter due to any performance evaluation issues? >> none, none whatsoever. >> then you went from jupiter to where? >> martin county sheriff's office. i took a position as a drill instructor with the juvenile offender training center. their juvenile boot camp under law enforcement special services and it was a really unique opportunity to work with kids.
>> and what do you do during that part of your career? >> the time that i was assigned to the juvenile offender training center, i started as a drill instructor in the boot camp and because of my background and experience within a short period of time i was asked to take over the training responsibilities for the program where i helped develop training programs for ongoing training for the current staff and new. being the supervisor of what they termed the sanctions enforcement unit which is the equivalent of probation officers. when the young men come into the system by the time that they're there after about six months, they're released back into the community where they are monitored by deputies and maintain their curfew and doing things like that. equated to being a probation officer for a juvenile offender and then promoted to the rank of sergeant and ran that unit until i went back to road patrol and pursued other opportunities from
the sheriff office. >> when you were with the sheriff office did you accomplish any other certifications or training in particular areas of law enforcement focus? >> my focus -- i had the opportunity to experience just about everything a police officer can experience while with martin county. i was within their training unit, i was within their criminal investigation i was traffic unit and road patrol and also served on the canine unit and throughout my time the entire process i also was an instructor. i would go on and do training classes mostly dealing with force. i continued my education, i continued going to school, i also became a master, first became an instructor and then master instructor with the taser weapon, the stun guns. and then i started transitioning and teaching the instructor
level courses for that. i also took over when i was in training, i was designated the use of force specialist in the agency where any time there was a force event, the information was always forwarded to training. my job was to look at it, evaluate it and see if there were violations of policy and procedure or training standards and, also, i would try to take the experiences of the other deputies that were involved in various issues and see how we could turn them into training opportunities for the deputies that never experienced it but may benefit from the experience. throughout the remaining portion of my career, i dedicated most of my time to continuing my training and development of certifications in force-related topics. i went and got my firearms instructor certification and shotgun instructor and i continued on and became an instructor training with pepper sprays. the instructor class where i
could teach the instructor courses and i continued, i also took on responsibility at the local academy where i was, first stted an as an adjunct trainer teaching defensive tactics. i was lucky enough that my teacher and mentor was stepping down and provided me with the opportunity to step up to what they call the lead instructor's position, which is the person who coordinates and organizes the law enforcement academy defensive tactics. in the process, i obtained my two-year degree in criminal justice, which allowed me to teach defensive tactics. i became the instructor that taught the defensive instructor tactaics course. >> you mentioned a moment ago about becoming a use of force specialest. is this something that teaches what we talked about a moment before continuing the force and how and when to use force in a law enforcement situation?
>> yes. as the designated use of force specialist for the agency, my job was to develop use of force training. i worked with fantastic instructors for firearms and defensive tactics. i was given the privilege of coordinating a lot of the training that took place, whether it was handcuffing because i took it upon myself, also, to get schools for it to become a handcuffing instructor. not just the ones that come from defensive instructors, i was always trying to find a better way to teach our personnel and other people how to stay safe and utilize the weapons systems. throughout my career, continues and went back for, we have regional trainings where i would go to the cgst for instructors and continue acquiring additional instructor certifications that tapped on to and added to already existing
certifications like handgun and shotgun. i also went to nra courses where i started to attend classes to get nra certifications for firearm as training and i became a state licensed firearm as instructor so i started teaching armed security courses. i had already been teaching unarm aed security training for officers, but by obtaining the state certification it enabled me to teach the firearms aspects of security. and i just continued developing training that was eventually geared over and took over where i was presenting some of the civilian training for the sheriff's office from one of the most important jobs for law enforcement or any company is the fact of communications. so, i took on the responsibility of teaching a program known as verbal judo which is tactical communication. how to communicate with somebody in a way that's not aggressive. so, i also added that to my
responsibilities as the force specialist. i continued to develop the training programs for the sheriff's office when i was offered other opportunities like going to canine and things like that, i worked very closely with the lieutenant of our training unit and continuing to develop training for the agency as a whole. >> not to focus on probably the least significant of the certifications you just discussed, but there are actually prauroper ways to handf people. >> yes. there are techniques because you have to be -- handcuffing somebody is putting restraints on them. you have concerns about that because if you place them on too tightly, it can cause injury to someone. also, if you don't properly train the individual on how to use restraints, there's what i call the good side and bad side to handcuffs. the good side is the side that actually moves. when you make contact with a person it will ratchet around and move. if you use the bad side, it could cause injury because basically two pieces of steel that you're slamming into a wrist so it can cause injury.
techniques that you should continuously revisit even in something as small as handcuffing. >> you mentioned as the use of force expert you would sometimes use opportunities or situations as training exercises. it sounds like speak for when another officer doesn't do something right, you help retrain them. was that part of what you did? >> yes and no. it's not just when they don't do something right, also when they do something correctly. when you get a force event in, i get handed paperwork that says basically here's what happened. i took it upon myself, i would speak with the officers involved and i would speak with supervisors involved. if we determine something was wrong, then we need to re-educate that officer on how to do their job properly and also use that as an opportunity to make sure everybody else remembers this is the way to do it. just as important, when an officer was involved in a situation that was just unique that no one else up to that point had ever been involved in,
we take it and look at it for face value and create a training scenario that we would put other deputies or officers through a similar controlled event so they gain the experience. not just when they do it wrong, but also doing it right and adapting it to training for the agency as a whole. >> dennis root is a private investigator. he is explaining his credentials to mark o'mara the criminal defense attorney for george zimmerman setting the stage for more substantive questions. we'll take a quick break and resume our coverage of the zimmerman trial right after this. ♪ [ male announcer ] some things are designed to draw crowds. ♪ ♪ others are designed to leave them behind. ♪ the all-new 2014 lexus is. it's your move.
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taser, firearm, i went and became an instructor and eventually created, i currently have four courses that i created myself that i travel and teach as an instructor of the instructors. >> and aside from that specific to law enforcement, do you have any training or expertise in general physical combat, fighting or areas that aren't specifically law enforcement, but still assist you in presentation regarding use of force? >> i started partial arts training when i was about 13 years old and became a semi-prokick boxer. i was very lucky. i got to participate in the super fights and actually right here in orlando was my first superfight i was able to participate in. i always had an interest and involvement in physical combat. i grew up with two older brothers, so i got beat up a lot by my older brothers and seemed
like a reasonable thing for me to do to bring in that personal experience. so, in the process of my own personal experiences with fighting, marshal arts, kickboxing and training, i was acatually training with chris andersen who were, at the time, late '80s they held two, both championship fighters, boxers. i had had the opportunity to train with them and to learn from them when i was attending my kickboxing schools. and i just continued on. currently i'm involved with the marshal arts organization and i have been given the privilege of developing and working with them and developing firearm as related to marshal arts where it is a component because a lot of people think of the samurai with the swords but they were actually using firearm as towards the end and it is a lot of things about the history of fighting that people don't know and i'm blessed to work with a
gentleman who runs an organization dedicated to the traditional aspects and he's trying to bring in all these components so that people can learn safety through marshal arts training, the peace, the mind, the essence of the spirit and take it all the way through the modern day weapon systems that people utilize today. i've been bless would ted with opportunity to participate in that. >> did you even -- >> my brother is also a retired police officer, but through our transitions and my schooling he started to realize, i think, it was better just to leave me alone. at some point the tables turned. i like to think that he knew better. i don't know that he did, but i like to think that he did. >> that's good. >> during all this time with martin county, you completed your law enforcement career with mountain county, correct? >> yes, retired in april of
2011. >> during the last few years of your tenure with martin county, can you advise the jury sort of even more what your focus was on assisting the county, sheriff's office in dealing with their use of force events? >> in the latter portions of my career, i became involved with the sheriff's office for just like i said, the force training. i maintained that all the way to the last day. matter of fact, even after retiring, i was offered the opportunity to continue training with the agency and i had accepted that opportunity to do so. during that time, i also started, i had permission from the sheriff office to start my training company, where i started doing law enforcement training and eventually individual >> and during that time, in particular in the last few years with martin county, did that include opportunities for you to review use of force events and
testify on someone's behalf or to deal with the administrative side of a use of force event? >> because of the area, we're blessed that we don't have a lot over the careers of shootings but we have had our fair share. toward the end of my tenure with the sheriff's office as a use of force specialist i was approached by the state to testify to review and provide an opinion for grand jury on use of force events involving police-involved shootings that ended up in the death of the subject being shot. i was also brought in by our agency at the martin county sheriff's office when we had organizational involved shootings that there were times i was brought in to administrative meetings to meet with the attorneys' group to do an evaluation of the use of force to determine whether or not i had considered that event at that time to be reasonable or not and to provide input as to why it was or was not. so i kind of helped the attorneys group for the
sheriff's office representing them in forming ideas as to what actually took place and i was given the opportunity for the state to do the same thing for grand juries. >> if you would, tell us more about the experience you've had with your presentation to grand juries. what would you take on? what was your role? and what would you present? obviously we know that any particular testimony in front of a grand jury in and of itself would be confidential. i'm not asking for specifics but generically, what would you do. >> essentially what happens with a grand jury, i would be given all of the evidence, the written reports, any radio transmissions, cds, video, photograph, crime scene photos, everything. i would be given the opportunity to review all the evidence. because as the use of force expert, your job is to evaluate it from every perspective possible. you can't just walk into an event, look at it and say that's how it worked.
nothing works that way. every single person sees things differently. i would get all of the evidence. i would be given an opportunity to review all of the evidence, formulate opinions based on my brack ground, training and experiences as to how i thought it went, provide an opinion as to what i thought whatever was done was considered to be objectively reasonable or was considered not to be objectively reasonable. then what would happen is that a grand jury would call all the witnesses in and i would come in and the state would ask for my opinion and i'd provide it to the grand jury, what my opinion was based on my background, training, experience as whether i thought what "a," "b" and "c" was, was it objectively reasonable given the facts and circumstances known to me given all the evidence or was it unreasonable. >> on how many oaks did you have an opportunity to present such testimony to a grand jury. >> i believe it was six different times. >> may i approach the witness for a moment, your honor? >> yes, you may.
>> i'll review what's marked as exhibit rr and identify that. >> that's my curriculum vite. >> you prepared that in connection with other cases. >> yes. >> i think there's no objection. >> no objection? >> correct. >> okay. defense exhibit rr will come into evidence as defense exhibit 24. and regarding your motion and testimony -- concerning your testimony with the grand jury we've had a discussion about what you will and will not testify here today, correct? >> yes. >> farce your focus of the zimmerman case. so let me ask you, in that regard, how you and i first got together, how you became a witness in this case. >> i actually reached out to mr. o'mara. when i saw the case unfolding,
obviously like everyone else in the media, i had a unique interest in it, because there was so much information being flooded to the media, i didn't know exactly what had happened, obviously, as no one does. i reached out to him because i thought i had a unique perspective as to coming to a realistic conclusion on things. being able to proffer and look at things and render my background, training and experience to him to see if it helped. my experience has been, i wanted to ensure -- the most common question is, i reach out to a defense attorney as a police officer or former police officer and the truth is, there are a lot of people that can do what i do. there's plenty of experts available. and i reached out to mr. o'mara because it was my belief if i reviewed the material and felt that i could be of no
assistance, i would not be able to -- i would not do anything to hinder the progression for anybody in this case whatsoever. but if it was something i felt that i could help with, i went to the one party, if there was an opportunity to be of assistance, i knew i would be able to do so. i reached out to him to see if he had interest in using my services. >> okay. that then began the process for you and you and i began working together on this case. >> yes. >> if you would, just advise the jury, generally if appropriate, but more specifically, what you would want available to you for review in a case like this and what you got in this particular case. >> what i request is just like with the state and the grand juries, everything that i can. as a use of force expert, i have to look at it from as many perspectives as possible, because everybody's perspective is different. you have to take into
consideration what their upbringing was, what their background was, where they live, what their personal life experiences were and currently are. you know, so my request is to obtain as much information as possible, get any witness statements that i can get, any photographs that i can get, all the evidence that's available so that i can help see a complete picture and not just a picture that will be guided from one direction or another. an expert's job is merely to look at everything and evaluate it in the totality of the circumstances, not skewed by one person's opinion or another person's opinion. >> in this case then, what information did you request and what information was given? >> pretty much everything that i requested was provided. i can't think of anything that wasn't. i requested to be able to review the 911 calls. i requested to be able to review the reports from law enforcement, the medical examiner's office, anything that was documented or written down so that i could get an insight
from not just the witnesses that provided statements, whether it be orally or in writing, but also from the investigators that were conducting it so i could look at the questions that were being asked to see sometimes you can think of a question you don't know but then as you go through a different investigator, they thought of the question. seeing all the investigators reports was very important. i also requested any crime scene photos that were there to try to give me an idea of what the environment was like. and everything that i requested i can't think of anything that i wasn't provided with for evaluation. >> and realizing that you weren't here during the trial, i'll go over a quick overview of the information to make sure the jury knows you may have had this specifically to the extent they have heard testimony. did you get witness statements that were produced pursuant to law enforcement request? >> yes, i received the witness statements and the statements from the interviews where they
conducted the criminal investigation interview. >> on the occasions that deposition, transcripts were available, did you receive those as well. >> as far as i know. if they were able i did get a chance to see them. >> did you receive the entirety of the police, if you will, police file, the investigator file prepared in this case? >> to the best of my knowledge i've gotten everything. of course you don't know what you don't know. but i believe i received everything. >> i think you mentioned that you were able to review for purposes of your testimony today, the autopsy itself concerning the injuries to mr. martin. >> yes. >> and pictures of mr. martin and mr. zimmerman? >> yes. >> you have an opportunity to review any of the scene mock-ups or drawings that were created either by the state or defense in this case? >> the only scene drawings that
i saw from what i received were from the investigators. i didn't see any -- you mention a state mock-up. i didn't see a state mock-up. >> if i might approach for a moment, your honor? as an example, this is in evidence as state's 139. did you see something, a much smaller version of this? >> yes, sir, i did. >> on 140, another sort of similar mock-up of the same thing. have you seen that? >> yes, sir. >> when i say mock-up, i was speaking -- >> i apologize. >> my mistake, not yours. >> yes, i've seen those. >> did you also have an opportunity to review video and audio and written statements from mr. zimmerman? >> yes, i did. >> to your knowledge, i know you don't know what you don't know but did you get the entirety of the information that you requested? >> as far as i know, i got everything that i was looking for. >> was there anything that you
asked to get from us that we said we don't want you to have or we just didn't give you? >> no. quite the contrary. some things came up during the deposition that apparently you didn't know i didn't have and i was given it immediately. >> that may be some of the witness statements or some other pieces of evidence. >> i just want to reset for a moment. it's the top of the hour. dennis root, a private investigator going through the background, how he got involved in looking into this case, the george zimmerman trial that is under way. mark o'mara, criminal defense attorney questioning him now. they're going through his expertise, why he's involved. let's continue the coverage. >> the jury has reviewed that. as you incorporate that into your testimony, be aware they know what it is you're talking about. >> okay.
>> did you get enough information in this case from which you could review the available information to focus your opinion regarding the events that happened that night? >> yes. >> in the overall scheme of cases to others you review, is this normal, average, or less than you get to review. >> i would say this is average for the significance of this issue. there was a lot of material but on average when you deal with an event are the of any similar nature you're going to get a lot of data. >> we've had other experts testify and within that context, they narrowed their focus to their area of expertise. i would ask you to do the same. so if you could sort of lay the foundation for the jury, when you're looking through all of
this information, all of the witness statements, all of the pictures, all of whatever it is, what filter are you using to focus the information that's relevant for you, in your opinion? >> i focus everything based on background training, experience, knowledge of -- individual or civilian realm knowledge of the law and all of the information i focus based on the totality of the circumstances known to me and i bring in my background, training and experience both for law enforcement and individual. because one of the things we didn't talk about from my background is my training company is -- i now primarily do individual type training, firearms training, self-defense classes for children, adults and seniors. i take all of that background training and experience and that's what i use to filter out the information. i couple it, obviously, with over 20 years of law enforcement
experience in evaluating information that's been presented and understanding how things may be affected by other people. >> and that was then done in this case? >> absolutely. >> so what information that you had available to you assisted -- let me back up. was your focus of your investigation of this case, in your opinion, based upon the event specifically surrounding the intersection of mr. zimmerman and mr. martin that night? >> that was the primary focus area. >> and the altercation that ensued and the eventual shooting. >> correct. >> so if you would then, with that i guess as your filter, walk the jury through what information you looked at and then found relevant to assist you in formulating your opinions. >> the first thing i utilized was the initial statements -- excuse me, the initial calls that come in.
it's really important to establish a time line for events. a time line is very important because it helps you understand and compartmentalize information. to the best of your ability, because as with any issue, perspectives are skewed. so what some people may see or hear, another person may not. it doesn't mean they didn't witness something or didn't know something, it may not be from the same perspective as another witness. the first thing i looked and listened to were the 911 calls that came in. i added to that the issue interviews of the key witnesses. i use the word key witnesses, the people with the most information that saw or heard the most that could be relied upon. >> excuse me, if i might. >> yes. >> just so you're aware, i know in depositions and prior conversations with you and i and the state and you, the identity of certain witnesses was kept confidential. we were using witness names. i think i said half a dozen
times to you not to ever mention the witnesses by name. that restriction has been relaxed. there's witnesses names are now available to the jury. so to the extent i withdraw my request of you earlier. so to the extent it is relevant for you to identify them by name, you may have trained yourself to use numbers. that's okay as well. to the extent you can utilize the names, it would be helpful for the jury to know particularly which witnesses you talked about or read about. >> okay. >> that does help a little bit. >> i reviewed all of them and forgive me if i don't pronounce the names correctly. some of the names are very difficult. statements from miss louer, mr. good, the baja doors. i listened to every audio recording from the 911 calls that came in as well as from the witnesses. and i tried to filter through
what each witness said and compare it to where on a time line it could fall. you know, for example, just as a brief example, if somebody said that there attention was called to the event because they heard screaming, that tells me within the time line that certain things had already taken place because of when the screaming started. you have to look at it and try to filter in the information as best you can. then you take into consideration witnesses that actually, like mr. good, witnesses who stepped out and had a time when he interacted from a distance with the participants. i used all of that information to begin forming my opinions and to focus in my energies on evaluating what i thought may have taken place. >> i didn't mean to interrupt you. >> that's fine. >> as to the witnesses that you viewed, the statements and the information they presented to
you, based upon your training and experience 20 years worth or more of law enforcement, how do you view witness statements and whether or not you can guarantee accuracy or not? >> i look at it, it's very fluid. accuracy is based on perspect e perspective. i'm a movie fanatic. there was a movie by dennis quaid for "vantage point." it showed one singular event from eight different perspectives. that's the reality of most encounter every single person has. we all have our vantage point, our perspective. so as i begin to listen to the statements that are being made, when i said i listened to the 911 calls and initial interviews, one of the best things about the initial interviews as a person evaluating an event is the fact that you're usually getting the most raw information.
in other words, that's the most immediate access information from their brain right there without any other stimulus or influence of any type. one of the first things we do as investigators is separate witnesses. because everybody that talks, i may say that, if i can use mr. o'mara, he's wearing a pink shirt. you only saw it for a quick second and you thought it was an orange shirt. if you're wrong and i'm right, you may sway to my perception. when i look at it and i evaluate what was said, i really try to go back to the original statements that were made before there could have been any other outside variable or influence. because those usually are the most raw. they may not always be the most complete, but the essential elements of what a person witnesses because they're usually the ones that strike the deepest inside a person's mind. so when i begin to review information, i listen to the calls and go to that initial interview.
if they have a subsequent interview which in these cases, there were other interviews at other times, you can see things change a little bit. one of the most important things is to remember, again, perspective. i have a thing that i call the hot pot theory. >> the what? >> hot pot theory. the idea behind it is about perspective. and what i teach classes, i explain if i took a pot and i placed it in the freezer and it got ice cold, and i took it out and placed it on your stove, and you came in and i asked you to pick up the pot and move it for me, the moment you make contact with the pot and you feel that complete change in temperature, your instinctually letting go and moving away. most people, not all but most people will test the water.
because their brain took into account the environment, the event, what they perceived, what is a pot when it's on a stove usually? it's very hot. when they touch and feel that sudden change in temperature, their perception was, even though it wasn't, it was very hot because of the external influences. so when i look and evaluate statements being given, what i try to do is put myself into that person's shoes when they first spoke. what did they see, hear, what can they remember? even under that high stress event they're still having influences, dark, the lighting, raining, there's environmental influences, whatever the case is, if they just had a discussion with a loved one that didn't go well, that's going to influence their per acceptings. you try to look at it from their perspective and merge if you will their perspective with the perspective of another and perspective of another coupled with physical evidence and things like that until you
arrive at what you deem to be a logical conclusion. >> so in your experience then, if you run into a situation where there are conflicting statements about the same event, is that an understandable occurrence to you or is that evidence deceit or how do you resolve that? >> conflicting statements are normal. they're also very normal from the people involved in the event. something to remember about high stress events. high stress event can be something like somebody driving down a road and a car coming across their lane when they didn't expect it. that was a very stressful event. certain things happen inside the human body. i do training classes for the psychological and physiological aspects and effects of stress on a person during combat. people that witness horrendous events go through a similar emotional response. so you have to look at it and
understand that there are going to be deviations in statements because of perspective, stress, some people don't want to acknowledge some things because there are some people that want honestly to live in a bubble and their perspective is they don't want to accept that certain things happen. so when i look at it and i get statements that they're conflicting, you look at the essence of the statements and you try not to get hung up, if you will, on small changes. now if their entire statement changes, that creates a completely different animal. if you talk about a person that has a slight deviation, you look at it in the context of which it's been presented to see if there's been a variable that caused that deviation. as far as a deviation from witness to witness immediately following an event that's based on perspective. there will always be those variances. >> we had an opportunity to review, as you mentioned, the witness statements in this event. i focus you on mr. cerdika.
>> i'm seeking to explain. >> i'll listen to the next question. >> okay. you read the statement where she suggested she thought she heard three shots? >> yes. >> did that give you cause for concern or is that a perception issue that you fit into the rest of the evaluation. >> same objection as him commenting on the testimony of another witness. >> my response? >> approach. >> let's take a quick break as there's this sidebar, the judge going through with the prosecution and the defense this
technical legal aspect of this. once again, we're listening to dennis root, a law enforcement specialist, private investigator discuss the appropriate use of force. there you see george zimmerman. he's in the courtroom. the six jurors as well. our coverage continues in a minute. (announcer) bring the adventure to their bowl with a whole world of exciting flavors. friskies. feed the senses.
...and we inspected his brakes for free. -free is good. -free is very good. [ male announcer ] now get 50% off brake pads and shoes at meineke. i'm wolf blitzer. we're watching the george zimmerman murder trial. there's dennis root, a private investigator, explaining why occasionally witnesses will have different recollections, different impressions of what's going on. he's being questioned by mark o'mara, george zimmerman's attorney. >> people who think they see one thing and later on they second guess themselves.
they saw it or maybe a portion of it but their perceptual distortion, that's a human response for anything. when you talk about a dynamic, high stress event, people will experience memory issues. that's what a lot of people call them. it's the way they perceived it. sometimes it's that stress event repeats for them and they're trying to make the best sense of it the best that they can. >> so we will then talk to you about the other information and how you sort of filtered into the event that was a particular focus of yours and that is the altercation itself. if you would continue through that with the jury as to the information you looked at, most particularly which you perceived to be relevant for you in determining or accomplishing an opinion regarding the altercation. >> the information regarding the
specific altercation was mr. good's statement, coupled with the 911 calls, miss lauer, which had the most clear, for lack of better words, information for the background involved in what was taking place in the event, coupled with the photographs of mr mr. zimmerman's injuries. i utilized those calls, those statements, those injuries. and then you have to be able to match things up. you try to look at it and bring it into perspective and say does this lead to this? do these make sense? are they within the realm of one another? you talk about somebody involved in a physical altercation. you know, whether it's i have to evaluate it from perspectives of if i was in mr. good's shoes, if i saw what i saw, would it make
sense? if i heard one of the other statements coincided -- i'm trying to remember the name of the lady. but she indicated, even in her interview with law enforcement, that she saw flailing arms. those could coincide with what was being seen by mr. good -- >> objection, your honor, he's commenting on the testimony of previous witnesses. >> i think he utilized that -- he didn't comment. i don't want to -- i'll move on, your honor. >> thank you very much. >> explain then for the jury, those particular -- what elements in this event were of relevance to you? and i don't want to lead you through it but environmental events, relative size events, the elements that you would look at in order to identify areas of focus for you?
in determining your thoughts on the altercation. >> well, the elements have to focus in to perception. the environment, lighting conditions, the physical altercations. the injuries that were being photographed as being sustained by mr. zimmerman. when i look at a dynamic event and you have to evaluate it from "a" to "z," you to look at once the event began, if it continued, and you had an unrelenting attack coupled with injuries and the perception of the individual sustaining the injuries. my interpretation is taking into account all the witness statements, forming the beginnings of the actual physical interactions and using them to show that if you are -- consider an individual who is on
their ck, somebody in a mount position striking, throwing, pushing, whatever the case may be, driving the person down, underneath, what would their perception be at that time? i have to look at it at that time and say my perception, what would the perception be given the dark environment, the continual attack. then i have to leave there and figure out what would be a response. >> so you've identified a couple of environmental -- >> all right. we're getting more background on why dennis root, this private investigator, has been called by the defense. you see mark o'mara questioning him, potentially describes state of mind as far as george zimmerman was concerned in his encounter with trayvon martin. let's take a quick break. we'll resume live coverage in a moment.
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they're getting into the meat of the testimony. dennis root, private investigators, answering questions from mark o'mara, the criminal defense attorney. he's explaining his conclusions, looking at the evidence that he saw as to the altercation between trayvon martin and george zimmerman. >> of course. it's an indicator that when you look at the totality of a combat event, something was a catalyst to cause him immediately to drop that item in that location. >> we're talking about that piece of evidence and other environmental situations, did you have an opportunity to view,
for example, the composite i just showed you, showing the sidewalk going down the center of this area that you spoke about? >> yes. >> did you see pictures in that regard as well? >> yes. >> did you have an opportunity to review pictures regarding injuries to mr. zimmerman's head? >> i did. >> did that assist you in forming your opinion concerning how those injuries may have been inflicted? >> absolutely. >> and what is that. >> based on the injuries i saw in the photographs, they are consistent with a fight. a physical fist fight if you will. there was no -- it did not appear by the injuries that there was any actual weapon used. i would -- the injuries i saw based on my training, background and experience were skin the with that of a fist fight. >> and the injuries on the back of the head, were they consistent with the head being
struck by anything besides a fist. >> objection. that is outside his area of expertise. >> i will sustain that objection. >> in looking at the pictures then of the pathway and the sidewalk, and the placement of the bodies, the two individuals by mr. good, did that assist you at all in determining where that altercation ended up? >> absolutely. it was very clear. >> and where did it end up? >> just outside -- it ended up on the grass, on the concrete and slit down, it was on the grass. if you're asking where, outside mr. good's town home. >> in your consideration of use of force events, do you consider the relative size and physical abilities of the two individuals? or the number of individuals? >> absolutely. like i said earlier, when we
look at a force continuum, one of the first things you evaluate is what we would call in this case, individual factors, age, size, gender, apparent physical abili abilities. you can't also take into consideration special circumstances. you look at overall -- i mean, when you look from my perspective we look at backgrounds, training and experience of people as well, not just what you get at face value. we try to go deeper to gain a better understanding of physical abilities because you know, we can't compare joe blow and john blow because they may have completely different background, training and experiences to come out to a different result. >> in this case, did you have information made available to you about mr. zimmerman? >> yes. >> and if you would explain to the jury what information you reviewed to assist you in your analysis of his physical abilities or interaction abilities?
>> i spoke directly with his -- i actually spoke with mr. zimmerman once and i spoke with adam pollock, i believe, the jim owner, personal trainer, about him. i was inquiring as to what his background, training and experience was, because that becomes a very important variable for me when reviewing a use of force. if i was dealing with chuck norris, i would expect a completely different response to any kind of physical altercation than if i was dealing with pee-wee herman. i look for sources that can provide me with a background on an individual. >> i presume the two of you can sort of speak the same language, having similar backgrounds and fight training and kick boxing, whatever else it is?
>> yes. >> within that context then, what information were you able to glean concerning mr. zimmerman's physical prowess or abilities? >> without sounding offensive, he really didn't have any. mr. zimmerman was described as being a very nice person but not a fighter. the concept is we deal with -- like, for example, i'll use a law enforcement reference. we deal with the lawyer mindset. the concept that somebody is dedicated to the very end, that they dedicate their life and abilities and training. some people are naturally born athletes. some can learn athletic events but some people are naturally born athletes. my interactions with the gym owner, he indicated that mr. zimmerman's background, his training, was limited to the best of his knowledge to that period of time he was at the gym, he did accomplish great things with weight loss but his physical ability, i spoke
specifically about the boxing class that i had been told he had taken. i learned that, you know, the classes were more of a class of convenience and that he never surpassed shadow boxing or working a heavy bag. grappling on the other hand, he went from a bag and was working with a partner. it's very important to understand the difference between the two concepts because in grappling you have the opportunity to what we call tap out. you can say i quit. i give up. if something hurts too much. in boxing when you enter a ring with another person, you find out you've entered into more than you can handle and you've been punched and injured already. according to what i learned about mr. zimmerman is he didn't have the physical prowess to go in to boxing another person. shadow boxing and working the heavy bag were the safest parts for him. he wasn't at a skill level that permitted him to physically
interact with another boxer. >> any further information that you became aware of regarding mr. zimmerman's physical abil y abilities besides what you just testified to? >> no, sir. just what the gym owner had provided me with, background from his experience with mr. zimmerman. >> okay. as to mr. martin, i don't want you to discuss anecdotal information you may have heard about but just focusing on his physical size, age, whatnot and to the extent you believe that was relevant in comparing the physical abilities, if you would give the jury your thoughts on that. >> well, looking at the physique, the overall size of a person is more telling about an individual than age. so in my review of it, there was nothing that indicated to me that mr. martin wasn't physically capable.
you know, when i looked at his size and weight, they were comparable to -- i saw the photos of him -- he seemed to be overall in good physical health and physically fit. comparatively to mr. zimmerman who was in the process of losing weight. no question he gained great value in weight loss but he was not, from what i could see and understood from his physical descriptions, to be of physical prowess or physically fit. we have to focus, i even in reviewing the documentation provided, the emt reports and things like that, photos don't tell you everything. that's the one thing is a picture can't tell you everything. i rely on other sources of information and i read in the discovery that the fire paramedic estimated mr. martin to be 20s. so his physical, again, that's another resource i use.
i interpret a photograph but i'm not standing there right next to him. so i use that also as a reference material to get a generalized idea of the physical physique of another person when using it in comparison to the other party. >> and what is your -- what are your thoughts then on the comparison between the two individuals as far as their physical abilities? >> comparing what i know of to the best of my knowledge for each individual, mr. martin was physically active and capable person. mr. zimmerman is an individual who is by no stretch of the imagination an athlete. and that his -- i believe, it's my opinion, that the physical abilities, he would find himself lacking when compared to mr. martin.
>> moving on then to the actual event itself and the information you had available to you as to how it unfolded, it began with a conversation, at least mr. zimmerman's perspective as far as where it started, did you give any consideration to the length of the altercation? >> of course i did. i mean, when you talk about any kind of dynamic combat event, when i say that i'm talking about in layman's terms a fight. we have a golden rule that if you have not successfully completed the fight, if you have not won the fight in 30 seconds, change tactics. the tactics you're using aren't working. the average person's adrenaline dump, the endorphins that get pumped under stress, within 30 seconds you've depleted everything you have as far as giving 100% of your physical ability. if you haven't been able to win
the event in the first 30 seconds you need to change tactics. the reason we talk about that, that's both in law enforcement and individual, the civilian rounds is when you find yourself in a physical altercation, you only have so much gas in the tank. you can only do so much based on your background, training and experience. so the longer the fight take place, the more fatigued, the more potential for injury. everything begins to unravel. i don't ever say you've lost. we say you have to change tactics, find another thing. if you haven't physically been able to succeed in the first 30 seconds, from that point forward you are diminishing on return physically. in this particular case, just going off the time line of the 911 call, given the period of time, you know, i personally have sat there and timed it myself where it's about 40 seconds of time, that's a very long time to be involved in any kind of physical altercation. and that most certainly plays
into the decisionmaking of any individual involved. >> did the event of someone screaming for help -- screaming during the event, did that impact at all on you in how you perceived the altercation? >> listening to the sound as it unfolded, it's clear what i would call the cries, the shrieks for help indicated a high level of stress, a high level of fear. that's what i interpreted those screams and those sounds to mean. >> how about the length of them? how long they lasted? >> from my perspective it lasted forever. when you talk 40 seconds, the average person doesn't truly conceptualize what 40 seconds is. as a taser weapon instructor we give five-second applications of that weapon system to our personnel. and without fail, during that
time, at the end of that five seconds the officer or deputy that's had to endure it will look at you and go, you held it for longer. there's no way that was just five seconds. we don't truly have the concept of what five seconds is. imagine what eight times that is, 40 seconds. 40 seconds is an eternity when you're involved in any kind of physical conflict. >> at some point you know from the information that mr. zimmerman discharged his firearm? >> yes. >> when you look at a discharge of a firearm event, is this then in the context of what you have done in your training and experience you've talked to us about with officer-involved shootings, is this something you'd look at and focus on as to what happens to leads up to the discharge of a firearm and what happens afterwards? >> yes. >> okay. we now sort of talked about what
leads up to it because i'll now bring you to the point in time where the firearm is discharged. was the discharge of the firearm itself the way it was discharged or the number instructive at all to you? >> well, based on the information i reviewed in the discovery, you know, i concluded that -- i'm a little unclear on the question. can you clarify it. >> let me refocus the question. is it your understanding that mr. zimmerman shot his firearm once? >> yes. one time. >> is that unusual to in effect stop at one or in your experience in matters of officer-involved shootings or other shootings that you looked at, can you over any insight to the jury regarding that. >> i object to that. it's improper, irrelevant as to any other law enforcement officer and the discharging of
their weapon or any other person. >> your objection is? >> relevance. >> i have to sustain on that one. >> okay. >> anything in the discharge of his firearm, from your view, evidence to you that mr. zimmerman acted in some additional form or fashion of ill will, spite or hatred realizing that of course the discharge of a firearm at somebody is an event that can cause death. >> i'm going to object based on improper based on our limited motion. >> please approach. >> all right. let's take another quick break as they approach the judge. the defense and the prosecution. they've got another issue. dennis root is testifying now, his impressions about what happened in the altercation between george zimmerman and trayvon martin. we'll continue our coverage
the jury has to be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the person who shot the gun was acting from ill will, hatred, spite or an evil intent. now mark o'mara is questioning dennis root about specifically that. >> realizing as a premise question that it was a close-range shot, shot one time, did that evidence to you based on your training and experience in any way suggest ill will, spite or hatred towards mr. martin by mr. zimmerman? >> no. >> now, let's go to the point after the shot is fired. in your background, training and experience of people involved in shootings, how are as an
example, how are law enforcement shootings handled as far as the interview of the person who shot? >> well, generally speaking with law enforcement-involved shootings, it's -- they do -- >> objection, your honor. i'm going to object to relevance. >> i think to put it into context i'll give you leeway. >> thank you. just to we're clear to that, the majority of your experience and training is because of your law enforcement background, you deal with law enforcement events, correct? >> yes. >> have you had experience where you handled nonlaw enforcement shooting events? >> yes. >> so do you have experience level that covers both law enforcement and nonlaw enforcement shootings? >> yes. >> is the majority of yours, however, in law enforcement
shootings. >> yes. >> by nature of you being a cop. >> yes. just retired a couple years ago. >> okay. realizing that, using the complete broad base of your experience, including law enforcement shootings and nonlaw enforcement shootings, what are the concerns that exist with interviewing a person who's been involved in the event of a shooting? >> memory issues. generally speaking, the primary concern is people when they're involved in a high stress event can have what we call critical stress amnesia or have memory -- temporary memory holes, i call them, that sometimes it takes up to 72 hours before they truly get their full memory back about everything that took place. and for some, depending on stress of the event they may never remember everything that took place. >> one of the concerns then with interviewing those people within that time period from a law enforcement perspective? >> the concerns, i think whether
it's law enforcement or anything, your primary concerns with conducting the interviews is how accurate the information will be, has the person been able to reconcile and compartmentalize the event itself? and start to accept what has taken place so they can come forward with all the information. there's always the problem, if i use myself as a reference, if i was involved in a shooting, i gave you a statement an hour later and tomorrow i remember something differently because my memory is evolving and i'm starting to work through my personal conflicts, whatever the case might be, i can have a varied statement. if too much weight is given, i'm not talking about a completely different change in statements, i'm talking about slight changes or modifications. if too much weight is given to a change, now a person is expected now i'm lying. and the reality is it may take me some time to form everything back to be able to provide you with an accurate reflection of
what took place. >> are there procedures that are in place to safeguard against those concerns with law enforcement officers shooting investigations? >> objection. that's irrelevant, your honor. >> i'll rephrase it. >> thank you. >> just so we're clear. in all of your experience, both law enforcement involved shootings and nonlaw enforcement involved shootings, are there policies or best practices that you're aware of as to any delay period or time concerns about interviewing shooters? >> best practices -- you want me to tell you what the best practices are? >> yes. >> my experience has been any kind of delay, you get a generalized statement at the beginning, overview statement, nothing in depth and then you wait. generally speaking in the law enforcement world you have attorneys and pba reps that immediately come in. that's the general practice they come in and are present during
any subsequent statement that is made. >> are there any suggested delays or waiting periods after the event before the law enforcement officer is set for an in-depth evaluation or interview. >> training regimens indicate, the trainings that i've conducted and been to is every time we teach a class, when you teach classes on force you have to always talk to them about unfortunately ultimately the use of deadly force. and we always explain to them that, you know, remember, you're not going to remember everything. you could take up to 72 hours before you remember everything. and we always caution law enforcement because they have a high probability of being involved in a conflict like that. we provide them with that guidance right up front because we don't want anyone to misinterpret any statements. so best practice is always to delay the statement itself. >> does delaying it tend to then give greater accuracy to the statement when it's eventually given?
>> yes. >> objection, your honor, outside his expertise. >> i'll rephrase it. >> in your experience and in those situations where you've been involved assisting the department that you've assisted in use of force events, both as a law enforcement officer and also now as a consultant into an expert witness, in using that as an experience base, have you -- do you have an opinion concerning whether or not a delay allowing what you talked about to occur and pass results in more accurate and complete statements? >> it's my opinion that you'll get a better statement from someone. >> i'm close to being done. i'll ask for a few minutes. didn't know if this was a good time for our morning break. >> did you need a break? ladies and gentlemen? i'll still ask for a minute.
>> we're taking a little break in this trial. i think mark o'mara and defense team would like to wrap up their part of the case today at some point. we'll see what's next. let's take a quick break and we'll be right back. excuse me, sir i'm gonna have to ask you to power down your little word game. i think your friends will understand. oh...no, it's actually my geico app...see? ...i just uh paid my bill. did you really? from the plane? yeah, i can manage my policy, get roadside assistance, pretty much access geico 24/7. sounds a little too good to be true sir. i'll believe that when pigs fly. ok, did she seriously just say that? geico. just a click away with our free mobile app. - hugs from beneful baked delights... - [ barks ]rs ] are crispy, oven-baked dog snacks with soft savory centers, made with beef and cheese. beneful baked delights:
a private investigator testifying now on behalf of the defense, mark o'mara continuing questioning. they're talking about the safety of the firearm that george zimmerman used to shoot and kill trayvon martin. >> consider a firearm for personal safety is under high stress events your brain is not going to remember without a tremendous amount of constant and ongoing training, your brain is not going to remember that you have to flip the safety up before you can utilize the firearm. because under stress you'll do what you did at the range, discharge it. having those external safeties as a safety person myself, they don't -- they actually create a problem. this particular weapon being double action only, there's no hammer to come back and go forward but the trigger pull of five pounds or greater means that you have to intentionally put your finger on the trigger to press it all the way to the rear. it has an internal -- hammer
block safety and only way to defeat a hammer block safety on any firearm is hold and press the trigger all the way to the rear. in and of themselves, a lot of people misconstrue because there's no external safety it's not a safe firearm. that's not accurate. a firearm is as safe as the person holding it. as long as you're not putting your finger on the trigger and squeezing it, it can be a safe weapon. there's a variety of weapons that are manufactured. this particular weapon does have an internal safety, the hammer block safety. but it also has, at least from my understanding, i have not examined this particular firearm but the pf-9 has a five-pound trigger, a good strandard trigger pull. it makes it hard enough not to get hung up on clothing but hard enough that you don't have to have super grip. >> if there was testimony that the hammer pull was 4 1/2 to 4
3/4 pound, is that a safe range. >> yes, sir. if you look at the manufacturers they say it comes with a specific 5 pound trigger. how they're achieving their numbers, that's beyond my scope for that. >> there's testimony concerning an internal holster for a concealed weapon. is that in any way an unsafe way to handle or to carry a weapon? >> carrying an internal -- the idea behind a concealed weapons permit is you have to keep it concealed. anytime you take a weapon and put it on the outside of your belt line, that's something a shirt has to cover or a jacket has to cover, it makes it more difficult. the most common things you can find are called in-pant holsters where they slide inside the pants themselves, hook around the belt line. some have a clip that hook on to the pants. the idea is it makes it easier to conceal so you don't have to have a jacket.
you can do it with just a pullover shirt or something to that effect. it doesn't make it an unsafe holster or anything like that. it's a preference issue. >> if in your firearm training when you trained both officers and nonofficers, is it safe or unsafe to have a round chamber i guess is the word? you use your word. is that the way you should or should not have a gun? >> this is like one of those debates from old. having a round in the chamber means you candice charge the firearm immediately. not having a round in the chamber means in a high-stress event you need to remember to work the action on the slide, let it go so that it will feed a round. we go back to the concept of why you don't have external safeties on on a firearm. any stress, under any type of
actual threat you may not have the time to work it and more importantly you may not have the memory that i have to load a round into the chamber. carrying it -- magazine full and one in the chamber is the best way to carry the firearm. if you're caring it for self-defense, self-protection, you have the equivalent of an unloaded weapon when you have a weapon that hasn't been quote, unquote charge. you take a magazine and stick it inside a firearm, people will tell you you've loaded the gun. that's not exactly completely accurate. you have loaded the magazine and placed it in the weapon but you have not charged it. it is not actually loaded. loaded would indicate you pull the trigger and something would happen. if it's allowed to fall forward, it's falling on empty space, now you have to work action of the weapon to get it to work. carrying it without a round in the chamber, why carry it. >> and you mentioned a moment
ago one in the chamber and a full magazine. is it appropriate or inappropriate to load it in the chamber and then put the additional bullet that's now been taken out of the magazine back into the magazine so you have a full magazine? >> again, my training and all my experience and what i train people to do is if you're carrying a firearm and it will hold seven rounds in a magazine and one in the chamber or hold 15 in the magazine and one, whatever it will do, load the chamber and make sure the magazine is fully loaded. >> are the bullets themselves that were in the gun, which are hollow point bullets, do you have experience with those? >> i have experience with the ammunition. i'm not a bliallistics expert. >> is the hollow point bullet an
appropriate self-defense bullet to carry. >> yes. you see the big point at the top of the bullet. the problem with that is, there's a good chance it won't, what we call, mushroom. when a bullet impacts soft tissue, its design is so widen out to create a better wound channel but the more important thing, it stops inside the soft tissues. sometimes it exits, sometimes it doesn't. the idea behind the hollow point is there's a center cavity that when it hits helps it widen out which means it's less likely to overpenetrate or exit a person. where as a round nose round or a wad cutter, a variety of other ammunitions because they're solid nose when they hit, depending on how close they are, the energy is still going. it may actually exit which means as a self-defense weapon your goal is just to deal hopefully with one person and otherwise with the wrong ammunition it could go through and now you have to worry about your
background being struck by the round you fired. >> so in a very strange way, is the use of a hollow point bullet, though, it will cause injury to the first person it hits less likely to cause injury to somebody behind the initial target? >> yes, because it's less likely to exit the first person it impacts. >> thank you very much. no further questions. >> thank you. cross. >> thank you. >> mr. root, good morning. >> good morning, sir. >> did i hear you to say that your opinion is because the defendant discharged his firearm a single time, that doesn't evidence to you ill will, hatred, spite or evil intent? >> correct. >> okay. did you have an opportunity to listen to the nonemergency call
he made just moments before discharging his firearm? >> yes. >> did you hear him refer to the person he ended up shooting, trayvon martin, as an asshole? >> i do know that, yes. >> so the term -- >> i think that people like to give too much weight. if you look at it in the con e text in which it was stated, his reference in that statement was addressing his -- clearly addressing his frustration from previous calls in which the individuals got away.