Trayvon Martin facts vs. rumors

The Trayvon Martin case has generated hundreds of news accounts, scores of speeches, millions of online messages, discussions and tweets — and a good bit of misinformation. Here are some of the recurring items:

Trayvon was trying to defend himself against a man who outweighed him by 100 pounds.

Outweighed, yes. By 100 pounds, no. George Zimmerman, the Neighborhood Watch volunteer who says he killed Trayvon in self-defense, outweighed him by 30 or 40 pounds, according to family members. A Sanford police incident report says Trayvon was 6 feet tall and weighed 160 pounds. A spokesman for the family's lawyers gave a slightly different set of numbers: 6 feet 1 and 150 pounds. Zimmerman is 5 feet 9 inches tall, according to the police report, but it is silent about his weight. A family member says he currently weighs about 190 pounds. Zimmerman used to be far heavier. A 2005 police report put his weight at 250 pounds, but security-camera video released last week by Sanford police show him to be much trimmer.

The U.S. Department of Justice is conducting a broad investigation into civil-rights abuses by the Sanford Police Department in the Trayvon Martin case and for years of past abuse.

Not so. Since Trayvon's death Feb. 26, the NAACP and others have alleged widespread and long-standing civil-rights abuses by the department and asked for a broad investigation. But last week, DOJ spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa and FBI spokesman Dave Couvertier told the Los Angeles Times that there's only one civil-rights investigation under way: whether Zimmerman violated Trayvon's rights when he shot him.

Trayvon had no business walking through the gated community where he was shot and should not have been out at 3 a.m.

Trayvon was where he was supposed to be. He and his father were visiting his father's fiancée, who lives in the gated community. Trayvon had walked to a 7-Eleven and was returning to her townhouse shortly after 7:15 p.m. when he was shot. He was not out at 3 a.m.

The reason George Zimmerman was not arrested is because his father is a former judge who pulled some strings.

Zimmerman's father, 64-year-old Robert Zimmerman of Lake Mary, is a retired magistrate from Virginia. He told WOFL-Channel 35 last week that no one involved in the investigation knew about his former job, and he didn't tell them. Magistrates in Virginia are not full-blown judges. They used to be called justices of the peace. They have limited authority and conduct no trials. Some are not lawyers. They typically issue arrest warrants, search warrants and set bail.

Trayvon Martin was shot in the back of the head.

The Rev. Jesse Jacksongot that wrong at a rally in Eatonville on March 25. Trayvon was shot once in the chest at close range.

rstutzman@tribune.com or 407-650-6394