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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Zimmerman wasn’t given order by dispatcher

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I agree with everything professor Karen L. Bune writes in her letter, with one important exception ("Zimmerman trial outrage," Wednesday).

Ms. Bune writes, "Certainly Mr. Zimmerman made a tremendous mistake in not obeying the dispatcher's order to remain in his vehicle until police arrived." Unfortunately, this is another piece of distorted information. Every transcript of the 911 call that I can find transcribes the conversation between the emergency dispatcher and Mr. Zimmerman the following way: The dispatcher asks, "Are you following him?" Mr. Zimmerman responds, "Yeah," to which the dispatcher says, "OK, we don't need you to do that." No other discussion concerning Mr. Zimmerman's behavior occurs.

Telling someone "We don't need you to do that" is not an order to stop following or remain in the car. Not needing something is not an explicit request for someone to stop doing an action. Many people have used the dispatcher's "order" to Mr. Zimmerman to stop following Trayvon Martin as proof of Mr. Zimmerman's recklessness.

The fact that the dispatcher's words are framed as an order in the press is what is reckless here. We need to find the facts, base our national dialogue on those and stop their negligent distortion in order to advance some cultural agenda.


Huntingtown, Md.

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