Where’s the blood? — It looks like Frank Taffe fibbed
Even broken clocks are right twice a day.
Some folks may remember Frank Taaffe’s interview with Nancy Grace back on April 10, where Grace badgered Taffe regarding the lack of blood visible on George Zimmerman’s shirt in the police surveillance tape of Zimmerman arriving at the SPD garage. Taaffe argued that the reason no blood appears on Zimmerman’s shirt is because Zimmeman’s jacket was zipped up during the fight. Grace went on and on attacking Taaffe on the grounds that the surveillance video shows the jacket unzipped, as if the possibility that Zimmerman jacket might have been unzipped AFTER the struggle (say, by an officer frisking him) was simply beyond her comprehension.
Well, Nancy Grace being the person of upstanding integrity she is (cough, cough), it’s no real surprise that the existing clips of that interview on the HLN website and on YouTube have that portion of the interview rather severely edited down. But a transcript of the original broadcast survives. Here’s the relevant section:
GRACE: All right. OK, Taaffe, jump in.
TAAFFE: Thank you, Nancy. I missed you. I`m glad to be back.
Nancy, I spoke with George, and what`s compelling of all this is the police report. You shared with me on the phone to stick to the narrative. The officer that was on the scene — if everyone would just take two minutes out and get a copy of it and read it, there are three very critical lines.
In it, he states that — the officer states, not George, the officer – – that he was within close contact with Mr. Zimmerman that night. It doesn`t mean he was afar. It was close contact, where he observed the bloody nose, the bloody back of his head and the wet…
GRACE: Oh, I`m glad…
TAAFFE: … pants on his back…
GRACE: … you said that, Taaffe, because I`m looking at the enhanced video, and if there was a bloody nose — show it, Liz, the enhanced video – – I see a perfectly clean…
TAAFFE: His jacket was zipped up. Thank you. I want to address that. His jacket was zipped up.
GRACE: No, his jacket is not zipped up…
TAAFFE: I`m glad you brought that up.
GRACE: … when he walks into the station.
GRACE: Liz, show…
TAAFFE: They patted him down.
GRACE: … me the video of him walking in the station. His shirt is clean.
GRACE: …OK, Taaffe, you went on and on…
TAAFFE: Yes, ma`am.
GRACE: … to tell me something very important is in the police report. Let me just get you to tell me in a nutshell.
GRACE: And let me — whoa! Liz, give me the video in full. I want to see the T-shirt. There. There`s the video you were just showing, that you just cut off of him walking — yes, OK, back it up.
TAAFFE: Nancy — Nancy…
GRACE: All right, what`s so important…
TAAFFE: Nancy (INAUDIBLE)
GRACE: … in this police report?
TAAFFE: Nancy, when he left his vehicle to continue his surveillance of Trayvon, he got out of the car…
GRACE: Whoa! There it goes…
TAAFFE: … and zipped up his jacket — he zipped up his jacket because it was “F-ing cold” that night, according to what your CNN producer said.
GRACE: Look, look, look, look, look, look! Right there! There`s no blood on his shirt!
TAAFFE: It was zipped up.
GRACE: You just said he had — it`s unzipped!
TAAFFE: Nancy, when they patted him down, they have to look inside his coat. They don`t pat you down with your coat zipped up. That`s procedure.
GRACE: The shirt`s not bloody.
TAAFFE: It`s on the outside of his jacket. It was zipped up. It wouldn`t be on the inside.
In this exchange Grace comes off as a ludicrous buffoon, completely ignoring the very reasonable case Taaffe was making. If Zimmerman had had his jacket zipped while fighting with Trayvon Martin, and blood from the injury to his ‘possibly’ broken nose would indeed have likely landed on the front of his red jacket, rather than on the light blue-gray t-shirt he was wearing underneath. At the poor resolution of the surveillance video, “enhanced” or not, one would expect to see blood stains show up against the background of a blue-gray T-shirt, but not against the background of a red jacket. (The whole “enhancment” business is a bunch of BS, but that’s for another post.)
But it seems Zimmerman forgot to tell Taaffe that on the evening of 2/26/2012, he was not only recorded by surveillance cameras, but a great many photos of him were taken with a digital still camera. Photos clear enough to show a significant blood-stain on just about anything. And here’s what George Zimmerman’s shirt and jacket looked like:
No visible blood on the shirt. No visible blood on the jacket. The EMTs treated Zimmerman’s wounds, but I highly doubt they cleaned his jacket, removing evidence.
GRACE: Look, look, look, look, look, look! Right there! There`s no blood on his shirt!…
TAAFFE: It`s on the outside of his jacket.
Except, it’s not. Not that you can see, anyway. However, the prosecution document dump of May 17 did contain the DNA lab analyses of Zimmerman’s jacket and shirt. The lab found fourteen blood spots on the t-shirt, all belonging to George Zimmerman. The lab found 17 spots of blood on Zimmerman’s jacket. Two could not be identified, 14 belonged to George Zimmerman, and one was mostly Zimmerman’s blood with a bit of Trayvon Martin’s mixed in. The lab report does not say where on the garments these spots were found, nor what size they were. Some of these spots are undoubtedly on the back collars of the garments, since we have seen the photo of blood dripping down the back of Zimmerman’s head.
There is even what appears to be a decent sized blood stain on the inside right of the jacket collar. So, yeah blood can actually show up in a photo at this resolution. Now if Zimmerman had his jacket zipped up during his struggle with Martin, we would certainly expect to find a lot more blood spots on the jacket than on the shirt. That’s not what the lab found. If the jacket was zipped-up, why are there 14 blood marks on the t-shirt? If they all came from the wounds to the back of the head, then the 17 blood marks on the jacket would likely be from the back-of-the-head as well.
So, woot, there it is. Frank Taaffe claimed on national TV that George Zimmerman’s nose was wounded to the point where it bled profusely, and the reason no blood can be seen on Zimmerman’s t-shirt is because that blood landed on Zimmerman’s zipped up jacket. A clear photo of the jacket taken that evening shows no visible blood marks on the front. It would seem George Zimmerman isn’t the only one with a credibility problem.