The neighbourhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman's claim that he was viciously assaulted by Trayvon Martin, the unarmed teenager he shot in Florida five weeks ago, was cast into doubt yesterday as a film of Mr Zimmerman being taken to a police station showed no signs of blood or injury.
The video footage, obtained by ABC News, seemed to undercut the statement Mr Zimmerman gave officers after he killed Trayvon, 17, on 26 February. He said he suffered a broken nose when he was jumped by the teenager, punched in the face and pushed to the ground.
The Martin family's lawyer, Benjamin Crump, seized on the video of Mr Zimmerman walking unaided into the police station in Sanford, Florida. "This certainly doesn't look like a man who police said had his nose broken and his head repeatedly smashed into the [pavement]," he said.
The case has triggered mass protests across the US amid allegations that Mr Zimmerman, a white Hispanic, has eluded arrest because of racial bias. "The Sanford police department and the state attorney have conspired to sweep the death of Trayvon Martin under the rug," Mr Crump added.
According to a report in The Miami Herald, the Sanford police department did in fact recommend charging Mr Zimmerman on the night of the killing but was turned down by the prosecutor's office, which wanted more evidence before proceeding.