NBC had aired altered tape that made it appear that Trayvon Martin’s shooter could have been racially motivated
NBC News has apologized for editing the 911 call that Trayvon Martin shooter George Zimmerman made to police on the night of Martin's death, saying it deeply regrets airing the altered version of the tape.
NBC News said that it realized that it was in error following its investigation of the broadcast.
"During our investigation it became evident that there was an error made in the production process that we deeply regret," the network said in a statement provided to TheWrap. "We will be taking the necessary steps to prevent this from happening in the future and apologize to our viewers."
"Today" aired the tape on March 27, altering it in such a way that could suggest Zimmerman — a neighborhood watch member in his Florida neighborhood — was racially motivated in the shooting.
"'This guy looks like he's up to no good … he looks black," the edited version of the tape presented Zimmerman as saying.
However, the full transcript of the 911 calls reveals a crucial bit of excised dialogue between Zimmerman and the police dispatcher.
"This guy looks like he's up to no good. Or he's on drugs or something. It's raining and he's just walking around, looking about," Zimmerman said during the 911 call, according to the transcript.
The officer speaking to Zimmerman then asked, "OK, and this guy — is he black, white or Hispanic?"
To which Zimmerman responded, "He looks black."
After news of the editing broke, NBC opened an internal probe.
Martin, 17, was fatally shot by Zimmerman on Feb. 27 after buying Skittles and a soft drink at a convenience store. He was unarmed. Zimmerman, who has not been arrested in the matter, claimed that he acted in self-defense after Martin physically attacked him.
Since news of the shooting became widespread in March, it has provoked strong reactions in the media and among the public. Some have suggested that Zimmerman might have acted partially out of racism when he shot Martin, who is black.
During an appearance on "Fox & Friends," meanwhile, Geraldo Rivera blamed the fact that Martin was wearing a hooded sweatshirt at the time of his shooting, a stance for which he has subsequently apologized.