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Former Orlando News Anchor Defends Trayvon’s Shooter

In Florida, NBC, Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne on March 29, 2012 at 9:45 am

Joe Oliver appearing on CNN Tuesday

Joe Oliver, who viewers in Orlando may remember as a former WESH anchor, has been speaking out to national and cable news organizations about the Trayvon Martin shooting incident.

Oliver, who worked at the Orlando NBC affiliate from 2004-2007, said he was not playing the role of “George [Zimmerman’s] black friend” in this case.

He told CNN he volunteered to help Zimmerman because Oliver has experience in the media and knew what the man would be up against.

“This was not a racial incident,” Oliver said during the interview. “This was an incident of a good man trying to do the right thing.”

Oliver said he believed Zimmerman was acting in the neighborhood’s best interests, something “every other watch captain would have done, call for help.”

He also stated Zimmerman was actually heading back to his vehicle before allegedly being attacked and threatened.

“When you go back and listen to he conversation with the dispatcher, his response when they told him that he didn’t have to follow him, he said, ‘Okay,’ [in agreement.]”

That interview took place Tuesday. The next day, Oliver appeared on MSNBC’s The Last Word, where he backed away from his “close friend” description.

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“I’m being described as a close friend because I’m the only one speaking out for him, but my relationship with George is more of an older uncle.”

Oliver’s position has continued to be more or less a “gut feeling” he has about Zimmerman that makes him believe the man has not committed a hate crime, but one of self-defense.

“What I’m trying to point out is that George Zimmerman is not a racist,” Oliver told Lawrence O’Donnell.

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