Thursday, March 22, 2018

Witnesses take the stand in the Noor Slaman trial

 There is some sensitive content and disturbing details included within. If you feel you may be affected, please do not read this post.

The afternoon session of court consisted of a series of very fast testimonies from witnesses for the State. Noor Slaman stands accused of aiding and abetting her husband Omar Mateen in the Pulse massacre and lying to FBI agents.  Bobby Rodriguez took the stand just after lunch. Ironically Bobby had held the door open for me at Super Rico, the Colombian restaurant I went to down the street from the courthouse just moments before. She recounted the horrifying experience of trying to survive in the bathroom at Pulse with Mateen, the gunman also inside. Bobby and Orlando Torres were in a stall together and they both crouched on top of a toilet so that the gunman could not see their feet. Someone who was shot crawled under the stall divider from the more crowded stall next to them. That person ended up dying and Bobby survived the three hour ordeal by hiding under the body.

Jessica Brooks was working as a dispatcher on the evening of the Pulse Nightclub attack. Her eyes filled with tears when the prosecutors played the audio of her interaction with Omar Mateen that night.

Jessica: Emergency 911 this call is being recorded.
Mateen: This is Mateen.
Jessica: What?

Mateen: (Foreign Language) I want to let you know, I am in Orlando and I did the shootings.
Jessica: What's your name?
Mateen: My name is, I pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi of the Islamic State.
Matthew Gentili who works for Channel 13 News got a similar call on the evening of June 12, 2016. The gunman called and pledged allegiance to ISIS.

Mateen: Do you know about the shooting?
Matthew: Yes, I’m getting calls, I am hearing reports of a shooting. …
The man cut him off.
Mateen: I’m the shooter. It’s me, I am the shooter.
The caller then said he had carried out the Pulse attack for the Islamic State and began speaking quickly in a foreign language.
Matthew: Sir. Please. Speak in English, please.
Mateen: I did it for ISIS, I did it for the Islamic State.
Matthew: What is your location?
Mateen: None of your [expletive] business.
The line went silent...
Matthew: Is there anything else you want to say?'
Mateen: No.

Andrew Brennan was a police negotiator who spoke to Omar Mateen on the night of the Pulse Nightclub attack. Sunday June 12, 2016. The time 2:48 a.m.

Brennan: 0247.
Mateen: Hello.
Brennan: Hello, there. Hi there, this is Orlando Police. Who am I speaking with, please?
Mateen: You're speaking to the person who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of (unidentified name).
Brennan: Can you tell me where you are right now so I can you get some help?
Mateen: No. Because you have to tell America to stop bombing Syria and Iraq. They are killing a lot of innocent people. What am I to do here when my people are getting killed over there. You get what I'm saying?
Brennan: I do. I completely get what you're saying. What I'm trying to do is prevent anybody else from getting --
Mateen: You need to stop the U.S. air strikes. They need to stop the U.S. air strikes, okay?
Brennan: I understand.
Mateen: They need to stop the U.S. air strikes. You have to tell the U.S. government to stop bombing. They are killing too many children, they are killing too many women, okay?
Brennan: I understand that. Here is why I'm here right now. I'm with the Orlando police. Can you tell me what you know about what's going on tonight?
Mateen: What's going on is that I feel the pain of the people getting killed in Syria and Iraq and all over the Muslim (unidentified word).
Brennan: Okay. So have you done something about that?
Mateen: Yes, I have.
Brennan: Tell me what you did, please.
Mateen: You already know what I did.
Brennan: Look, I'm trying to figure out how to keep you safe and how to get this resolved peacefully because I'm not a politician, I'm not a government. All I can do is help individuals and I want to start with helping you.
Mateen: By the way, there is some vehicles outside that have some bombs just to let you know. Your people are going to get it and I'm going to ignite it if they try to do anything stupid.
Brennan: Okay. I understand that and I'll pass that along. Can you tell me what vehicle? Because I don't want to see anybody get hurt.
Mateen: No. But I'll tell you this, they can take out a whole city block almost.
Brennan: I understand that. Tell me, in the club do you have any injured people with you that you brought with you?
Mateen: I'm not -- I'm not letting you know nothing.
Brennan: I'm trying to offer you help.
Mateen: Well, you need to know that they need to stop bombing Syria and Iraq. The U.S. is collaborating with Russia and they are killing innocent women and children, okay?
Brennan: I hear what you're saying.
Mateen: My homeboy Tamerlan Tsarnaev did his thing on the Boston Marathon, my homeboy (unidentified name) did his thing, okay, so now it's my turn, okay?
Brennan: Okay. Let's start. My name is Andy. What's yours?
Mateen: My name is Islamic soldier, okay?
Brennan: Okay. What can I call you?
Mateen: Call me Mujahideen, call me the Soldier of the God.
Brennan: Okay. Okay. So that's a lot for me to say, so can I just -- can I just call you something else? Do you have a name, a nickname?
Mateen:  Just to let you know --
Brennan: I'm here. I'm listening. I'm here, I'm listening.
Mateen:  It's the last month of Ramadan if you even know about that.
Brennan: Yes, I do. I understand.
Mateen:  I fasted the whole day today. I fasted the whole day and I prayed.
Brennan: I understand that. Okay. What I'm trying to do is make sure that you and no one else suffers any further injury, okay? I can help you.
Mateen:  I have a vest.
Brennan: Okay. You have a vest. I understand that. Okay. And so what kind of vest are you talking about? Is it a bullet-resistant vest? Is it a bomb vest?
Mateen:  No. It's what they used in France.
Brennan: It's what they used in France.
Mateen: I got to go.
Brennan: Well, I'd like you to stay on the phone with me please, okay? Are you there? Please stay on the phone with me so I can help pass along your concerns.
Mateen: If you bring the bomb dog they are not going to smell shit.
Brennan: Well, I understand that.
Mateen: You can't smell it. Bring your little American bomb dog, they are fucking outdated anyway.
Brennan: Well, tell me, I presume from what you're saying you're wearing a bomb vest?
Mateen: No.
Brennan: Well, you said you're wearing a vest.
Mateen: No, I'm not.
Brennan: So what are you wearing?
Mateen: Yeah, like, you know, to go out to go out to a wedding.
Brennan: Okay. I'm not trying to joke with you, I'm trying to be serious and get this peacefully resolved. Okay? So are you wearing a bomb vest? Okay. What can I call you? Let's go back to that. Let start with that. Okay. I understand you're a soldier, I understand you're an Isis, I understand you're Mujahideen and you pledge your allegiance to someone whose name I can't pronounce. I apologize for that, okay? Can you start with that? Are you an American citizen? Are you a local citizen? Are you a resident of Orlando? Hello? Are you there? I'm right here. You need to talk to me. You have to talk to me. I'm still here. Are you there? Talk to me please. Are you there? Sir, are you there? We need to talk. We need to try to resolve this peacefully. I don't want to see you or anybody else get injured. Please help us. So you say there's a vehicle outside with a bomb. Is there more than one vehicle? Are there other shooters? Tell me what's going on, please. Tell me what's going on. I'm here. I'm listening. I'm here, I'm listening.

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