George Zimmerman told Sanford, Fla., police that Trayvon Martin punched him, knocked him down and slammed his head into the pavement repeatedly before he shot and killed the teen Feb. 26. Rallies continued around the country Monday to demand justice in the case.

The account of neighborhood watch volunteer Zimmerman, was published for the first time Monday in the online edition of the Orlando Sentinel, Reuters reported.

Sanford police confirmed that the newspaper report appeared to be based on leaked information from someone inside the police department.

The information in the article is consistent with the information provided to the State Attorney's office by the police department, the police said in a statement.

Both of Martin's parents will be in Washington on Tuesday, attending a House Judiciary Committee meeting with Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, the congresswoman's office said.

Zimmerman, a 28-year-old white Hispanic, has been widely criticized for following Martin, 17, who was African American, and ignoring a police request that he stop doing so after calling the 911 emergency number to report that the young man in a hoodie sweatshirt looked to be up to no good.

But in his version of events, as outlined in the Sentinel report, Zimmerman had given up the chase and was walking back to his sport utility vehicle when Martin approached him from behind.

The two exchanged words before Martin punched the burly Zimmerman in the nose, sending him reeling to the ground, he said. The teenager then allegedly began pummeling him and slammed his head into the sidewalk several times.

At least one witness told police he saw Martin on top of Zimmerman who was calling for help, the Sentinel said. It noted, however, that other witnesses had disputed from whom the cries were coming.

ABC News quoted a police source as saying that Zimmerman, in a written statement, claimed that Martin also tried to take his gun before the shot was fired.

Zimmerman's attorney has said his client acted in self-defense. He hasn't been arrested and Florida's Stand Your Ground law, which broadened the legal definition of self-defense when it was passed in 2005, provides people with immunity from detention or arrest if they use deadly force in their own defense without clear evidence of malice.

In more than dozen of cities from Atlanta to San Francisco Monday, demonstrators wore hooded sweatshirts and carried Skittles candy -- just like Martin had, on the night he was killed, CNN reported.

In Sanford, a regularly scheduled city commission meeting turned into a forum focused on the Martin case. Near its start, the Rev. Al Sharpton presented a petition that he said had been signed by 2 million people calling for Zimmerman's arrest.

He was one of several speakers who called for answers and accountability for police officers who they felt bungled the case by not testing Zimmerman for alcohol and drug levels and not doing a background check on him -- even though they did both for the victim.

The Sanford police department needs to be held accountable, said an emotional Tracy Martin, Trayvon's father.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson compared city leaders to Pontius Pilate for failing to arrest Zimmerman, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Pilate, Jackson said, was just as guilty as those who held the hammer and the nail.

Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League, compared the case to the notorious 1955 lynching of Emmett Till, in Mississippi, which catalyzed the midcentury civil rights movement. We will not rest, we will not stop, until there is justice for Trayvon Martin, he said.

Sharpton warned that sleepy Sanford, on the shores of Lake Monroe just north of Orlando, was flirting with worldwide infamy.

Sanford is a beautiful city, Sharpton told the commission, but you are risking going down as the Birmingham and Selma of the 21st century.

Whatever happened on that rainy evening in Sanford, it came as Martin returned from a convenience store carrying a bag of Skittles candy and a can of Arizona iced tea.

Florida law enforcement has been under fire for weeks as protests decrying inaction in the case have spread to cities across the country.

More than 2 million people have signed an online petition calling for justice in the case, prompting Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Monday to caution against a rush to judgment and say state authorities were still gathering facts.

Justice will prevail, Scott said in an interview with Reuters Insider in New York. That's what we all want. We want the ... facts and we want to know that justice happens.

Martin, a Miami high school student, was in Sanford, staying at the home of a friend of his father, because he had been suspended from school shortly before his death.

On Monday, a family spokesman said the 10-day suspension came after school officials discovered marijuana residue in a plastic bag inside Martin's book bag.

Regardless of Trayvon's suspension, it had nothing to do with what happened on Feb. 26, Ryan Julison, the family spokesman, told reporters.

Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton, suggested in comments at a news conference that the marijuana residue report was aimed at smearing her dead child.

They've killed my son and now they're trying to kill his reputation, she said.

Sharpton said Martin was being demonized to divert attention from Zimmerman's actions.

I said to the parents, as much as they were hurting, they will try to make your son a junkie, a thief, an assaulter and everything else before this is all over because they've done it in every case we've fought, Sharpton said before entering a town hall meeting at the Sanford Civic Center on Monday.

Martin's father said he wasn't seeking revenge.

We're not asking for an eye for an eye. We're asking for justice, justice, justice, he said at the meeting.

Sanford City Commissioner Mark McCarty was taken to a hospital before the meeting began, apparently suffering from heart problems. McCarty, who has had heart problems in the past, successfully pushed last week for the no confidence vote that prompted Sanford's police chief to temporarily step down.