Skip to comments.Zimmerman-Martin 031912.docx (City Manager Statement)
Posted on 03/22/2012 8:17:42 PM PDT by marktwain
There has been a lot of media attention to the recent incident where George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin. This is indeed a tragic situation and has caused a flood of questions and strong emotions from within our community, the region and nation. On behalf of the employees of the City of Sanford, Our deepest sympathy and prayers go out to the family and friends of Trayvon Martin. As a father, I can only image the pain Trayvons family must be going though. In an effort to continue to be as responsive as possible to the public seeking information on the incident, I have asked Chief Lee to provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding this matter. Below are his responses. Please understand that since this is still an ongoing investigation, the Police Department is limited in what information it can publicly release.
The City of Sanford is committed to insuring that justice is served and, therefore, the City of Sanford has contacted the United States Attorney Generals Office for assistance in this matter.
The men and women of the Sanford Police Department extend our heartfelt sympathies to the Martin family. This is indeed a tragic situation. The death of anyone due to violence, especially a 17 year old young man, is morally appalling. As this incident has generated a lot of media attention, we wanted to provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.
Why was George Zimmerman not arrested the night of the shooting?
When the Sanford Police Department arrived at the scene of the incident, Mr. Zimmerman provided a statement claiming he acted in self defense which at the time was supported by physical evidence and testimony. By Florida Statute, law enforcement was PROHIBITED from making an arrest based on the facts and circumstances they had at the time. Additionally, when any police officer makes an arrest for any reason, the officer MUST swear and affirm that he/she is making the arrest in good faith and with probable cause. If the arrest is done maliciously and in bad faith, the officer and the City may be held liable.
According to Florida Statute 776.032 : 776.032 Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action for justifiable use of force.
(1) A person who uses force as permitted in s. 776.012, s. 776.013, or s. 776.031 is justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force, unless the person against whom force was used is a law enforcement officer, as defined in s. 943.10(14), who was acting in the performance of his or her official duties and the officer identified himself or herself in accordance with any applicable law or the person using force knew or reasonably should have known that the person was a law enforcement officer. As used in this subsection, the term criminal prosecution includes arresting, detaining in custody, and charging or prosecuting the defendant.
(2) A law enforcement agency may use standard procedures for investigating the use of force as described in subsection (1), but the agency may not arrest the person for using force unless it determines that there is probable cause that the force that was used was unlawful.
Why werent the 911 tapes initially released?
There are exemptions to the public records laws for active criminal intelligence and for ongoing investigations. In this instance, the 911 calls made by neighbors in the subdivision, and the non- emergency call made by Mr. Zimmerman are all key to the investigation by Sanford Police Department. In consultation with the Office of the State Attorney, the Sanford police department had decided not to release the audio recordings of the 911 calls due to the ongoing investigation. Many times, specific information is contained in those recordings which is vital to the integrity of the investigation. At the time, it was determined that if revealed, the information may compromise the integrity of the investigation prior to its completion. The 911 tapes have since been released.
Why did Mr. Zimmerman have a firearm in his possession while acting in the role of a neighborhood watch member?
Mr. Zimmerman holds a concealed weapon permit issued from the State of Florida. He is authorized to carry the weapon in a concealed manner wherever Florida Statute dictates. Neighborhood Watch programs are designed for members of a neighborhood to be eyes and ears for police and to watch out for their neighbors. They are not members of the Police Department nor are they vigilantes. Training provided by law enforcement agencies to Neighborhood Watch organizations stresses non-contact surveillance of suspicious situations and notifying police of those situations so that law enforcement can respond and take control of the situation.
Mr. Zimmerman was not acting outside the legal boundaries of Florida Statute by carrying his weapon when this incident occurred. He was in fact on a personal errand in his vehicle when he observed Mr. Martin in the community and called the Sanford Police Department.
If Zimmerman was told not to continue to follow Trayvon, can that be considered in this investigation?
Yes it will; however, the telecommunications call taker asked Zimmerman are you following him. Zimmerman replied, yes. The call taker stated you dont need to do that. The call takers suggestion is not a lawful order that Mr. Zimmerman would be required to follow. Zimmermans statement was that he had lost sight of Trayvon and was returning to his truck to meet the police officer when he says he was attacked by Trayvon.
Why was George Zimmerman labeled as squeaky clean when in fact he has a prior arrest history?
In one of the initial meetings with the father of the victim the investigator related to him the account that Mr. Zimmerman provided of the incident. At that time the investigator said that Mr. Zimmerman portrayed himself to be squeaky clean. We are aware of the background information regarding both individuals involved in this event. We believe Mr. Martin may have misconstrued this information. What about media reenactments of the shooting incident? Any media reenactments of the shooting incident are purely speculation. To date the Sanford Police Department has not released any rendition of the events of the evening to anyone other than the Office of the State Attorney. The renditions we have seen are not consistent with the evidence in this case.
The Sanford Police Department has conducted a complete and fair investigation of this incident. We have provided the results of our investigation to the Office of the State Attorney for their review and consideration for possible criminal prosecution.
Although the Police Department is the target of the troubling questions, let me assure you we too feel the pain of this senseless tragedy that has dramatically affected our community. Therefore, as we move forward and strive to answer the questions that are a point of controversy in the community, we ask for your patience, understanding and assistance in getting the correct information to the community.
Norton N. Bonaparte, Jr., ICMA-CM City Manager March 19, 2012
Okay. I see why maybe Zimmerman was nervous.
A name of color? what color is trayvon? Never heard of it.
No one thinks it’s ok to kill a kid just because of how he looks.
It is ok to kill a kid if he is sitting on your chest beating the hell out of you...
Has zero to do with what he looks like though.
Kiss My Royal Irish A$$
Hello newbie. Color me suspicious. Pun intended.
The death of anyone due to violence, especially a 17 year old young man, is morally appalling
This assumes this was an innocent young man. There are MANY teenagers across this country who are up to no good. It is not a tragedy when ANYONE is killed. Sometimes it is necessary to protect the innocent.
A friend got it off his FaceBook page.
You’re a noob and a troll. “Racial profiling”? What kind of garbage is that? Martin was on top of Zimmerman beating him. You think Zimmerman should have just sacrificed himself?
And since the leftist media is showing only photos of Martin was he was several years younger, I think it’s in the interest of truth that photos of how he looked very recently to make it into the public eye.
Everyone is a person of color, unless they’re transparent...
you still dont get it. not every picture of every victim or perp in any situation is going to be one taken within the last few months or go.
maybe, just maybe they use those pictures to emphasize the point that he was still a child, not a grown man.
and again, those pictures are irrelevant to the investigation at hand. maybe photos of zimmerman with a bloody nose after the fight would be more appropriate.
To the poster who said you have the right to kill a person sitting on you beating you up: If that really was what happened, its a fight that Zimmerman instigated and started. And any sane person would retreat once they saw a gun, despite your assertion that he just kept pummeling away.
Also, lets look at the logistics of a struggle. Assume they were wrestling around. How was he able to get a clean shot at the guy’s chest while being pummelled? Instinct dictates that you throw your arms up to block the blows. If anything, Zimmerman probably showed the gun, told the kid to get down, mounted him, and shot him. The bloody nose and stains can be attributed to Zimmerman possibly pulling the guy to the ground and both of them falling.
Yeah, your racist pun didn’t fly over my head either.
Its nice that you try to use the possible race of a poster to discredit their arguments. Really nice.
“The same tape shows Zimmerman’s aggressive actions of following both in car and on foot.”
...as part of a Neighborhood Watch program. Your words are loaded and prejudicial.
“One was unarmed and avoided contact - one pursued with a gun.”
No. One initially avoided contact and ran like a criminal. The NWatch person pursued, waiting for police. Then what we know is that Zimmerman was getting the living crap beat out of him, before he shot the guy, amid screams for help.
Btw, the gun was legal and he carried a permit, something most FReepers advocate.
“If anything, Zimmerman probably showed the gun, told the kid to get down, mounted him, and shot him.”
LOL, that speculation isn’t supported by the facts known, and the opposite IS supported by audio from witnesses.
Ran like a criminal????
Your slip is showing FRiend.
Exactly what should a teenager do when he is being followed by a stranger in a truck?
What would you tell your kids to do if they are being followed by a stranger in a truck? Go chat him up?
The kid did exactly what any responsible adult would teach him to do....get away from the stranger following you in a vehicle.
It speaks volumes that you see that as criminal behavior.
Oh, thank you for confirming that Zimmerman pursued him.
And in the sentence after that, I explained what could have led to the bruises Zimmerman received. None of the eyewitnesses place the kid on him throwing punches down. The eyewitness accounts based on the calls show Zimmerman on the black guy, who is face down.
There is nothing to suggest that Zimmerman announced he was part of a Neighborhood Watch program. The tapes alone suggest that he was already in an aggressive, frustrated state of mind by the time he exited the car.
Picture this: It is 6:30 pm, some guy, not wearing a cop uniform or badge, just starts tailing you in a car, you have no idea who this person is and what they’re up to. Could be a kidnapper or a gangster or drug pusher for all you know. You’re 17, so not much rational thought going on.
Out of fear, you start speeding up. According to Trayvon’s girlfriend, he initially did not run, he just walked fast. By the time Zimmerman got to him, he was only 70 or so yards from his father’s house.
How is moving to escape some unknown danger running like a criminal? Oh, I guess because the person running is black? Right? smh
Everything you write is a lie, assumption, speculation or sheer nonsense.
You are a troll and why you haven’t been banned yet I have no idea.
When a noob goes around slinging accusations of “Racist” at longtime freepers and then takes the side of the likes of Al Sharpton and 0bastard, it rings a few alarm bells.
Your pathetic posting history is clear.
Wow, where did you get that? Where are these pictures on the national and local Florida media?!!