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
Sorry, I expect you to go suck that egg, so I’m not playing ring around the racebaiting for you.
“It seems almost like outside forces are trying to Maumau our Stand Your Ground law....”
HOLDER in 1995:
“What we need to do is change the way in which people think about guns, especially young people, and make it something thats not cool, that its not acceptable, its not hip to carry a gun anymore, in the way in which we changed our attitudes about cigarettes.”
All th facts are not in... we can agree on nothing.
I merely made a point that the picture of the boy that is all over the media does not look like a 17 year old and I doubt it is...
This has become more of a story about national political correctness and race...rather than a “local” issue as it should have remained.
That’s exactly my point. These two bimbos are lying. They didn’t see anything except Zimmerman walking around afterwards. Perhaps he might have gotten down on his knees to check the kid’s pulse. But the idea of him being on top of the kid, sitting on his back and shooting him in the chest is ludicrous. Hopefully, the cops should be able to tell by the angle of the bullet who was where.
“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.
And you believe it. Why? “
Maybe he believes the statement because it’s backed up with the evidence found by the investigating officers, which apparently includes both physical evidence, testimony, and recordings from the 911 calls.
I guess your race baiting ignorance gives you license to just dismiss these little facts but lets be clear. You have NOTHING to support your position. The police have actual EVIDENCE.
Releasing the specifics of this information probably would have gone a long way in preventing the upcoming riots when Zimmerman is found not guilty.
I’m no neighborhood watchman but I have an idea of my neighbors, their cars and such. I would make it my business to pay attention to an unknown walking at dark in the rain in my neighborhood. And if that person threw up his hoodie when he realized I was watching him—I would become more alarmed. If he started to run, I would most definitely be calling the police.
If that is paranoid or odd—well then, I’m paranoid and odd.
There is another eyewitness that claims Martin was on top of Zimmerman and Zimmerman was screaming for help.
My first supposition when this story broke was that this kid, Martin, was out that night to buy drugs and that that was the main reason he was scared about Zimmerman following him.
Why? Well, it’s Sanford for one. Drug candystore of Central Florida.
This kid was out on a mission to 7/11. In the rain. The closest 7/11 is almost two miles away. A round trip walk in the dark close to 4 miles. There is a neighborhood “corner store” that is a little closer but I think that they roll up the sidewalks early and shutter their doors and windows to avoid any early evening druggies looking to heist. A walk to either store provides lots of opportunities to buy drugs.
And then there is the week-long suspension from school that brought Martin to Anacostia on the St Johns to begin with. A week long suspension for being late to class. I find that hard to believe but it is Miami and they’ve about reached the end of their rope when it comes to tolerating misbehavior. Maybe Soldierdad can comment on that.
Hopefully the cops have been searching the complex area for drugs during their search for clues.
I can't speak to that school district's policy, or to that particular student's attendance record. I do know by experience that students can and are suspended for nonsense reasons. My sons (2) received three day suspensions for fighting while in high school. The "fight" occurred after school while they waited for their mother to pick them up. The "fight" consisted of the two of them arguing over, if I recall correctly, an article of clothing that one had borrowed from the other. There were no punches thrown. They did not posture towards each other. It was simply an argument between siblings. It was witnessed by a campus monitor, who called for the youth service officer, who took the two of them to the principal, and they were suspended. At one of the elementary schools I work at (different district) a second grade student was suspended for five days for bringing a butter knife to school. I read a story about a kindergarten student being suspended for five days for a drawing dipicting a hunting scene. There was a recent story about a father who was arrested because his daughter had drawn a picture of a gun. Do schools go overboard? Yes. Sometimes they do.
Hasn’t Zimmerman admitted that he shot and killed Trayton?
Yes, if George Zimmerman murdered Trayvon Martin, he would have an incentive to lie. The facts are, though, that nothing in the physical evidence contradicts his statements.
What I find particularly telling is his unsolicited statement to the police, shortly after their arrival: I called for help, but nobody came.
This is collaborated by the tapes. The Martin partisans have been saying that it was Martin calling for help. It would take a sociopath genius to come up with the idea of saying that he was calling for help when it was the other guy.
People are innocent in this country until proved guilty. I do not see any proof that contradicts George Zimmermans statements.
I suspect that Trayvon Martin saw George Zimmerman following him, and was scared. But, instead of getting away, he saw a chance to attack someone he saw as a threat, and took it.
What I don’t get is why the police released the 911 call with Zimmerman’s home address in it.
I believe that this person’s property, possibly his life, is in danger.
Anyone with a PC can YouTube the 911 call and find this place now.
It's everything else that has people in an uproar.
From what I have read so far, Zimmerman was defending himself when he shot Trayvon. The initial police investigation was correct in not having enough to arrest him on and plenty to defend himself with under "stand your ground".
Sorry Trayvon, but you learned the hard way that you can't throw a beat down on someone just because they ask you what you are doing skulking about their gated community...
Police report from the scene says Zimmerman has a bloody nose and a wound in the back of his head.. This is consistent with it being Martin who was on top beating Zimmerman, rather than the reverse. There is also no report of Martin's body displaying any injuries other than the single shot which killed him.
In the linked article, Lamilla is describing that AFTER she hears the gunshot, she claims to see Zimmerman on his knees above Martin.
This is consistent with the following scenario: Martin is on top, beating Zimmerman (accounts for Zimmerman's broken nose and wound to back of head, probably from hitting the ground after being attacked). Zimmerman shoots Martin. Martin drops. Zimmerman starts to get up, first rising to his knees, which is the scene Lamilla describes.
It'd be very instructive to see a transcript of those interviews. Along with the investigation teams interview with Zimmerman at the PD station.
At least, it'd be a lot more instructive than rehashing the fire-hose stream of flame-war crap coming from most news media outlets.
There has never been any question that Zimmerman shot this guy ( note I did not say Kid—someone six feet tall is no child.)
I just wish the media would keep their uninformed opinions to themselves. I listened to A Cooper last night and his side comments were just horrible.
It is even more consistent with this scenario....
Martin was walking to his dad's GF's house after buying candy at a local store (known truth).
Martin was unarmed (known truth).
Zimmerman followed Martin in his car (known truth). btw...how slow do you have to drive to stay behind somebody on foot? what do you think the person on foot thinks about the vehicle stalking him?
Zimmerman was armed (known truth).
Martin ran (known truth). btw...this is exactly what a teen or anybody being followed by an adult in a car should do.
Zimmerman got out of his car and followed Martin (known truth).
In all these known truths Zimmerman was the armed pursuer and Martin was the unarmed pursued -- and he tried to get away.
Given these known truths it is far more likely a scenario that Zimmerman caught up with Martin, continued his aggressive behavior, Martin defended himself from the grown man with a gun and got the upper hand.
Schools have gotten a lot of heat over the fact that black students are suspended and disciplined more than whites. This creates a big incentive to discipline white students for even the smallest infraction, while not suspending black students except for the most serious issues, in order to get their "numbers" good.