Sanford Cops Wanted to Arrest Zimmerman

criminal justice, Trayvon Martin, Wingnuts Being Wingnuts

Here’s a new wrinkle in the Trayvon Martin killing, from the Miami Herald

Despite public claims that there wasn’t enough probable cause to make a criminal case in the Trayvon Martin killing, early in the investigation the Sanford Police Department requested an arrest warrant from the Seminole County State Attorney’s office, the special prosecutor in the case told The Miami Herald on Tuesday.

A Sanford Police incident report shows the case was categorized as “homicide/negligent manslaughter.”

The state attorney’s office held off pending further review, The Miami Herald has learned.

I don’t know what they were going to “review,” since there was a shocking inattention to collecting evidence at the scene.

The development is in stark contrast to the statements repeatedly made by Bill Lee, the Sanford police chief who has since stepped aside and was lambasted for his handling of the case. Lee publicly insisted that there was no probable cause to arrest Zimmerman, leading many critics to say he came across more like a defense attorney for the security buff.

“Zimmerman provided a statement claiming he acted in self defense which at the time was supported by physical evidence and testimony,” Lee wrote in a memo posted on the city’s website. “By Florida Statute, law enforcement was PROHIBITED from making an arrest based of the facts and circumstances they had at the time.”

Yesterday ABC News reported

The lead homicide investigator in the shooting of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin recommended that neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman be charged with manslaughter the night of the shooting, multiple sources told ABC News.

But Sanford, Fla., Investigator Chris Serino was instructed to not press charges against Zimmerman because the state attorney’s office headed by Norman Wolfinger determined there wasn’t enough evidence to lead to a conviction, the sources told ABC News.

Police brought Zimmerman into the station for questioning for a few hours on the night of the shooting, said Zimmerman’s attorney, despite his request for medical attention first. Ultimately they had to accept Zimmerman’s claim of self defense. He was never charged with a crime.

Serino filed an affidavit on Feb. 26, the night that Martin was shot and killed by Zimmerman, that stated he was unconvinced Zimmerman’s version of events.

Possibly the Sanford police department has entered the “every man for himself” ass-covering phase of the investigation. As in, “Hey, don’t look at me. I’m not the one who let the jerk go.”

The Right, which has been on a sickening “smear the dead kid” binge for the past several days, has now seized upon the information that George Zimmerman is a registered Democrat. Ed Kilgore: “aha! The whole thing was a Blue Team fragging of some sort, and nothing Real Americans should care about.”

Share Button


  1. c u n d gulag  •  Mar 28, 2012 @8:55 am

    In all fairness, if the police totally muck-up the crime scene, it’s tougher for the courts to determine, not only guilt, but whether to even actually bring charges.

    As I’ve said before, somehow, if it was a black teen who had shot a larger white/whiter man, they’d have not only been more diligent about the crime scene, but they’d have found SOMETHING to charge him with – even if the charges had to be brought posthumously, after the suspected shooter was killed in a gun fight, or while “trying to escape.”

    And, since Zimmerman wasn’t exactly “standing his ground,” maybe it’s time the FL legislators added a component to the law called, “Motor Shooter,” or, “Drive To Your Ground” – where you can drive while you’re stalking someone, until you find a place where you might want to “Stand Your Ground.”
    That would only be fair, wouldn’t it?

    My only hope is that maybe this senseless Martin killing will expose the NRA, and the ALEC’s and legislators responsible, as the irresponsible, profit/power-driven charlatans that they are.

  2. Lynne  •  Mar 28, 2012 @8:56 am

    I’m interested that (some at least) Republicans thought any of this was about them. A definite clue as to way of seeing the world. Two-year-olds think the universe swirls around them; older people are supposed to have figured out otherwise.

  3. buckyblue  •  Mar 28, 2012 @10:49 am

    My biggest concern, and there are many, is that the cops are now in charge of deciding guilt or innocence in these cases. The perpetrator never has to make his case in court and provide a defense. So that a judge can never decide what type of case would in fact meet the legal requirement for ‘Stand Your Ground’. He can be arrested afterward, but the crime scene evidence is gone at that point. There’s a similar situation here in cheeseland where an unarmed African American 20 year old was shot and killed in a man’s screened in porch. It’s called the ‘Castle Doctrine’. But the cops decided that a screened in porch was covered by the law.

  4. Doug Hughes  •  Mar 28, 2012 @11:00 am

    BB – Good point and it goes to a movement to allow conservatives to render a variety of actions deemed ‘acts of conscience’ immune. Thus they are absolved not only criminally, but they can not be sued by a patient for withholding medical information or fired for refusing service (pharmacist or nurse). Passing a law with a get-out-of-jail-free may be an ALEC trademark.

  5. paradoctor  •  Mar 28, 2012 @11:46 am

    Since “stand your ground” in effect legalizes Murder 1, at the discretion of the police, and since policemen are corruptible, I therefore wonder how long before the mob gets into the act? In fact I wonder if the mob – and its partners in the NRA and the CIA – didn’t plan this from the beginning?

    Call me overly suspicious, but in this case that’s better than underly suspicious. Also, if the mob (and friends) _wasn’t_ involved in this then I am disappointed in them.

  6. joanr16  •  Mar 28, 2012 @1:04 pm

    I therefore wonder how long before the mob gets into the act?

    “He fell off the back of a truck onto my bullets. Cryin’ shame.”

    It certainly fits the spirit of Florida’s law, where nothing is ever the gun owner’s fault.

  7. Pat  •  Mar 28, 2012 @2:09 pm

    I’m sockened by this. I’ve lisdtened to some (un)clear channel carried radio replete with characterizations of what “normal people” are thinking that defy the lowest standards of decency imaginable. It was also disturbing to see that the story has vanished from the LATimes. Something dark has crept into Florida state government in recent years, proving yet again that racism is still alive and well. The right is accusing those who want to see due process as racial bias and pre-judgment.

    Trayvon Martin cannot be brought back to life but the least society owes him is to ensure that young people of any color do not have to go through life with the heavy burden of fear over the risk of being gunned down when they have commited no crime. Even being followed by someone by an armed civilian intent on pushing “stand your ground” legislation to the limits is nothing any human should wish on another.

  8. LongHairedWeirdo  •  Mar 28, 2012 @6:37 pm


    “He fell off the back of a truck onto my bullets. Cryin’ shame.”

    No, no, no… “he *jumped* off the back of a truck in a scary fashion – maybe as a joke, or something – and made me feel in reasonable fear for my life.” That’s the point of Stand Your Ground – you don’t have to make it sound like an accident, just like, at worst, a Tragic Misunderstanding.