Trayvon Martin Police Reports Bogus?

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criminal justice, Trayvon Martin

Something else that’s been eating at me about the Martin-Zimmerman case — this is from a March 13 ABC News report

Witnesses told ABC News they heard Zimmerman pronounce aloud to the breathless residents watching the violence unfold “it was self-defense,” and place the gun on the ground.

But after the shooting, a source inside the police department told ABC News that a narcotics detective and not a homicide detective first approached Zimmerman. The detective peppered Zimmerman with questions, the source said, rather than allow Zimmerman to tell his story. Questions can lead a witness, the source said.

Another officer corrected a witness after she told him that she heard the teen cry for help.

The officer told the witness, a long-time teacher, it was Zimmerman who cried for help, said the witness. ABC News has spoken to the teacher and she confirmed that the officer corrected her when she said she heard the teenager shout for help.

In other words, the police were helpfully telling people what their testimony was supposed to be. And then a few days ago we heard this

A 13-year-old who is one of two key witnesses in the Trayvon Martin shooting felt “pressured” by cops to tailor what he saw, his mom told the Daily News Thursday.

The revelation comes as shooter George Zimmerman’s father went public with new claims, including that Trayvon told his son “you’re going to die tonight.”

Police in Sanford, Fla., have said that Austin Brown, who went out to walk his dog on Feb. 26 near where Trayvon was shot, saw Zimmerman lying in the grass crying for help just before the slaying.

But Austin’s mom, Cheryl Brown, told the News that when cops interviewed her son eight days after Trayvon’s death, he told them he saw only one person lying in the grass and he couldn’t tell who it was.

“He kept telling them he couldn’t see anything because it was too dark,” she said. “He said he couldn’t see the race or anything. He never saw a second person. ”

“Then they asked him if he saw what the man was wearing. They gave him a multiple choice question and gave him three colors. He said, ‘I think it was red.’”

Zimmerman, 28, was wearing a red and black jacket. Trayvon, 17, was wearing a grey hoodie.

“Knowing my son, I believe he felt pressured to give the color,” Brown said.

“He really couldn’t see anything,” she said. “I think when interviewing a 13 year old you don’t give them three options.”

You can find all kinds of research papers declaring that eyewitness testimony of crimes is enormously unreliable. Add police coaching the witnesses what they were supposed to say, and it adds up to testimony that has to be taken with a big grain of salt.

Booman presents an argument that one of the policemen at the scene, Timothy Smith, deliberately filed a false report to cover for Zimmerman. In particular, Booman thinks it was Smith who fabricated the story about Zimmerman’s nosebleed and soiled jacket. I don’t know that’s what happened, but it makes as much sense as anything else I’ve heard.

See also “It’s Not That Complicated,” “Time for the DOJ to Expand Investigation,” and “Biggest Dolt in the Universe: Tom Maguire.”

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Doug Hughes  •  Apr 1, 2012 @5:15 pm

    CNN reports that the Martin parents are asking feds to look into the original state prosecutor who freed Zimmerman. Which is the question i have been asking.

    Simple racism doesn’t explain the decision not to charge Zimmerman

  2. c u n d gulag  •  Apr 1, 2012 @5:53 pm

    Pardon me, Godwin, but this sounds like something the Gestapo might ask:
    “Und ze suspect had a hooked nose and dark hair, am I reicht?”

    “Und zo, ze Jew turn

  3. Dan  •  Apr 1, 2012 @5:54 pm

    Without the ability to fact-check, Robert Zimmerman (George’s dad) has been described as a retired judge. Maha, can you look at that possibility?

  4. maha  •  Apr 1, 2012 @5:59 pm

    Simple racism doesn’t explain the decision not to charge Zimmerman

    You could be right.

  5. c u n d gulag  •  Apr 1, 2012 @6:04 pm

    To continue:
    “…turned to attack ze righteous Aryan defender of ze Fatherland, right? Und zo ze defender had ze right und vas justified in shooting ze J*w dog where he stood, am I correct? AM I CORRECT?!?!?!”

    Oh, yes, this type of questioning of children also went so very well in the old McMartin child molestation case back in the 80′s, when prosecutors and their paid psychologists asked preschoolers to point on the male/female dolls, exactly where the bad men and women touched them.

    This case will probably never make it to court. And, after realizing their own incompetence, isn’t that exactly what the Sanford PD may have wanted, after all?

    Inspector Clouseau would marvel at their incompetence. No, he wouldn’t laugh – he may have been a fool, but he had a heart.

  6. c u n d gulag  •  Apr 1, 2012 @6:16 pm

    Btw, maha, myiq1/2ofeveryeoneelses, didn’t just troll your site.
    It appears he made the rounds at at least one other Liberal blog:

    http://www.boomantribune.com/story/2012/4/1/133135/5680

    You might want to contact Booman – I think he needs a “twit filter,” too!

  7. goatherd  •  Apr 1, 2012 @7:09 pm

    In regard to the perception of colors at low light levels, if I recall correctly, red is one of the first colors to fade into grey as the light level is reduced. It would not be the slightest bit unusual for there to be some confusion between the colors at low light levels.

  8. Bonnie  •  Apr 1, 2012 @9:11 pm

    I had read several sources that the Sanford police already have a history of racism and changing the facts of cases to make them look good. I believe that an independent body needs to do the investigation and that investigation should include the Sanford police dept. As Hamlet said, “Something is rotten in Denmark.”

  9. maha  •  Apr 1, 2012 @11:20 pm

    goatherd — Memory is more unreliable than most of us realize, anyway. It’s relatively easy for memory to be altered by suggestion. So if you’ve got a bunch of cops standing over you saying, are you sure you didn’t see a red jacket?, before long you’ll probably think that maybe it was red, even if it wasn’t.

  10. Bill B.  •  Apr 1, 2012 @11:38 pm

    New avatar!!! Had to reset browser while diagnosing connection problems, so I am now the worst avatar yet.

    Anyway, as I mentioned a day or two ago, ALEC is at the root of this sad mess, and it is not just in Florida. These “castle” or “stand your ground” laws are widespread and have more than one unnecessary death attached to them. ALEC is the corporate group that writes and distributes the legislation that enables normally too-dumb-to-formulate-legislation state government types to propose and pass legislation they could not have spelled on their own. The Sanford situation is the symptom, not the cause, and I say that with all due respect to the Martin family. Their son died because of ALEC’s empowerment of Zimmerman, I believe.

  11. Tom b  •  Apr 2, 2012 @12:14 am

    I would find it easy to convict the &sshole; Trayvon is dead after Zimmerman followed him against the instructions of the 911 operator. That is all I need to know. Even if Trayvon had pounded the crap out of Zimmerman before the shot was fired, it is impossible to plausibly plead self-defense after you’ve knowingly escalated the situation.

  12. Swami  •  Apr 2, 2012 @1:10 am

    it is impossible to plausibly plead self-defense after you’ve knowingly escalated the situation.

    Not in Florida! I remember when I lived in New York, and the Florida Tourism Board would advertise on TV about coming to sunny Florida..They had an advertising slogan that said..The rules are different here! Now I’m begining to understand exactly what they meant. You can kill and get away with it…..Providing you’re white or white Hispanic?

  13. goatherd  •  Apr 2, 2012 @6:58 am

    “So if you’ve got a bunch of cops standing over you saying, are you sure you didn’t see a red jacket?, before long you’ll probably think that maybe it was red, even if it wasn’t.”

    Yes, you’re right. Way back when, a friend of mine bore a resemblance to someone who had committed a crime. The police questioned him. When he described the situation to me, he said, “I knew I hadn’t done anything wrong, but after twenty minutes of questioning, they had almost convinced me that I was guilty.” Moreover, the concept of implanted memory is well established. So, I guess repeated “suggestion” from an authority figure would win out even if the disparity were more jarring and in reality, details like the color of a jacket are mutable, if recorded at all.



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