Did the Sanford Police Bungle the Trayvon Martin Investigation?

With Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee, Jr., temporarily suspending himself after a no-confidence vote by city officials, the Miami Herald found the cops made some curious calls in their “investigation.”

As evidence that the incident was not a case of racial profiling, Lee told The Miami Herald that when the police dispatch operator asked Zimmerman the race of the suspicious person he saw, the Hispanic neighborhood watch captain did not know. Yet when the recording of that conversation was made public, Zimmerman clearly says, “he looks black.”

Initial police reports never mentioned that Zimmerman had a bloody nose or a wet shirt that showed evidence of a struggle. Attorneys for the dead teen’s family believe the information was added in a second report to justify the lack of an arrest.

• Police said witness statements supported Zimmerman’s account. But several of the witnesses expressed surprise, telling The Herald that they reported hearing someone crying for help just before a shot ended the cries. The 911 tapes of witness calls bolstered their claims.

• One of the witnesses who heard the crying said she called a detective repeatedly, but said he was not interested because her account differed from Zimmerman’s.

• For nearly a month, police never noticed a profanity Zimmerman mumbled under his breath when he called police, which some people believe was accompanied by a muffled racial slur.

• Even though investigators have the dead boy’s cell phone, it was Trayvon’s father who combed through the phone records to discover that his son was talking to a girlfriend in the moments that led up to his death. Police never contacted the girl, who told lawyers that Trayvon was alarmed because he was being followed.

“I have never seen such an incompetent investigation,
” said Walt Zalisko, a former Jersey City police commander who now owns a police management consulting company in Central Florida. “There are so many problems with this case. The problem up here is that officers receive very little training, and there is very little understanding of diversity issues.

The good ol’ boy network is so prevalent here.”

There is an assumption that we’ve left the days of Bull Connor and the paunchy redneck cops of In the Heat of the Night long behind us. Now everyone is so much more enlightened and bias-free as crimes are doggedly investigated with CSI-style technology and justice will be pursued no matter where it leads or whom it discomforts.

This is a Black man wearing a hoodie. He must be a threat.

It’s a damn lie.

Progress has been made, but not nearly enough as some would like to believe. The color of the skin of the victim and the suspect still matters. Trayvon Martin was Black and George Zimmerman appeared to be White though he self-identifies as Hispanic. It was his version of events that swiftly became the Official Story

At best the Sanford P.D. were lazy in their “investigation.” At worse, they dragged their feet, attempted to “correct” witnesses and behaved more like Inspector Clouseau than Joe Friday.

Cops deserve the support of the public when they do their jobs right. When they do their jobs wrong, the guilty go free and unpunished while the victims are buried and mourned. That’s when they deserve to be scrutinized critically and when necessary, called to account as they have in this case.

Even now, The thin blue line too often only sees tragedies such as the killing of Trayvon Martin in stark terms of black and white.

The deeper we go down the memory hole the more likely the possibility becomes the Sanford police department does not serve and protect their African-American citizens.

Any White kid in this country can go to the store and buy a can of iced tea and a bag of candy and not die for it. Can the parents of any Black kid say the same? Not in Sanford, Florida they can’t.

Color me so surprised.

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5 thoughts on “Did the Sanford Police Bungle the Trayvon Martin Investigation?

  1. If nothing else, the police conducting the investigation seemed to have looked the other way/didn’t investigate too thoroughly. They accepted Zimmerman’s weak/false story because he seemed like “one of them.”

    I’ve been around police officers through work and also knowing one as a family friend. There becomes a kind of group think, maybe partly by necessity, but there’s a real feel of “us against them” that one takes away. One example is their tendency to identify members of the public as “civilians.” They’re not in the military, but they seem to identify or feel as if they’re part of a paramilitary organization. (This is something my husband would try to correct his friend about, this incorrect usage that seems to be entrenched in their thinking process.)

    It’s disturbing and it shows that we need to watch who’s doing the enforcing.

  2. What’s truly disturbing is that this article (and dozens like it) conveniently gloss over the facts of the situation and add comments (or outright fabrications) to the incident, making it seem that Trayvon was the victim when the evidence at the scene (as well as the sole eyewitness) supports the contrary. The facts of this case are: 1) Trayvon was walking around the clubhouse area of the housing development acting suspicious on a dark and rainy night 2) Zimmerman (who was a hispanic male, NOT a white guy saw him and reported him to 9-1-1 dispatchers. 3) Dispatchers tell Zimmerman that they will handle the situation. 4) Zimmerman starts to follow Trayvon–dispatchers again tell Zimmerman NOT TO FOLLOW Trayvon and to let the police handle it. 5) Zimmerman ignores them. Continues to follow Trayvon—at one point, leaving his vehicle and pursuing Trayvon on foot. 6) Zimmerman confronts Trayvon. Trayvon decks Zimmerman (some would say, rightfully so). 7) A scuffle ensues. 8) Trayvon ends up on top, kicking Zimmerman’s butt. 9) The eyewitness at the scene yells at them to stop and that he’s calling police 10) Zimmerman at this point is screaming for help—but nobody comes to his aid 11) The sole eyewitness calls the police and relays the incidents as they unfold 12) Trayvon goes from kicking the guys butt, to slamming the guy’s head into the ground 13) At this point Zimmerman is bleeding from his mouth, his nose, out his left ear, and from a large gash in the back of his head.

    On lethal force: Most state laws allow the use of deadly force to protect yourself (or a third party) from DEATH or Serious Bodily Injury. If Zimmerman is able to articulate that he was in fear of dying or being seriously wounded by the repeated skull-smashing, then he’s going to have a case for self defense.

    A single gunshot is heard, Trayvon is struck from a single round from a gun. Zimmerman, who fired the shot from his back, on the ground—hit Trayvon one time in the chest. Trayvon dies a short time later.

    First of all— Zimmerman was hispanic, NOT white.
    Second– Other than a gunshot wound, Trayvon didn’t have a single mark on his body.
    Third— Zimmerman was beat half to death and was bleeding from multiple locations in/around his head.
    Fourth— Police aren’t going to charge you for murder or manslaughter if it appears that it was a self-defense shooting (in this case, it appeared that way to police). Zimmerman’s testimony (along with the sole eyewitness’ testimony indicate that Trayvon was on top of the guy beating him) So…the police acted properly. They take the report and it’s submitted to the District Attorney to run by the Grand Jury to see if there is enough evidence to indict him. What irks me the most is that most media outlets (including his one) are showing 4-5 year old pictures of Trayvon when he was 12-13 years old, when in fact, he was 17 years old, 6’2 and almost 200lbs (he was a football player). Obviously big enough to kick a 30+ year old male’s butt.

    Instead of calling everyone racists or demanding “justice”, perhaps people like yourself should look into the facts a bit deeper before writing such an ignorant piece full of suppositions and assumptions.

    • Pardon my bluntness, but where are you getting this BULLSHIT?

      I’m not going to waste my time wading through this shitstorm of disinformation you threw up, but where do you get off throwing out scenarios where Zimmerman is the victim and Trayvon Martin the aggressor?

      What’s truly disturbing is that this article (and dozens like it) conveniently gloss over the facts of the situation and add comments (or outright fabrications) to the incident, making it seem that Trayvon was the victim when the evidence at the scene (as well as the sole eyewitness) supports the contrary.

      We don’t KNOW the facts of the situation. That’s why Zimmerman needed to be arrested by the Sanford police instead of questioned and released. The “outright fabrications” you speak of are yours and yours alone.

      6) Zimmerman confronts Trayvon. Trayvon decks Zimmerman (some would say, rightfully so). 7) A scuffle ensues. 8) Trayvon ends up on top, kicking Zimmerman’s butt. 9) The eyewitness at the scene yells at them to stop and that he’s calling police 10) Zimmerman at this point is screaming for help—but nobody comes to his aid 11) The sole eyewitness calls the police and relays the incidents as they unfold 12) Trayvon goes from kicking the guys butt, to slamming the guy’s head into the ground 13) At this point Zimmerman is bleeding from his mouth, his nose, out his left ear, and from a large gash in the back of his head.

      There is no report that the police provided medical treatment for Zimmerman’s supposed bruises and gashes and cuts. There is no record of Zimmerman going to any hospital to seek medical treatment.

      Where are these reports of Zimmerman taking a beatdown from Trayvon coming from? Oh, they’re coming from George Zimmerman’s LAWYER. Oh well that settles everything. Only it doesn’t.

      There are other witnesses who say it was Martin screaming for help, not the asshole with the gun. If Zimmerman was “beat half to death” WHY didn’t he go to the hospital? Any man in that sort of condition should have been bandaged and bruised. Where’s the evidence that Zimmerman wasn’t the aggressor?

      Short answer: There is no such evidence. You just made it up. Just like you made up the part about Travyvon’s weight and height. As far as the Sanford police “investigation”, they screwed it up and as I’ve already asked:

      Why was George Zimmerman not arrested the night of the shooting?

      Why did Zimmerman have a firearm in his possession while acting in the role of a neighborhood watch member?

      Why was Zimmerman labeled as “squeaky clean” when in fact he has a prior arrest history?

      Why didn’t the Sanford police test Zimmerman for drugs or alcohol?

      I’ve wasted enough of my time arguing over your ridiculous fairy tales, Greengrass. Take that shit over to Stormwatch or some other place where you can try to justify the shooting of an unarmed Black teenager. You’re spinning your wheels trying to do it here.

    • where is the blood and bruises for zimmerman? why didn’t the EMS treat him at the scene if his injuries were so severe? Why didn’t he get treatment while in the custody of police if the injuries were severe? why didn’t the family of zimmerman become upset that their family member wasn’t given proper care after a beating while in the custody of police?

      http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7403692n

      show me the evidence that Zimmerman took a beating after watching this video of him arriving in handcuffs at the police station.

  3. “1) Trayvon was walking around the clubhouse area of the housing development acting suspicious on a dark and rainy night.”

    I won’t bother with the others . . . . but really, really? NOWHERE is THIS a FACT! The only so called “witness” who characterized Trayvon as acting “suspicious: is George Zimmerman. Why on earth do you accept his description as a FACT? He also described him as “like he’s on drugs or something” . .. . . and when investigators tested Martin’s dead body for drugs or alcohol they found none. This certainly casts some doubt on Zimmerman’s credibility . . . . .oh my, could he have been making crap up (like, looks like he’s on drugs or something, he has his hands in his waistband) to make the police show up faster? If he might lie or misconstrue about the kid looking high, perhaps he might lie or misconstrue about the other events leading up to the shooting . . .. .

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