By State Representative, Leon D. Young
There were a number of shocking revelations in the Trayvon Martin case last week, and none seem to bolster George Zimmerman’s claim of self-defense. Moreover, these new developments now cast a serious cloud of complicity over the state attorney’s office and the Sanford Police Department.
The first revelation that got my goat was the disclosure that on the night of Trayvon’s execution the lead detective and only homicide detective present, interviewed Zimmerman during the course of his investigation. Based on the responses given, the detective felt that Zimmerman’s claim of self-defense was not credible, and wanted to place him under arrest.
That brings us to the next bomb shell. It has been revealed that only hours after Trayvon’s murder the state attorney, Norm Wolfinger, had occasion to meet with the Sanford Police Chief, Bill Lee, regarding this shooting. This is highly unusual to say the least. Moreover, it was Mr. Wolfinger’s final decision not to issue charges against George Zimmerman, alleging insufficient evidence to prosecute the case.
The case for Mr. Zimmerman continued to unravel when one his neighbors, Cheryl Brown, the mother of the shooting witness came forth and gave her family’s account of Trayvon’s shooting. According to Ms. Brown, her 13-year-old son was out walking his dog when he saw a man lying on ground crying for help, and a few moments later (before he could render assistance) he heard a gun shot and the crying stopped. But, what’s even more damaging for Zimmerman is Ms. Brown’s contention that the lead investigator confided to her that this wasn’t a selfdefense case, and he was determined to prove it.
However, in my view, the real cul de gracein all this was the police surveillance tape that captured Zimmerman arriving at police headquarters for questioning, less than an hour after the shooting. Zimmerman is seen getting out of the backseat of a police car, in handcuffs, but what’s striking about this footage is how unruffled he appears to be. There were no visible signs that Zimmerman had been in a life or death struggle for his survival, as alleged in the police report. Moreover, there was no blood on his shirt, from having a broken nose, and no indication that he had suffered any head trauma, much less a gash to the back of his head, from having his head pounded on the ground repeatedly. Frankly speaking, in my view, Zimmerman appeared completely relaxed and unfazed by his surroundings. The veracity of the police report conjures up even more unsettling questions about how this investigation has been handled (or bungled!) by the authorities. The police have alleged that they were not able to identify the victim immediately and listed him as a “John Doe.” Hence, Trayvon’s body remained in the police morgue for three days following his murder, waiting to be identified. However, a closer examination of the police report, filed February 27, 2012, clearly shows that they knew his identity (Trayvon’s full name, address, date of birth and phone number) and, thus, the police had a professional duty to notify his family immediately.
Obviously, someone thought that there was sufficient probable cause to warrant George Zimmerman being taken down to the police station, but what is grossly unclear and begs the question: Why wasn’t the booking process (finger print and photograph) completed? And, more importantly, who thwarted the process?
There is one last disturbing point. Since, Zimmerman was “technically” under arrested (placed in handcuffs and taken to the station); one cannot be un-arrested in Florida . That means the state has 175 days (from the date of the incident) in which to formally arrest and charge Zimmerman, failure to do so within that time frame would mean that George Zimmerman would be a free man, and double jeopardy would preclude him from being charged (at that point) for the same offense.
The clock is ticking!