On each of the calls, Zimmerman only offered information about their race when specifically asked by the dispatcher to do so, reporting that the people were black males. On February 6, workers witnessed two young black men lingering in the yard of a Twin Lakes resident around the same time a new laptop and some gold jewelry was stolen from her home. Zimmerman's neighbors and co-workers were interviewed as well.
The next day police discovered the stolen laptop in the backpack of a young black man whom Zimmerman identified as the same person he had spotted peering into windows on February 2. Neighbors who knew Zimmerman had nothing derogatory to say about him and his co-workers were complimentary of him.
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On the night of February 26, 2012, in Sanford, Florida, United States, George Zimmerman fatally shot Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old African American high school student. Zimmerman: No, you go in straight through the entrance and then you make a left...uh, you go straight in, don't turn, and make a left. Zimmerman: Down towards the other entrance to the neighborhood. Zimmerman: If they come in through the gate, tell them to go straight past the club house, and uh, straight past the club house and make a left, and then they go past the mailboxes, Oh, crap. The officers, who believed Zimmerman proceeded solely on foot before the attack, did not seize Zimmerman's vehicle until after his wife had moved it.
Zimmerman, a 28-year-old mixed race Hispanic man Zimmerman shot Martin, who was unarmed, during an altercation between the two. Dispatcher: Just let me know if he does anything, okay? Shit, he's running [background noises, possibly car door open warning chimes, heard]. Dispatcher: Which entrance is that that he's heading towards? said that the police failed to fully investigate the shooting when they did not test Zimmerman for drugs or alcohol intoxication.
Responding to an earlier call from Zimmerman, police arrived on the scene within two minutes of the shooting. Zimmerman: How long until you get an officer over here? Zimmerman: The back entrance...fucking [disputed/unintelligible] Dispatcher: Are you following him? However, Miami, Florida police experts told the Miami Herald that homicide suspects are not typically tested for drugs or alcohol unless the suspect has been accused of having been driving while intoxicated.
Zimmerman was taken into custody, treated for head injuries, then questioned for five hours. The Martin family alleged that Seminole County Attorney Wolfinger met personally with Sanford Chief Lee on the night of the shooting and instructed Lee not to make an arrest.
The police chief said that Zimmerman was released because there was no evidence to refute Zimmerman's claim of having acted in self-defense, and that under Florida's Stand Your Ground statute, the police were prohibited by law from making an arrest. Krop High School and lived with his mother and older brother in Miami Gardens, Florida. Based on their accusation, the Martin family requested that the Justice Department investigate the State prosecutor's office.
Trayvon Benjamin Martin was the son of Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, who were divorced in 1999. On the day he was fatally shot, he and his father were visiting his father's fiancée and her son at her town home in Sanford, Florida. Wolfinger responded that the family's accusations were "outright lies" and denied that any such meeting or communication took place.She lived in The Retreat at Twin Lakes, a multi-ethnic gated community where Martin had visited several times before. Wolfinger's office reported that the Sanford police consulted with Kelly Jo Hines, the prosecutor on call the night of the shooting, but it has not been disclosed what was talked about.Prior to Lee becoming chief, the department had been accused of protecting relatives of police officers involved in violent incidents with blacks, and the Martin case increased distrust between the police and Sanford's black community. Lee said there was not enough evidence to arrest Zimmerman. Zimmerman has made the statement of self-defense," Lee said.In April, the Sanford City Commission refused to accept Lee's resignation and stated that "Lee's spotless record showed there needed to be further review to determine if he failed in his duties." Lee was fired on June 20, 2012, by Sanford City Manager Norton Bonaparte. "Until we can establish probable cause to dispute that, we don't have the grounds to arrest him." In response to criticisms of the investigation, Lee responded that "We are taking a beating over this" and defended the investigation.Lee responded by saying "I continue to stand by the work performed by the Sanford Police Department in this tragic shooting, which has been plagued by misrepresentations and false statements for interests other than justice." On June 26, 2012, the lead investigator of the case, Christopher Serino, was transferred out of the Sanford Police Department's investigative unit and reassigned to the patrol division at his own request. On March 13, 2012, Chris Serino sent a capias request to the state's attorney recommending charges of negligent manslaughter against Zimmerman, though Serino maintains he did not believe they had the evidence to support those charges and that manslaughter was only included in the capias in order for the prosecutor's office to continue with their own investigation.Serino said he felt pressured by several of his fellow police officers to press charges on Zimmerman when he believed there was not enough evidence to do so, and that one of the officers pressuring him was a friend of Martin's father. The capias states, "the encounter between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin was ultimately avoidable by Zimmerman, if Zimmerman had remained in his vehicle and waited the arrival of law enforcement or conversely if he had identified himself to Martin as a concerned citizen and initiated dialog in an effort to dispel each party's concern....