On February 26th a young black man named Trayvon Martin left his father’s fiancee’s home in the Twin Lakes gated community in Orlando to buy some candy for his brother. On his way back he noticed he was being followed. George Zimmerman, the development’s neighborhood watch captain, called the police at 7:15 pm on a non-emergency number to report a “suspicious person,” allegedly made a comment about Martin’s race, and then ignored orders not to pursue him. When Martin confronted the man who was chasing him, armed with a pack of Skittles and a can of iced tea, the man shot him in the chest, claiming it was self-defense.
George Zimmerman made a decision to leave his vehicle, pick a fight with an unarmed minor while carrying a 9mm handgun, and Sanford Chief of Police Bill Lee’s first instinct was to defend him:
“I believe that Mr. Zimmerman was trying to, by his account, find an address to give the officers and also trying to keep Trayvon in eyesight.”
Zimmerman told the police that Martin noticed that he was being followed and asked, “what’s your problem?”
That’s when a physical confrontation ensued, Lee said. And moments later, Martin was shot.
Lee said that Zimmerman has a legal permit to carry the weapon used in the shooting, and that he told police that he shot Martin in self-defense.
“He felt the need to defend himself,” Lee said. “ I don’t think it was his intent to go and shoot somebody” that night.
This is the same police chief that LIED to Martin’s family and told them that Zimmerman had a clean record, when in fact he was arrested in 2005 for assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest, charges that were later dropped. This is the police chief that has continued to defend Zimmerman in the face of mounting evidence that he abused his power to intimidate residents of the Twin Lakes community:
At an emergency homeowner’s association meeting on March 1, “one man was escorted out because he openly expressed his frustration because he had previously contacted the Sanford Police Department about Zimmerman approaching him and even coming to his home,” the resident wrote in an email to HuffPost. “It was also made known that there had been several complaints about George Zimmerman and his tactics” in his neighborhood watch captain role.
And the reason the police can’t prove it wasn’t self-defense? THEY WERE COLLECTING EVIDENCE TO EXONERATE HIM:
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 pepppered 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.
So. You have a man who has a violent record, who ignored police instructions, who is claiming self-defense in a confrontation he started needlessly, against a minor who had every reason to believe he was being assaulted, robbed, or kidnapped, in an open area, with at least one mode of egress available. But when the police arrived at the scene they found a white man, someone like them, someone who cared about keeping the “wrong” kind of people out of the community, someone who had no other choice but to murder Trayvon Martin for fighting back.
This assertion of Zimmerman’s innocence has tainted this entire investigation. It has led Bill Lee and the Sanford Police Department to frame their understanding of this violent crime in terms of Zimmerman’s intent rather than his actions. It has led them to praise his nonexistent “clean” record while ignoring his victim’s, bring up his attending a criminal justice class in college as if interest in police work were indicative of anything, shape witness testimony to match their agreed-upon narrative, and then lavishly gift the shooter with a loving, generous public interpretation of his actions. These are all of the prizes George Zimmerman gets just for being white. Instead of running away from a fight he started he killed someone and now the police department is working as hard as they can to keep him out of jail and justify their own conduct.
You can sign the petition started by Sabrina Fulton, Trayvon’s mother, here. You can also take to your feeds and let your followers know the facts of the case, inform them of the unethical and biased conduct of the Sanford Police Department, and then ask them why George Zimmerman has yet to be arrested.