[Updated April 12] Police and other officials in Sanford, Florida, have released a number of documents relating to the investigation of the February 26 shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin and the arrest of George Zimmerman on a charge of second-degree murder. In this post, we’ve collected some of the documents that show what police initially found at the scene, what authorities have told the public about the case, and other official documents.
Martin, a black 17-year-old, was unarmed when he was shot to death by Zimmerman, a Hispanic neighborhood watch volunteer, as Martin was walking back to the house of his father's fiancee in Sanford.
Zimmerman had called police to report a suspicious person and said he was following Martin, despite being told by a dispatcher he didn't need to do so. He says he killed Martin in self-defense after the teen attacked him in the gated community. Zimmerman was questioned but not charged, police said, because they lacked evidence to contradict his account.
The case has sparked a national debate about, among other things, race and self-defense laws. Between Zimmerman’s account to police, tapes of 911 calls and accounts from witnesses and others, much is in dispute. (See CNN’s breakdown of what witnesses say happened.)
The initial police reports
Sanford police have released initial reports from the officers who first responded to the shooting scene on February 26. The reports detail what the officers saw when they arrived, officers’ attempts to resuscitate Martin, and a very brief account from Zimmerman. They do not include statements from other witnesses or any investigative information beyond the officers’ initial observations.
The initial police reports describe the case as "homicide/negligent" and "manslaughter/unnecessary killing to prevent unlawful act." City officials have said that all reports need descriptions to help track types of incidents.
“This code does not indicate a formal charge that will be lodged against an alleged offender,” the city said in a news release on Tuesday. “It is used for internal processing and to type cases.”
Citing multiple sources, ABC News reported Wednesday that the lead investigator in the case recommended that Zimmerman be charged with manslaughter after the shooting, but the state attorney's office determined that there was not enough evidence to lead to a conviction.
February 27 letter to neighborhood
In this letter to residents of the neighborhood where Martin was shot, the Sanford Police Department informs the residents of the fatal shooting and gives a brief description of the incident. The letter is dated February 27, the day after the shooting.
It also tells residents that an investigation was being conducted and that the department would hold a community meeting.
Answers from police chief
On March 21, with national public interest in the case rising, the Sanford city manager released a letter in which the city police chief answered what he said were frequently asked questions about the shooting.
The letter addresses issues such as why Zimmerman was not arrested and why he was armed. It also answers why the city Police Department hasn't released 911 tapes, though readers should be aware the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office had done so.
Those tapes now can be heard on the city’s website.
City: Newspaper's report on Zimmerman’s account consistent with inquiry
More than a month after the shooting, the Orlando Sentinel, citing “authorities” as its source of information, reported that Zimmerman told police that he had lost sight of Martin after trying to follow him and that he was returning to his vehicle when Martin confronted him.
The Sentinel also reported that Zimmerman claimed to police that Martin attacked him before he shot Martin.
On Monday, the city of Sanford released a statement in which it condemned what it called "unauthorized leaks," but confirmed that the newspaper account "is consistent with the information provided to the State Attorney's office by the Police Department."
Affidavit: Zimmerman 'profiled' Martin
In an affidavit of probable cause, a Florida investigator says that the neighborhood watch volunteer "profiled" the victim, Martin, and disregarded a police dispatcher's request that he await the arrival of police.
Zimmermann arrested and booked
On April 11, Zimmerman turned himself in to authorities in Florida. He was was transported that evening to the Seminole County Criminal Justice Center, charged with second-degree murder and booked into county jail. On April 12, 47 days after Martin was shot and killed, Zimmerman made his first court appearance. His arraignment was set for May 29.
In the meantime, Zimmerman will stay in jail, segregated from the other inmates. He has access to the commissary, where he purchased $79.84 worth of items.
My family is from germany but i was born in america and cant claim that im german american..... why can a man who has never seen or been to africa be called an african american.... If you look at history, we all originated from a super-continent "mainly africa"! I dont understand why we all cant be AMERICAN...
HERE IS... A zero probability FOR A 17 YEAR OLD WHO WAS ON DRUGS TO DO ANYHTING NOT lucid. STOP...BLAH..BLAH...ZIMMERMAN LIFE'S MUCH MORE WORTHY tSAVING FOR,THAN A LIFE OF AN YOUNG ADDICT who can be worst and a menace to the commnity.
There is obviously something wrong with you Meeka, where are you getting that Trayvon was on drugs? Autopsy shows trace amounts of THC and its already been stated that this would of had no affect on him that night. Are you God? Do you get to decide whose life is more important? Zimmerman was on drugs, maybe prescriptions but dangerous drugs and who knows if he was abusing them. Aderol if a highly abused drug and i am not sure what kind of condition he would have that would justify him needing that drug. Tomazopan was the other drug he was on.
You should really try reading the evidence before you start making stupid comments that make you sound like nothing more than a racist
This case is being sensationalise and commercialiizese!!! where is the money SUZIE?
The affidavit reads "Trayvon Martin's mother has reviewed the 911 calls and identified the voice crying for help as Trayvon Martin's voice" Does this mean that a voice recording of some sort was analyzed by police/FBI or some other expert compared to Martin's voice and they know for sure it is him? It has been reported that the voice recording asking for help was NOT Zimmerman's. Now I believe that analysis was done by CNN or some other communications company. Is this what was needed to charge for 2nd degree murder?
Two audio experts that are known world wide and have been doing this for 20 years said there is no way it was Zimmerman screaming for help, they could not confirm it was Martin because they had nothing to compare it to. They both came out early in the case stating they would bet their carreers on their findings. I believe they are both on the witness list. The FBI analyzed the tapes and have so far said it was inconclusive because the quailty of the tape they recieved.
@notquitesoobvious – in an apartment complex its not considered trespassing unless you have no reason to be there, that's where he was staying for a couple of days. .
Take away the guns, take away 99% of the problem
wanna play shoot-shoot? JOIN ONE OF THE ARMED SERVICES, how can a dimwit like zimmer be allowed to carry a concealed loaded weapon in the first place?
ATTENTION PARENTS, TEACHERS, and EVERYONE ELSE:
This is a lesson to be learned here. No matter what your children's ages are, please remind them of protocols. If you find yourself being followed by an unknown person, alert your neighbors and anyone else around you, call for help on your phones. There's no telling how many Zimmermans are out there.
I believe this shooting is justifiable and the media is trying to get a murder charge since it a race type issue and since he Zimmerman was a neighborhood watch person had a right to follow this person of interest and also had a legal right to carry be carrying the weapon he had and since there was no witnesses to this incident to say how it actually came down then to me this case is closed, I do not personally think Zimmerman shot him in cold blood, there was a scuffle and he shot in self defense. You have the right to shoot someone if you feel your life is being threatened.
Remember that Zimmerman has a violent history. Assault of a woman, I believe. The forensic evidence will be the deciding factor in this case. I believe that the condition of Trayvon's body, and the evidence from that, will be conclusive enough evidence to convict Zimmerman. All the parties involved will be testifying. Police, Ambulance, neighbors, family, friends, maybe teachers, his girlfriend, the lady 911 caller, and definitely this guy that Cooper just interviewed. The fact is, if Trayvon was shot in the back of the head, as Jesse Jackson claims, then that will most likely be interpreted as 2nd degree murder. No flash from a gun in the dark? That means the gun was touching his head. Two (pops) gunshots? Probably not an echo! This case is different that the one in 2010 with the war vet and the 69 year old man. Much different. "Stand your ground" doesn't mean you attack and shoot in the head.
Zimmerman was safe in his truck, him leaving the safety of his vehical to pursue that young man makes him responsable for everything that happened. Mr. Martin had a right to walk to the store and return home without being harassed by a wanna be neighborhood hero.
All this hype is nothing more then speculation, I believe Zimmerman after he called 911 and the dispatcher said you do not have to follow him he took the advice and started to walk away and then Mr.Martin came running up behind and attacked him and a scuffle started and Zimmerman managed to get his weapon out and shoot and I believe he was the one calling for help. How do you convict someone when no one knows actually what happened so to me in court this will all be thrown out because of lack of evidence so it will have to be considered justifiable and even if he was not supposed to have a gun a weapon issue permit was giving to him so this is not his fault it is the person who issued the weapon permit.
In George Zimmerman's reports and in his reenactment, he claims that after he shot Trayvon, Trayvon fell and George then climbed on top. George then claims that he held Trayvon's hands out because he felt as if Trayvon was hitting him with something. Then he claims the police came and he stood up.
Yet, the police report says he found Trayvon face down with his hands tucked under his body. How is George's statement possible?
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