Police Procedure

An excellent article about what the police procedures generally are in a case like the Martin shooting, written by a cop turned lawyer:

Here’s the deal: They might have had probable cause to arrest but did they have evidence beyond a reasonable doubt of Zimmerman’s guilt? It is very common for police to wait until the investigation is complete before making any arrests. There were still some things they didn’t know that night.

Indications are that the police did not identify Trayvon until the next morning. Without his identity they had no way to check for a criminal record. Toxicology reports won’t be available for a few days either. What if the police arrested Zimmerman and then discovered that Trayvon was a known gang-member who was high on cocaine when he was killed?

Actually, the toxicology report may be the only interesting thing to come out of the autopsy. We know he was shot and who shot him. The CPR attempt would have really messed-up any forensic evidence on the skin and clothing. If the toxicology report shows drugs or alcohol in Trayvon’s system that will help Zimmerman.

If I was the defense investigator I would want to know a lot more about Trayvon. Where was he staying? When did he leave the house? Where did he go? Is the place he was killed between those two points? I once won a case where a girl said my client and another boy tried to rape her on the way home from school. One problem with her story was that the place she said it happened was the opposite direction from her home. That’s why you check these things out.

The media says he walked to 7-11 to buy an iced tea and some skittles. According to Google the nearest 7-11 is almost two miles away and it was dark and raining. My kids wouldn’t walk next door on a rainy night, but then I’m from California. What time did he arrive at 7-11? There should be a register receipt showing a purchase of an iced tea and Skittles with a time and date stamped on it.

Read the whole thing. Life isn’t like CSI, and despite what our opponents have been saying, there’s not much that’s remarkable about this case in terms of the law.

20 thoughts on “Police Procedure”

  1. From my understanding (and there’s so much misinformation that I’m more than happy to consider this wrong) the Skittles & Iced Tea thing is a line from his parents. I don’t recall the police report saying anything about them, but then again, I’m not sure the cops line item every last thing in your pockets.

    My barber (who is black) was complaining about them not arresting Zimmerman for killing a kid with skittles in his hands. Which just goes to show you how deep the misinformation goes.

  2. Just pure conjecture here…but I looked at google maps on this. That 7-11 is over 2 miles from the dad’s house. That’s pretty damn far to walk to just get skittles and iced tea…especially since it was raining. Most kids are so lazy they’ll barely cross the street. Sorry to say but more likely the kid wanted to get outta the house to go smoke down. In my youth I dabbled in pot..and I can tell you that’s exactly what I used to do as well.

    1. In my mind, why he was out is immaterial. If there were drugs in his system, then that could help corroborate Zimmerman’s claim that he was acting in a manner that warranted his following him, but other than that, it doesn’t matter if he just wanted to walk out in the rain to clear his head, compose a symphony, or go get a snack from a few miles away.

      For me, the big question is who initiated the scuffle? Did Zimmerman approach Martin and get pissed because Martin wasn’t respecting his authority and decided to show him who’s boss? Did Martin get creeped out over some guy stalking him and decide to confront him?

      Everything else, from Martin’s reason for being outside in the rain to Zimmerman’s decision to step out of his truck is immaterial to the central issue of who started it. Only two people know, and one is dead.

      My current gut reaction is that Zimmerman is clear legally, but not civilly. He created a totally avoidable situation and while that doesn’t give anyone the right to punch him, his poor decision making lead up to the whole affair.

      1. Hmmm, was “7-11” used literally or as shorthand for “convenience store”? Is there one of the latter closer?

        Note also that he was visiting from Miami 250 miles south although very possibly not for the first time; when and how did he learn where the nearest convenience store was?

      1. I just listened to George Zimmerman’s 911 call to the Sanford Police on the night of this shooting. The address George Zimmerman gave to the 911 dispatcher was 111 Retreat View Circle, which is supposedly the street address for the clubhouse of The Retreat at Twin Lakes, and not 1111 Retreat View Circle as your stored 7-11 store locator search indicates.

        I do not know exactly which residence within The Retreat at Twin Lakes that Trayvon Martin was staying at prior to his death, but the Wikipedia article on this shooting says that there are about 260 homes within this gated community. Considering the relative size of The Retreat at Twin Lakes, which I could readily see with the satellite view on Google Earth, it is possible that Trayvon Martin would have had to walk more than just .8 of a mile to the nearest 7-11 store at 1125 Rinehart Road in Sanford. Trayvon Martin might have had to walk slightly over an entire mile to reach this 7-11 store, actually, but the remaining question for me now is whether Trayvon Martin really would have walked this far in the rain, on an evening after sunset in late February, just to buy a bag of candy and a can of iced tea.

  3. Would someone show me the %$#@*& 7-11 video of Martin walking in, buying Skittles and leaving? Hogwash that he walked 4 miles for Skittles. Looking for trouble and he found it.

    1. Sorry SB, I have just as much evidence showing Martin was out looking for trouble as I do Zimmerman being a racist looking to kill himself a darkie – which is to say none.

      I’m dark skinned. I snuck out of my house in the wee hours of the mornings just to walk around all the time or have a cigarette. Kids these days have cell phones and want to talk to their sweeties without mom & dad listening in. There are any number of reasons for him to be out, none of which are clear or ever will be. I will not convict Martin of being up to no good for the same reason I won’t call Zimmerman a murderer.

      1. Kids these days have cell phones and want to talk to their sweeties without mom & dad listening in.

        Bingo, and the media even have a photo of the phone bill with his girlfriend’s conversation listed (although I didn’t look closely at it, e.g. I didn’t have a time-line to see if it correlated). Even if he lied about why he was going out that would not cast serious suspicion on him.

        It’s also been noted that there was plenty of time for Martin to consume his snack on his way home, and that snacks don’t survive for long around hungry growing teenagers.

  4. Agree…no evidence of either way that’s why I said it was conjecture. Autopsy results will prove one way or another. But I also have to go what’s most logical and probable in my mind based on what I know(which I admit is limited). Kid walking in rain 4 miles for just Skittles is neither logical nor probable. Kid with known drug history going out to smoke a some weed(which he can’t do in his house obviously)..highly probable. Zimmerman being a raving racist who gunned down somebody for no reason..not probable. Trayvon, an obvious thug or at least thug wannabe from Liberty City(a hellhole even by Miami standards)sucker punching and going wild on some dude for daring to question him(typical thug by the way…I grew up with people like that)..highly probable.

  5. “Life isn’t like CSI, and despite what our opponents have been saying, there’s not much that’s remarkable about this case in terms of the law.”

    This is what scares me if I ever ended up at jury trial for something. You can bet they’ll pluck anyone from the jury pool who seems informed or asks too many questions too. I know I’d get kicked off lol

  6. While Trayvon was an average student he went to a very good school that produces lots of college graduates. He wasnt a saint, but neither was George Zimmerman. Maybe it was fate that 2 hotheads meet. It is reported that Trayvon got the snacks, skittles, and tea for his younger brother to eat and watch the football game. Trayvon and George could have both handled things differently that night. It was male ego rising up in both of them.

    At any rate, even if George is innocent, his life is already ruined, he’ll probably have to relocate to some small town or Canada. He will never be normal again.

    Trayvon did not have a criminal record, but George Zimmerman did. George was also fired from being a security guard for being over zealou, and agressive. Domestic Violence and Assaulting a Police Officer. If you fight a police with a gun, you will fight anybody. George Zimmerman was not afraid, plus he had a gun.

    Out of all the 911 calls that George ever made about black males, this sounds like the only one he ever confronted…why? maybe because he was younger than the others, and may have been perceived to be an easy target.

    All that really matters is what happened when they met up together that night…..

    1. Wonder when George got his concealed carry permit? That might answer why he didn’t confront others years ago.

      1. Wikipedia (which has one of the doctored photos of Martin at the top…) report’s his age as 28; Florida has the usual 21 years of age minimum to get a CCW permit.

        It should also be noted that it is reported that Zimmerman says he did not confront Martin, which is the strongest bit of evidence we have about this. Yes, his girlfriend is reported to have said Martin said Zimmerman confronted him, but that is … quasi-hearsay? His girlfriend can only report what Martin told her, she wasn’t there.

        1. In 2005, when the DV complaint was filed, they had no guns in their household (per court records). While Zimmerman had a restraining order, he couldn’t have gotten a gun under federal law. So he would have had to have gotten his CCW sometime after that expired.

    2. One small but critical correction. Zimmerman had an arrest record. Arrest is not evidence of criminality. If there was criminality involved in the arrest it may have been on the part of the arresting officer. That’s why we have a right to public due process before a jury of our peers.

      Now Thoreau and Gandhi, those two trouble making punks had criminal records.

  7. Does anybody know if Zimmerman actually lived in the subdivision? If so, where?

    Does anybody know if Martin (or, more correctly, his father’s girlfriend) live in the subdivision? If so, where?
    I read once he was only ~100 feet from where he was staying or a guest.

    Does anybody know if Martin’s cousin (or whatever his father said he was at when this went down)live in the subdivision? If so, where?
    Again, I read once he was only ~100 feet from where he was staying or a guest.

    That being said/asked, given public records I know that there is a ‘Zimmerman’ owned property (whether it is this ‘Zimmerman’ or not?) right about where one could stand in the drive-way and model Zimmerman’s call with regard to ‘He’s approaching, now he’s running away toward the back entrance’. From there Zimmerman could follow martin without ever leaving HIS private property (assuming he lived there and his head bouncing off the sidewalk is “in-bounds”).

    1. As I said in another thread, if someone reliable like BBN says the same thing I’ll believe it. Not the infamous FBI Lab nor these “experts”.

      1. Tom Owen is an expert. He has impeccable credentials: http://www.owlinvestigations.com/about.html

        The most important part of his bio is that he is Chairman of the Audio Engineering Society’s Standards Group SC-03-WG-12 on Forensic Audio. If you do a little research, you’ll see that the people from BBN are also affiliated with AES.

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