As had been announced, Trayvon’s father, Tracy Martin, held a news conference yesterday, where he called on Sanford, FL police to arrest George Zimmerman (28), the admitted killer of his son. Also at the conference were his lawyers, Benjamin Crump of Tallahassee and Natalie Jackson of Orlando. They demanded that the police make the arrest and release details about what happened that night, including the transcripts of several 911 calls from residents who were witness to the scuffle that ended with Trayvon Martin (17) dead on the ground. They said they will file suit in state circuit court in Sanford today, demanding that police turn over their investigative records.
More information about what happened that night has been released by Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee Jr., both from the incident reports of the police responding to the 911 calls, and in statements to the press.
Zimmerman saw Trayvon walking through the gated community around 7:15 and called Sanford police on a non-emergency number to report a suspicious person. He was told that the police would dispatch an officer, and to keep his distance from the individual. Before the officer arrived, the department got at least six 911 calls from residents bordering the walkway where the confrontation occurred, reporting two men fighting. On at least one of the calls, the fight and the fatal gunshot can be heard in the background, according to the police chief.
Tracy Martin and his lawyers are not denying that Trayvon and Zimmerman fought before the shooting. The police chief said that there is evidence to support Zimmerman’s self defense claims. When the police arrived, according to an incident report released yesterday, Zimmerman was found standing over the body, with his gun in his waistband, complaining that he yelled for help, but no one came out to help him. The back of his shirt was wet, with grass clippings on it, suggesting he was knocked down at one point. He was also bleeding from his nose and the back of his head.
Police cuffed him, took him to police headquarters, where he was interrogated and then released. He claimed to have acted in self defense.
Police are still investigating to determine whether Zimmerman is guilty of manslaughter. They have interviewed Zimmerman several times and had him re-enact what happened.
Detectives should complete their investigation next week at the latest, Police Chief Bill Lee Jr. said, and then the state attorney’s office will decide whether to file criminal charges.
At the news conference, the family’s attorneys said there was nothing suspicious about Trayvon and no reason for Zimmerman to confront him. He was an invited guest, he had visited before, and it is a community with black and minority residents.
Crump and Jackson said that after calling the police he should have followed their instructions and waited for the officer to arrive. He should not have approached the teen. If Trayvon fought back, said Jackson, that’s to be expected. He was being confronted by someone who was not a police officer, was not in uniform and was not in a patrol vehicle. The teenager could not have known that Zimmerman had a concealed carry permit and had a gun.
LezGetReal has been contacted by a former resident of the community who told us that the condominium board was well aware that Zimmerman carried a gun, as he brought it to community meetings. She also said that the neighborhood watch was made up of “drunks, trouble-makers and lunatics”.
Not a comforting thought for other minority residents of The Retreat at Twin Lakes.