The senseless slaying of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin has sent shockwaves throughout the African-American community and throughout the world. We are all justifiably outraged at how George Zimmerman, a 28-year-old Hispanic male who has a history of calling the Sanford Florida Police (SPD) to report “suspicious Black males” in his exclusive gated community, can slay an unarmed child with a gun and not be arrested and charged with murder. What is even more outrageous is how the SPD treated the entire investigation so cavalierly. And though the SPD police chief has stepped down “temporarily” because of the controversy about the handling of the shooting, there are still some issues with how the SPD handled this incident that continue to raise some suspicion for me.
According to law enforcement expert Rod Wheeler, Zimmerman’s speech on the 911 call was slurred, which is an indication that he may have been intoxicated. Anytime a person involved in a crime shows signs of intoxication, an alcohol and drug test is standard procedure. The Guardian reports that the SPD failed to check Zimmerman for drug and/or alcohol use, yet they were keen to check Martin’s dead body for traces of such substances.
Secondly, the police failed to contact Martin’s girlfriend in Miami. She was the last person Martin talked to on his cell phone just minutes before he was killed. According to her, Martin told her he was being followed by a stranger and the last thing she heard the teenager say was, “Why are you following me?” This witness directly contradicts Zimmerman’s claim of self-defense.
How can you feel threatened by an unarmed 17-year-old kid? Furthermore, if you really did feel threatened by him, then why follow him, especially when the authorities told you not to? That alone should’ve justified an investigation or, at the absolute least, it merited bringing Zimmerman in for questioning. Neither happened.
The SPD also failed to notice Zimmerman’s possible use of a racial slur to describe Martin during his 911 call to the police. This is a crucial piece of evidence for a trained police investigator to “overlook.”
Needless to say, Zimmerman deserves to be arrested and charged with the murder of Trayvon Martin. But, as I look over the facts involving this case, it becomes painfully obvious that the arrests shouldn’t stop with George Zimmerman alone.
There are some very disturbing reports alleging that when witnesses tried to tell the police they heard Martin scream for help, the officers either ignored or disregarded their assertions altogether. If these allegations are true, then all of the officers involved in this questionable behavior should be charged with obstructing justice.
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(Photo: Orlando Sentinel/MCT/Landov)