MIAMI – Startling new revelations have emerged in the case of Trayvon Martin, adding to the national outrage over his murder but diffusing attempts by right-wingers to justify what happened. The unarmed 17-year-old African American was shot to death by George Zimmerman, a self-appointed vigilante with a history of brushes with the law on Feb. 26 in the Orlando suburb of Sanford, Fla.
The new evidence shows that the lead investigator in the case, Chris Serino, wanted to arrest Zimmerman and charge him with manslaughter. But the state Attorney General’s office refused, saying that there was not enough evidence. According to various news outlets, Serino continued to push for an arrest warrant, but was denied from on high.
No prosecutor from the Seminole County office of the state attorney ever visited the scene. Gov. Rick Scott replaced that office with another, led by Angela Corey, only after the public outcry.
According to the Miami Herald, a police report classified the killing as “homicide/negligent manslaughter.”
After the shooting, it appeared that the local police department had failed in their duties to fully investigate Zimmerman, who had dreams of becoming a police officer. For example, experts said that Zimmerman had sounded intoxicated at the time, but the police even failed to administer routine drug and alcohol field-testing. They drug tested the lifeless body of the slaughtered teen however, which was kept in cold storage by them for days before they informed Martin’s parents of the killing.
It is routine for police to visit family members in cases where a member of the family has been killed. No such visit was ever made.
Despite the findings of its own investigator, the Sanford Police Department announced that there was simply not enough evidence to arrest or charge Zimmerman for the killing. In addition to the revelation that the state attorney crushed the local police investigation, 911 phone calls made at the time of the killing seem to contradict the official statements later made by the police.
The calls implied that there was a racial motivation behind Zimmerman’s confrontation with Martin. In the calls, it sounds as if Zimmerman referred to Martin as a “fu**ing coon,” and said, “they always get away.”
Martin was walking through the gated community in which his father lived to buy candy at a local convenience store. Zimmerman called the police, saying that Martin looked suspicious. Police told Zimmerman to stay in his vehicle and not to follow Martin. Zimmerman disobeyed the instructions and approached Martin. After that Zimmerman shot Martin twice, killing him.
Zimmerman claims he was attacked bu Martin, causing Zimmerman to shoot in self-defense. However, a number of witnesses, including some who have spoken to the press and have appeared on television, say it sounded as if Martin was himself being beaten, cried for help, and was then shot.
The case has sparked nationwide outrage, with supporters of Martin donning hoodies in protest after Geraldo Rivera and others suggested that that article of clothing made Martin look suspect. The Million Hoodie March was organized in New York City, and demonstrations have taken place across the country.
Rep. Bobby Rush D-Il., who wore a hoodie in support of Trayvon Martin, was thrown off the House floor in Congress yesterday for wearing it in violation of House rules.
Photo: Demonstrators hold up signs in honor of Trayvon Martin. John Minchillo/AP