GEORGE ZIMMERMAN (Knew Several Sanford Police Officials)


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GEORGE ZIMMERMAN (Knew Several Sanford Police Officials)

  1. 1. CUT & PASTED FROM: In accordance with Federal Laws provided For Educational and Informative Purposes - i.e. PUBLIC InterestGeorge Zimmerman Knew Several Sanford PoliceOfficers Before ShootingTrayvon Martin, 17, was fatally shot by neighborhood watch leader George Zimmerman. (ABC News)By MATT GUTMAN (@mattgutmanABC) , SENI TIENABESO (@senijr_abc) and CANDACE SMITH (@CandaceSmith_)MIAMI May 23, 2012George Zimmerman, who was not initially charged by police in the shooting death of unarmedteenager Trayvon Marin, was familiar with some of the officers in the Sanford, Fla., policedepartment, having gone on several "ride alongs" with the cops, he told the citys mayor last year.But Zimmerman, a criminal studies major, was harsh in his criticism of the cops he had met on theSanford force calling their on-the-job conduct "disgusting."Zimmerman, a member of the neighborhood watch, voiced his opinion at a January 2011 citycommission hearing that included then mayor-elect Jeff Triplet.One officer "showed me his favorite hiding spots for taking naps, explained to me that he doesntcarry a long gun in his vehicle because in his words anything that requires a long gun requires a lotof paperwork and youre going to find me as far away from it," Zimmerman said.He added the officer "took two lunch breaks and attended a going away party for one of his officers."
  2. 2. These rides, along with new video showing Zimmerman roaming the police department unescortedjust three days after the shooting, are reviving old questions of Zimmermans relationship with thedepartment that decided against charging him with a crime on the night of the shooting.Trayvon Martin Case: Should Charges Be Dropped? Watch VideoTrayvon Martin in 7-Eleven on Night of Shooting Watch VideoTrayvon Martin Shooting Video, Photos Released Watch VideoWhen ABC News asked the Sanford Police force in mid-March whether Zimmerman had any contactor relationship with the police force, the answer on more than one occasion was no."We do not have specific dates Mr. Zimmerman may have ridden or with whom he rode, if in fact heever did ride with SPD," Capt. Robert OConnor of the Sanford Police Department said in astatement today.Zimmerman was later charged by a state prosecutor with second degree murder in Martins death onFeb. 26.These revelations come as a number of witnesses who claimed to have seen or heard parts ofZimmermans fatal confrontation with Martin, apparently changed or expanded their testimony inthe weeks after the shooting.In a March 13 ABC News article on possible police missteps in the investigation, it was also notedthat some of the witnesses felt that police had "corrected" their testimony.Given that Zimmermans trial may not take place for a year the memories of the dozen or sowitnesses that dark rainy night -- memories possibly influenced evolving coverage of the case in thenews -- would likely be hotly contested in court.Among the witness versions that have changed are:
  3. 3. - Witness 5 told Sanford police investigator Chris Serino: "There was no fighting going on at the timethe gun went off. We were both in the kitchen, the window was open. There was no fighting and thefight that happened." But in the 911 audio clearly includes what sounds like a struggle and a plea forhelp a split second before the gunshot is heard.Page 2 of 2MIAMI May 23, 2012- Witness 6 is a man who lived near where the shooting took place and told Sanford police he saw ablack man on top of a lighter-skinned man "just throwing down blows on the guy, MMA-style," andthat the man getting beat up was the one calling for help.But three weeks later when speaking with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, he was nolonger sure. "I truly cant tell who, after thinking about it, was yelling for help just because it was sodark out on that sidewalk," he said.The man also said while he was positive that "the black guy was on top," he could no longer be sureMartin was throwing punches or simply trying to restrain Zimmerman.- Witness 2, who is a young woman, initially spoke with Sanford police four days after the shooting."I saw two guys running," she said. "Couldnt tell you who was in front, who was in behind." She saidmoments later she saw a fistfight: "Just fists. I dont know who was hitting who."Trayvon Martin Case: Should Charges Be Dropped? Watch VideoTrayvon Martin in 7-Eleven on Night of Shooting Watch VideoTrayvon Martin Shooting Video, Photos Released Watch Video
  4. 4. Nearly a month later when interviewed again, this time by the FDLE, her story had changed. Shesaid she remembered catching only a glimpse of a single person running. "I couldnt tell you if it wasa man, a woman, a kid, black, or white. I couldnt tell you because it was dark and because I didnthave my contacts on or glasses. … I just know I saw a person out there."- Witness 13, who talked with Zimmerman in the moments after the shooting, didnt alter hisaccount as much as he added to it. He initially told local police that Zimmerman told him thatMartin "was beating up on me, so I had to shoot him," and that Zimmerman asked the man to callhis wife and let him know what happened.About a month later, the witness went into much great detail about Zimmermans demeanor.Zimmermans tone, according to the witness, was "not like I cant believe I just shot someone!—itwas more like, Just tell my wife I shot somebody …, like it was nothing."- A young mother identified as Witness 12 didnt give a recorded interview to Sanford police, but shedid sit down with an FDLE agent more than three weeks after the shooting. She said she saw twopeople on the ground immediately after the shooting, but that she couldnt say whether it wasZimmerman or Trayvon on top. Six days later, however, she was sure it was Zimmerman."I know after seeing the TV of whats happening, comparing their sizes, I think Zimmerman wasdefinitely on top because of his size," she said.