On the night of February 26, 2012, in Sanford, Florida, United States, George Zimmerman fatally shot Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old African American high school student. Zimmerman: No, you go in straight through the entrance and then you make a left...uh, you go straight in, don't turn, and make a left. Zimmerman: Down towards the other entrance to the neighborhood. Zimmerman: If they come in through the gate, tell them to go straight past the club house, and uh, straight past the club house and make a left, and then they go past the mailboxes, Oh, crap. The officers, who believed Zimmerman proceeded solely on foot before the attack, did not seize Zimmerman's vehicle until after his wife had moved it.Zimmerman, a 28-year-old mixed race Hispanic man Zimmerman shot Martin, who was unarmed, during an altercation between the two. Dispatcher: Just let me know if he does anything, okay? Shit, he's running [background noises, possibly car door open warning chimes, heard]. Dispatcher: Which entrance is that that he's heading towards? said that the police failed to fully investigate the shooting when they did not test Zimmerman for drugs or alcohol intoxication.
The police chief said that Zimmerman was released because there was no evidence to refute Zimmerman's claim of having acted in self-defense, and that under Florida's Stand Your Ground statute, the police were prohibited by law from making an arrest. Krop High School and lived with his mother and older brother in Miami Gardens, Florida. Based on their accusation, the Martin family requested that the Justice Department investigate the State prosecutor's office.Trayvon Benjamin Martin was the son of Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, who were divorced in 1999. On the day he was fatally shot, he and his father were visiting his father's fiancée and her son at her town home in Sanford, Florida. Wolfinger responded that the family's accusations were "outright lies" and denied that any such meeting or communication took place.She lived in The Retreat at Twin Lakes, a multi-ethnic gated community where Martin had visited several times before. Wolfinger's office reported that the Sanford police consulted with Kelly Jo Hines, the prosecutor on call the night of the shooting, but it has not been disclosed what was talked about.Prior to Lee becoming chief, the department had been accused of protecting relatives of police officers involved in violent incidents with blacks, and the Martin case increased distrust between the police and Sanford's black community. Lee said there was not enough evidence to arrest Zimmerman. Zimmerman has made the statement of self-defense," Lee said.In April, the Sanford City Commission refused to accept Lee's resignation and stated that "Lee's spotless record showed there needed to be further review to determine if he failed in his duties." Lee was fired on June 20, 2012, by Sanford City Manager Norton Bonaparte. "Until we can establish probable cause to dispute that, we don't have the grounds to arrest him." In response to criticisms of the investigation, Lee responded that "We are taking a beating over this" and defended the investigation.
Lee responded by saying "I continue to stand by the work performed by the Sanford Police Department in this tragic shooting, which has been plagued by misrepresentations and false statements for interests other than justice." On June 26, 2012, the lead investigator of the case, Christopher Serino, was transferred out of the Sanford Police Department's investigative unit and reassigned to the patrol division at his own request. On March 13, 2012, Chris Serino sent a capias request to the state's attorney recommending charges of negligent manslaughter against Zimmerman, though Serino maintains he did not believe they had the evidence to support those charges and that manslaughter was only included in the capias in order for the prosecutor's office to continue with their own investigation.
Serino said he felt pressured by several of his fellow police officers to press charges on Zimmerman when he believed there was not enough evidence to do so, and that one of the officers pressuring him was a friend of Martin's father. The capias states, "the encounter between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin was ultimately avoidable by Zimmerman, if Zimmerman had remained in his vehicle and waited the arrival of law enforcement or conversely if he had identified himself to Martin as a concerned citizen and initiated dialog in an effort to dispel each party's concern....
In September 2012, Orlando TV station WFTV released a leaked memo in which interim police chief Richard Myers blamed the police department spokesperson, Sgt. There is no indication that Trayvon Martin was involved in any criminal activity at the time of the encounter." On March 16, Serino told the Orlando Sentinel that his investigation had turned up no reliable evidence that cast doubt on Zimmerman's account; that he had acted in self-defense.
David Morgenstern, for having mishandled the Travyon Martin case and removed him from his spokesperson position. "The best evidence we have is the testimony of George Zimmerman, and he says the decedent was the primary aggressor in the whole event, everything I have is adding up to what he says." However, after State Attorney Angela Corey was assigned to the case by Florida Governor Rick Scott on March 22, she decided that her office would decide whether to press charges.
In September 2011, the Twin Lakes residents held an organizational meeting to create a neighborhood watch program. Do you know what the – he's near the clubhouse right now? She commented: "I always lean towards moving forward without needing the grand jury in a case like this, I foresee us being able to make a decision, and move on it on our own." On July 12, 2012, reports of some of the more than 30 interviews conducted by the FBI were released by Special Prosecutor Angela Corey to Zimmerman's attorney, who released them to the public.
Zimmerman was selected by neighbors as the program's coordinator, according to Wendy Dorival, Neighborhood Watch organizer for the Sanford Police Department. The released reports do not draw any conclusions in the DOJ investigation.