Prosecutors have released a cache of interview transcriptions, photos and other evidence pertaining to the shooting of teenager Trayvon Martin by former neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman, Jr., according to the Associated Press. Among documents included in the release are reports from the FBI and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement as well as summaries of extensive interviews with witnesses, police officers and associates of Zimmerman, past and present.
The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that the FBI concludes that there is no evidence of racial bias in Zimmerman’s previous behavior. Interviews with his former fiancee, coworkers and friends produced no specific instances of racism and claimed that the accused murderer “pleasant” and “outgoing.”
Sanford Police lead investigator Christopher Serino alleges that documents and testimony paint a picture of Zimmerman as someone with a “hero complex,” but not a racist. He claims that Zimmerman profiled Martin because he was wearing a hoodie, not because he was black. Serino also claims that gang members in that part of Florida are called “goons,” which was a term that Zimmerman’s lawyers claim he used to describe Martin in his 911 call, rather than the racial epithet that most people heard when they listened to the tape, “F*ckin’ coons.”
The Sanford, Florida police department has been roundly criticized for allowing 44 days to pass between the incident and Zimmerman’s arrest. It was after a national outcry that any effort was made to prosecute the shooter and bring the case to trial. Chief of Police Bill Lee resigned in April over his department’s mishandling of the incident.
Information revealed in the packet includes witness testimony that Zimmerman had two small lacerations on the back of his head, and that his nose was bleeding, but showed no signs of being broken. Multiple witnesses describe hearing three gunshots after the struggle between Zimmerman and the teenager, but since the attack took place at twilight in heavy rain, almost no one seems to have had a clear view of the events.
The Atlantic Wire reports that Zimmerman attempted to buy more guns after his arrest. The FBI interviewed gun shop owners who said that Zimmerman said his life was in danger and that he needed more guns. The report does not indicate whether or not the purchases were made.
Zimmerman was released on $1 million bail last week. He was taken back into custody after being released on $150,000 bail in April when it came to light that the suspect and his wife had lied to the court about their finances. The couple claimed to have nothing, when in fact donors had poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into a defense fund in Zimmerman’s name. Judge Kenneth Lester, Jr. admonished Zimmerman upon his release for his dishonesty and his attempts to “manipulate the system.”
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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