Surveillance video released by the Florida State Attorney’s Office shows that George Zimmerman had a “cozy” relationship with the Sanford Police Department, an attorney for Trayvon Martin’s family told the Huffington Post.
The video shows Zimmerman walking unescorted through a Sanford police station three days after he shot and killed Martin. He also reportedly had a number of “ride alongs” with police, which he later described as “disgusting” because of the officers’ laziness.
“This video of Zimmerman just walking through the police department so casually underscores that people in that department have a familiarity with him,” attorney Benjamin Crump said. “It means that he had a relationship with the Sanford police department. And it’s just unusual that all along they would say they didn’t. But he went on several ride alongs with them and he was comfortable enough to walk unescorted through their department.”
On February 26, Zimmerman told police that he shot and killed the unarmed African American teenager out of self-defense. Zimmerman was not arrested that night, a fact that later sparked national outrage and a flood of criticism. Martin’s family attorney had questioned his relationship with the police, noting Zimmerman was a criminal justice student.
Zimmerman had expressed his outrage at the Sanford Police Department at a January 2011 city commission hearing over the beating of a black homeless man.
“I would just like to state that the law is written in black and white. It should not and cannot be enforced in the gray for those that are in the thin blue line,” he said.
But he later praised former Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee for the department’s “professionalism.”
Sanford police maintain that nobody at the department knew Zimmerman before the shooting.
“The email Chief Lee received in 2011 was not unique among the numerous complimentary emails Chief Lee has received from Sanford residents,” spokesman Sara Brady wrote in an email to CNN. “As is his practice, Chief Lee responded to a positive comment from a citizen. Based on comments that Mr. Zimmerman is reported to have made in a public forum before Chief Lee was hired, it is not likely that Mr. Zimmerman would have endeared himself to members of the police department.”