Trayvon Martin shooting 'avoidable'

2012-05-18 13:38
Miami - A police report said the confrontation that led to an unarmed black teenager in Florida being shot dead by a neighborhood watch volunteer was "ultimately avoidable."

The report on the Trayvon Martin case was released on Thursday along with an autopsy of the 17-year-old, which revealed traces of marijuana in his body.

Martin was killed by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman on the night of February 26 as he was returning to his father's home after buying iced tea and candy, in a gated community in the city of Sanford.

Incident 'could have been averted'

The racially-charged case has attracted national attention, with Zimmerman - who was later charged with second-degree murder - claiming he shot Martin in self-defense and police initially deciding not to press charges.

The incident, authorities said, could have been averted if Zimmerman had "remained in his vehicle and awaited the arrival of law enforcement."

There was also "no indication that Trayvon Martin was involved in any criminal activity at the time of the encounter," the police report said.

Released evidence included pictures that Sanford police officers took of Zimmerman, showing evidence of a fight that night.

In one photo, Zimmerman appeared with a bloody nose that seemed to be broken.

An officer who attended to Zimmerman on the night of the shooting was cited in the report as saying the watchman was bleeding from the nose and back of his head, and his "back appeared to be wet and was covered in grass," as if he had been on his back during the altercation.

Legal action

The 183 pages of evidence, while police said the incident was avoidable, appeared to support Zimmerman's claim that he fired in self-defense, which is permissible under Florida law.

Under the "Stand Your Ground" law, a person with a permit to carry a weapon can shoot when they feel a reasonable threat to their life or that they risk serious injury.

Martin was shot through the heart, the autopsy report said.

Separately, a new legal defense fund for Zimmerman has raised about $1 000 a day so far this month, his lawyer said.

Attorney Mark O'Mara said the fund - collecting donations at gzdefensefund.com - raised $15 425 between May 3 and May 16, with most donations ranging between $25 to $100.

Zimmerman had raised more than $200 000 through an earlier fund set up through the online payment system PayPal, but it was shut down in favor of the new account which is maintained by a third party.

He was arrested April 11 following weeks of public outcry and released on bail April 23. Since then, he has been living at an undisclosed location, amid preliminary hearings and a continuing state investigation.

Read more on:    george zimmerman  |  trayvon martin  |  us

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