Trayvon Martin's parents seek probe

2012-04-03 15:02

Miami - The family of an unarmed black teen shot dead by a neighbourhood watch guard in February asked US federal officials on Monday to probe "suspicious" actions by Florida officials on the night of the shooting.

The attorney for the family of Trayvon Martin, Benjamin Crump, sent a letter to the US Justice Department urging it to review the role of Florida State Attorney Norm Wolfinger, who has since recused himself from the case.

Neighbourhood watch captain George Zimmerman, a white Hispanic, fatally shot 17-year-old Martin inside a gated community in the Florida town of Sanford on February 26.

Zimmerman has said he acted in self-defence after Martin punched him in the nose, knocked him down and slammed his head into the ground.

The case has unleashed a national uproar over race relations and the right to self-defence in the United States.

Sanford police applied for a warrant to arrest Zimmerman in the early stages of the investigation, local media including The Miami Herald reported. Prosecutors however held off approving the warrant, pending further review.

Crump said he believes that Wolfinger met Sanford police chief Lee on the night of the shooting and overruled the recommendation of a homicide investigator to charge Zimmerman with manslaughter.

Special prosecutor

Crump wrote that he wants federal officials to investigate "the suspicious circumstances surrounding this meeting, and the decision to disregard the recommendation of the lead homicide investigator".

Wolfinger recused himself from the case two weeks ago, and Florida's governor assigned a special prosecutor to investigate the case.

Since Martin's death, there have been numerous large public protests calling for Zimmerman's arrest, but there have been no detention orders and the 28-year-old has gone into hiding, fearing for his life.

A controversial Florida law allows the use of deadly force when a person has a reasonable fear of death or serious injury - which Zimmerman, through surrogates interviewed in the media, has said was the case when he shot Martin.

A surveillance video that ABC News released last week showed Zimmerman handcuffed at the police station after the shooting, but with no apparent signs of serious injury.

However, enhanced footage of the same video that aired on Monday shows evidence of an injury to the back of Zimmerman's head.

The state of Florida on April 10 will take the case to a grand jury, which will then say if there is enough evidence to indict Zimmerman.

  • amanda.victor2 - 2012-04-03 15:55

    This story is becoming a farce. There are many blacks killed daily in America and no one talks about them. Why? Because other blacks kill them. This is a racist witch hunt and they only care about ramping up the hatred without knowing all the facts. Zimmerman is innocent until convicted and found guilty. Give it a rest already.

      Megan - 2012-04-03 16:43

      You very clearly haven't been following the story. The major outcry is the fact that there has been NO INVESTIGATION and that's all the family of the deceased are pretty much asking for. Nevermind the fact that at the very least manslaughter charges should have been laid against him and it's up to a jury to decide whether or not he acted in self defence. The ENTIRE problem with this particular case is NO WHERE has any proper procedure as set out by USA law been followed. No just imagine how angry you would be if you were a parent of deceased?

      cosmos.ndebele - 2012-04-03 19:31

      Amanda u hve a very dangerous mind set, i wonder who likes yr comment!!!

  • Chas - 2012-04-03 17:05

    For anyone that is interested.... I am an audio guy.. I took the 911 call with the most audio informatiion regarding screams, compressed it, ran it at half speed and pitch corected it 100 percent.. even though it runs slower (just a tenth over half speed) anyone with an ear for music can tell not a note has been changed.. Digital affords you this luxury. In the analog days we had to physically slow the tape/medium down and you lose pitch and clarity. Anyway, what I find most interesting is the ghastly scream at about 1:12 right after the final shot.\. THIS AUDIO IS NOT ENHANCED per sey.. not like enhancing a photo.. the only enhancing has been to adust volume levels so you don't hurt your ear listening to everything at relative volume levels. There are a few swirling artifacts in this copy because I had to compres the wav file to a 128 kbps mp3 to fit on my page so you had a player to hear it on.. These artifacts are slight and will not distract. The 911 call as you have never heard it before, draw your own conclusions. Listen for the scream after the shot. Again, draw your own conclusions, I am not here to change any minds tonight. This exorsize is just a way to access the call and hear things you would not of just listening to the raw recording.

  • kafantaris2 - 2012-04-04 08:11

    To understand the Trayvon Martin vs. George Zimmerman case, you need to listen to the recorded phone call made by the neighbor to 911. The fatal shot is heard during this call. Merely listen to it. Then draw your own conclusions. No need for experts. No need for pundits. No need even for an open mind. Just listen to the haunting call. A transcript won’t do. It must be heard. Here it is:

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