Zimmerman Arrest Affidavit Says Word Used Was "Punks"
Here's the affidavit of probable cause submitted for the arrest of George Zimmerman on second degree murder charges for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. It is written and sworn to by States' Attorney Special Investigators T.C. O'Steen and Dale Gilbreath, both former investigators with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Department. They don't believe there was a racial slur.
During the recorded call Zimmerman made reference to people he felt had committed and gotten away with break-ins in his neighborhood. Later while talking about Martin, Zimrnerman stated "these a*sholes, they always get away and also said “these f*cking punks.”
If any independent or further investigation was conducted by the State's Attorney's office, it doesn't show in the Affidavit. It's a recitation of what they gleaned from the information provided by the Sanford police, and some re-interviews of selected witnesses.
Your Affiants, along with other law enforcement officials have taken sworn statements from witnesses, spoken with law enforcement officers who have provided sworn testimony in reports, reviewed other reports, recorded statements, phone records, recorded calls to police, photographs, videos, and other documents.
There's no reference to forensic testing. The only finding from the autopsy report is that Trayvon died from a gunshot wound.
Incredibly, it claims without support that Zimmerman was "profiling" Martin. It misrepresents what the dispatcher said to Zimmerman, calling it an "instruction" not to follow Martin. (The dispatcher said, "We don't need you to do that" to which Zimmerman responded "Ok.")
It says, without providing a basis, that Zimmerman confronted Trayvon. It then says a struggle ensued, at the end of which, Trayvon was dead. It says witnesses heard arguments, a struggle and cries for help. It does not say anyone saw the actual struggle. (It doesn't refer to the one witness, John, who told police on his 911 call he did observe the struggle and has later said Zimmerman was on the bottom crying out for help.)
The only support for its belief the voice crying for help was Trayvon's is his mother's identification. There's no reference to Zimmerman's father or brother saying they believed the voice was Zimmerman's, or that the officer at the scene overheard Zimmerman say he cried out for help.
It makes no reference to who initiated the physical struggle. Or that Zimmerman was observed bleeding at the scene. It only says "Zimmerman confronted Martin and a struggle ensued." Translation: The struggle followed Zimmerman's verbal confrontation.
Zimmerman confronted Martin and a struggle ensued. Witnesses heard people arguing and what sounded like a struggle. During this time period witnesses heard numerous calls for help and some of these were recorded in 911calls to police. Trayvon’s mother has reviewed the 911 calls and identified the voice crying for help as Trayvon Martin's voice.
The only independent investigation they mention, interviewing witnesses, is the least reliable method of investigation they could have pursued. New versions of witness statements are inherently unreliable. These statements are the product of "post-event information." in which the witness' current memory is a co-mingling of actual memories from the event and information learned later, from the media and others.
The likelihood of error in these later statements is even greater if they were made after they "pooled information" with other witnesses, learning what others thought they heard and saw. Memories influenced by post-event information and pooling of information are major causes of faulty eye-witness identification, which in turn is the leading cause of wrongful convictions in this country.
Affidavit = FAIL. That a judge signed off on this as establishing second degree murder which according to Florida jury instructions and case law requires the killing be done with "ill will, hatred, spite, or an evil intent" is perplexing, to say the least.
But it seems the state has probably foreclosed a conviction on a federal hate crimes charge. With state investigators swearing under oath Zimmerman said "punks" instead of the alleged racial slur, even if others disagree, there's no way it will pass the proof beyond a reasonable doubt requirement for a hate crime conviction.
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