Police under fire over handling of black teen's murder
22 Mar, 2012 19:13
As national outrage continues to spread regarding the Trayvon Martin case and accusations of the alleged shooter being racist, the lead investigator involved temporarily resigned on Thursday afternoon.
Some believe Sanford Police ruined the investigation from the start."If there were mistakes made we are going to act accordingly," said Sanford Mayor Jeff Triplett to ABC News about Martin's case.The case which has caused increased hostility between community leaders and residents of Sanford led to a city commissioner demanding the resignation of Police Chief Billy Lee.The city commissioners engaged in a “no confidence” vote against Lee which resulted in three of the five voting against to Lee. According to reports, Lee decided to call it quits after the vote and will remain resigned until the the Martin case is closed.Recent reports have surface of the self-appointed neighborhood watch leader, Zimmerman, for dropping a racial slur during his 911 call which has created more uproar in the case.In voice recording, the night of the shooting, Zimmerman is caught mumbling under his breath what appears to be, "fucking coons," moments later the clash with Martin resulted in the death of the black teen.The self-defense argument presented by Zimmerman has received wide criticism, but Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law says the shooter was within his rights.According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, this law gives vast flexibility to individuals like Zimmerman to use deadly force if they feel threatened. Since the implement of “Stand Your Ground” seven years ago, warranted killings in Florida have increased three times.Other mishaps by Sanford PD have been the lack of effort to reach out to the victim’s girlfriend who was on the phone with Martin during the incident and the department‘s failure to investigate if alcohol or drugs were involved."The fact that Mr. Zimmerman was not given a toxicology test or breathalyzer examination is huge. Very huge," homicide investigator Rod Wheeler told Good Morning America.The 17-year-old unarmed Martin was shot by Zimmerman late February for being suspicious and carrying a bag of skittles candy and Martin’s girlfriend recalls the night her boyfriend was shot."He said this man was watching him," the teen said."So he put his hoodie on, said he lost the man. I asked Trayvon to run, and he said he was going to walk fast, I told him to run but he said was not going to run. Trayvon said, 'What are you following me for?' and the man said, 'What are you doing here?' Next thing I hear is somebody pushing and somebody push Trayvon, because the headset just fell. I called him again and he didn't answer the phone," she added.The Sanford Mayor expressed that “the unknown in a tragedy will make the heart do crazy things, and we haven't done a good job of getting out in front of that."Triplett also added his he had a lot of “confidence” in Lee but didn’t “have confidence in him in some ways."Many believe the vote was highly influenced by Triplett’s question and answer session with local residents, the press and the NAACP. Triplett faced tough questions regarding the claims of police misconduct.The case is now being looked at as a possible hate crime.