Thursday, July 24, 2014         

 Print   Email   Comment | View 20 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

Fight claims, pot put Florida teen's side on defense in death

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 03:39 p.m. HST, Mar 26, 2012

Twin Lakes Shooting Initial Report

SANFORD, Fla. >> The family and supporters of slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin found themselves on the defensive Monday following revelations he had been suspended for marijuana before he was shot to death by a neighborhood watch volunteer. Police also confirmed a report that the watchman claimed Martin was the aggressor, punching him in the nose and smacking his head on a sidewalk.

Martin, 17, was suspended by Miami-Dade County schools because traces of marijuana were found in a plastic baggie in his book bag, family spokesman Ryan Julison said. Martin was serving the suspension when he was shot Feb. 26 by George Zimmerman, who was patrolling the neighborhood that Martin was visiting with his father.

Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton, and family attorneys blamed police for leaking the information about the marijuana and Zimmerman's claim about the attack to the news media in an effort to demonize the teenager.

"They killed my son and now they're trying to kill his reputation," Fulton told reporters.

The Sanford Police Department insisted there was no authorized release of the new information but acknowledged there may have been a leak. City Manager Norton Bonaparte Jr. said it would be investigated and the person responsible could be fired.

Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump said the link between the youth and marijuana should have no bearing on the probe into his shooting death. State and federal agencies are investigating, with a grand jury set to convene April 10.

"If he and his friends experimented with marijuana, that is completely irrelevant," Crump said. "What does it have to do with killing their son?"

The state Department of Juvenile Justice confirmed Monday that Martin does not have a juvenile offender record. The information came after a public records request by The Associated Press.

Zimmerman, 28, claimed he shot Martin in self-defense and has not been arrested. Because Martin was black and Zimmerman has a white father and Hispanic mother, the case has become a racial flashpoint that has civil rights leaders and others leading a series of protests in Sanford and around the country.

Meanwhile, the Orlando Sentinel reported that Zimmerman told police he lost Martin in the neighborhood he regularly patrolled and was walking back to his vehicle when the youth approached him from behind. The two exchanged words, Zimmerman said, and Martin then punched him in the nose, jumped on top of him and began banging his head on a sidewalk. Zimmerman said he began crying for help; Martin's family thinks it was their son who was crying out. Witness accounts differ and 911 tapes in which the voices are heard are not clear.

The Sanford police statement said the newspaper story was "consistent" with evidence turned over to prosecutors.

Earlier, city officials named a 23-year veteran of the Sanford police department as acting chief. The appointment of Capt. Darren Scott, who is African-American, came days after Chief Bill Lee, who is white, temporarily stepped down as the agency endured withering criticism over its handling of the case.

"I know each one of you — and everyone watching — would like to have a quick, positive resolution to this recent event," Scott told reporters. "However, I must say we have a system in place, a legal system. It may not be perfect but it's the only one we have. I urge everyone to let the system take its course."

The Sanford City Commission held its first meeting Monday since giving Lee a no confidence vote, which led to his ouster. Martin's parents both addressed the panel, urging them to take steps to arrest Zimmerman. More than 500 people crowded into the meeting, which was moved from City Hall to the Sanford Civil Center.

"We are asking for justice," said Tracy Martin, the teenager's father.

Civil rights leader Al Sharpton warned commissioners that Sanford risked becoming a 21st century version of the civil rights struggle in the South during the 1960s.

Sharpton said Martin's parents endured "insults and lies" Monday over reports that their son attacked Zimmerman.

Outside the commission meeting, several thousand people carried signs, rallied and marched in Martin's support. Organizers said some 2 million signatures had been collected on an online petition demanding Zimmerman's arrest.

"It seems like the police did not do the normal things they should have done. But that's going to have to take its own process now," said the Rev. Marilyn Beecher, a Methodist minister who came from Daytona Beach to attend the rally. "It's important that we all stand for justice and that the community leaders know that this is not going to be overlooked."

Martin's family spoke at the rally attended by at least a thousand people.

Tracy Martin called the crowd his "backbone."

"As I see the crowd here, I see Trayvon all over," Tracy Martin said. "I know he is saying to me, 'Dad, I'm proud.'"

Also Monday, an attorney for Martin's mother confirmed that she filed trademark applications for two slogans containing her son's name: "Justice for Trayvon" and "I Am Trayvon." The applications said the trademarks could be used for such things as DVDs and CDs.

The trademark attorney, Kimra Major-Morris, said in an email that Fulton wants to protect intellectual property rights for "projects that will assist other families who experience similar tragedies."

Asked if Fulton had any profit motive, the attorney replied: "None."

 Print   Email   Comment | View 20 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

You must be subscribed to participate in discussions
By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. Because only subscribers are allowed to comment, we have your personal information and are able to contact you. If your comments are inappropriate, you may receive a warning, and if you persist with such comments you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email commentfeedback@staradvertiser.com.
Leave a comment

Please login to leave a comment.
tybro wrote:
Last I recalled even if one has traces of marijuana in your system, it did not authorize someone to shoot you.
on March 26,2012 | 04:29PM
Anonymous wrote:
The kid didn't have trace amounts of pot it in his system, he had it in his backpack several weeks before the incident.
on March 26,2012 | 05:23PM
Anonymous wrote:
Zimmerman was stalking Martin with a gun. The kid had every right to defend himself against what he rightfully perceived to be a deadly threat. According to the Florida "stand your ground" law the kid, not Zimmerman had the right to use deadly force to defend himself. Trace amounts of marijauna....give me a break. This is a shyster lawyer grasping at straws.
on March 26,2012 | 05:21PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Zimmerman will walk. Just watch...the more you learn about Trayvon the more you realize he was not the little sweetie the press would like to make him.
on March 26,2012 | 05:34PM
FLIPTOP2 wrote:
on March 26,2012 | 05:37PM
soundofreason wrote:
We all kinda know human nature. The guard probably DID follow him....a little too far. When he though the kid was far enough away from the security man's turf - the security man probably issued some kind of "and stay away" kind of comment. Kid flared up - and the rest is in the papers. Not saying this IS what happened - but we'll see how it pans out.
on March 26,2012 | 08:13PM
bigislandkurt wrote:
Sweetie or not, you just can't go out and shoot the kid. Even the cops told him not to pursue the kid. If he walks, riots will start. Prepare of civil unrest.
on March 26,2012 | 05:57PM
soundofreason wrote:
We're due for some unrest. I think we need some unrest. Rioters would be a good place to start. Agressors aren't necessarily the victors.
on March 26,2012 | 08:07PM
poidragon wrote:
riiight, the guy with the gun was scared of the kid he was stalking, problem with that is, Zimmerman actively chose to pursue Martin, knowingly putting himself in danger disregarding the 'neighborhood watch' training of observation and reporting and the Florida 'stand your ground' law! It also seems that the Florida police department have broken their own rules by releasing such information about Treyvon and are only creating more confusion in this investigation. Had Zimmerman not had the gun, and actually did his volunteer job of 'neighborhood watch' it would not be an avalanche that is engulfing him...............but coulda, woulda, shoulda, one's dead and one is out running free, hiding from the public!
on March 26,2012 | 06:42PM
FLIPTOP2 wrote:
Before everyone jumps to conclusions - let's get the facts -- something few seem to want to wait for - including good ole Pres Obamarama!!!
on March 26,2012 | 05:37PM
EightOEight wrote:
If Zimmerman walks he can thank the Sanford Police Department, which didn't do a proper investigation and gather forensic evidence from Zimmerman...no drug test, no alcohol test, no testing of his clothes, no nothing. In my book, that smells of a coverup...
on March 26,2012 | 06:44PM
LanaUlulani wrote:
Actually Zimmerman may have walked if the Sanford Police Department arrested him


In the arrest report they cite Florida statute 782.11 "Unnecessary killing to prevent unlawful act" http://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2011/782.11... except Trayvon Martin was walking back with Skittles and iced tea. He was walking home.

So I am glad that Zimmerman has not been arrested YET.

I hope the special prosecutor goes after the more serious charge of murder which is under Florida statute 782.04 http://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2011/782.04 which may be why they have not arrested him YET. Manslaughter is the lesser charge. Zimmerman murdered Trayvon Martin depriving him of due process. Ironically Zimmerman is getting due process of law... which he deprived Trayvon Smith.
on March 27,2012 | 08:12AM
Kealii wrote:
After the first news reports were out about this tragic incident, it really looked like Zimmerman took matters into his own hands and shot the kid in cold blood. But as more of the story unfolds there is increasing doubt on who actually was the aggressor. I think I'll wait and see what other facts come to light before coming to an opinion because it's obvious there is much more to this story.
on March 26,2012 | 06:40PM
Tipops wrote:
Fliptop2, you are right on the mark. Let's let the investigation reach it's conclusion before we condemn anybody. At this point everybody seems to be jumping to unfounded conclusions. That goes for our president. He should have left this issue to the correct authorities. He ended up eating crow the last time he did the same thing in a criminal case. The sad thing is I supported him in 2008. Don't know about 2012 though.
on March 26,2012 | 06:44PM
peanutgallery wrote:
The President wll have egg on hs face again. Al and Jesse won't apologize. How can we have elected such a racist guy?
on March 27,2012 | 03:38AM
Ronin006 wrote:
Al Sharpton, the New Black Panther Party and others who are ready to convict Zimmerman before the investigation is completed are the same people who had the Duke lacrosse players tried and convicted in the media for the alleged gang rape of a black woman before that investigation was completed. The Duke lacrosse players were tossed out of school and had their reputations ruined based on claims by the black woman that subsequently proved false. So everyone needs to back off and let the authorities do their job, get all the facts, and then let the chips fall where they may.
on March 27,2012 | 04:14AM
Anonymous wrote:

I'm not surprised that the mainstream media is trying to demonize the victim thus blame the VICTIM in this case a CHILD for being murdered. It is not this UNARMED CHILD'S FAULT THAT HE WAS SHOT AND MURDERED by Zimmerman without due process of law. Ironically Zimmerman was jury, judge, and EXECUTIONER and deprived Trayvon Martin of DUE PROCESS OF LAW yet now Zimmerman is given due process of law.
In any case the Sanford Police Department released the police report of the HOMICIDE


They also released ZImmerman's 911 calls dating back to 2004:


This happened in a GATED community which restricts access. Zimmerman murdered an unarmed child. Zimmerman continues to release statements that he felt threatened by Trayvon Martin. By his what... Trayvon Smith's bag of Skittles and iced tea??!! Zimmerman had a Kel Tec PF9 semi-automatic handgun. It's in the police report

on March 27,2012 | 08:01AM
Ronin006 wrote:
Why don't you wait for the investigation to be completed before jumping to the conclusions you have made? You may be rigth, but all the facts are not yet known.
on March 27,2012 | 09:35AM
Ronin006 wrote:
Has anyone heard of Aliyah Shell, a 6-year old girl who was shot dead in a drive-by shooting while playing on the front porch of her home in Chicago on March 18th? I didn’t think so. Where was the outrage about this killing from Al Sharpton, the New Black Panther Party and others who are demanding Zimmerman’s head? You will not hear that either. Why not? It is because Aliyah Shell was black and so were the alleged killers. Sharpton and other like minded bigots express their outrage only when the victims are black and the killers are white.
on March 27,2012 | 08:07AM
Ronin006 wrote:
Has anyone heard of Aliyah Shell, a 6-year old girl who was shot dead in a drive-by shooting while playing on the front porch of her home in Chicago on March 18th? I didn’t think so. Where was the outrage about this killing from Al Sharpton, the New Black Panther Party and others who are demanding Zimmerman’s head? You will not hear that either. Why not? It is because Aliyah Shell was black and so were the alleged killers. Sharpton and other like minded people express their outrage only when the victims are black and the killers are white.
on March 27,2012 | 08:08AM
Breaking News