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Common Sense For Common People

Trayvon Martin from a Cop’s Perspective

March 26th, 2012 by Rich Szabo

Myself and a few friends have been bantering back and forth via emails about the shooting in Sanford, Florida last month. A few of the guys on the email list are cops and a few are lawyers. The lawyers wanted to hear about this from a cop’s perspective.  Here is just one of them:

It does sound like Zimmerman took some lumps but that’s problematic too if he forced the confrontation with Trayvon thus causing Travon to have to kick his ass in self defense. Could be a chicken or the egg thing that only a patient investigation can answer, which is why it was reasonable for cops not to arrest him on the spot, something that the Sharptonites are not capable of understanding.

This is an email a cop friend in Florida wrote to a lawyer friend of mine:

The Sanford situation has been blown way out of proportion. Yes the police made mistakes but not because they did not arrest the shooter on the spot. Here’s the problem from my perspective as a cop. First, you have to understand how the machinery works in bringing criminal charges. The police can make an arrest on the spot if they have the necessary probable cause, a term I don’t have to explain to you since you’re an attorney. Or, if the case is not so incredibly clear enough to be comfortable in making the physical arrest on the spot, the police can conduct an investigation, compile all the investigative prosecutive information into a case package and then forward it to the prosecutor’s office (the State Attorney’s Office as it is known in Florida), and the State Attorney will give it the review and do whatever they want to do, which can be to issue a warrant for an arrest, take it to the grand jury, or nolle prosse (not prosecute the case), or or maybe send the bad guy to some other diversion program, yada yada.

In the Sanford case, the complication is that there were NO eyewitnesses to this shooting. Yes, there are some folks who consider themselves witnesses for having heard a shot and came outside to see the fallen body and the guy with the gun etc,, but not a single one of these witnesses when it comes down to it SAW the shooting or the scuffle between Zimmerman and Martin that preceded it. Does it seem like Zimmerman is some type of cop wannabe who thinks of himself as neighborhood protector – absolutely, did Zimmerman follow the kid even after the police dispatcher told him he should stop, absolutely, was Zimmerman heard to make comments about “these assholes getting away with it,” absolutely. Could Zimmerman have self-created his own dilemma by forcing the confrontation that made the kid feel that he himself was in fear of Zimmerman and felt he had no option but to fight with Zimmerman, absolutely. A lot of good questions, that could not be answered on the spot in the absence of eyewitnesses. Thus, this case required further investigation, much more in-depth investigation. Another issue is the speedy trial rule, which in Florida means that when an arrest is made, the trial must be held within 175 days, unless of course the defendant himself asks for a continuation. An investigation of this scope could well take longer than 175 days, so it could very possibly jeopardize the case to make the arrest on the spot with very little to support the case, and then be under pressure to try to build the case before speedy trial runs. A hurried investigation is too often a mistake riddled investigation. The prudent thing for the police to do in the absence of eyewitnesses and physical evidence, is to take the time to investigate fully, find answers to all of these questions and hopefully even for more evidence, not for the benefit of Zimmerman to keep him out of jail because he is white as the Sharptonites want everyone to believe, but to put the strongest case together against him so that when the case is presented to the prosecutor and or grand jury, it would be the strongest possible against Zimmerman. This is what Sanford PD chose to do.

The mistake that the Sanford police made is that they failed to hold press conferences immediately early on to explain to the family of Trayvon and the community, exactly all of this that I just explained to you. There was not one single iota of that kind of community outreach by the Sanford police to explain this process. And that lack of communication and outreach is what led the family and community to conclude that just because an arrest wasn’t made on the spot, Sanford PD was doing nothing. And you know the rest, without answers and communication, they left the community to come up with their own answers and explanations, and considering, I’ll try to put this delicately – the “demographic” of the community involved as is often the case, they supplied the answers and explanations themselves in the worst possible light – racism of course.   What a shock. Begin the Million Hoodie march, begin the Occupy Sanford movement, bring in the Sharpton – the king (and by the way confirmed discredited) race-baiter purveyor or race hatred, and here is where we are.

Again Sanford PD’s error was not in not making the arrest on-scene the night of the shooting, their mistake was in their piss poor public relations in reaching out to the family and community with the whys and wherefores of the investigation.  And because of that failure by Sanford PD we are now at a bad place that has me nervous. The Governor has now appointed a special prosecutor to prosecute the case. Well and good, but what happens if in the end, the prosecution still feels that even though we all believe Zimmerman is every bit the bad egg that everyone makes him out to be, there isn’t enough to prosecute him for some degree of homicide, or if they do, he isn’t convicted. I fear the black community will never accept it, and the result will be Rodney King styled riots again, with violence and more death.

As for the Stand Your Ground Law, it should not surprise you that I don’t see a problem with this law and I support it. I don’t think the stand your ground law caused this problem. I believe Zimmerman was hell bent to cause that confrontation with Trayvon Martin, and he was probably far too dim witted, and it’s giving his dim witted brain far too much credit, to have processed that he would intentionally kill Trayvon with the well thought out plan to then invoke the stand your ground law’s  “I was in fear of my life and had the right to defend myself” intent. Again, Zimmerman is a known cop wannabe who would have done this if not now, at some time, to someone else, regardless of the stand your ground law.

Here’s what else turns my stomach. The Sharptonites have put the Sanford city commissioners in such fear that they have voted a no confidence on the police chief and the chief has now stepped down. So another words, the black community went crazy pumped up by the race card playing Sharpton baiters and through fear and intimidation they got the bb balled city commission to cave and oust the police chief. The message then – anytime something doesn’t go just right for someone in the Sanford’s black community, I’ll go ahead and even exaggerate just a little to make the point – say, a traffic ticket that a black person feels was unfair, the racism accusations will fly, the Sharptonites will rally the masses to descend on City Hall, the bb balled city commissioners will then cave again and oust another police chief. Who in the hell would want to apply for the police chief job in that town now. I can tell you that over the past 10-15 years there has been talk of disbanding the Sanford PD and just let the county sheriff’s office take over law enforcement service there. The reasons for that talk in the past had been mostly budgetary, but I can assure you the talk will pick up again, and that town could conceivably lose its police department over this. I wish that Sanford PD had the common sense to have employed the proper public relations and community outreach at the beginning of this case with the reasons and explanations for why they went the direction they did, and we might not be where we are today. Sanford PD’s incompetence in that regard is indisputable.

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This entry was posted on Monday, March 26th, 2012 at 10:14 pm and is filed under General Buzz, Gun Control. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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