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Investigators' Affidavit Emphasizes Zimmerman's Suspicion of Martin

by Professor Will Huhn on April 13, 2012

in Criminal Law,Wilson Huhn

Talking Points Memo has posted the affidavit filed by the special prosecutor's office explaining why there was probable cause to charge Zimmerman with second degree murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

The investigators – T.C. O'Steen and Dale Gilbreath – state that they "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."

Most of the facts that O'Steen and Gilbreath recite are already familiar to persons following the case. Zimmerman saw Martin returning to the housing complex where Zimmerman lived and Martin was visiting, Zimmerman followed Martin, an altercation ensued, and Zimmerman shot Martin. Several portions of the affidavit jumped out at me, however, all contrasting Zimmerman's suspicious state of mind with Martin's innocence. First, the investigators state that Zimmerman "profiled" Martin:

Martin then walked back to and entered the gated community and was on his way back to the townhouse where he was living when he was profiled by George Zimmerman. Martin was unarmed and was not committing a crime.

Second, they say that Zimmerman "assumed Martin was a criminal" and "felt Martin did not belong":

Zimmerman who also lived in the gated community, and was driving his vehicle observed martin and assumed Martin was a criminal. Zimmerman felt Martin did not belong in the gated community and called the police.

Third, the investigators relate statements that Zimmerman made during his 911 call to the police that suggest that Zimmerman suspected Martin of being a criminal:

Zimmerman perceived that Martin was acting suspicious. … 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, Zimmerman stated "these assholes, they always get away" and also said "these fucking punks".

Fourth, Zimmerman followed Martin, disregarding the instructions of the police dispatcher:

Zimmerman got out of his vehicle and followed Martin. When the police dispatcher realized Zimmerman was pursuing Martin, he instructed Zimmerman not to do that and that the responding officer would meet him. Zimmerman disregarded the police dispatcher and continued to follow Martin who was trying to return to his home.

In short, the investigators repeatedly emphasized both Zimmerman's suspicious state of mind and Martin's innocence.

In concluding the affidavit the investigators state that the facts mentioned in the affidavit "are not a complete recitation of all the pertinent facts and evidence" but were only presented to demonstate probable cause to charge Zimmerman with second degree murder.