The Affidavit Against George Zimmerman: Weak Sauce
The affidavit in support of the second-degree murder charge against George Zimmerman has been posted online here (pdf). The concluding sentence reads as follows: “The facts contained in this Affidavit are not a complete recitation of all the pertinent facts and evidence in this case but are only presented for a determination of Probable Cause for Second Degree Murder.”
Hmm. “[N]ot a complete recitation . . .” And how. If we are to judge the evidence against Zimmerman based on this affidavit, prosecutors have a loser on their hands.
Granted, affidavits such as this one are not intended to convey the complete details of an investigation, but even with that in mind this is a shoddy piece of work. Putting aside the several errors in punctuation, the affidavit’s authors, investigators T.C. O’Steen and K.D. Gilbreath, take some giant leaps to conclusions that are very much in question. They write that Trayvon Martin had gone to a local 7-Eleven store for his now famous ice tea and Skittles. “Martin then walked back and entered the gated community,” say the authors, “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.”
“Profiled”? Zimmerman “profiled” Martin only in the sense that anyone who reports to police a suspicious person in his neighborhood has thereby engaged in “profiling.” It is a charged word and has no rightful place in the affidavit. Later, the authors describe – inaccurately – Zimmerman’s call to police and his conduct leading up to the shooting:
Martin attempted to run home but was followed by Zimmerman who didn’t want the person he falsely assumed was going to commit a crime to get away before the police arrived. Zimmerman got out of his vehicle and followed Martin. When the police dispatcher realized Zimmerman was pursuing Martin, he instructed him 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.
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 911 calls to police. Trayvon Martin’s mother has reviewed the 911 calls and identified the voice calling for help as Trayvon Martin’s voice.
All of the above, presented in the affidavit as facts, is speculation, and much of it is contradicted by the statements of an eyewitness. George Zimmerman has been launched into what will be a multi-year odyssey through the justice system. If this was done based on nothing more than the slender reed of a case as outlined in this affidavit, it is an insult not only to Zimmerman but to the justice system itself.