Trayvon Martin shooting - More evidence released

1:43 PM, Jul 12, 2012   |    comments
Trayvon Martin. (AP File)
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By Gary Strauss, Marisol Bello and Yamiche Alcindor, USA TODAY

A Florida state attorney's release Thursday of FBI reports surrounding the death of Trayvon Martin shows that his accused killer and self-appointed neighborhood watchman had a pattern of calling authorities about criminal activities and safety issues in the neighborhood.

The 284-page report from special prosecutor Angela Corey shows that George Zimmerman made a half dozen calls to Sanford police in the months leading up to his fatal February altercation with Martin, 17. Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder in connection with the unarmed African-American's death. Zimmerman, 28, has said he acted in self-defense.

Just hours after the shooting, Zimmerman told investigators that the shooting followed a life-and-death struggle during which the teen told him, "You're going to die tonight."

The report is part of a Justice Department investigation to determine if Martin's civil rights were violated and Zimmerman's actions were racially motivated, and its findings could be used by both prosecutors and Zimmerman's defense team.

In one of the calls to Sanford police, Zimmerman complained about children playing and running in the street. "It's habitual," he told the dispatcher. "I'm just concerned for their safety and the drivers in the neighborhood."

Zimmerman identified himself in several calls as a neighborhood watch volunteer, telling a police dispatcher one time that there were several break-ins in the area. Four calls were about black men he witnessed in the neighborhood following the break-ins.

Zimmerman described all four as "suspicious" and people that he had never seen before. In almost every case, he said he didn't know what they were doing, but they looked suspicious. In one case, he said two men were "loitering" in a white Chevy. In another, a man in a black jacket was walking around the side of a neighbor's house.

Zimmerman was arrested 44 days after the shooting. The delay triggered protests nationwide and the departure of Sanford's police chief.

Zimmerman was released last month on $1 million bond after having his previous $150,000 bond revoked after prosecutors presented evidence that he had lied about his finances. He is currently in a safe house at an undisclosed location.

Contributing: Associated Press


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