A couple of very interesting developments today in the Trayvon Martin case:
· The lead homicide detective in the fatal shooting says he asked for manslaughter charges.
· In complete contradiction to Bill Lee, the former Sanford police chief, evidence has emerged that local police asked for an arrest warrant from the local State Attorney’s office — but it was denied.
Sanford homicide detective Chris Serino told ABC News that he doubted George Zimmerman’s account of the events of February 26 and wanted him arrested.
The Miami Herald reports that a Sanford Police incident report shows the case was categorized as “homicide/negligent manslaughter.”
Sanford Police asked the county attorney for an arrest warrant but this was denied.
When the case began to garner media attention, Florida Governor Rick Scott replaced the local state attorney with special prosecutor Angela Corey, as lead investigator. She is the source of the Herald story.
“If you go with what was reported in the press the first night, there would have been an arrest right away, but obviously something gave investigators pause,” a source in the State Attorney’s office which covers Sanford told the Herald.
Notes the Herald:
Lee publicly insisted that there was no probable cause to arrest Zimmerman, leading many critics to say he came across more like a defense attorney for the security buff.
“Zimmerman provided a statement claiming he acted in self defense which at the time was supported by physical evidence and testimony,” Lee wrote in a memo posted on the city’s website. “By Florida Statute, law enforcement was PROHIBITED from making an arrest based of the facts and circumstances they had at the time.”
He cited the statute number for Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, which provides immunity to people who kill someone in self defense.
The Herald notes that criticism has been of a Sanford ‘shoddy investigation’, condemning the whole department, but the new statement suggests that Lee was overriding his own officers.
Serino told MSNBC that he was not at liberty to discuss the case, but he feels very encouraged by the new investigation into the case, and he was “looking forward to the truth coming out.”
As the investigation continues into the background of the victim, a parallel investigation is only really just beginning into Zimmerman. It has uncovered that his father is a retired local judge. This is leading to questions about any role in the decision not to arrest by the local State Attorney’s office.
Picture from Million Hoodie March for Trayvon Martin in NY’s Union Sq by Photo Gallery