On February 26, 2012, Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida. On February 27, 2012, many lives were changed forever with this tragic killing of a teenager armed with only an ice tea and Skittles by a self-appointed crime watch captain armed with a 9rnrn handgun. The NBPA sends out condolences to the parents, family, and friends of Trayvon Martin.
We also find ourselves dutiful to respond to the case. In the last few days we have witnessed demonstrations across the states seeking justice for Trayvon Martin and we have heard many commentators give only a sound bite to tragedy.
Many have called for the immediate arrest of George Zimmerman others for a full investigation. The NBPA calls for justice to be served today. The NBPA seeks an impartial interest in the case – one that justice is served bountiful – and with intelligence. As an organization of law enforcement officers many members have weighed in on how and why did this killing take place and most often we find ourselves in a utter state of disbelief.
Any inaction by any law enforcement agency – whether malicious or accidental – destroys the foundation of credibility in which all law enforcement agencies solidly stand. Sanford Police Department is no exception. Officers who espouse high ethics, morals, and values have no reason to remain silent and the members of the NBPA embrace that philosophy. The NBPA support and believe in the right of due process under the law for all citizens.
The NBPA calls for:
- The immediate arrest of George Zimmerman based upon the facts offered by Sanford PD would lead a reasonable and prudent person to believe that the crime of murder was committed. He should be held accountable for his actions.
- The Department of Justice (DOJ) to immediately open an investigation into the actions of the Sanford Police Department. We believe that critical steps in the basic investigative process were not followed or missed and should be reviewed.
- The reassignment of all officers involved in this investigation until a proper and complete investigation is completed.
- The DOJ Civil Rights Division immediately assign an investigator and open a concurrent investigation into the case and investigate it as a hate crime considering the utterance of racially offensive words heard on tape. “The case of Trayvon Martin be reassigned to the Florida State Police or FBI and removed from the hands of the Sanford Police Department. We request that the State Police or FBI immediately investigate and resubmit a complete investigation to the Seminole County Grand Jury.
- The DOJ Review past murder cases for proper investigation.
- The Seminole County Grand Jury move expediently in reviewing the case of Trayvon Martin.
- City Manager Norton Bonaparte install an Interim Police Chief from outside the Sanford Police Department with a history of strong credibility and action to lead the department through the investigative process.
- Florida Governor Rick Scott immediately review or repeal of the Stand Your Ground law and make sure that it is serving the correct purpose and not being used as a shield for civilians or law enforcement personnel.
- An independent panel of Sanford civilians, criminal justice practitioners, and law enforcement officers be assigned to immediately review and establish proper protocols involving crime watch advocates.