Missing from the evidence, however, is the statement George Zimmerman gave to the Sanford Police Department detailing the moment leading up to the fatal shot. Of the witnesses included in the reports, none saw what led to the altercation between Martin and Zimmerman in The Retreat at Twin Lakes on Feb. 26.
Zimmerman has since been charged with second-degree murder for the shooting, which he claimed happen in self-defense. Although Zimmerman was not originally arrested for the shooting, Special Prosecutor Angela Corey brought charges against him April 11.
In the weeks following the incident the Sanford Police Department faced major scrutiny for not arresting Zimmerman, however newly released evidence shows investigators at the department produced a capias request to charge Zimmerman with homicide/negligent manslaughter.
In the report investigators stated, “The encounter between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin was ultimately avoidable by Zimmerman. If Zimmerman had remained in his vehicle and awaited the arrival of law enforcement, or conversely if he had identified himself to Martin as a concern citizen and initiated dialog in an effort to dispel each party’s concern.”
However the incident began, photographs taken of Zimmerman and accounts from witnesses seem to cooperate Zimmerman’s claim that Martin was brutally beating him before Zimmerman fired his gun.
Several witnesses stated to police they observed Martin on top Zimmerman in the moments before the shooting. One witness even described the scene as a man beating another man “MMA” or mixed marital arts style.
Photographs taken of Zimmerman at the police station show lacerations on his nose and several places around his head. A report from an Altamonte Springs doctor sent to police the next day showed Zimmerman had a broken nose and open wounds on his scalp.
Comparatively, the only injury found on Martin by the Volusia County Medical Examiner besides the fatal gunshot wound was a less than quarter inch laceration on his ring finger, below the knuckle.
Although there were initially questions about who was yelling “help” in the background of a 911 call made that night, several reports from the Sanford Police Department indicate the voice was that of Zimmerman.
Investigator Christopher Serino stated, “I could clearly hear a male’s voice yelling either “Help” of “Help Me,” fourteen times in an approximately 38 seconds time span. The voice was determined to be that of George Zimmerman, who was apparently yelling for help as he was being battered by Trayvon Martin.”
Additionally, when Serino played the recording to Martin’s father, Tracy Martin, he also said the voice did not belong to his son.
Serino wrote, “I asked Mr. Martin if the voice calling for help was that of his son. Mr. Martin, clearly emotionally impacted by the recording, quietly responded ‘no.’”
The reports also give some insight into Zimmerman and Martin’s background, which has been under the national spotlight as the case gained attention in the media.
In the reports police described Martin as a high school student with no criminal background and said Tracy Martin described his son as “a well-mannered, non-violent child.”
However, the medical examiner also reported finding levels of cannibinoids and THC (marijuana) in Martin’s blood and urine. Investigators said Martin’s father told police he was visiting the Sanford area from Miami Gardens after being suspended from school for possession of marijuana.
Neighbors of Zimmerman described him as a concerned citizen and records from the Sanford Police Volunteer Program Coordinator show Zimmerman had put much effort into organizing meetings for the neighbor watch program.
One woman interviewed by Sanford Police described Zimmerman as an even-tempered, “laid back” person.
Police wrote, “She stated she perceived him as being passionate about the neighborhood watch program, and stated she ‘could see him’ confronting someone he perceived as a threat to the neighborhood.”
However, another woman who called police – who wished to remain anonymous – stated Zimmerman had “racist ideologies” and was capable of instigating a confrontation “that could have escalated to the point of Zimmerman having to use deadly force.”
Police were never able to track down who made the call.