| NEWS of the Day - March 14, 2012
|on some issues of interest to the community policing and neighborhood activist across the country
EDITOR'S NOTE: The following group of articles from local newspapers and other sources constitutes but a small percentage of the information available to the community policing and neighborhood activist public. It is by no means meant to cover every possible issue of interest, nor is it meant to convey any particular point of view ...
We present this simply as a convenience to our readership ...
From Google News
Family wants answers after unarmed teen shot by neighborhood watch
Trayvon Martin had a pack of Skittles, an Arizona Iced Tea and $22 in his pocket when he was shot
by Nina Mandell
A Florida family is looking for answers after a neighborhood watch captain reportedly admitted shooting their unarmed teenager to death.
Trayvon Martin, 17, was visiting his father and soon-to-be-stepmother last month in their gated community, The Retreat at Twin Lakes in Sanford, when he got into a confrontation with George Zimmerman, an armed man who was the head of the local neighborhood watch, his family told The Associated Press.
According to a police report, Zimmerman called 911 to report a suspicious person in the neighborhood. Minutes later the line was flooded with calls about shots fired.
When police they arrived, they found Zimmerman on his back, covered with grass and bleeding from his nose and the back of his head, the AP said. He admitted he shot Martin, who was found with $22 in his pocket, some Skittles and an Arizona Iced Tea that his family told the Miami Herald he had bought for his stepbrother.
More than a week after his death, his family is asking the Sanford police department to release 911 tapes to explain what happened between the high schooler and the armed neighborhood watch guard.
Zimmerman said he fired in self-defense, cops said.
Trayvon's family told the AP that they want charges filed.
"He had a gun, and Trayvon had Skittles," Benjamin Crump, the family's attorney, told the newspaper. "We want justice."
The police department told the Miami Herald that the case was still under investigation.
"We need to get all the facts and circumstances straight so that we can determine what truly happened," police chief Bill Lee told the Herald.
The Martins' attorney said the family is running out of patience.
"We need answers," Crump told the Herald. "The neighborhood watch was supposed to protect him, not kill him."
On Trayvon's Facebook page, his friends and family mourned the teen's death.
"I just want to cry my heart out," one commentor wrote. "I can't believe you're really gone."
Fatal shooting of Florida teen turned over to state attorney
by Vivian Kuo
Sanford, Florida (CNN) -- A case involving the fatal shooting of an unarmed Florida teen, which has sparked outrage and calls for justice, is in the hands of the state attorney's office.
Police say Trayvon Martin, 17, was returning from the convenience store to his father's home in Sanford, Florida.
A neighborhood watch captain, George Zimmerman, 28, saw the teen and called 911 to report a suspicious man, authorities said.
The 911 dispatcher told Zimmerman not to confront Martin, but by the time police arrived, the teenager lay dead with a gunshot wound in the chest, said Bill Lee, the Sanford police chief. He was carrying a small amount of cash, some candy and an iced tea.
Zimmerman told police he shot Martin in self defense, authorities said. "When you add it up, it just doesn't even make sense," said Ben Crump, the Martin family's attorney. "Trayvon Martin, a kid, has a bag of Skittles. (Zimmerman) had a 9 mm gun. Trayvon Martin didn't approach George Zimmerman, George Zimmerman approached Trayvon Martin. So how can he now assert self defense?"
A gunshot can be heard on the 911 calls recorded that night, police said.
The Martin family has sought to make the tapes available, but State Attorney Norm Wolfinger said Tuesday the calls will not be made public until the investigation is complete.
"Trayvon Martin and his family, interested persons, and the public-at-large are entitled to no less than a through, deliberate and just review of the information provided, along with any other evidence that may or may not be developed in the course of the review process," Wolfinger's office said in a statement. "We intend to honor that commitment."
The shooting has sparked an outrage in the community, with some accusing Zimmerman, who is white, of profiling the black teenager.
Numerous CNN attempts to contact Zimmerman were unsuccessful, and it is unclear whether he has retained an attorney.
Police said they have not charged him because there are no grounds to disprove his story of what happened.
"The evidence and testimony we have so far does not establish that Mr. Zimmerman did not act in self defense. We don't have anything to dispute his claim of self-defense, at this point, with the evidence and testimony that we have," Lee said.
Lee said the 911 directions asking Zimmerman not to confront the teenager are not mandatory instructions.
"That is a call taker making a recommendation to him. He's not under a legal obligation to do that, so that is not something we can charge him with," he said. " But it would have been a good outcome ... if Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman never came in contact with one another."
In a letter sent to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, the NAACP expressed doubt in the Sanford Police Department and asked the Department of Justice to review the case.
"The NAACP has no confidence that, absent federal oversight, the Sanford Police Department will devote the necessary degree of care to its investigation. We therefore call upon you to detail personnel to Sanford immediately to review the facts, ensure that the Sanford Police Department conducts an impartial, thorough and prompt investigation of the circumstances involving the death of this unarmed teen, and ensure that the responsible person is held accountable if a crime was committed," the letter said.
Agencies To Host First Spanish Citizen Police Academy
The First Citizen Police Academy for Spanish speakers will begin April 3 and continue through June 5, hosted by the El Paso Police Department in partnership with the El Paso County Sheriff's Office.
The Academy is a community policing initiative aimed at informing citizens on how their law enforcement agencies work and gives a general overview of various units within the two agencies. Those attending will have an opportunity to go on a ride-along, will have presentations and demonstrations from various units to include S.W.A.T. and a tour of one of the detention facilities.
Applications for these academies will be made available March 15th at all El Paso Police Regional Commands, Police Headquarters and at the El Paso County Sheriff's Office. Applications must be turned in by Monday March 26th 2012.
Anyone desiring more information may contact the El Paso Police Department's Public Affairs Office at (915)680-6546.