Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Police repeatedly changed final Trayvon Martin shooting report, records show

On the day Sanford police turned over the Trayvon Martin shooting investigation to prosecutors, they changed their final report at least four times over five hours and downgraded the charge they recommended from second-degree murder to manslaughter, newly released records show.

In the first version on March 13, lead Investigator Chris Serino and his bosses recommended that George Zimmerman, the Neighborhood Watch volunteer who killed Trayvon, be charged with murder. But they changed that about four hours later, according to paperwork released Tuesday by Zimmerman defense attorney Mark O'Mara.

Records reveal that Serino and his supervisors made several changes but only two major ones.

The first was the change in the charges.

The second was a strongly worded paragraph condemning Zimmerman's actions, pointing out that there was no need for a confrontation with Trayvon.

"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 concerned citizen and initiated dialog (sic) in an effort to dispel each party's concern. There is no indication that Trayvon Martin was involved in any criminal activity at the time of the encounter."

In that same new paragraph, Serino and his bosses faulted Zimmerman for assuming that Trayvon was about to break into a home.

"Zimmerman … made it clear that he had already reached a faulty conclusion as to Martin's purpose for being in the neighborhood," the revised report says.

Ultimately, the revisions made no difference. A special prosecutor took over the case and had 29-year-old Zimmerman arrested on a charge of second-degree murder.

Zimmerman shot the unarmed 17-year-old high school junior from Miami Gardens on Feb. 26 in Sanford after calling police and describing him as suspicious. Zimmerman says he acted in self-defense and fired one shot only after Trayvon knocked him to the ground, climbed on top of him and began banging his head on a sidewalk.

Zimmerman is free on $1 million bail, awaiting a trial that's scheduled for June 10.

Police repeatedly changed final Trayvon Martin shooting report, records show 01/08/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 10:48am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Southern heritage groups sue to keep Confederate monument at old Tampa courthouse

    Local Government

    TAMPA — Groups that say they support Southern heritage filed a lawsuit late Friday trying to halt the removal of a Confederate statue from downtown Tampa.

    Workers place boards around a Confederate monument on Hillsborough County property in Tampa on Thursday, August 17, 2017. It took 24 hours to raise private funds in order to move the statue from its current location.
  2. Bucs mull options at right tackle as Dotson awaits MRI

    Bucs

    Right tackle Demar Dotson, the Bucs' most experienced offensive lineman, will undergo an MRI on his injured groin Saturday, three weeks before the season opener.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneer Demar Dotson, offensive tackle, brought his coffee and breakfast to One Buc Place, 7/31/15, as he reported to training camp.
  3. For starters: Rays vs. Mariners, with another new look

    Blogs

    Having lost 11 of their last 14 games and dropping to a season-worst four games under .500 at 60-64, the Rays continue to search for ways to get out of their extended offensive slump.

    And with the M's starting LHP Ariel Miranda today, that means another new look to the lineup, which includes having struggling …

  4. Chasing 125: Bucs hope to hit rushing goal more often

    Bucs

    Ever so often, Bucs coach Dirk Koetter pulls back the curtain a bit and shares some of the stats that matter to him most as a coach.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017.
  5. Two Boca Ciega students arrested on charges they brought gun to high school football game

    Crime

    PINELLAS PARK — Two Boca Ciega High School students were arrested for having a loaded semi-automatic handgun with them at a Friday night football game at Pinellas Park High School.

    Two Boca Ciega High School students were arrested for bringing a weapon on school property on Friday night at a high school football game at Pinellas Park High School.