Today’s Investigative Special Report July 1, 2012 “Dealing With Today’s Law Enforcement Specialized Investigations” “Credible or Incompetence”

By Lawrence W. Daly, MSc
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 11: Parents of Trayvon ...
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 11: Parents of Trayvon Martin who was fatally shot by neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman in Florida, mother Sybrina Fulton (C) and Tracy Martin (Center L) watch a news conference from Washington, with special prosecutor Angela Corey in Sanford, Fla. announcing charges against George Zimmerman April 11, 2012 in Washington, DC. Along with the parents are family lawyer Benjamin Crump (L), and Trayvon Martin's brother Jahvaris Fulton (2nd R). It has been reported that Zimmerman will be charged in the Trayvon Martin shooting according to Florida special prosecutor Angela Corey. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

the neighborhood watch volunteer, George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin, walking through an unfamiliar neighborhood after being at the local neighborhood grocery store met, there has been a division by individuals, organizations, law enforcement officials, prosecutors and judges of what really happened on the evening of February 26, 2012 and what should now happen to Zimmerman.
The circumstances of what exactly happened on that evening between these two gentlemen are at issue and great controversy. If the version by Zimmerman and the collateral evidence establishes that he is telling the truth, then he will be a free man. However, at the current time, Zimmerman remains in custody for allegedly providing the court with false information during a prior bond hearing about money he had in his possession, raised by those who wanted to demonstrate support for him and the situation he finds himself in.
Since February 26, 2012, little by little the public is finding out what information, physical, biological, and medical evidence the State gathered during their investigation. The question which is under scrutiny by those who have been following this case was there a rush to judgment by both sides of the issues. Specifically, due to Martin’s race, age, and the circumstances of him being in the unfamiliar neighborhood have individuals and organizations questioning Zimmerman’s motive when he confronted Martin?
The politics of this case has been a major influence in how the potential criminal investigation was conducted. The Chief of Police, Bill Lee was relieved of his duties as Chief by the Sanford City Manager, Norton Bonaparte.
Mr. Bonaparte’s decision was based on the outside political pressure which was occurring from several African American individuals and organizations. The major complaint being that Chief Lee failed to arrest Zimmerman after the fatal shooting. The argument was Martin was an unarmed young adult who was shot to death by an alleged zealot and law enforcement had not performed their due diligence in arresting Zimmerman.
In today’s news, the initial Sanford Police Detective, Chris Serino who has since been reassigned to working the graveyard shift in uniform believed that Zimmerman may have stepped over his right to protect himself. Serino had written in an affidavit to the court, dated February 26th, that he
SANFORD, FL - APRIL 21:  Anna Johnson (L) and ...
SANFORD, FL - APRIL 21: Anna Johnson (L) and Faith Sapp hold signs during a small rally that was billed as an opportunity to show support of the Constitutional Rights for George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin near the jail where George Zimmerman waits to be released on bond on April 21, 2012 in Sanford, Florida. Zimmerman turned himself in to police in connection with the killing of Trayvon Martin on February 26th while Zimmerman was on neighborhood watch patrol in the gated community of The Retreat at Twin Lakes, Florida. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 26: (Front Row L-R) Fa...
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 26: (Front Row L-R) Family Lawyer Benjamin Crump, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, parents of slain teen Trayvon Martin, and Trayvon Martin's brother Jahvaris Fulton attend a rally at West Los Angeles Church in Christ during to mark the two-month anniversary of Trayvon Martin's death on April 26, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The rally by civil rights groups was expected to draw prominent civil rights leaders and celebrities to address racial profiling. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)
 didn’t believe Zimmerman’s story and wanted to arrest him for manslaughter, but was stopped by Wolfinger.
In an article written by Frances Robles, of the McClatchy Newspapers wrote, “George Zimmerman had a broken nose, a bruised head and passed two voice-stress lie-detector tests in the wake of his deadly fight with Miami Gardens high school junior Trayvon Martin.”
The information provided to Detective Serino didn’t appear to him as being credible or reaching the standard where Zimmerman had the right under the law to use deadly force to stop the physical assault by Martin upon Zimmerman.
By March 13, 2012, the Sanford police completed their portion of the investigation and turned the investigation over to the State Attorney Norman Wolfinger. There are numerous media outlets providing numerous versions of what happened between Zimmerman and Martin, which makes the incident one of the most interesting and concerning incident in the United States this year.
Then the investigation became interesting when Angela Corey, a former prosecutor is assigned to perform the investigation as a special prosecutor. Her role was to investigate the incident and determine if Zimmerman had justifiably protected himself or did he commit a homicide.
As the investigation concluded Corey decided not to take the case to the grand jury. There are two theories which have been developed reference Corey’s decision. One, she did not have the evidence sufficient to present to the grand jury to have them return a second degree murder indictment against Zimmerman. Second, that she was confident that she had enough evidence to charge Zimmerman without a grand jury’s approval.
After some of the information and evidence was released to the media, the legal pundits have stated that they do not believe Corey had enough information and evidence to charge Zimmerman with second-degree murder.
SANFORD, FL- APRIL 20:  George Zimmerman (L) G...
SANFORD, FL- APRIL 20: George Zimmerman (L) George Zimmerman walks back to his seat after taking the stand during his bond hearing in a Seminole County courtroom on April 20, 2012 in Sanford, Florida. Trayvon Martin was shot by George Zimmerman, a member of a neighborhood watch in Sanford, Florida, who has been charged with second degree murder in the shooting. Bail was set at $150,000 and Zimmerman and could be released from jail as he awaits trial as early as April 21. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

As Corey came into the case in a quick and decisive fashion she has apparently blended into the background after criminally charging Zimmerman.
It is this author’s opinion that Corey’s job was not to investigate the facts of the case. It is my professional opinion that she was brought into the investigation as the mediator between Martin’s advocates, the media, and others. Specifically, with the intent to stop these individuals and organizations from taking their beliefs and opinions, and angry feelings to the street and potential rioting, which was seen in the 90’s in reference to the Rodney King incident.
The work of Corey and her team appears to be as shoddy of work as that of the Sanford Police Departments allegedly performed. The major question then has to be was the legal process from the time Martin was killed by Zimmerman credible or incompetent. Apparently, the changing of the guard from Serino, to Wolfinger, to Corey appears to allegedly be one blunder after another. Serino’s specific investigative steps, tasks, reasoning, and so forth may in the future provide additional insights into the complete investigation.
It is problematic for law enforcement to perform a major criminal investigation when those in charge exit from the investigation; where law enforcement investigators are second guessed by everyone; where those who are investigating the alleged crime are ridiculed in public by the media; where the law enforcement investigators are not supported by their own police agency; where biased and prejudiced individuals and organizations begin marching on city hall because the alleged criminal incident becomes political i.e. changes from a potential criminal act, to that of alleged racism; in the end politics wins. Ascertaining the truth is eliminated or is pushed to the side by those who believe they have a proprietary interest in the criminal investigation; that there is a secondary moti-
SANFORD, FL- APRIL 20:  Prosecutor Angela Core...
SANFORD, FL- APRIL 20: Prosecutor Angela Corey sits in the courtroom during George Zimmerman's bond hearing on April 20, 2012 in Sanford, Florida. Trayvon Martin was shot by George Zimmerman, a member of a neighborhood watch in Sanford, Florida, who has been charged with second degree murder in the shooting. Bail was set at $150,000 and Zimmerman and could be released from jail as he awaits trial as early as April 21. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)
vation by the police not to do their jobs in a professional and competent manner.   
Criminal investigations should always be approached by law enforcement in a neutral, objective, intelligent, reasonable, logical, and competent manner. Those who are in charge of the investigation need not play politics or be put in a position which takes them away from ascertaining what specifically happened during an incident.
In this case, the probabilities, hypotheses, evidence, testimony, and re-creation of the alleged crime need to be the only consideration that the law enforcement officials should have had to concern themselves with.
The Sanford Police Department and Detective Serino immediately found themselves in a complex political outcry which was mishandled and manipulated by many individuals, organizations, legal pundits, media, and so forth. It seemed everyone had an answer, an opinion, criticism, the attempt to be micro-managed by those who allegedly knew better. Special Prosecutor Corey provided little value to ascertaining the truth in this matter. To date there has been no information provided by her or her team of any information they uncovered that Detective Serino didn’t already have the day of and after the incident. It is like she was here today and gone tomorrow.
Corey has become the missing link in this manner. New prosecutors have stepped forward such as those who are handling the alleged fraud and bail situation Zimmerman and his wife finds themselves in. It appears she was a political prosecutor, only present to calm the masses.
Law enforcement officers are educated, trained, and have the experience necessary to investigate complex crimes. It seemed like everyone was jumping on the band wagon in convicting Zimmerman in the media. As those who became critical of the Sanford Police Department and its officers, President Obama, who knew little to nothing about the incident made a national comment about Martin, inciting and empowering those individuals and organizations which were already on the edge.
No matter what happens in the George Zimmerman matter, it is the hope of this author that in order for proper criminal investigations to take place, the politicians need to stay out of law enforcements role in seeking the truth. If an over site committee needs to be impaneled at some point, it should be performed at a later date and time; after the investigation has been thoroughly completed. Allow law enforcement officials the opportunity to perform the investigative tasks and steps which will hopefully lead them to the truth.
The media needs to learn from their continual stumbling over the facts, only reporting what they ‘believe’ to be the facts, not a distortion of the facts, or taking sides before having all of the information. The role of the media is to report the news, not Monday-Night Quarterback every investigative move an educated, trained, and experience law enforcement official performs.
It is this author’s hope that everyone involved in this case will walk away with the understanding that in the future if a similar case is brought to the attention of the community, then they will allow law enforcement officials to do their jobs which they are responsible and accountable for.
SANFORD, FL- JUNE 29: Mark O'Mara, attorney fo...
SANFORD, FL- JUNE 29: Mark O'Mara, attorney for George Zimmerman, talks to reporters outside Seminole County courthouse after the George Zimmerman bond hearing on June 29, 2012 in Sanford, Florida. Zimmerman is charged with second degree murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)
Finally, there are no winners in this case. Unfortunately, a young man lost his life, and that is truly a tragedy. However, Mr. Zimmerman has constitutional rights and they should be safeguarded by those in the criminal justice system, politicians, organizations, special interest groups, and so forth.

Lawrence W. Daly
Puyallup, WA
Follow me on Twitter @lawrencewdaly
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