The parallel investigations by Florida state officials and the Justice Department into the killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman have my mind whirring with questions. Queries that range from the mundane to the technical. We might not get answers to some of them. We might not like the answers we are given to some of them. But the questions must be asked.
What was Zimmerman’s relationship with the Sanford, Fla., police department?
Why was Zimmerman portrayed as a volunteer neighborhood watch captain when he was not part of a registered neighborhood watch program? Did the Sanford Police Department ever warn him about his activities in this unofficial capacity?
Given that Zimmerman placed 46 calls to that department between Jan. 1, 2011, and the Feb. 26 shooting, did the Sanford police have specific orders on how to deal with him? Did they have a file on him? Did they have him on any kind of special watch list?
On the scene: Zimmerman
“In this case, Mr. Zimmerman has made the statement of self-defense,” Police Chief Bill Lee said earlier this month. “Until we can establish probable cause to dispute that, we don’t have the grounds to arrest him.”
Why was Zimmerman’s claim of self-defense sufficient justification to not arrest him?
Why did Chief Lee accept Zimmerman’s self-defense plea on its face?
Did the police run a background check on Zimmerman? Did his previous arrest, for resisting arrest without violence, raise any red flags with police?
Did Lee attempt to establish probable cause? How did he go about it?
Was Zimmerman tested for drugs or alcohol? If not, why not?
Was Zimmerman’s gun confiscated? Was it tested? Where is that gun now?
On the scene: Trayvon
What did police do with Trayvon’s body at the scene?
What did police do with Trayvon’s body once taken from the scene? Why was it tested for drugs and alcohol?
What did police do with Trayvon’s personal effects? Where is his cellphone?
Did police try to contact Trayvon’s 16-year-old girlfriend, who was talking to him during the initial moments of the confrontation with Zimmerman and who tried several times to call him back?
Will Zimmerman be given immunity in order to appear before the grand jury? If granted, how would that immunity impact the federal investigation or prosecution?
Should the Sanford Police Department be put under federal supervision?
These are just the questions I could come up with off the top of my head. No doubt there are myriad more. As I think of them, I’ll pose them — and pray there are answers.