Trayvon Martin was suspended from school because he was found with an empty marijuana baggie at school. This choice nugget of information was in an Orlando Sentinel story today that gives George Zimmerman’s version of events that night, one month ago today, when he killed the 17-year-old with a shot to the chest. This uncomfortable fact was confirmed by Trayvon’s parents at yet another heartbreaking press conference. But the Rev. Al Sharpton asked the only question that matters: “What did Zimmerman know that day?”
After a week of negative press about Zimmerman, the Trayvon marijuana revelation is part of the expected pushback on the gunman’s behalf. A longtime friend of Zimmerman’s joined the Florida man’s attorney on the morning news shows over the weekend and today to defend him. Even the Orlando newspaper’s story, detailing information from interviews with Zimmerman the night of Feb. 26 and subsequently, is part of the strategy to try Trayvon in the court of public opinion, as has happened to Zimmerman.
According to the Sentinel, “Police have been reluctant to [provide] details about all their evidence, but this is what they’ve disclosed to the Sentinel” before rattling off a raft of details. And it was how this list began that raised a red flag.
Zimmerman was on his way to the grocery store when he spotted Trayvon walking through his gated community.
Trayvon was visiting his father's fiancee, who lived there. He had been suspended from school in Miami after being found with an empty marijuana baggie. Miami schools have a zero-tolerance policy for drug possession.
Zimmerman called police and reported a suspicious person, describing Trayvon as black, acting strangely and perhaps on drugs.
There is no way the Sanford Police Department (SPD) knew on the night of Feb. 26 that Trayvon had been suspended from school. That’s relevant since the account the SPD is providing is from that night. Meanwhile, keep in mind that Trayvon’s father, Tracy Martin, called the sheriff’s department the next day to file a missing-persons report. That’s when the police went to the house with photos of Trayvon’s dead body. He had been taken to the morgue and tagged as a John Doe.
Was it then that police quizzed Martin about his son? Is that how they got the marijuana-suspension detail? That bit of information fits neatly with what Zimmerman said during his infamous 911 call that a “suspicious” person who was “up to no good” and “perhaps on drugs.” Also, why is such a detailed accounting of Zimmerman’s side of the story being leaked by someone within the Sanford Police Department, instead of being officially released?
Trayvon’s parents have been clear from the beginning: They don’t trust the Sanford Police Department. This leak does nothing to assuage their fears that the SPD can’t be trusted. At the news conference this afternoon, Martin said, “Even in death they are still disrespecting my son.” Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon’s mother, said that Zimmerman killed her son and “now they are trying to kill his reputation.”
If the SPD had spent as much time conducting a proper investigation as it appears to have spent on crafting a defense of its woefully lacking actions, Trayvon Martin’s parents — and the nation — wouldn’t be in an uproar right now.