The New York Times had another story on its front page that isn’t getting nearly as much attention as it should. “Trayvon Martin Case Shadowed by Series of Police Missteps” answers a few of the questions I posed during the height of the controversy in March. But the story is a gasp-worthy read that will leave you wondering if justice might truly be served.
During the uproar over the lack of an arrest of George Zimmerman for killing Martin, every devotee of “CSI,” “Law & Order” and “Matlock” were banging their heads into inanimate objects because of what appeared to be obvious shoddy police work. Now, the Times documents just how shoddy.
On the night of the shooting, door-to-door canvassing was not exhaustive enough, said a law enforcement official familiar with the investigation. . . .
The vehicle that Mr. Zimmerman was driving when he first spotted Mr. Martin was mistakenly not secured by officers as part of the crime scene. ... A law enforcement official said officers did not seize Mr. Zimmerman’s vehicle because they thought that he had been on foot. They did not realize that he had been driving until after his wife had moved the vehicle, the official said.
The police were not able to cover the crime scene to shield evidence from the rain, and any blood from cuts that Mr. Zimmerman suffered when he said Mr. Martin pounded his head into a sidewalk may have been washed away.
The official said he believed that the police, in the hours after the shooting, sought to determine whether Mr. Zimmerman was wanted for any crimes. But he said they did not have a complete background check in hand until midmorning the next day — after Mr. Zimmerman had been released.
I’m happy that Zimmerman’s fate has moved out of the court of public opinion and into a court of law. But that venue works with evidence. And the revelations in the Times story make me worry about the wheels of justice turning effectively.