Sanford Police Originally Wanted To Charge Zimmerman
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SANFORD (CBSMiami) – New information now contradicts Sanford police chief’s initial claims that there wasn’t enough probable cause to arrest George Zimmerman in the murder of 17-year old Trayvon Martin.
Angela Corey, a special prosecutor assigned to case by Gov. Rick Scott, told CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald that early in the investigation police requested an arrest warrant from the Seminole County State Attorney’s Office.
An incident report on the shooting classified it as “homicide/negligent manslaughter.”
Corey said police did file a capias (a request that charges be filed) with the State Attorney’s Office.
The Seminole County State Attorney’s Office declined to comment on whether its prosecutors ever recommended against filing charges.
On Wednesday, surveillance video obtained by ABC News from inside the Sanford Police Department shows Zimmerman being led into the station in handcuffs. The 28-year-old’s head and face are visible throughout the tape and although grainy, show no visible bruises or injuries. His attorney has said Zimmerman’s nose was broken in the fight and the back of his head was gashed.
A lawyer for Martin’s family says the video clearly shows that Zimmerman’s nose wasn’t broken and he had no noticeable blood on his head and face.
A confrontation between self-appointed neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman and 17-year-old Travon left the teen dead. Zimmerman told police he had killed Martin in self defense after Martin attackd and beat him. Family members believe Zimmerman stalked Trayvan and gunned him down.
According to the paper, the night of the shooting the State Attorney’s Office was consulted but a prosecutor was never sent to the scene of the shooting.
At the time, Police Chief Bill Lee cited the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law and stated publicly there was no probable cause to arrest Zimmerman based on the statute. This sparked outrage and cries for justice across the nation.
As the outrage grew, Gov. Scott brought in Corey, the state attorney for Duval, Nassau and Clay counties, to replace Seminole County State Attorney Norm Wolfinger. Corey has been charged with reviewing what critics complain was a botched, racist investigation by the Sanford Police Department. Her investigation mandate “includes the power to arrest, to empanel the grand jury to hear evidence and the power to handle this case in all of its relevant aspects.”
A grand jury will be convened April 10 to consider whether to bring state charges, which could include second-degree murder or manslaughter. The Justice Department’s civil rights division and the FBI have also launched their own investigation into the shooting.
Lee has temporarily stepped aside as chief during the Martin investigation.
The Associated Press and CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed to this report