Note: Major New Development in the Case: SHOCKING NEW WITNESS TESTIMONY IN TRAYVON MARTIN CASE!
The Miami Herald and the Orlando Sentinel have published additional reports regarding the death of Trayvon Martin. Both articles portray George Zimmerman, Martin's killer, as someone with a deep -- almost pathological -- desire to become a police officer.
Zimmerman longed to become a police officer. In 2008 he applied to attend a local law enforcement academy, but he never entered the program. Nevertheless, Zimmerman apparently seized every opportunity to live out his fantasy of becoming a law enforcement officer.
When his neighborhood association considered the idea of starting a neighborhood watch program, Zimmerman was the only person to volunteer. In his role as watch captain, Zimmerman warned neighbors to watch for suspicious persons, particularly "young black men" whom he believed were outsiders.
Although some neighbors say that Zimmerman's efforts prevented crimes, others, particularly blacks, complained about his tactics. Teontae Aime, a 17-year-old neighbor, said that Zimmerman "would circle the block and circle it; it was weird. . . If he had spotted me, he’d probably ask me if I lived here. He was known for being really strict.” Another black resident said that he stopped walking in the neighborhood because he fit the "stereotype" of individuals that Zimmerman deemed suspicious.
According to local police, Zimmerman made dozens of 911 calls over the last 15 months. Usually, he called to report "suspicious" persons in the neighborhood. Zimmerman, however, has engaged in fantasy policing outside of the neighborhood watch program. In 2003, he followed a shoplifter in his car and called police to assist with an arrest. He also pursued another driver whom he said spat at him. The other driver, however, said that an "irate" Zimmerman was tailgating him. No arrests were made.
Although he claimed to respect police, Zimmerman allowed his fantasies to supplant official police advice. During his 911 call, for example, the dispatcher told Zimmerman not to pursue Martin, but he ignored this warning.
Furthermore, Wendy Dorival, a local police officer who coordinates neighborhood watch programs, says that she told Zimmerman in September 2011 never to take matters into his own hands:
“I said, ‘If it’s someone you don’t recognize, call us. We’ll figure it out. . . Observe from a safe location.' There’s even a slide about not being vigilante police. I don’t know how many more times I can repeat it.”Sadly, for Trayvon Martin and his grieving family, Dorival's compelling warnings were ignored. Instead, Zimmerman, the man who would be cop, pursued an innocent boy and killed him. Yet, he remains a free man.
For more analysis, see:
Sorry, Trayvon Martin: They Just Don't Like You
BREAKING NEWS in Trayvon Martin Case: Officer in the Case Has A Prior Record of Racial Controversy
Trayvon Martin: 911 Call Contradicts Police Account (Audio)
BREAKING NEWS: Geraldo Rivera Says Hoodie Killed Trayvon Martin