A tiny Florida police department without a homicide unit might have seriously screwed up the Trayvon Martin investigation.The Sanford, Fla. police department also conducted the initial investigation while the head of its major crimes unit was on vacation, Serge F. Kovaleski reports for The New York Times.
Here are eight ways that the cops reportedly fell down on the job:
1. The police took only one photo of Zimmerman at the scene of crime — a shot of his bloody nose taken with a cell phone camera. But the cop who took the photo failed to download it for days, the Times reports.
2. The Sanford police neglected to shield the crime scene from the rain. The blood from Zimmerman’s alleged gashes could have washed away because police did not cover the crime scene.
3. They let Zimmerman go before they even completed a background check. That background check came in after Zimmerman went home, the Times reported. It revealed a run-in with a state alcohol agent and a domestic dispute with a woman claiming to be his ex-fiance but no convictions in either matter.
4. Police just assumed that Zimmerman was the one screaming, not Martin, the Times reports. One witness reportedly told a police investigator that the sound of what she thought were Martin’s cries haunted her. But that investigator told her the cries came from Zimmerman, that witness told the Times.
5. They didn’t test Zimmerman’s blood for alcohol or drugs.
6. Martin’s cell phone died shortly after police got their hands on it, and it took them days to charge the device. That would have allowed them to interview the friend Martin called moments before he was shot and killed, the Times reports.
7. Police didn’t secure the vehicle Zimmerman was driving when he saw Martin. They thought he was on foot, the Times reports.
8. Police didn’t search Zimmerman’s neighbourhood as thoroughly as they could have, the Times reports. A witness said that police turned down her offer to show them the bedroom window where she watched the alleged struggle between Martin and Zimmerman.
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