The special prosecutor won’t take the case of Trayvon Martin’s death to a grand jury, but investigation continues

George Zimmerman has admitted to fatally shooting Martin during a confrontation Feb. 26 but has said it was in self-defense. Zimmerman spotted Martin from his truck as the teen was returning to the house of his father’s fiancee from a convenience store. It was dusk on a rainy evening.”This guy looks like he is up to no good,” Zimmerman told a police dispatcher before the confrontation.


When Zimmerman got out of his truck and started following him, the dispatcher told him, “OK. We don’t need you to do that.”

Moments later, residents of The Retreat at Twin Lakes heard screaming and at least one gunshot. Police officers arriving at the gated community found Martin shot dead in the chest.

The decision not to arrest Zimmerman has provoked an international outcry, prompting Lee to step down temporarily and the state attorney who normally handles cases out of Sanford to recuse himself. Gov. Rick Scott appointed a special prosecutor to investigate and decide whether to file charges.

Zimmerman had developed a reputation for monitoring the neighborhood. He was well known to local police dispatchers, having made 46 calls to them since 2004, according to department records. Some of those records list the caller familiarly as just “George.” The neighborhood had experienced a recent rash of burglaries, and some neighbors welcomed Zimmerman’s efforts.

A PowerPoint presentation put out by the Sanford Police Department for neighborhood watch groups, however, makes it clear that Zimmerman’s role had limits. The presentation warns volunteers not to try to be police themselves but to “work with the police.”

If Zimmerman were to be convicted of a crime, the door would likely be wide open to a lawsuit — Florida courts have held that homeowners associations can be held liable in wrongful-death cases.

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