Detective: Zimmerman profiled Martin because of hoodie

More documents released in Trayvon Martin case

Published On: Jul 12 2012 11:09:53 AM EDT   Updated On: Jul 13 2012 11:39:15 AM EDT
ORLANDO, Fla. -

Records released Thursday in the second-degree murder trial of George Zimmerman indicate a police detective thinks he profiled Trayvon Martin, 17, because of his hooded sweatshirt, not because of his race.

The FBI interviewed more than three dozen people as they worked to determine whether Zimmerman violated Martin's civil rights by racially profiling him. Based on the discovery material released Thursday, investigators found no evidence that the shooting was racially motivated.

The lead investigator in the case was Sanford police Detective Chris Serino. He told the FBI that gangs around Sanford, referred to in the community as "goons," typically are dressed in black and wear hooded sweatshirts. So, he believed Zimmerman profiled Martin because he was wearing a hoodie and not because of his race.

Serino also described Zimmerman as overzealous and having a little hero complex, but not as a racist.

There were conflicting reports about Zimmerman's injuries. The documents released by prosecutors Thursday show that some officers thought George Zimmerman's nose was broken but others didn't. The officers agreed that Zimmerman had cuts on the back of his head. 

READ: Newly released evidence

Officer Tim Smith, the first officer at the scene, told an investigator Zimmerman continued to bleed from the nose at police headquarters, even after paramedics attended to him. Zimmerman's back was also wet, and his clothes had grass on them, Smith said.

"'I was yelling for help but no one would help me,'" Smith quoted Zimmerman as saying.

Zimmerman also carried his concealed weapons permit in his wallet, Smith said.

However, another officer who saw Zimmerman enter the Sanford Police Headquarters after the shooting "did not notice any injury to Zimmerman's nose" but observed Zimmerman "was 'grunting' as if in pain," according to the documents.

The degree of Zimmerman's injuries could be important in his claim of self-defense. Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the shooting. 

One of the major points of dispute is who was on top during the fight between Martin and Zimmerman. Most witnesses said they do not know, but one witness told prosecution investigators March 27 that Martin was on top. The one on top, she said, was the same one who lay motionless in the grass after the shooting.

About the 911 call from that night in which a person could be heard screaming, an affidavit from Martin's cousin said he would swear "on a stack of Bibles" it was Martin he heard on the tape.

There is more evidence that Zimmerman changed his story as to why he got out of his car in the first place that night. He had said to investigators that he got out to check a street address so he could accurately report his location to police, but in statements made in the days after the shooting, according to court documents, Zimerman said what prosecutors believe: that he got out of the car to find and follow Martin.

The documents include police reports from prior burglaries in Retreat at Twin Lakes. Between March 2010 and March 2012, the documents say, seven burglaries were reported at the townhouse community, as well as several larcenies and drug offenses. That is important because Zimmerman said he became suspicious of Martin because of all the burglaries in the neighborhood.

Also released was a report from the second officer to arrive at the scene. It described how Smith was holding both Zimmerman and Martin at gunpoint, and when Martin would not raise his hands, they rolled him over and found the gunshot wound to his torso. It says they used a plastic bag to try to seal the wound and began CPR on Martin, despite finding no pulse.

The documents also provide an account of Martin's activities with his cousin the day before the shooting and show crime scene photos.

Among the other facts revealed by the 284 pages of documents released Thursday was that in the 44 days after the shooting but before his arrest, Zimmerman bought another gun and ammunition, telling the gun dealer he feared for his life.

Also, in the past, Zimmerman's former girlfriend accused him of domestic violence during an argument, but he was issued an injunction and not criminally charged.

A state beverage agent claimed Zimmerman battered him while he was arrested someone else on an underage drinking charge. Zimmerman was charged with a misdemeanor but completed a pretrial diversion program.

Zimmerman was arrested 44 days after the shooting. The delay triggered protests nationwide and the departure of Sanford's police chief.