Trayvon Martin Suspended from Miami High School for Possession of Empty Marijuana Baggie

Teen had been suspended from Krop high for possession of empty pot baggie

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Handout, AP
    George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin.

    Trayvon Martin had been suspended from his Miami high school for possession of an empty marijuana baggie, a family spokesperson confirmed Monday.

    Martin had been suspended for 10 days from Krop Senior High School after the baggie was found, the spokesperson told MSNBC.

    Stand Your Ground Is "Self-Defense on Steroids": Lawyer

    [MI] Stand Your Ground Is "Self-Defense on Steroids": Lawyer
    Florida's controversial "stand your ground" law allows an individual to use deadly force before having to retreat if they believe they are being threatened. Those advocating for George Zimmerman's arrest for shooting Trayvon Martin say he has no right to claim self-defense because he admitted to following the teen during a 911 call. Criminal defense attorney Jonathan Meltz argued the statute can be used as a defense. He compared the stand your ground statute to "self-defense on steroids." Meltz was part of the first case involving the statute when 9-year-old Sherdavia Jenkins was murdered by his client?s stray bullet in 2006. (Published Monday, Mar 26, 2012)

    Meanwhile, John Schuster, the spokesman for the Miami-Dade Public Schools, said the school district has not released any student records in accordance with federal law.

    The news comes as authorities revealed that Martin took down George Zimmerman with one punch then climbed on top of him and slammed his head into the sidewalk several times before the 17-year-old was shot to death by the community watch volunteer, according to a report in the Orlando Sentinel.

    A Primer on the Federal Investigation of the Trayvon Martin Shooting

    [MI] A Primer on the Federal Investigation of the Trayvon Martin Shooting
    The Justice Department and the FBI are taking a look at what happened in Sanford in the Trayvon Martin shooting, and while you might think they are focused on George Zimmerman, one legal expert says their real focus is local law enforcement. "When the federal government gets involved, it's generally aimed at a violation of civil rights," FIU College of Law Professor Phyllis Kotey says. Federal authorities are investigating whether Martin's civil rights were violated by the police chief, his officers, and local prosecutors, she says. (Published Saturday, Mar 24, 2012)

    The latest report of the altercation between the teen and the 28-year-old man at a Sanford gated community on Feb. 26 has been corroborated by witnesses, authorities told the Sentinel.

    The Sanford Police said in a statement that the report was "consistent with the information provided to the State Attorney's Office by the police department."

    "We do not condone these unauthorized leaks of information," City Manager Norton Bonaparte Jr. said.

    He said there would be an internal investigation into the leak and disciplinary action could include termination for anyone found to have been the source of the leak.

    Trayvon Martin Grand Jury: A Preview

    [MI] Trayvon Martin Grand Jury: A Preview
    While the uproar continues over why George Zimmerman has not been arrested, soon the citizens of Seminole County will have their say as to whether or not he should be charged for killing Trayvon Martin in Sanford. A grand jury composed of area residents will convene April 10 and hear from prosecutors, police and maybe even Zimmerman himself as they decide what to do. Florida International University College of Law Professor Phyllis Kotey says it is "very unusual when you have criminal charges, especially of this nature, where there has not been at least an initial arrest." (Published Saturday, Mar 24, 2012)

    Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton, and the family's attorneys blamed police for leaking the marijuana information in what they said was an attempt to demonize the teenager.

    "They killed my son and now they're trying to kill his reputation," Fulton said.

    Sanford Police Chief Temporarily Removes Himself From Position During Trayvon Martin Investigation

    [MI] Sanford Police Chief Temporarily Removes Himself From Position During Trayvon Martin Investigation
    Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee Jr. announced Thursday that he is temporarily removing himself as the city's police leader. He acknowledged that his presence as the department's chief had become a distraction amid growing public pressure for the arrest of Miami Gardens teen Trayvon Martin's shooter. (Published Monday, Apr 9, 2012)

    Trayvon Martin's father, Tracy Martin, said that "even in death, they are still disrespecting my son. And I feel that that's a sin."

    Bonaparte named Scott acting chief and Capt. Robert O'Connor acting deputy chief Monday, just three days after he introduced both of them as the Sanford police department's temporary leaders in the absence of Police Chief Bill Lee Jr. On Monday, Bonaparte clarified that Scott will be the top official on duty at the police department.

    Calls to the FBI, U.S. Justice Department and Sanford Police weren't returned Monday.

    Zimmerman told police he had turned around and was walking back to his SUV when Martin approached him from behind and the two got into a verbal altercation, the report said.

    Martin punched Zimmerman in the nose and began beating him on the ground, leaving him bloodied and battered, authorities said, according to the report. Zimmerman told police he shot the unarmed Martin in self-defense.

    Police said Martin was visiting with his father at his father's girlfriend's home in the gated community and had gone to buy a bag of Skittles and iced tea at a nearby convenience store and was walking back when the altercation happened.

    According to police, Zimmerman was following the teen in his SUV and then on foot and called 911 to report a suspicious person. In a recording of Zimmerman's call to 911, a dispatcher tells him to stop following the teen.

    Zimmerman told police he had lost sight of Martin and was walking back to his car when Martin approached him from behind.

    Martin asked Zimmerman if he had a problem and Zimmerman said no and reached for his phone, he told police, according to the report.

    "Well, you do now," Martin said, according to Zimmerman, before he threw the first punch, the Sentinel report said.

    Zimmerman told police he began yelling for help, though an attorney for Martin's parents said the cries for help came from the teen.

    Witness Mary Cutcher said she thought the cry for help may have come from Martin.

    "It sounded young. It didn’t sound like a grown man is my point," Cutcher said on NBC's "Dateline." It sounded to me like someone was in distress and it wasn’t like a crying, sobbing boo-hoo, it was a definite whine."

    When police arrived, Zimmerman was bleeding from the nose, had a swollen lip and had bloody wounds to the back of his head. Zimmerman's attorney said he suffered a broken nose in the altercation.

    Zimmerman wasn't arrested and hasn't been charged in the shooting. His attorney, Craig Sonner, appeared on NBC's Today Show" Monday, where he backed up the self-defense claim.

    "This case has taken on a whole different meaning because it's been interpreted as being a racial issue and it's not a racial issue," Sonner said. "George Zimmerman is absolutely not a racist, whatever happened that night was self-defense."

    Martin's friends have said the teen never would have started a fight and Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump has called the claim that Martin was the aggressor "preposterous."

    When asked about the police's report that Martin threw the first punch Monday, Crump responded, "It's all Zimmerman's allegation. Zimmerman lived to tell about it."

    Tracy Martin agreed, saying, "That's Zimmerman's account. That ain't what really happened."

    The shooting has led to several rallies and marches throughout South Florida and across the country, with tens of thousands of protesters demanding Zimmerman's arrest.

    Martin's parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, will attend a rally at 4 p.m. Monday in Sanford. They're also expected to speak before the Sanford City Commission following the march.

    The U.S. Justice Department and FBI are investigating the shooting, and last week Lee, the police chief, announced he was temporarily stepping down during the investigation into the shooting.

    Florida Gov. Rick Scott has appointed a special prosecutor to oversee the investigation into Martin's death and has formed a task force to hold hearings on the shooting.