Trayvon Martin's Parents Want Investigation Into Prosecutor

Parents to ask Justice Department to examine Seminole State Attorney's Office

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    The son of Robert F. Kennedy has been charged with harassment and endangering the welfare of a child for allegedly clashing with two nurses who tried to stop him from taking his 2-day-old baby boy from a Westchester maternity unit. Douglas Kennedy and his wife called the charges "absurd" and said the nurses were in the wrong. Jonathan Dienst reports. This story was published Feb. 24, 2012 at 11:31 p.m. (Published Thursday, Apr 26, 2012)

    The parents of Trayvon Martin want the U.S. Justice Department to review the Seminole County prosecutor's investigating into their son's death, the family's lawyer said.

    Attorney Benjamin Crump, who represents parents Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, sent a formal request to the Justice Department Monday to examine State Attorney Norm Wolfinger's interactions with police the night of Martin's shooting.

    The Justice Department launched an investigation into the Feb. 26 shooting on March 19, but the family wants them to look into possible interference by Wolfinger's office with the Sanford Police investigation.

    Last week, it was revealed that the Sanford Police Department requested an arrest warrant from the Seminole County State Attorney's Office in the shooting, but the state attorney's office held off until the case could be further reviewed.

    There's no indication the prosecutor went to the scene of the shooting, but in a police report of the incident, there's an indication that Sanford Police may have felt a manslaughter charge was warranted in the case.

    On the incident report, the case was described as "homicide-negligent manslaughter-unnecessary killing to prevent an unlawful act."

    Sanford Police issued a statement, saying that it was inaccurate to say an officer at the scene of the shooting wanted an arrest based on the "Uniform Crime Code" listed on the report.

    "All police reports from all law enforcement agencies require a 'Uniform Crime Code' to qualify an incident and for statistical purposes for tracking types of incidents," the statement said. "This code does not indicate a formal charge that will be lodged against an alleged offender. It is used for internal processing and to type cases."

    According to Crump's letter to Deputy Assistant Attorney General Roy Austin, Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee Jr. and Wolfinger overruled the recommendation of lead homicide investigator Chris Serino, who recommended the arrest of shooter George Zimmerman.

    Serino filed an affidavit stating he didn't find Zimmerman's statements on the shooting credible, Crump said. He added that members of Zimmerman's family were also present at the Sanford Police station the night of the shooting.

    Florida Gov. Rick Scott has appointed a special prosecutor to oversee the investigation into Martin's death. The FBI is also investigating the shooting.

    The Miami Gardens teen 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 shooting happened.

    Though Martin was unarmed, Zimmerman told police the shooting was self-defense, and no charges have been filed in the case. Chief Lee, who has temporarily stepped down pending the investigation into the shooting, had said there was no probable cause to arrest Zimmerman, citing the state's "Stand Your Ground" law.

    Zimmerman had spotted the teen and called 911, telling the dispatcher he was following Martin. The dispatcher told him not to, but Martin and Zimmerman got into a confrontation.

    Police said Zimmerman had a bloody nose, gash on the back of his head and grass stains on the back of his shirt. Zimmerman's family and attorney say the 28-year-old also had his nose broken by Martin.

    Zimmerman's brother said the neighborhood watch volunteer was in a fight for his life the night of the shooting, and insists the cries for help heard on a 911 call from the scene are his brother's.

    But MSNBC reported that according to two forensic voice identification experts, the voice on the recording was not George Zimmerman.

    The Martin family and their attorney says the teen was not the aggressor, and say reports of Martin's suspensions and other school issues have no bearing on the shooting.

    "I don't feel like it has anything to do with the case and it doesn't have anything to do with Feb. 26 when he was shot and killed," Fulton said Sunday, shortly before a massive rally at Miami's Bayfront Park. "My memories, my fondest memories of my son is his smile, his smile, his hug, his kiss."

    Rev. Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, singer Chaka Khan, former Heat star Alonzo Mourning and others attended the rally.

    "Our son was most definitely an individual, a human being, a real decent human being," father Tracy Martin said before the rally. "He was loved by his family, he was loved by his friends, our son was not a bad person, our son did not deserve to die the way he did."

    Communities all across the nation that have been galvanized by the event. The shooting has led to numerous marches and protests throughout South Florida and across the country, as Martin's family and supporters demand Zimmerman's arrest.

    More than 2.2 million people have signed the Martin family's online petition demanding Zimmerman's arrest and prosecution.

    "I just look to the hills ahead, pray to God," Tracy Martin said. "I know Trayvon is up there watching over us, and he's giving us the strength to continue."