George Zimmerman Would Surrender if Charged in Trayvon Martin Shooting: Attorney

Zimmerman prepared to surrender if charged: Attorney

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    This recent but undated photo taken from the Orlando Sentinel's website shows George Zimmerman, according to the paper. This image accompanied an Orlando Sentinel story posted to their website Friday March 23, 2012 containing information the paper says is related to Zimmerman's employment history. Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer in the town of Sanford, Fla., told police he shot unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on Feb. 26. This photo of Zimmerman is a sharp contrast from the widely used 2005 booking photo from an arrest in Miami Dade County.

    The neighborhood watch volunteer who shot Miami teen Trayvon Martin during a confrontation in a Sanford gated community would surrender to authorities if he's charged in the shooting, his attorney said Monday.

    George Zimmerman hasn't been charged in the Feb. 26 shooting of the 17-year-old but is prepared to give himself up if he's charged, attorney Craig Sonner told Reuters.

    "If he's charged, he will be arrested and he will turn himself in," Sonner said. "However it goes, he's not hiding from the authorities. If he is asked, he will turn himself in. There's not going to be a manhunt or anything like that."

    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. Zimmerman remains in hiding, though Sonner said police can contact him at any time if they need to find him.

    Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee Jr., 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.

    On Tuesday, Miami-Dade County commissioners called for a repeal of the law and passed a resolution urging the Florida Legislature to convene hearings on the statute. State Senator Chris Smith of Fort Lauderdale also announced on Tuesday that he formed his own task force to look into the law, according to the Sun-Sentinel.

    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 Sonner 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.

    Martin's family and their attorney claim the cries for help came from the teen. They also say Martin was not the aggressor, and claim a Sanford Police video that shows Zimmerman hours after the fatal confrontation refutes that he was injured.

    Florida Gov. Rick Scott has appointed a special prosecutor to oversee the investigation into Martin's death. The FBI and U.S. Justice Department are also investigating the shooting.

    Earlier Monday, Martin family attorney Benjamin Attorney sent a formal request to the Justice Department requesting they examine Seminole County State Attorney Norm Wolfinger's interactions with police the night of the shooting.

    Crump, who represents parents Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, said in his letter that he wants the department 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, Lee 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.
     
    Wolfinger on Monday denied interfering with police in charging Zimmerman with manslaughter.

    Communities all across the nation 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.

    Rockers the Red Hot Chili Peppers donned hoodies with Martin's name on them during their encore at Monday night's concert at the BankAtlantic Center.