Sanford Police Department launches internal investigation amid Trayvon Martin info leaks

Published: Tuesday, March 27, 2012 @ 5:52 AM
Updated: Tuesday, March 27, 2012 @ 5:52 AM

An internal investigation is underway on Tuesday at the Sanford Police Department, as police try to figure out who leaked information about George Zimmerman's statement to investigators the night Trayvon Martin was shot and killed.

Martin's parents said they are furious about the new developments. They said the people at the police department are trying to tarnish Trayvon's reputation.

It's been a month since the shooting, but now a friend of 28-year-old Zimmerman is defending him.

Zimmerman's friend Joe Oliver said Zimmerman was trying to do the right thing, but it went terribly wrong.

"He didn't do anything except defend himself. It became a life and death situation," said Oliver.

WFTV asked Oliver why Zimmerman said he shot the unarmed 17-year-old.

"When the evidence comes out, you'll get the answer," said Oliver.

"Is he remorseful?" WFTV asked.

"He's extremely remorseful; cried for days after it happened," said Oliver.

Oliver would not go into details, but WFTV confirmed that Zimmerman told police he walked away from Martin when the non-emergency 911 operator he called instructed him to go back to his car.

That's when Zimmerman said Martin allegedly confronted him and then punched him in the nose so hard Zimmerman fell and bashed his head on the sidewalk.

Then Zimmerman pulled out his gun and shot Trayvon.

Some of the folks who support Trayvon said they do not believe that story. Others said even if Martin did punch him, that would not give Zimmerman a reason to kill.

Sources said that Zimmerman did not go to the hospital that night, but he did go later and provide police a picture of his injuries.

WFTV also learned that there may be an eyewitness to the altercation between Martin and Zimmerman.

WFTV also learned that Martin was in Sanford that weekend because he was suspended from school for 10 days, after officials caught him with a bag that had traces of marijuana.

The attorney for Martin's parents said that is not relevant. The information about that bag may have been leaked by someone at the police department.

"Even in death, they are still disrespecting my son," said Tracy Martin, Trayvon's father.

The city manager said if he finds out who did it, he or she could be fired.

WFTV's legal expert said Zimmerman could still face charges, despite the new information.

Bill Sheaffer went on to say that a grand jury does not have accept what Zimmerman has to say, and they will look at all the evidence before they make a decision on filing charges.

The city of Sanford has appointed 23-year veteran Captain Darren Scott as its new acting police chief.

On Monday, City Manager Norton Bonaporte made the announcement.

The city has launched a search for an interim police chief. Police Chief Bill Lee temporarily stepped aside last week.

WFTV found out Zimmerman hasn't been seen at his workplace in the city of Maitland since the shooting, but cameras spotted Maitland officers guarding the office on Monday.

Police said the security watch was taken out of an abundance of caution, in case angry protesters show up at the office complex.

A rally in Sanford for Trayvon supporters did not attract the number of people that organizers expected on Monday.

Last week a crowd of about 8,000 people showed up for support but on Monday night, only about a third of that number showed up.

"Because the number may have been smaller, the purpose is still as large," said supporter Beverly Ellis.

"I think they still got the support, but a lot of people probably had things to do," said supporter Theresa Jackson.

People at the rally said despite the smaller crowd, the support is as strong as ever.

Officers rescue woman in wheelchair from floodwaters

Published: Saturday, June 24, 2017 @ 9:12 PM

Police car lights. (Photo: Scott Davidson/flickr/Creative Commons)

Three Atlanta police officers rescued a wheelchair-bound woman from rising water on Tuesday.

"I wouldn't call us heroes. We were just doing our duty,” officer Travis Gray told Channel 2 Action News.

Body-camera video showed the high water the officers had to wade through to get to the Buckhead home.

It was around 4-feet deep and rising from a nearby raging creek after heavy downpours moved through the area.

Neighbors told the three officers that a woman in a wheelchair needed help.

"That's what we get called to do and we respond and do it,” Gray said.

Before the officers could get to the woman, they had to shut off the power.

Once inside, they realized the challenge facing them.

"She was just trapped by the water,” officer Abraham Arias said. “Time was against us.”

"I can't really say (it was) stressful, because we're mainly just thinking about her, trying to get her out,” officer Elton Alexander said.

They quickly wrapped the woman in life vests but they knew they couldn't carry her out easily because the water was too deep.

"Lifting her up was not an option,” Arias said.

Thinking fast, the officers called in a floatation device from the Sandy Springs Fire Department.

As they moved her from the wheelchair and carried her to safety, she got her first look at what was happening outside.

"She was surprised that there was so much water around her home,” Arias said.

Once on dry land, the officers say they realized this could have ended much worse.

"At the end of the day, she's our main concern,” Alexander said.

Unmanned boat crashes full-speed onto Florida beach

Published: Saturday, June 24, 2017 @ 5:40 PM
Updated: Saturday, June 24, 2017 @ 8:10 PM

An unmanned boat crashed full-speed onto Daytona Beach Saturday. (Photo: WFTV)

A man is under arrest for allegedly stealing a 32-foot boat that later crashed ashore onto Daytona Beach with no one on board Saturday morning, Volusia County Beach Safety officials said. 

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Officials have not identified the man, but said he stole the boat from a marina in Daytona Beach and is the only suspect.

Coast Guard officials began searching after the boat when it ran ashore near the Silver Beach entrance of Daytona Beach around 10:30 a.m., beach safety officials said.

The boat was traveling full speed when it came ashore, investigators said. Beach safety officers had to board the boat and turn off the engine. 

"It's very bizarre," said Deanie Davis, a beachgoer. "I've walked this beach too many times and I've never seen a boat float up." 

No one was injured when the boat ran aground, beach safety officials said.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Daytona Beach Fire Department and beach safety officials are investigating the boat crash.

"There's not a whole lot of talk about what's going on so our curiosity is definitely there," said Bruns Powers, beachgoer. 

Report: Supreme Court Justice Kennedy ‘contemplating’ retirement

Published: Saturday, June 24, 2017 @ 7:54 PM

President Donald Trump, left, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, center, and Justice Neil Gorsuch participate in a public swearing-in ceremony for Gorsuch in the Rose Garden of the White House White House in Washington, Monday, April 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Carolyn Kaster/AP

Multiple reports from CNN and the Associated Press say Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy is considering retirement.

Latest: Big cases, retirement talk make news at end of SCOTUS session

Kennedy, who has sat on the court for 30 years and will soon turn 81, has been mulling retirement according to some of his former clerks. His clerks gathered this weekend for a reunion with the Kennedy, a year ahead of schedule, spurring rumors Kennedy may step down as soon as Monday when the Court’s current session ends.

The Sacremento, Calif., native has been the Court’s most moderate voice for years and is often the deciding vote.

Kennedy’s most famous decision was Obergefell v. Hodges, which swung the Court vote in legalizing gay marriage. Kennedy’s decision was praised by gay marriage advocates for its sweeping opinion and eloquence, while others criticized the decisions for the many loopholes it left open, including how gay marriage fits within the legal realm with religious institutions. 

Decisions expected by the court this week, one involving a Missouri church and it being denied state funds to build safe soft sources for a playground and possibly a decision on 


Texas mother left children in hot car to teach them 'lesson,' police say

Published: Saturday, June 24, 2017 @ 7:53 PM

Cynthia Maria Randolph. (Photo: Parker County Sheriff's Office)

A woman from Parker County, Texas, who previously claimed the deaths of her two young children in a hot car in May as an accident, admitted that she left them in the vehicle to teach them “a lesson,” police said.

Cynthia Marie Randolph, 25, told “several variations of the events” during police interviews, and later said she broke the car window to make it look like an accident according to WFAA.

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What really happened on May 26, police said, is that Randolph’s 2-year-old daughter refused to get out of the car. The mother responded by shutting the door to teach her “a lesson,” assuming “she could get herself and her brother out of the car when ready.”

Randolph proceeded to go inside the house where she smoked marijuana then fell asleep for two or three hours.

Randolph initially told authorities she was folding laundry and watching TV and realized within an hour that her kids were “gone.” She said they took off. She found them in the car, where they had locked themselves inside. She broke the car window in an attempt to save them, according to CBS Dallas-Fort Worth.

Randolph is being held without bail.