Problems With Zimmerman’s Affidavit of Probable Cause

I downloaded the Affidavit of Probable Cause for George Zimmerman and read it with some interest. Several things are clear from this document:

1. No new evidence is mentioned. Pretty much everything referenced is stories and “facts” that have already made it into the media.

2. The State Attorney cherry-picked the “facts” and witness statements (as we know about them) and included only those that reflected badly on Zimmerman’s actions–even when those statements were contradicted by other facts and other statements. In other words, the least credible “witness” statements were used to put together this story. For example, the Affidavit includes statements from Martin’s girlfriend that were taken weeks after the incident as well as takes Martin’s mother’s word that the calls for help were from her son despite at least one impartial eye-witness whose statement directly contradicts that.

3. The Affidavit contains errors of fact. Specifically:

  • The Affidavit states that “The police dispatcher informed Zimmerman…to wait for the officer”. This is factually not true. The dispatcher asked Zimmerman if he wanted to meet the officer, and he said yes. This is directly from the 911 call and NOT  subjective.
  • The Affadavit says that “When the police dispatcher realized that Zimmerman was pursuing Martin, he instructed Zimmerman not to do that…”. This is factually not true. We’ve all heard the recording, and the dispatcher clearly only says, “We don’t need you to do that.” That is not an direct instruction to stop.
  • The Affidavit continues, in the same sentence, to state that “and that the responding officer would meet him.” This is factually not true. See the first bullet point under this item.

4. The Affidavit draws conclusions from facts rather than presenting facts; some of those conclusions are unsupportable. For instance:

  • The Affidavit states “Zimmerman…assumed Martin was a criminal.” Not exactly. Zimmerman thought Martin looked suspicious, which is not the same as saying he assumed that Martin was a criminal. An attorney ought to know the difference. The Affidavit also later states that Zimmerman “didn’t want the person he falsely assumed was going to commit a crime to get away…”
  • The Affidavit also states that Zimmerman continued to follow Martin after the dispatcher said it was not necessary, which has never been proven and is in fact a bone of contention in this case.
  • The Affidavit states that “Zimmerman confronted Martin”. This, too, has yet to be proven.

5. The Affidavit omits important details, such as Zimmerman’s injuries. I don’t know if the Affidavit is required by law to include details that contradict the “story” that the State is presenting, but it seems like Zimmerman’s injuries are relevant to the case. Strange.

Overall, this looks to be a pretty weak case. The most “damning” elements presented in this Affidavit are contradicted by, in my opinion, much more reliable evidence collected at/around the time of the incident.

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