On February 26th Trayvon Martin was killed by George Zimmerman in a claimed self-defense shooting. The claim by George Zimmerman would be bolstered by, forensics, witness statements, and subsequent Sanford Police investigation.
On February 29th as part of the investigation, according to investigative affairs within the Miami-Dade School Police Department, Detective Steven Hadley received a phone call from Sanford Police Dept Randy Smith. [internal documents note Smith as both a Lieutenant and a sergeant – some confusion there]
Smith was requesting background information on shooting victim Trayvon Martin to complete a victimology report. Hadley told Smith the Miami-Dade School Police dept fax number and asked him to submit his request in writing on letterhead from Sanford PD.
Upon receipt of the request in Miami Detective Hadley told Sergent William Tagle of the request who instructed him to access the Record Management System (RMS). Hadley input Trayvon Martin’s information into the RMS system and located a police report. Hadley informed Tagle of the report and was told to provide it to [Lieutenant/Sergeant] Smith.
Hadley faxed the report (8 pages) to Smith and then called Sanford Police Dept and confirmed reception by Randy Smith. Having no further use of the printed data, Hadley, according to a later sworn statement, then shredded the report.
A few weeks later, On Monday March 26th, 2012, Frances Robles from the Miami Herald ran a story outlining that a police report existed with Trayvon Martin, and also accounted for another report about possibly stolen jewelry in possession of Trayvon Martin, and a screwdriver identified by school authorities as a “burglary” tool. “Multiple Suspensions Paint Complicated Portrait of Trayvon Martin”
This article led to Miami-Dade School Police Department Police Chief Charles Hurley launching an Internal Affairs investigation into possible leaks and violations of Standard Operating Procedure:
Chief Hurleys position, bolstered by internal counsel affirmation, was that the report mentioned was not subject to FOIA public access due to the reports being considered consequential for “school discipline” and not the “criminal justice system”.
On the same date the Miami Herald ran the article, the M-DSPD responded to the Herald’s FOIA request for copies of the police reports with the following e-mail:
It might seem a little odd that police engagement activity (police reports) can be divided by whether it takes place in the educational setting, or as a matter of “off school” engagement with the Police Dept.
But it is a position the Police Chief himself affirmed/espoused – which was supported by the School Board Superintendent who appointed him, and the “Board Attorney’s”:
Understanding the motive to qualify the police engagements by both the School Superintendent, and the School Police Chief, you cut to the heart of the issue that surfaces surrounding the Trayvon Martin case; and the involvement of Martin with the Miami-Dade School Police Dept.
Claiming that their police reports were not created for the purposes of law enforcement, but for school disciplinary actions – takes you to a place where many of the alarming revelations about M-DSPD instructions from Hurley.
When the Internal Affairs investigation was launched by Chief Hurley, against his own General Investigations Unit (GIU) team, he opened a can of worms that ultimately led to his removal from his office once the investigation was complete.
Hurley’s goal, according to sworn statements by those he instructed, was to divert kids away from Criminal Records by manipulating the police reports, and changing information to avoid bad optical statistics that would not look good on his record.
Trayvon Martin was one of those “statistics” to avoid recording.
Trayvon would have just been another hidden statistic if it were not for the high-profile the case took because of the media driven public interest.
As soon as Hurley realized that “Trayvon’s REAL Story” presented a risk to the optical scheme he coordinated within Miami Dade Public Schools – things got ugly and a coverup began.
Here is a partial sworn statement of Sergeant William Tagle – taken Thursday May 3rd, 2012 @12:15pm – regarding Trayvon Martin and M-DSPD as it pertains to the internal investigation: (*note the redacted name is “Trayvon Martin” and also the abbreviation “TM”)
Recapping what is above – It has come to light that former Miami-Dade School Police Chief Charles J Hurley used his office, and position, to pressure at least six officers within the Miami-Dade School police department to manipulate records of engaged young persons within the school district to create the appearance of improvement.
A diversion program, combined with a fraudulent avoidance program.
Trayvon Martin was one of those “statistics” within the school system, whose behaviors brought him into contact with the police, but because of the police Chief’s mandates to his officers, Trayvon Martin, along with others troubled students, was intentionally not engaged with the Criminal Justice System.
Instead, (like the example of the back pack with Jewelry and a burglary tool) of recording the issue with the authorities – and investigating the issue – the Krop Senior High School Resource Officer, Dunn, was given instructions to fill out the report as just “found jewelry” without attribution to any student (ie Trayvon) – even though it was found in his back pack, so that no criminal investigation was warranted. [The same approach was taken with the Marijuana Pipe and Marijuana baggie which was categorized as “tobacco”].
The jewelry was then taken to police evidence storage where it just sat, unattended, until file number T-08809 was mysteriously identified “post shooting”; and demanded attention.
The jewelry was initially defined as related to school discipline – so as to avoid engaging the Juvenile Justice System; and later, because of the way it was defined/cataloged, it simultaneously enjoy the benefit of FOIA discovery avoidance.
This is only the TIP of the iceberg. There are hundreds and hundreds of pages of sworn statements outlining similar coordinated activity, and much more about Trayvon Martin – All apparently within the M-DSPD so they could retain appearances like this media release below from just before the shooting:
Much more will follow – we are still organizing all the information; and reviewing all of the sworn statements.