Why was George Zimmerman not arrested the night of the shooting?
When the Sanford Police Department arrived at the scene of the incident, Mr.
Zimmerman provided a statement claiming he acted in self defense which at the time
was supported by physical evidence and testimony. By Florida Statute, law
enforcement was PROHIBITED from making an arrest based on the facts and
circumstances they had at the time. Additionally, when any police officer makes an
arrest for any reason, the officer MUST swear and affirm that he/she is making the
arrest in good faith and with probable cause. If the arrest is done maliciously and in
bad faith, the officer and the City may be held liable.
According to Florida Statute 776.032 :
776.032 Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action for justifiable use
(1) A person who uses force as permitted in s. 776.012, s. 776.013, or s. 776.031 is
justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action
for the use of such force, unless the person against whom force was used is a law
enforcement officer, as defined in s. 943.10(14), who was acting in the performance
of his or her official duties and the officer identified himself or herself in accordance
with any applicable law or the person using force knew or reasonably should have
known that the person was a law enforcement officer. As used in this subsection, the
term “criminal prosecution” includes arresting, detaining in custody, and charging or
prosecuting the defendant.
(2) A law enforcement agency may use standard procedures for investigating the
use of force as described in subsection (1), but the agency may not arrest the
person for using force unless it determines that there is probable cause that the
force that was used was unlawful.
If Zimmerman was told not to continue to follow Trayvon, can that be
considered in this investigation?
Yes it will; however, the telecommunications call taker asked Zimmerman “are you
following him”. Zimmerman replied, “yes”. The call taker stated “you don’t need to do
that”. The call taker’s suggestion is not a lawful order that Mr. Zimmerman would be
required to follow. Zimmerman’s statement was that he had lost sight of Trayvon and
was returning to his truck to meet the police officer when he says he was attacked by