Saturday, 24 March 2012
Joaquín Guzmán Loera
|Joaquín Archivaldo Guzmán Loera|
"El Chapo Guzmán"
|Born||Joaquín Archivaldo Guzmán Loera |
April 4, 1957 (age 54)
La Tuna, Badiraguato,Sinaloa, Mexico
|Other names||"El Chapo" Guzmán|
|Known for||Sinaloa Cartel drug lord|
|Height||1.68 m (5 ft 6 in)|
|Weight||75 kg (170 lb)|
|Predecessor||Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo|
|Spouse||Emma Coronel Aispuro|
|Partner||Ismael Zambada Garcia,Ignacio Coronel-Villarealand Juan José Esparragoza Moreno|
|Children||César, Iván Archivaldo, Jesús Alfredo, Joaquín, Ovidio, Griselda Guadalupe, Édgar(†)|
Joaquín Archivaldo Guzmán Loera (b. April 4, 1957) is a fugitive Mexican drug lord who heads the world's largest and most powerful drug trafficking organization, the Sinaloa Cartel, an organization named after the Mexican Pacific coast state of Sinaloa where it was initially formed. Known as "El Chapo Guzmán" ("Shorty Guzmán") for his 1.68 m (5 ft 6 in) stature, he became Mexico's top drug kingpin in 2003 after the arrest of his rival Osiel Cárdenas of the Gulf Cartel, and is now considered "The most powerful drug trafficker in the world," by the United States Department of the Treasury.
Guzmán Loera has been ranked by Forbes magazine as one of the most powerful people in the world every year since 2009; ranking 41st, 60th and 55th respectively. He was also listed by Forbes as the 10th richest man in Mexico (1,140th in the world) in 2011. Forbes also calls him the "biggest druglord of all time", and the DEA strongly believes he has surpassed the influence and reach ofPablo Escobar, and now considers him "the godfather of the drug world."
Guzman Loera's Sinaloa Cartel smuggles multi-ton cocaine shipments from Colombia through Mexico to the United States, and has distribution cells throughout the U.S. The organization has also been involved in the production, smuggling and distribution of Mexicanmethamphetamine, marijuana, and heroin. The U.S. offers a $5 million USD reward for information leading to his capture. The Mexican government offers a reward of $30 million pesos for such information.
Guzmán was born on April 4, 1957 to a poor family in the rancho of La Tuna near Badiraguato, where he sold oranges as a child. He had two sisters: Armida and Bernarda; and had 4 brothers: Miguel Ángel, Aureliano, Arturo and Emilio. Little is known about Guzmán's early years. His father was supposedly a cattle rancher, as were most in the area; it is believed, however, that he also grew opium poppy.Guzmán's father had connections to higher-ups in the Sinaloan capital of Culiacán through Pedro Avilés Pérez. Avilés was a key player in the Sinaloa drug business, seen as a pioneer for finding new methods of transporting the rural produce to urban areas for shipment by way of airplanes. He is reportedly the first to use airplanes to smuggle cocaine to the United States. By the time Guzmán was in his 20s, his connection to Avilés would be his window of opportunity to start in the drug business and make his fortune. In the late 1970s, Héctor "El Güero" Luis Palma Salazar gave Guzmán his first big break. El Güero placed him in charge of transporting drugs from the Sierra to the cities and border and overseeing shipments. He was ambitious and pressed his bosses to increase the quantities of drugs being moved north.
In the early 1980s, Guzmán was introduced to Miguel "El Padrino" Ángel Félix Gallardo. Gallardo put him in charge of logistics – effectively coordinating airplane flights, boat arrivals and trucks coming from Colombia into Mexico. El Güero still controlled deliveries to clients in the United States, but Guzmán would soon work directly for El Padrino himself. Although early on Guzmán lived in Guadalajara, as did Gallardo, his command and control center was actually located in Agua Prieta, Sonora. After Félix Gallardo's capture, Guzmán took control of the entire Sinaloa Cartel. Guzmán is wanted by the governments of Mexico and the United States and by INTERPOL; so far he has evaded operations to capture him.
After the fall of the Amezcua brothers, founders of the Colima Cartel, in 1998 on methamphetamine trafficking charges, there was a need for leadership throughout Mexico to coordinate methamphetamine shipments north. Guzmán saw an opportunity and seized on it. Easily arranging precursor shipments, Guzmán and Ismael Zambada García ("El Mayo") made use of their previous contacts on Mexico's Pacific coast. Importantly, for the first time the Colombians would not have to be paid – they simply joined methamphetamine with cocaine shipments. This fact meant no additional money needed to go out for planes, pilots, boats, and bribes; they used the existing infrastructure to pipeline the new product. Up until this point, the Sinaloa Cartel had been a joint venture between Guzmán and Ismael Zambada García; the methamphetamine business would be Guzmán's alone. He cultivated his own ties to China, Thailand and India to import the necessary precursor chemicals. Throughout the mountains of the states of Sinaloa, Durango, Jalisco, Michoacán and Nayarit, Guzmán constructed large methamphetamine laboratories and rapidly expanded his organization.
His habit of moving from place to place allowed him to nurture contacts throughout the country. He was now operating in 17 out of 31 Mexican states. With his business expanding, he placed his trusted friend Ignacio "Nacho" Coronel Villarreal in charge of methamphetamine production; this way Guzmán could continue being the boss of bosses. Coronel Villarreal proved so reliable in the Guzmán business, he became known as 'Crystal King'.
Arrest and escape
Guzmán was captured in Guatemala on June 9, 1993 and extradited to Mexico and sentenced to 20 years, 9 months in prison for drug trafficking, criminal association and bribery charges. He was jailed in the maximum security La Palma (now Federal Social Readaptation Center No. 1 or 'Altiplano') prison. On November 22, 1995, he was transferred to the Puente Grande maximum security prison in Jalisco, Mexico, after being convicted of three crimes: possession of firearms, drug trafficking, and the murder of Cardinal Juan Jesús Posadas Ocampo (the charge would later be dismissed by another judge). He had been tried and sentenced inside the federal prison on the outskirts of Almoloya de Juárez, Mexico State.
The police say Guzmán carefully masterminded his escape plan, wielding influence over almost everyone in the prison, including the facility's director. He allegedly had the prison guards on his payroll, smuggled contraband into the prison and received preferential treatment from the staff. In addition to the prison-employee accomplices, police in Jalisco were paid off to ensure he had at least 24 hours to get out of the state and stay ahead of the military manhunt. The story told to the guards being bribed was that Joaquín Guzmán was smuggling gold out of the prison, ostensibly extracted from rock at the inmate workshop. The escape allegedly cost Joaquín $2.5 million.
After a ruling by the Supreme Court of Mexico made it easier for extradition to occur between Mexico and the United States, Guzmán bribed several guards to aid his escape. On January 19, 2001, Francisco "El Chito" Camberos Rivera, a prison guard, opened Guzman's electronically operated cell door, where Guzmán got in a laundry cart that Camberos rolled through several doors and eventually out the front door. Guzmán was then transported in the trunk of a car driven by Camberos out of the town. At a gas station Camberos went inside, but when he came back Guzmán was gone on foot into the night. According to officials, seventy-eight people have been implicated in his escape plan.
Mexican Cartel Wars
Since his escape from prison, he had been wanting to take over the Ciudad Juárez crossing points, which are under control of the Carrillo Fuentes family of the Juárez Cartel. Despite high mistrust between the two organizations, the Sinaloa and Juárez cartels had an alliance at the time. He convened a meeting in Monterrey with Ismael Zambada Garcia ("El Mayo"),Juan José Esparragoza Moreno ("El Azul") and one of the Beltrán Leyva brothers and they discussed killing Rodolfo Carrillo Fuentes, who was in charge of the Juárez Cartel. On September 11, 2004, Rodolfo, his wife, and two young children were visiting a Culiacán shopping mall. While leaving the mall, escorted by police commander Pedro Pérez López, the family was ambushed by members of Los Negros, assassins for the Sinaloa Cartel. Rodolfo and his wife were killed, the policeman survived.
This now meant the plaza would no longer be controlled only by the Carrillo Fuentes family. Instead, the city found itself the front line in a country-wide drug war and would see homicides skyrocket as rival cartels fought for control. With this act, Guzmán was the first to break the nonaggression 'pact' the major cartels had agreed to, setting in motion the fighting between cartels for drug routes that has claimed more than 50,000 lives since December 2006.
In the ensuing manhunt, authorities arrested many of Guzmán's associates in the cities of Reynosa, Puebla, Toluca, and Mexico City. The states of Sinaloa and Nayarit would also see a wave of arrests. In the summer of that year, Esteban Quintero Mariscal, a hired killer and cousin of Guzmán's, was arrested and imprisoned in Cefereso No. 1, Mexico's highest-security prison. The following day, El Chito, the prison guard most responsible for helping Guzmán escape, was captured and incarcerated in Mexico City's Reclusorio Preventivo Oriente. On September 7, 2001, authorities raided a stash house in the eastern Mexico City neighborhood of Iztapalapa. Federal agents chased three people fleeing the house all the way to Taxquena in the southern part of the city. Among those arrested was Arturo "El Pollo" Guzman Loera, Guzmán's younger brother. Guzmán reportedly considered suicide following his arrest. Authorities were led to Arturo by information from Quintero Mariscal.
In November 2001, military intelligence pinpointed Guzmán's location to somewhere between the cities of Puebla and Cuernavaca, where they captured Miguel Angel Trillo Hernandez. Trillo had helped Guzmán in the aftermath of his escape from Puente Grande, renting houses so Guzmán could hide in them. They next discovered Guzmán was hiding out on a ranch outside Sante Fe, Nayarit. Mexican military deployed helicopters to close in, but Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada provided his own helicopter to Guzmán to escape in to the Sierra.
Despite the progress made in detaining others in the aftermath of Guzmán's escape, arresting a handful of his top logistics and security men, the huge military and federal police manhunt failed to capture Guzmán himself. Since his escape, he has been Mexico's most wanted man.
In March 2008, the Guatemalan government reported that Guzmán's organization may have been tied to a gun battle in their country that left ten gunmen dead. Three days later, the Honduran government reported that they were investigating whether he was hiding out in Honduras.
On April 18, 2009 in the state of Durango, Roman Catholic Archbishop Héctor Gonzalez announced that the fugitive drug trafficker was "living nearby and everyone knows it except the authorities, who just don't happen to see him for some reason." A few days afterwards, two military officers were found dead near a bullet-riddled car in the same area the archbishop claimed Guzmán lived. It is believed that the officers, who were dressed in civilian clothes, were working undercover in the area when they were abducted and executed in the remote village of Cienega de Escobar. A message was left near them: “You'll never get 'El Chapo', not the priests, not the government."
Reports by Milenio Television mention that Guzmán Loera is protected at all times by a personal mercenary army composed of over 30 armed men, all of them in military uniform, whose only objective is to prevent his capture and death from the Mexican forces.
The Mexican authorities "nearly nabbed" Guzmán Loera in a coastal mansion in Los Cabos, Mexico on 19 February 2012, just a day after Hillary Clinton met with foreign ministers in the same peninsula resort town. The details of how the authorities knew he was there and why El Chapo was not caught have not been released.
Implications if Guzmán is arrested
According to Los Angeles Times, if Guzmán Loera is arrested by the Mexican authorities before the Mexican general elections of 2012, his capture may serve as a "sweet trophy" forFelipe Calderón, the president of Mexico, and for PAN candidate for the presidency, Josefina Vazquez Mota. His apprehension would mark the "biggest blow against drug cartels" since Calderón launched a military-led offensive against the criminal groups in Mexico on 2006. Analysts say it may also "squelch whispers" that the Mexican government had gone easy on the Sinaloa Cartel and on El Chapo while attacking its rival groups. On the other hand, his capture right before the presidential elections may also trigger theories by skeptics that El Chapo had long been in the government's hands, "but kept on ice until a politically propitious moment."
Edgardo Buscaglia, a professor at the ITAM, believes that Guzmán's capture may also help Barack Obama's reelection campaign, since there have been suspicions that his government "provided protection" to the Sinaloa Cartel. Eric Olson, from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, considers that Guzmán's capture may "unleash a bloody wave of violence" between the Sinaloa Cartel leaders and its subgroups for the control of the organization. His capture may also unleash the fury of the Sinaloa cartel and create new criminal organizations.
In 1977 he married Alejandrina María Salazar Hernández, in a small ceremony in the town of Jesús María, Sinaloa. With Alejandrina Guzmán he had three children: César, Iván Archivaldo, and Jesús Alfredo. He set them up in a ranch home in Jesús María. In the mid-1980s Guzmán remarried; this time to Griselda López Pérez, with whom he had four more children: Édgar, Joaquín, Ovidio, and Griselda Guadalupe. Guzmán's sons would follow him into the drug business.
On February 15, 2005, Guzmán's son, Iván Archivaldo, was arrested in the city of Guadalajara, Mexico. He was sentenced to 5 years in a federal prison, but was released in April 2008 after a Mexican federal judge declared the case was lacking evidence. In June 2005, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) arrested his brother, two nephews and a niece. They also seized nine houses and six vehicles. Some of the arrests took place in the U.S. in cities such as Chicago, Los Angeles, and Oakland.
Guzmán reportedly strolled into a restaurant called "Barrokas" in Piedras Negras, with several of his bodyguards. After taking his seat, his men collected the cell phones of approximately thirty diners and instructed them to not be alarmed. The gangsters then ate their meal and left – paying for everyone else in the restaurant. That same month, Guzmán was reportedly seen in Culiacán, Sinaloa, Mexico, repeating his exploit at the "Los Platos" restaurant.
In November 2007, Guzmán was married to 18 year-old beauty queen Emma Coronel Aispuro in Canelas, Durango, Mexico. In August 2011, Coronel Aispuro, a citizen of the United States, gave birth to twin girls in a L.A. County Hospital.
Break with the Beltrán Leyva Cartel
Several factors influenced the break between the Sinaloa Cartel and the Beltrán Leyva brothers. The arrest of Guzmán's lieutenant, Alfredo Beltrán Leyva (a.k.a.: El Mochomo) was one incident, as he was believed to have given up El Mochomo for various reasons. In addition to this, Guzmán was voicing concerns with Alfredo Beltrán's lifestyle and high-profile actions for some time before his arrest. The Beltrán Leyva brothers ordered the assassination of Guzmán's son, Édgar Guzmán Lopez, on May 8, 2008 in Culiacán; causing massive retaliation from Guzmán. They were also fighting over the allegiance of the Flores brothers, Margarito and Pedro, leaders of a major, highly lucrative cell in Chicago that distributed over two tons of cocaine every month. The Mexican military claim that Guzmán and the Beltrán Leyva brothers were at odds over Guzmán's relationship with the Valencia brothers in Michoacán.
Upon Alfredo Beltrán's arrest – purportedly with Guzmán's help – a formal "war" was declared. An attempt on Vicente "El Vincentillo" Zambada Niebla's life was made just hours after the declaration. Dozens of killings followed in retaliation for the attempt on his life. On May 8, 2008, with the killing of Guzmán's son Edgar, it all erupted. For the rest of May 2008 alone, there were over 116 people murdered in Culiacán, 26 of whom were policemen. In June 2008, over 128 were killed; in July, 143 were slain. General Sandoval ordered another 2,000 troops to the area, but it failed to stop the war. The wave of violence spread to other cities like Guamúchil, Guasave and Mazatlán.
Whether Guzmán was responsible for Alfredo Beltrán's arrest is not known. However, the Beltrán Leyva brothers were doing some double-dealing of their own. Arturo Beltrán and Alfredo Beltrán had met with top members of Los Zetas in Cuernavaca. There they agreed to form an alliance to fill the power vacuum. They wouldn't necessarily go after the main strongholds, such as the Sinaloa and Gulf Cartel; instead they sought control of southern states like Guerrero (where the Beltrán Leyva's already had a big stake), Oaxaca, Yucatán, and Quintana Roo. They also worked their way into the center of the country, where no single group had control.
The split was officially recognized by the U.S. government on May 30, 2008. On that day they recognized the Beltrán Leyva brothers as leaders of their own 'cartel'. President Bush designated Marcos Arturo Beltrán Leyva and the Beltrán Leyva Organization as subject to sanction under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act ("Kingpin Act").
- Sinaloa Cartel
- Beltrán-Leyva Cartel
- Ismael Zambada Garcia
- Pablo Escobar
- Mérida Initiative
- Mexican Drug War
- The World's 10 Most Wanted
- List of Mexico's 37 most-wanted drug lords
- ^ a b c d "Narcotics Rewards Program: Joaquin Guzman-Loera". U.S. Department of State. 2009. Retrieved August 26, 2009.
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v Beith, Malcolm (2010). The Last Narco. Grove Press. pp. 368. ISBN 978-0-8021-1952-0.
- ^ a b "Reward notice".
- ^ "Mexico's most wanted traffickers, at $2 million". Associated Press. March 23, 2009. Retrieved March 30, 2009.
- ^ "U.S. Intelligence Says Sinaloa Cartel Has Won Battle for Ciudad Juarez Drug Routes". CNS News. April 9, 2010.
- ^ "Califica EU a “El Chapo” como el narco más poderoso del mundo". Milenio. 10 January 2012. Retrieved 11 January 2012.
- ^ Otero, Silvia. "EU: “El Chapo” es el narco más poderoso del mundo". El Universal. Retrieved 11 January 2012.
- ^ "Joaquin Guzman Loera". Forbes Magazine. Retrieved 5 November 2011.
- ^ Forbes. http://www.forbes.com/wealth/powerful-people/list.
- ^ "The World's Billionaires: 937 Joaquin Guzman Loera". Forbes Magazine. March 10, 2010. Retrieved September 21, 2010.
- ^ "Joaquin Guzman Loera's Forbes Profile". Forbes. November 2011. Retrieved 26 November 2011.
- ^ "Major Mexican drug lord captured". CNN News. Sep 19, 2011.
- ^ Vardi, Nathan (2011-06-15). "Joaquin Guzman Has Become The Biggest Drug Lord Ever". Forbes Magazine.
- ^ Luhnow, David (June 13, 2009). "The Drug Lord Who Got Away". The Wall Street Journal.
- ^ "Colombian drugs lord extradited to US". BBC News. September 8, 2001. Retrieved January 5, 2010.
- ^ "Guzmán Loera buscado por la INTERPOL". INTERPOL. Retrieved November 12, 2008.
- ^ Grayson, George W. (2010). Mexico: Narco-Violence and a Failed State?. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers. p. 68. ISBN 978-1-4128-1151-4.LCCN 2009029164. OCLC 351324700. Retrieved May 16, 2011.
- ^ Luhnow, David (June 13, 2009). "The Drug Lord Who Got Away". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved December 23, 2009.
- ^ "Guzman Escapes".
- ^ "Por crimen, 11% mas asesinatos en 2011" (in Spanish). El Universal. 12 January 2012. Retrieved 2012-01-15.
- ^ Mendoza Hernandez, Enrique (10 December 2011). "Cinco años de guerra, 60 mil muertos". Proceso. Retrieved 20 January 2012.
- ^ "Quinto año de gobierno: 60 mil 420 ejecuciones". Zeta Tijuana. 12 December 2011. Retrieved 20 January 2012.
- ^ "Reward poster".
- ^ WE GOT HIM! NO, WE GOT HIM! THE ONGOING SAGA OF SHORTY GUZMAN
- ^ "El Miedo del Chapo Guzmán". Milenio Noticias. 25 November 2010. Retrieved 29 December 2011.
- ^ Corcoran, Katherine (12 March 2012). "Mexico Police Nearly Nabbed 'El Chapo'".Times. Retrieved 14 March 2012.
- ^ (Spanish) "Hillary Clinton llega a Los Cabos para el G-20". El Universal. 18 February 2012. Retrieved 14 March 2012.
- ^ (Spanish) "Gobernación confirma que la PGR estuvo cerca de capturar a 'El Chapo'". CNNMéxico. 13 March 2012. Retrieved 14 March 2012.
- ^ a b c d Ellingwood, Ken (12 March 2012). "Mexico drug lord's fate is focus of election year speculation". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 14 March 2012.
- ^ (Spanish) "El Chapo, manjar político para Obama y Calderón". Proceso. 22 October 2011. Retrieved 15 March 2012.
- ^ a b (Spanish) "Caída de 'El Chapo' sería 'dulce trofeo' para FCH: LA Times". El Universal. 13 March 2012. Retrieved 15 March 2012.
- ^ "Feds nab son of 'El Chapo' Guzmán.".
- ^ Marshall, Claire (August 14, 2005). "Gang wars plague Mexican drugs hub". BBC NEWS. Retrieved January 5, 2010.
- ^ Valdez, Javier (December 11, 2007). "A SETTLING OF ACCOUNTS; EL CHAPO GUZMAN HAS DINNER IN A CULIACAN RESTAURANT". Border Reporter. Retrieved October 23, 2008.
- ^ Revista Proceso, Mexico DF, 2007
- ^ Gibbs, Stephen (March 12, 2009). "Mexican 'drug lord' on rich list". BBC News. Retrieved May 6, 2010.
- ^ Wilkinson, Tracy (September 26, 2011). "Drug lord's wife has twins in Los Angeles County hospital". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 27, 2011.
- ^ "Major Mexican drug cartel suspects arrested, officials say". CNN News. January 20, 2002. Retrieved August 3, 2009.
- ^ "Three Alleged Mexican Drug Cartel Leaders and Twin Brothers Who Ran Chicago-Based Distribution Crew Among Dozens Indicted in Chicago as Part of Coordinated Strike Against Drug Traffickers". FBI Chicago. Retrieved November 28, 2010.
- ^ "President Bush Designates Beltran Leyva and his Organization Under Kingpin Act". Embassy of the U.S. in Mexico. May 30, 2008. Retrieved August 3, 2009.
-  Biography and history of the hunt for El Chapo Guzmán, "The Last Narco," by Malcolm Beith (September 2010)
- Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzmán-Loera on America's Most Wanted
- Mug shot and bios
Shooting of Trayvon Martin
|This article documents a current event. Information may change rapidly as the event progresses.|
|Born||February 5, 1995|
|Died||February 26, 2012(aged 17) |
Sanford, Florida, USA
|Cause of death||homicide|
|Other names||Nicknames: Tray; Slimm|
|Home town||Miami, Florida|
|Parents||Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin|
at unrelated 2005 arrest
|Born||George Michael Zimmerman |
October 5, 1983 (age 28)
|Ethnicity||Latina mother (Peruvian)/ |
|Home town||Sanford, Florida, USA|
|Parents||Gladys C. and Robert J. Zimmerman, Sr.|
Trayvon Martin (February 5, 1995 – February 26, 2012) was an African American teenager who was shot and killed by George Zimmerman, a multiracial man (Peruvian mother, Caucasian father) in Sanford, Florida. Martin, who was unarmed, had been walking to his father's home from a convenience store when Zimmerman called 911 and followed Martin after witnessing what he described as "suspicious" behavior. Soon afterward, he fatally shot Martin during an altercation between the two.
Zimmerman described the shooting as self-defense, and he was not arrested. Witnesses gave conflicting accounts of the shooting. Both Martin and Zimmerman had made phone calls during the incident, some of which were recorded by emergency personnel.
The circumstances around his death received international attention, particularly regarding Florida's self-defense laws and allegations ofracial motivations and police misconduct, triggering multiple investigations. President Barack Obama said: "If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon".
Trayvon Martin was born on February 5, 1995, the son of Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin. He was 17 years old, 6' 3" and 140 pounds at the time of his death. His parents had divorced in 1999, his mother is Miami-Dade government employee and his father is a truck driver. Known as Tray or Slimm, Martin lived with his mother and older brother in Miami Gardens, Florida. He had transferred fromMiami Carol City High School during his sophomore year and was was a junior at Michael Krop Senior High,  where his English teacher, Michelle Kypriss, reported him as being "an A and B student who majored in cheerfulness." He hoped to become an aviation mechanic. He was visiting his father and his father's fiance (Brandi Green) at her rented townhome in Sanford, Florida, on the day of the incident, after being suspended from school.  Kypriss stated that he "was not a violent or dangerous child", "not known for misbehaving", and "was suspended because he was late too many times." According to his father Tracy Martin, he was suspended because he was in an unauthorized area on school property, but he declined to offer more details. Trayvon Martin had no criminal record.
During a break in an NBA basketball game on TV, Martin left his father's fiance's home in the gated community of Twin Lakes to walk to a nearby 7-Eleven convenience store to buy some candy. While returning to the house, Trayvon was seen by George Zimmerman, who called 9-1-1, the emergency services number.
According to T-Mobile phone records, Trayvon was speaking on a cellphone at the time of the incident. Martin's girlfriend came forward, identifying herself as the other person in that conversation; she was interviewed by an attorney, who has made a statement, and her parents have requested her anonymity. The girl stated that Martin expressed concern about a "strange man" following him, and she advised him to run. She claims to have heard Martin say "What are you following me for?" followed by a man's voice responding "What are you doing here?" She stated that she heard the sound of pushing and that Martin's headset suddenly went silent, leading her to believe that he had been knocked down. She attempted to call him back immediately, but was unable to reach him.
Zimmerman police call
Zimmerman phoned the Sanford Police Departmentpolice at the non-emergency number at approximately 7:00 p.m., February 26, 2012. to report Martin’s “suspicious” behavior, which he described as “just walking around looking about.”  The police dispatcher tape recorded him saying, "This guy looks like he is up to no good. He is on drugs or something." He further stated that the person he was observing had his hand in his waistband, was holding something in his other hand, and was walking around slowly in the rain looking at houses.
The dispatcher recommended that he not take any action, and informed him that police were on the way. Zimmerman reported that Martin had taken off. The dispatcher asked him if he was in pursuit and he affirmed that he was. The dispatcher informed him that pursuit was not necessary, saying "We don't need you to do that.".
A part of what Zimmerman said on the tape is unclear. Some have heard the disputed words as "fucking coons", an ethnic slur used against black people, while others suggest it was "clueless", "course", or "punks". Others insist the words are too muffled to make any determination. Police have now said that they may have missed a potential racial slur on the call.
When the police arrived, they reported finding Martin face-down and unresponsive, with a gunshot wound in the chest. Statements by the police say Zimmerman had grass on his back and his back was wet. Zimmerman was bleeding from the nose and the back of the head; subsequently his lawyer stated that Zimmerman's nose was broken and that wound of the back of his head normally required stiches.   Zimmerman claimed self-defense, telling police he had stepped out of his truck to check the name of the street he was on, when Martin attacked him from behind as he walked back to his truck. He said he fired the semiautomatic handgun because he feared for his life. Martin was unarmed, and was carrying a bag ofSkittles candy and a can of Arizona brand iced tea.
A witness to the physical altercation just prior to the shooting stated that Martin was on top of Zimmerman and beating him up, while the older man yelled for help. Another witness, Mary Cutcher, has said in a TV interview that "there was no punching, no hitting going on at the time, no wrestling", but police say that she gave an official account to them that agreed with Zimmerman's story. Cutcher and her roommate told CNN journalist Anderson Cooper that their own account of the incident to the police did not agree with Zimmerman's, and that they had demanded that the police retract that incorrect statement. They also said, about the police's attitude at the scene, that "they were siding with him [Zimmerman] from the start" and that they heard the pair in their backyard and a "very young voice" whining, with no sounds of a fight. They heard a gunshot; the crying stopped immediately, and they saw Zimmerman on his knees pinning Martin down on the ground.
The police took Trayvon Martin's body and stored it in a morgue for three days, calling him "John Doe". Martin's family accuses the police of not asking any of the neighbors if they recognized Martin. According to David Horsey, they also did not check his cellphone to find someone he knew.
Zimmerman was born in Virginia, and is the son of Gladys, who is from Peru, and Robert Zimmerman, Sr., who was in the military. He studied criminal justice for four years. He was licensed to carry a firearm, but it is unclear if he had informed the homeowner association that he would be armed as a volunteer. Zimmerman had a previous charge in 2005 of "resisting arrest without violence" on a police officer while interfering with the arrest of a friend. He subsequently entered a pretrial diversion program, which is not considered a conviction on his criminal record. Zimmerman had previously been accused of domestic violence by an ex-fiancee (Veronica Zuazo), who had filed for a restraining order against him. Zimmerman counter-filed for a restraining order. A judge eventually ordered them both to stay away from each other for at least one year. 
In 2008, Zimmerman enrolled in the Seminole County Sheriff's Office citizens' law-enforcement academy, a four-month-long course. Zimmerman expressed ambitions of becoming a member of law enforcement, writing: "I hold law enforcement officers in the highest regard and I hope to one day become one." In 2009, Zimmerman re-enrolled in Seminole State College and was working toward an associate degree with the goal of becoming a police officer.
According to Zimmerman's father, in the wake of the controversy, George Zimmerman received death threats and moved out of his home. Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee claimed that Zimmerman had cooperated with investigators, has not retained an attorney, and has disconnected his phones.
Some residents of his gated community declared that Zimmerman was known for being strict and that he went door to door asking them to be on the lookout for "young black men who appear to be outsiders", while others regarded him as "normal," "helpful" and "passionate about neighborhood security", having supposedly thwarted a previous burglary attempt. The community reportedly experienced numerous instances of burglary, theft, and one shooting during the previous year, with 402 calls made to the police. According to the Miami Herald, Zimmerman had placed 46 of those calls since the beginning of 2011, "to report disturbances, break-ins, windows left open and other incidents. Nine of those times, he saw someone or something suspicious".
Sanford police chief Bill Lee stated, "Mr. Zimmerman was not acting outside the legal boundaries of Florida Statute by carrying his weapon when this incident occurred."
Zimmerman has not been charged with any crime, because he claimed the right of self-defense, and investigators said they could find no evidence disproving that claim. According to Martin's father, Tracy Martin, when the family asked why Zimmerman had not been arrested, the police responded that he had a "squeaky-clean record" and they respected his educational background in criminal justice. However, Tracy Martin claims that the revelation of Zimmerman's previous charge demonstrated his "propensity for violence" and that the police had lied to the family. Police ran a background check on Trayvon Martin, confirming that he had no criminal record, which caused Tracy Martin to further question why Zimmerman was not arrested after shooting and killing an unarmed teenager with no criminal history. The case has sparked national outrage and protests.
Recordings of eight calls to the police made on the night of the shooting were released by the Sanford police on March 17, 2012.Early press reports indicated that the recordings included the sound of a single shot followed by a voice pleading or begging for help, and then a second shot is heard, after which the voice immediately stopped. Later reports indicate that gun was fired only once. Zimmerman told police at the scene that he was the one crying out for help. The statement was corroborated by a witness who claimed that Martin was on top of Zimmerman, beating him, as Zimmerman called for help. Other witnesses stated that Martin was the one calling for help, and claimed that the police tried to "correct" them into changing their assertion to Zimmerman as the one calling for help. A witness, Mary Cutcher, claimed that the cry was from Martin and said that she did not believe that Zimmerman acted in self defense, contending that she and her roommate heard Martin cry out, followed by a gunshot, whereupon they saw Zimmerman standing over his body.
The night of the shooting, Sanford police accepted Zimmerman's account at face value. Police Chief Lee said he did not have enough evidence to arrest Zimmerman. "In this case Mr. Zimmerman has made the statement of self-defense," Lee said. "Until we can establish probable cause to dispute that, we don't have the grounds to arrest him." In response to criticisms of the investigation, Lee responded that "We are taking a beating over this," and defended the investigation. "This is all very unsettling. I’m sure if George Zimmerman had the opportunity to relive Sunday, Feb. 26, he’d probably do things differently. I’m sure Trayvon would, too."
Missing persons report
The morning after the incident, Tracy Martin called missing persons and the police to report his son as missing. Officers were dispatched to the home, where they showed the father a crime scene photograph of Martin for identification purposes. Martin's body had been taken to the medical examiner's office as a John Doe.
Investigations and other official statements
Multiple investigations are ongoing. On March 20, the FBI and the Justice Department announced that they were opening investigations into the incident. The state governor, Rick Scott, has asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate the shooting. A Seminole County grand jury will also investigate the case, and will convene on April 10, 2012 according to State Attorney Norm Wolfinger.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi made a statement March 20 on the case:
"I am both devastated and deeply troubled that young Trayvon Martin lost his life in a shooting. When someone loses his life at the hands of another, there cannot be any questions surrounding the circumstances of the death. ... I have spoken to FDLE Commissioner [Gerald M.] Bailey, whose agency is now involved, and I know that a complete and thorough review of the facts will be conducted. FDLE has skilled investigators of the highest caliber, and no stone will be left unturned in this investigation. While the Seminole County State Attorney’s Office has the sole authority regarding a charging decision by law, I will remain vigilant in ensuring that questions are answered."
Sanford city commission
Three out of the five members of the Sanford city commission, including the Mayor, passed a motion of no confidence in regards to the police chief Bill Lee, and his handling of the case. One member of the council, Mark McCarty, then asked for Lee to step down. The City Manager, Norton Bonaparte Jr., stated that he would not make a decision regarding Lee until more information from the investigation was available.
Allegations of racism
The shooting also resulted in allegations that Zimmerman was motivated by racism. Critics disparaged what they perceived to be Zimmerman racially profiling Martin. Witnesses had previously noted that Zimmerman went door to door warning residents to be on the lookout for "young black men who appear to be outsiders". A rally held at a community church was attended by nearly 400 people, including leaders of the NAACP, Urban League, and the Sanford City Commission, demanding Zimmerman's arrest. Charles M. Blow ofThe New York Times commented that the case touched upon longstanding concerns about racial profiling, inequitable treatment under the law, and overall racial strife. In an open letter, Zimmerman's father, Robert Zimmerman, defended his son against allegations that his actions were racially motivated, stating that Zimmerman was Hispanic, was raised in a multi-racial family, and "would be the last to discriminate for any reason whatsoever," claiming that the portrayal of his son as a racist "could not be further from the truth."
Against the Sanford police
Zimmerman's lack of arrest by the Sanford police also resulted in heavy criticism and protests outside the police department, including allegations of prejudice and racial bias. A Change.org petition has gathered more than 1.3 million signatures demanding Zimmerman's arrest. The NAACP sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder stating that they "have no confidence that, absent federal oversight, the Sanford Police Department will devote the necessary degree of care to its investigation" and requesting that personnel be detailed to Sanford to review the case without bias. Lee repeatedly defended the investigation, stating that the Sanford police did not feel they had conducted a racially biased investigation and welcomed a review of their efforts. Allegations were also made that the Sanford police were protecting Zimmerman. A witness who disagreed with Zimmerman's self-defense plea stated that she saw Zimmerman standing over Martin's body after hearing Martin cry out for help and stated that police only took a brief statement from her, despite her attempts to provide more detail. Lee stated to reporters that they could not arrest Zimmerman because no evidence contradicted his story, and that to do so would leave them open to litigation. He also stated that though a 911 officer did instruct Zimmerman not to pursue Martin, those instructions are only recommendations that do not carry a legal obligation to comply with them.
Previous incidents with racial issues
News reports noted that the police department of the city of Sanford has been confronted with allegations of racial prejudice before. The police chief in 2011, Brian Tooley, was forced from office after the son of a lieutenant was caught on camera beating up an unsuspecting homeless black man, but whom the department declined to prosecute. After the footage went viral on YouTube, the perpetrator, Justin Collison, was arrested. The officer in charge of that case was also the one in charge of the Trayvon Martin shooting scene. In 2005, two parking lot security guards, one the son of a Sanford police department veteran and the other a volunteer for the department, shot a black teen, Travares McGill, in the back, killing him. They claimed self-defense, and the case was dismissed in court.
Self-defense laws in the United States, particularly regarding justifiable homicide, vary by state. Florida law, as of 2005, includes a "stand your ground" provision, under which a person can use deadly force if they reasonably believe it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm, in most circumstances. In many states, such laws protect people in their own homes, but Florida's version extends the no-retreat premise to vehicles and public places. Before passage of the law, Miami police chief John F. Timoney called the law unnecessary and dangerous in that "[w]hether it's trick-or-treaters or kids playing in the yard of someone who doesn't want them there or some drunk guy stumbling into the wrong house, you're encouraging people to possibly use deadly physical force where it shouldn't be used." Since its passage, shooting deaths with claims of self-defense have nearly tripled, where all but one of those killed were unarmed.
Durell Peaden, a member of the Florida Senate until 2010 and one of the authors of Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law, said that based upon his understanding of what happened, Zimmerman should be prosecuted. According to Peaden, the law does not say that a person has a right to confront another. When Zimmerman ignored a police request to stay away, “The guy lost his defense right then," said Peaden. "When [Zimmerman] said ‘I’m following him,’ he lost his defense.” However, the current 2011 Florida Statutes provide an exception to the initial aggressor automatically being at fault in confrontations under the exception of Florida Statute 776.041 2(b) for specific cases where "In good faith, the person [i.e., aggressor] withdraws from physical contact with the assailant and indicates clearly to the assailant that he or she desires to withdraw and terminate the use of force, but the assailant continues or resumes the use of force." Zimmerman specifically claimed that he was returning to his SUV when attacked, telling police he had stepped out of his truck to check the name of the street he was on, when Martin attacked him from behind as he walked back to his truck.
- Neighborhood watch
- Crime in the United States
- Jesus C. Gonzalez
- Yoshihiro Hattori
- Bernhard Goetz
- Joe Horn shooting controversy
- Shai Dromi
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