Did school crime cover-up lead to Trayvon’s death?

By covering up students’ crimes, Miami-Dade schools contributed to Trayvon Martin’s death, argues Robert Stacy McCain on the American Spectator‘s blog. District policy was to treat crimes as disciplinary infractions, shielding students from serious consequences.

. . . Chief Charles Hurley of the Miami-Dade School Police Department (MDSPD) in 2010 had implemented a policy that reduced the number of criminal reports, manipulating statistics to create the appearance of a reduction in crime within the school system. Less than two weeks before Martin’s death, the school system commended Chief Hurley for “decreasing school-related juvenile delinquency by an impressive 60 percent for the last six months of 2011.”

Four months before his fatal encounter with George Zimmerman, Martin was caught at school with women’s jewelry that matched items stolen from a home near the high school; he also had a screwdriver that the school resource officer called a “burglary tool.” Martin said a friend had given him the items. Instead of telling the police, the school suspended Martin for graffiti and stored the jewelry as “found property.”

Days before his death, Martin was caught with a small amount of marijuana. Suspended again, he was sent to his father’s girlfriend’s house in Sanford.

When the Miami Herald reported on Martin’s disciplinary record at Krop High School. Chief Hurley launched an internal investigation to determine who’d leaked the information, inadvertently revealing the report-no-evil policy.

If Trayvon Martin had been a little older and wiser, he’d have walked straight back to the house instead of doubling back to confront and punch Zimmerman, giving him a viable self-defense case. (The evidence and witnesses — both prosecution and defense — support this scenario.) Sadly, Martin never got the chance to grow up.  If he’d been arrested for burglary . . . ? Arresting teenagers usually doesn’t turn them into model citizens. Unfortunately, neither does not arresting them.

About Joanne


  1. Stacy in NJ says:

    The Martin-Zimmerman case is what happens when a wanna-be-thug meets a wanna-be-cop.

    • Richard Aubrey says:

      The Sanford PD offered Z a post as Citizen on Patrol (CoP), complete with uniform and car with lights. He turned it down.
      OTOH, the NW coordinator for the PD said he was doing as they trained NW to do. Observe and report.

      • Stacy in NJ says:

        Too bad Z didn’t take that uniform then M would have known who he was dealing with – an easily identifiable authority figure.

    • SuperSub says:

      With all the media attention, I have yet to see a single person familiar with Zimmerman criticize him for being a wanna-be cop. Plenty of opinionated commentators have claimed it though.
      On the other hand, between the discipline record and cell phone records, Martin seems to be a genuine thug.

  2. I’m sure this is routine. Also, suburban districts are pressured to keep disciplinary actions racially/ethnically proportionate. My kids’ old district, Montgomery County, MD, made that official policy last year – according to the WaPo. Given his girlfriend’s behavior in court, it’s hard to believe that Martin would have shown less “attitude” toward Zimmerman.

  3. “If Trayvon Martin had been a little older and wiser, he’d have walked straight back to the house instead of doubling back to confront and punch Zimmerman…”

    If George Zimmerman had been wiser, he would of stayed in his car when the police dispatcher told him not to follow Trayvon Martin and the entire confrontation and senseless death of a teenager would have been avoided. Why expect a teen to act more maturely than an adult?

    • Stacy in NJ says:

      The school TM attended caught him with stolen merchandise in his locker. He probably WAS scoping out that neighborhood or at least pretending he was thug enough to scope it out. Enough with the innocent teen bit. He attacked Zimmerman, not the other way around. I’ve wondered if TM’s attack wasn’t initiated because he thought Z was gay and was checking him out. Dude following him at night – “A creepy ass cracker”. If Z hadn’t had a gun this could have ended as a homophobic hate crime.

    • If George Zimmerman had been wiser, he would of stayed in his car

      Why?  There’s a difference between a gated community and a jungle safari, you know; the dangerous predators are supposed to be kept OUT of gated communities, so you can be e.g. safe getting out of your car.

      On the other hand, if you’re saying that all Black teens in hoodies are supposed to be treated as dangerous predators, haven’t you just “profiled” the lot of them?  Can’t we expect them to behave the least bit civilized?

      • He should have stayed in his car because the police dispatcher told him not to pursue Trayvon Martin.

        • The dispatcher did NOT tell Zimmerman to do, or not do, anything.  They cannot give orders; they are not on the scene, and most are not even police officers.

          What the dispatcher said was “we don’t need you to do that”.  Maybe the difference isn’t clear to you, but legally and morally there’s a light-year between that and any sort of order.

          Now, knowing that Trayvon Martin was a burglar, a drug dealer and a “polar bear hunter” (doing things like assaulting bus drivers), why was Zimmerman wrong in thinking that he might be up to no good?  It looks like Zimmerman cut short his criminal career before he progressed to murder.  Society is far better off with Trayvon Martin dead than with Zimmerman dead and Martin in prison.

        • Also, at the time the dispatcher said “we don’t need you to do that”, Zimmerman was long out of his car and had gone to the region of the “T” between the sidewalk and the dog walk between the two rows of buildings.  Listen to the call audio, it’s only been on YouTube for over a year!

          Of course, you’ll probably only hear the parts that agree with your preconceptions—preconceptions from the propaganda generated to try to send an innocent man to prison and turn a violent felon into a folk saint.

          • Is that where he was looking for house numbers? Why was that taking him so long – three, four minutes to figure out that house numbers are on the front of buildings, not on the back?

          • mike in Texas says:

            He states Martin is running so obviously he followed, despite what he was told by the dispatcher. He created the events that led to Martin’s death. Lest we not forget Martin also had the right to “Stand his ground”

          • Yes, Zimmerman assaulted Martin’s fists with his face and showed a depraved indifference to Martin’s clothes by bleeding after simply having had his head driven into concrete.

            And yet with all that, along with the suspiciously long time it took Zimmerman to find a street address, the jury still had the temerity to find Zimmerman not guilty. Where’s the “O.J.” jury when you need some evidence, a lot of evidence, ignored?

        • Darla, I’ve had two female friends in different cities so traumatized after having their apartments broken into that they were forced to move. I hope that never happens to you, but if you lived in such an area as George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin lived (eight break-ins within last year), I’m willing to bet that you would appreciate having a man like Zimmerman on the watch.

        • Richard Aubrey says:

          Z did not “pursue” anybody. We know this. Try something else.

    • !) The police dispatcher did not tell him not to follow anyone. He said they did not need him to do that. That’s clear from the recording. The dispatcher also testified that he did not tell him not to follow anyone.

      2) Zimmerman was already out of his vehicle when the dispatcher told him it was not necessary not to follow anyone, and he said that he would not.

      3) The dispatcher testified that Zimmerman may well have interpreted his question about what path Martin was taking and his request that Zimmerman keep an eye on him as a request to follow him and that was what led him to get out of his vehicle to start with. The juror who was interviewed by Anderson Cooper said she was convinced that was exactly what happened.

  4. Let’s keep a sense of proportion here.

    Miami-Dade school district plays host to 345,000 kids every day so how important could any one of them be?

    What’s the administration of the district supposed to do? Treat each child as if they’re important? As if their lives mean something?

    How practical would that be?

    Running a school district is tough enough without having to concern yourself with those mobs of kids. If you concern yourself with them then there’s no time to attend to crucial functions like those that might have some impact on your career.

  5. mike in Texas says:

    Shame on you, Joanne for blaming this on the schools! Do you have any integrity left?

    As for this tragedy it came about because you had 2 thugs and one poorly written, ALEC sponsored law. Ultimately Zimmerman should be in jail. He clearly states Martin was running and he was told not to follow. But this was a man who clearly should not have been allowed to be a part of the neighborhood watch or carry a gun, sine he already had two felony assault arrests.

    • Richard Aubrey says:

      Jeez, Mike. Haven’t you figured that everybody knows better? I’ve even developed an acronym to save time.
      EKBA. Everybody Knows Better Already.
      Martin came back and jumped Zimmerman.
      SYG,which did not figure in the trial,and self-defense, are both closed to somebody who approaches.

      • Mike in Texas says:

        He couldn’t have been jumped if he were in his vehicle. He wanted a confrontation and he got one. It only became self defense when he started getting his ass kicked in the fight he started. Even in a Rethuglican state like Florida it is not against the law to walk through a neighborhood wearing a hoodie.

        • Richard Aubrey says:

          Mike in Texas.
          I don’t need to explain what you already know. EKBA.
          And we know you know better.
          If Martin hadn’t attacked Z after having broken contact and then returned….
          Of course, Hispanics have to be civilized and blacks are helpless instruments of something or other and it isn’t their fault.
          BTW, Z is blacker than Homer Plessey, and eight times as black as Elizabeth Warren claimed to be Cherokee.
          If Z hadn’t been armed, he’d be dead or seriously injured and Martin would be in jail.
          Since Z was the innocent, this was the better of the two alternatives. But, if Martin, being near his home, according to Rachel, had stayed there, nothing would have happened.
          As you know, and I know you know it.
          Take this stuff to someplace the folks can tell the Kardashian sisters apart, or know how many there are. You’ll have a better chance of a sale.

          • Mike in Texas says:

            You should move to Texas, where your closed mind would help you fit right in.

            For the record, I can’t tell the Kardashians apart and I think anyone who watches their show, or Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, etc should be stripped of their right to vote.

    • As others have already noted, SYG played no part in this case. And Zimmerman had previously been arrested just once.

    • SYG = Stand Your Ground for the acronym challenged.

  6. Roger Sweeny says:

    There is no story consistent with all the testimony in the trial, and lots of stories consistent with some of it. I wouldn’t be willing to bet my life (or a significant amount of money) on any of them.

    Since a finding of guilty requires no reasonable doubt, that tells me that the jury could not properly find the defendant guilty.

  7. The recovered text messages and pictures from Martin’s phone were not allowed into evidence by the judge.  I suspect that they would have required dismissal of the charges due to their overwhelming support for Zimmerman’s story (showing that Martin’s described behavior that night was absolutely in character), and that would have ruled out any possibility of taking that railroad to the designated end.

  8. Tell us, Russ, how would Zimmerman have known what was on Martin’s cell phone? Irrelevant evidence doesn’t get in because it’s irrelevant – the prosecution would have loved to introduce Zimmerman’s past encounters with law enforcement into evidence, but… irrelevant.

  9. Richard Aubrey says:

    Roy Grimes. “profiled, etc…” I suspect most of the people who comment or read here know better. Paid attention and such like.
    You should peddle this where you’re pretty sure the folks can tell the Kardashian sisters apart.

  10. Being profiled, stalked, confronted and killed are completely outside of this controverted illogic.

    A bunch of lies.

    1.  This business about “being profiled” is new in the language.  It suddenly appeared when the Crump firm publicity team went all out with a public character assassination of George Zimmerman, to taint the jury pool and try to guarantee a conviction.  Fortunately, the jury was not taken in.  Whatever “profiling” may be, it is not a crime.

    2.  Trayvon Martin was not “stalked”.  Stalking is a pattern of behavior, not a single incident.  Zimmerman and Martin had never seen each other before.  Zimmerman followed Martin at a distance to report his location to the police officers who were on their way.  This is precisely what some construction workers had done at the same complex some time in the past, resulting in the arrest of a burglar.

    3.  Martin confronted (then violently attacked) Zimmerman, not the reverse.

    4.  Once Martin had become an assailant, Zimmerman was justified in using deadly force to stop Martin’s assault.

    The information from Martin’s phone, school records, Twitter friends and Facebook show someone who was into drugs, dealt weed, burgled houses to steal jewelry and delighted in assaulting people such as bus drivers.  In other words, Zimmerman’s “profiling” was accurate.

  11. Richard Aubrey says:

    Grimes knows this. He hoped we didn’t.

  12. Russ, stalking as a crime involves a pattern of conduct. But that’s a term of art. In normal English, stalking requires only a single incident. “A wolf stalks a deer” – the wolf doesn’t have to let it go the first time to have stalked it.

    Also, Zimmerman’s story about looking for a street address? Do you seriously expect us to believe that the street addresses for the houses in this neighborhood weren’t visible from the street? (Is it that you don’t know where the shooting occurred?) Also, why would it have taken Zimmerman that long to walk up to a building, squint at the numbers, and call the police back to report a house number? His story isn’t credible.

    I recognize you have bought into the wholesale smear campaign against Martin, and that’s a shame, but the facts are still the facts.

  13. I stopped reading littlegreenfootballs.com years ago–It’s 90% paranoid ravings. Can you redeem yourself with a credible source?