On Tuesday, prosecutors released more documents in the case of George Zimmerman, including a police report from lead detective Christopher Serino. In it, Serino highlights one of the more frustrating aspects of the incident: Zimmerman never identified himself to Trayvon Martin or tried to explain why he was following him, even though doing so could have prevented the tragedy.
Serino writes that Zimmerman had "at least two opportunities" to talk to Martin and "defuse the circumstances surrounding their encounter." According to Zimmerman's account, which can't be confirmed by witnesses, Martin actually demanded to know what the older man was doing, but Zimmerman didn't say anything about the neighborhood watch or explain his suspicions. From the report, per MSNBC:
While Zimmerman was returning to his vehicle, he states he was attacked by Martin, but only after Martin inquires to Zimmerman, 'What's your problem?'
Zimmerman, instead of attempting to inform Martin of the reason he was following him, stated to Martin, 'I don't have a problem.'
As Zimmerman responds to Martin, by his own admission, Zimmerman reaches into his pocket attempting to locate his cell phone.
As Zimmerman reaches for his cell phone, he stated Martin replies, 'You have one now,' and Martin punches Zimmerman in the face, knocking him to the ground.
The detective notes that while Zimmerman told police he was afraid of Martin, his actions were "inconsistent" with that claim. (Though as mentioned earlier, it probably doesn't matter who started the conflict.) The release of documents includes a copy of Zimmerman's neighborhood watch handbook, which underscores that Zimmerman should never have left his vehicle, stating, "Neighborhood Watch is NOT the Vigilante Police. Work with the police. Be our eyes and ears. Report suspicious activity."
In his report, Serino recommends that Zimmerman be charged with manslaughter. Zimmerman was eventually charged with homicide in the second degree, but the detective is now through with analyzing the events of that night. It was announced today that Serino has been reassigned to the patrol division, at his own request. As for Zimmerman, his lawyer said on Tuesday that he should be released on bail again, even though he lied to the court the first time.