In the first installment of this series, I mentioned that the cops were among those to thank for justice having been done in this case. Let’s look at that.
Every commentator has noted that it was the police witnesses called by the state – civilian dispatcher and community watch coordinator and evidence technicians, as well as the responding and investigating officers – who cut the legs out from under the prosecution’s weak case before it could ever get to its feet. Fewer commentators have spoken of the price paid by many of those honest members of the criminal justice system.
Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee, a highly respected CLEO (chief law enforcement officer) resisted powerful demands from elected officials to file a case even though he knew there was nothing there. He did his duty and did the right thing. He was fired for that.
Detective Chris Serino was the lead detective in the case. He took a lot of heat for not wanting to file a case because he knew he didn’t have probable cause. He wound up as a patrolman back in uniform.
Doris Singleton was in the role of investigator on the night of the shooting. She handled things competently. She comforted Zimmerman when she saw he was emotionally devastated by having had to end a young man’s life. And she was at the rank of patrol officer at the time she testified almost a year and a half later.
Ben Kruidbos, IT director in the office of the special prosecutor, realized that the office had failed in its duty to turn over full discovery material to the defense. He fulfilled the office’s duty and got that information to Zimmerman’s defense team. As soon as the trial was over, special prosecutor Angela Corey fired him for doing what she should have done.
Norman Wolfinger, the designated State’s Attorney (chief prosecutor) for the district, apparently realized that there was no probable cause to arrest Zimmerman but nonetheless scheduled the case for the next session of the grand jury. This is a normal procedure. It wasn’t enough to placate the media-fueled lynch mob, and the case was basically taken away from him by the governor and given to special prosecutor Angela Corey. Wolfinger retired shortly thereafter. He may have been due for retirement anyway, but it was a lousy note on which to end a long and stellar career as one of Florida’s most respected prosecutors.
The next time some tells says “Never talk to the police, they’re your enemy,” remember each and every one of those honest members of the criminal justice system who stood up, told the truth, and did their duty. The next time someone tells you that the police are the mindless minions of the Gestapo/Leviathan/The Zionist Occupation Government/The Man (pick one as suits the given agenda), remember the ones who were severely and unmeritoriously punished for having fulfilled their oath and hewed to the truth. And remember the role they all played in getting that truth across to the jury, and helping to acquit an innocent man who, by every objective analysis of the evidence, was wrongly accused.
Interviewed later about his firing, Chief Lee wistfully told the reporter that at least, at the end of the day, he had kept his integrity.
That’s more than some involved in the prosecution can say.