[OVERTAKEN BY EVENTS - SEE UPDATE... and UPDATE II. and UPDATE III]
Trayvon Martin was up in Sanford, FL on a school night instead of back in Miami because he was on a ten day suspension from school. Ten days suspensions don't include a death penalty, but one might wonder what, if anything, his suspension indicates about his temperment and inclination to initiate a scuffle.
Still, Trayvon had nonviolent behavioral issues in school, and on the day he was killed, he had been suspended for 10 days from Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School in North Miami-Dade.
“He was not suspended for something dealing with violence or anything like that. It wasn’t a crime he committed, but he was in an unauthorized area [on school property],” Martin said, declining to offer more details.
Basically, a Level I violation is punished with a choice from Plan I; Level II violations with Plan II, and so on up to Level V / Plan V. In addition, repeated violations at one level can result in a penalty from a higher level (violate the dress code often enough and you're out!).
However, the father seems to be saying that Trayvon Martin was on a ten-day suspension for a one-time offense. That means he committed a Level III, IV, or V violation.
I am ruling out Level V, which looks like pretty extreme behavior:
Most Serious, Dangerous or Violent Behaviors
• Aggravated assault
• Aggravated battery
• Armed robbery
• Assault/Threat against M-DCPS employees or persons
conducting official business
• Battery or Aggravated battery against M-DCPS employees
or persons conducting official business*
• Making a false report/threat against the school*
• Sexual battery
• Possession, use, sale, or distribution of firearms, explosives,
destructive devices, and other weapons.*
Plan V penalties are a ten day suspension, recommendation for expulsion and a police report. I don't see any way that fits this story.
Level III, on the other hand, overlaps well with the father's description:
• Assault/Threat against a non-staff member
• Breaking and Entering/Burglary
• Bullying (repeated harassment)*
• Disruption on campus/Disorderly conduct
• Fighting (serious)
• Harassment (Civil Rights)**
• Hazing (misdemeanor)
• Possession or use of alcohol and/or controlled
• Possession of simulated weapons
• Sexual harassment**
• Vandalism (major)
Per the father, Trayvon "was in an unauthorized area". That is either trespassing or B&E. Level III penalties cover a range, and do require a police report:
• Parent/guardian contact***
• Suspension from school for one to ten days****
• Permanent removal from class (Placement Review
Committee decision required)
• Diversion Center
• Recommendation for alternative educational setting
• Recommendation for expulsion
The ten day suspension was the maximum; as to whether he received a max punishment in terms of recommended expulsion, your guess is as good as mine, or better.
As I said, no death penalty is included. And although having a sense of his temperment might make some scenarios seem more plausible than others it would prove nothing whatsoever about how the scuffle between Martin and Zimmerman actually developed. And on the subject of temperment, let's add that Zimmerman had a domestic violence situation with his spouse ending in mutual restraining orders, and an assault charge on a cop that was dropped after he took what sounds like an anger management class. That was all seven or eight years ago and he is now 28, but who's the hothead?
That said, Zimmerman's claim on his 911 call was that Martin looked suspicious; his updated defense will be along the lines of "the guy who was busted for trespassing or breaking and entering looked to me like a guy who would trespass or break and enter". Zimmerman's detractors will talk about lucky guesses and stopped clocks.
All inconclusive. I waste my time so you don't have to.
SINCE IT'S ALL ABOUT RACE:
Dr. Michael M. Krop HS is 41% Hispanic, 29% White non-Hispanic, 28% Black, and 0.1% Asian.
Is that White Hispanic, the new category created for George Zimmerman, or non-white Hispanic? Beats me.
UPDATE: The Sanford PD seems to think that pushback will calm the situation, or maybe save some jobs. They are now leaking like a sieve to the Orlando Sentinel. The suspension is a sidebar to the headline, but here we go:
Trayvon was visiting his father's fiancée, who lived there. He had been suspended from school in Miami after being found with an empty marijuana baggie. Miami schools have a zero-tolerance policy for drug possession.
So the father misrepresented the nature of the suspension.
As to the headline:
Police: Zimmerman says Trayvon decked him with one blow then began hammering his head
With a single punch, Trayvon Martin decked the Neighborhood Watch volunteer who eventually shot and killed the unarmed 17-year-old, then Trayvon climbed on top of George Zimmerman and slammed his head into the sidewalk several times, leaving him bloody and battered, authorities have revealed to the Orlando Sentinel.
That is the account Zimmerman gave police, and much of it has been corroborated by witnesses, authorities say.
Zimmerman has not spoken publicly about what happened, but that night, Feb. 26, and in later meetings he described and re-enacted for police what he says happened.
In his version of events, he had turned around and was walking back to his SUV when Trayvon approached him from behind, the two exchanged words then Trayvon punched him in the nose, sending him to the ground, and began beating him.
Zimmerman told police he shot the teenager in self-defense.
Zimmerman seems to be the only living witness to the initiation of the fight. However, "John" described Trayvon on top beating Zimmerman, who was calling for help, in a Feb 27 Fox 35 Orlando story discussed here.
Well - now we have a clear idea of Zimmerman's story, and we are sure the police have at least one witness to support part of it.
Zimmerman's critics will say that his version does not square with the version offered by Trayvon Martin's girlfriend, who was on the phone with him at about the time the incident ocurred. I described a bit of my skepticism about the dramatic emergence of this new witness in this post:
So how can it be that Trayvon's girlfriend went undiscovered for three weeks, only to be conveniently found by the Martins' attorney *after* the 911 tapes were released?
The police should have gotten her statement before the tapes were out. The Martin family attorneys are officers of the court in addition to being advocates for the family, but I know what I would tell my client before I deposed her in a case like this, especially with the 911 tapes at hand. Well, if I were a lawyer and had clients...
In any case, the attorney's story is that the girl was freaking out for three weeks but no one knew she had been talking with Trayvon moments before he was shot until Trayvon's dad leafed through his cell phone records. Yeah - the young lady never blurted out "OMG! I was talking to him just before he was killed!" to her mother or anyone else.
She will be speaking with the grand jury if the case gets that far (the latest Sentinel story says it may not), so they can see for themselves.
UPDATE II: Now the AP is out with a statement from the family:
Family: Pot Linked to Trayvon Martin Suspension
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: March 26, 2012 at 1:27 PM ET
SANFORD, Fla. (AP) — An unarmed Florida teenager fatally shot by a neighborhood watch volunteer was suspended from school because traces of marijuana were found in his book bag, a spokesman for the teen's family said Monday.
Trayvon Martin, 17, was suspended by Miami-Dade County schools after the residue was discovered in a plastic baggie in the book bag, spokesman Ryan Julison said. Martin was shot Feb. 26 by George Zimmerman while he was suspended from school and visiting this central Florida town with his father.
"We maintain that regardless of the specific reason for the suspension, it's got nothing to do with the events that unfolded on Feb. 26," Julison said.
Also Monday, state Department of Juvenile Justice confirmed that Martin does not have a juvenile offender record. The information came after a public records request by The Associated Press.
His possible drug use has nothing to do with this except Zimmerman told the cops on his 911 call that he thought Trayvon Martin looked high and now we learn that, like many other high school kids, he enjoys a bit of weed. Did the cops recover drugs at the scene, or could they have been lost in the scuffle? Was a tox screen part of the autopsy? Do some people get paranoid while high (I did, or at least, that's what the voices told me...)? Could Trayvon Martin have been worried that Zimmerman was trying to steal his stash (the existence of which is speculative)? Zimmerman's defense attorney should be able to feast on this and raise all sorts of questions and reasonable doubts, as the prosecutor well knows.
Well - this is a bit of a blow to the liberal narrative, but there is no death penalty for enjoying marijuana.
UPDATE III: The Florida Empire strikes back - the Miami Herald got some police reports on Trayvon Martin - the February suspension was for marijuana, as noted above; the previously unreported October suspension was formally for graffiti, but Martin was found in possession of womens jewelry of dubious provenance and a screwdriver described as a "burgalry tool" (although sometimes a screwdriver is just a screwdriver). They note the nuance:
Multiple suspensions paint complicated portrait of Trayvon Martin
Pushback leaks from police in Miami and Sanford. Let's include this look at the Martin family attorney, Ben Crump, an Al Sharpton wanna-be who has racked up some important wins.
FWIW: On the Sanford Initial Police Report (Not the coroner's report) Trayvon Martin is listed as 6' 0" and 160 lbs. My guess is that they were just guessing, and even people with experience often over-estimate the weight of the preternaturally slim (I speak from experience at county fairs.)