There's a lot in the audiotapes of George Zimmerman's police interviews from the day following the Trayvon Martin shooting that will make your ear perk up, and perhaps even your eyes well up with tears. Most compelling, however, is the voice of Sanford, FL police investigator Christopher Serino telling the confessed killer that he'd ended the life of "a kid with a future," and that "this 17-year-old boy was one of those kids who would have been a success story." He told Zimmerman that Trayvon wasn't "on PCP. He’s not on anything. He’s on Skittles.”
Serino's voice, along with the questionable videotaped account which Zimmerman gave to police at the site of the killing, seemed to make the release of these new materials a very questionable decision for the defense. Worst of all, they reminded us of Serino, who, you may recall, wanted Zimmerman charged with manslaughter, but was denied. Now, shortly after police chief Bill Lee's firing -- and for seemingly his own reasons -- he's off the case.
Sanford police say the lead detective in the Trayvon Martin case has been reassigned to the patrol division at his request...
The police statement says Serino made the reassignment decision "of his own volition." He will begin his new assignment in July. He did not have a listed number.
We'll have more on that as it develops. Serino's name was already in the news today, after prosecutors released their own trove of documents, photos, and video. (A PDF of the entire report is here.) They show that Zimmerman passed two "lie detector" tests -- tests which aren't usually admissible in court. Here's what Serino had to say, per the report:
The police detective concluded that Zimmerman's actions were "inconsistent" with someone who was afraid of Martin, and that Zimmerman had several chances to end the encounter without violence.
Serino then added that "investigative findings" indicated that A) Zimmerman didn't identify himself as a concerned resident to Trayvon, that B) he didn't do what he could've done to defuse the encounter, and that C) given the stature of the man and the boy and the fact that neither of them were specially trained in combat, Zimmerman shouldn't have been at any particular disadvantage -- and that his injuries were only "marginally life-threatening."
The timing of all of this is incredibly curious. The only member of the Sanford police department who has been this insistent not that Zimmerman committed murder, as is charged -- but that he merely did something wrong -- is now off the case, "of his own volition," and on the day that prosecutors add even more fuel to the fire? Not to usher in thoughts of conspiracy, but something is off.