SANFORD, FL (RNN) – Sanford, FL, city manager Norton Bonaparte Jr. told reporters Tuesday that local officials will create an independent review system for complaints against the police department.
The move was spurred by nationwide outrage over the lack of an arrest in the Trayvon Martin case. Martin, 17, was shot to death Feb. 26 by George Zimmerman, a self-appointed watch captain in the neighborhood where his father’s fiancee lives.
“We do not condone these unauthorized leaks of information,” Bonaparte said. “Acting Chief [Darren] Scott will be doing an internal investigation within the Sanford Police Department as this type of action compromises the integrity of the law enforcement agency which has pledged to uphold the law.”
Bonaparte said the person responsible for the leak could face disciplinary action, including possible termination.
The police department is also investigating leaks made to the Orlando Sentinel newspaper, which included Zimmerman’s detailed account of what led to Martin’s death. Zimmerman shot the teen once in the chest, killing him.
On Monday, the Orlando Sentinel reported that Zimmerman told police on the night of the shooting that he had lost sight of Martin, and was returning to his vehicle when the teen approached him and asked if he had a problem.
Zimmerman then said Martin punched the neighborhood watch captain in the nose, saying, “Well, you do now.”
When Zimmerman fell to the ground, he told police Martin got on top of him, slamming his head into the pavement while Zimmerman began yelling for help.
The shouts can be heard on a number of 911 calls made at the time of the skirmish, but it is unclear whether the cries came from Zimmerman or Martin, as the family’s attorney claim.
The police interview was not officially released to the press.
The alleged scenario is contrary to a cell phone conversation family attorney Benjamin Crump said Martin had with his 16-year-old girlfriend just before his death.
The unidentified girl told Crump that Martin mentioned a man watching him. After an initial verbal confrontation, she told Crump that “somebody pushed Trayvon cause the headset just fell,” according to ABC News.
Acting police chief Darren Scott said the department’s main tool in the struggle to regain the public’s trust would be its working “better than before.”
“It’s just very overwhelming that all of this has come about,” he said. “We have a job to do and we will do that.”
He would not comment on the ongoing investigation.
“We have a legislative system in place and I urge everyone to let it take its course,” he said.
Article Courtesy of WOIO 19 Action News