In an interview with ThinkProgress, Martin family attorney Natalie Jackson raised serious questions about the role of George Zimmerman’s father, Robert Zimmerman, in the case.
Specifically, Jackson pointed to Robert Zimmerman’s presence during police questioning of his son. The New York Times reported the following:
The day after the shooting, George Zimmerman, according to his father, returned with at least three police officers to the Retreat at Twin Lakes, back to that grassy area where plaintive cries for help had gone unanswered. The investigators, accompanied by someone with a video camera, wanted him to re-enact the events of the night when the two strangers had stood their ground.
Mr. Zimmerman’s father watched from nearby.
Jackson noted that Robert Zimmerman was a retired magistrate judge who “issued warrants” and knows “what probable cause needs to be” to justify an arrest. His presence at the questioning, according to Jackson, was unusual and potentially inappropriate because “we don’t know what coaching went on.”
In an interview with Fox 35 Orlando, Robert Zimmerman, speaking of his son’s conduct, said “If a law enforcement officer presented those facts to me and requested a warrant, he would absolutely be denied.” Robert Zimmerman’s unusual role could help explain how George Zimmerman avoided arrest despite the recommendation of the lead homicide investigator that he be charged with manslaughter.
Seperately, Ben Crump, Jackson’s co-council, sent a letter to the U.S. Deputy Attorney General urging him to investigate a number of irregularities in the conduct of local authorities. Crump wrote that he believed “family members of shooter George Zimmerman were present at the police department” the night Trayvon Martin was killed.
Robert Zimmerman appeared to acknowledge he had spoken to the police and the state’s attorney in the case. In his Fox 35 interview, he said, “No one knew I was a retired magistrate judge. I didn’t mention it to the police. I didn’t mention it to the state attorney’s office.” He did not elaborate on the substance of his conversations with the police or prosecutors.
Jackson noted that Robert Zimmerman has made several claims about his son’s conduct that have turned out to be “not credible.” For example, in a letter to the Orlando Sentinel, he flatly stated that at “no time did George follow or confront Mr. Martin.” Subsequently, the 911 tapes were released and revealed that George Zimmerman acknowledged chasing Trayvon Martin.