Trayvon Martin, the teen shot to death in a racially charged community watch killing, had been suspended from school three times – once for carrying a screwdriver, which school police described as a “burglary tool.”
Officers at the Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School in Miami, where Martin was a junior, also found women’s jewelry in his bag. Martin admitted it wasn’t his and said a friend, who he refused to identify, had given it to him, The Miami Herald
The Herald also added to an earlier report that Martin was suspended for having a bag containing trace amounts of marijuana. The paper said he was also carrying what was described as a “marijuana pipe.”
The new revelations – including that he was suspended for graffiti on a school locker – follow reports on Monday that have put Martin’s legal team on the defense, four weeks after he was shot by neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman in a gated community in Sanford, Fla.
Martin was visiting his father in the Orlando suburb while serving his latest suspension. He was returning to the house after buying a bag of Skittles and an Arizona iced tea.
Benjamin Crump, the attorney for Martin’s grieving parents, immediately hit back at the report, “It’s completely irrelevant to what happened Feb. 26,” said Crump. He said Martin’s parents knew about suspensions for graffiti, truancy, tardiness and the marijuana bag, but knew nothing about the screwdriver or jewelry.
“They never heard this, and don’t believe it’s true. If it were true, why wouldn’t they call the parents? Why wasn’t he arrested?”
Crump says revelations of Martin’s school disciplinary record were an “attempt to demonize him.” The Rev. Al Sharpton, who has been leading rallies in Sanford to protest the lack of an arrest in the case, said the new reports were aimed at portraying Martin as “a junkie and a thief,” saying Zimmerman could not have known of the allegations “as he did not interview” Martin.
“The only thing that’s relevant is what Zimmerman knew,” Sharpton said. “Let’s not play this double standard of trying to damage who is dead and sanitize who is the cause of the death.”
Martin’s case has become a cause celebre among African American activists who claim he was killed purely because of his color. Public opinion has been firmly on their side with politicians from both parties saying they could not understand why Zimmerman has not been arrested.
Now Zimmerman’s side of the story is starting to come out. On Monday, the Orlando Sentinel reported that eyewitnesses backed his account that Martin was sitting on him pounding his head into the sidewalk.
Zimmerman, 28, also claimed that Martin had approached him from behind and decked him with a single punch, although there no known witnesses either to that or to the shot that killed the teen.
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