KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Across the nation, thousands of people are outraged at the way the investigation into the shooting of Florida teen Trayvon Martin by a neighborhood watch leader has been handled. That includes at least one retired FBI agent here in the metro who says police botched the investigation in Martin’s death.
Former F.B.I. agent Michael Tabman, says while he wants to make it clear George Zimmerman deserves to be innocent until proven guilty, he thinks police in Florida should have handled the case differently.
“You have an armed person shooting an unarmed person. The person who was armed certainly appears to have been the aggressor. I don’t know why the case seemed to be dropped as quickly as it was dropped,” Tabman said.
Tabman said he doesn’t necessarily believe Zimmerman is guilty, but police should have done more to investigate the case when it happened February 26th.
“The more time that passes since the occurrence of a crime, the harder it is to prove,” he said.
Another issue at the heart of the outrage about the seventeen year old’s death is the Florida “Stand Your Ground” law, one that Tabman said may not be a defense for Zimmerman.
“There’s a standard of reasonableness imposed on everybody. You just can not use deadly force at the slightest provocation,” he explained.
Zimmerman was a neighborhood watchman, Tabman says that doesn’t give him the right to go after Martin.
“They’ve never asked the neighborhood watchers to put themselves in front or to confront people or take action. It’s just not safe,” he said.
Kansas City, Missouri police say they tell neighborhood watch volunteers to call police when they see something suspicious.
“We want to leave engaging the criminals and addressing the criminal activity to the police professionals,” said James Schriever of the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department.
Tabman explained the F.B.I. is looking into the case from a civil rights point of view, it will not investigate the shooting itself. If Zimmerman is found guilty of a civil rights violation, Tabman says the penalty could mean life in prison, even the death penalty.