Multiple suspensions paint complicated portrait of Trayvon Martin
SANFORD -- Miami Gardens teenager Trayvon Martin was suspended from school in October in an incident in which he was found in possession of women’s jewelry and a screwdriver that a schools security staffer described as a “burglary tool,”
The Miami Herald has learned.
Trayvon, who claimed that an unnamed friend had given him the jewelry, was not disciplined because of the discovery, but was instead suspended for graffiti, according to a Miami-Dade Schools Police report obtained by The Miami Herald.
A lawyer for the dead teen’s family acknowledged Trayvon had been suspended for graffiti
, but said the family knew nothing about the jewelry and the screwdriver, calling the information in the report an attempt to “demonize” the youth.
According to the report, on Oct. 21 staffers monitoring a security camera at Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School spotted Trayvon and two other students writing “W.T.F.,” an acronym for “What the f---,” on a hallway locker, according to schools police.
The security employee, who knew Trayvon, confronted the teen and looked through his bag for the graffiti marker.
Trayvon’s backpack contained 12 pieces of jewelry, in addition to a watch and a large flathead screwdriver
, according to the report, which described the screwdriver as a burglary tool.
Trayvon was asked if the jewelry, which was mostly women’s rings and earrings, belonged to his family or a girlfriend.
“Martin replied it’s not mine. A friend gave it to me,” according to the report. Trayvon declined to name the friend.
School police impounded the jewelry and sent photos of the items to detectives at Miami-Dade police for further investigation.
“Martin was suspended, warned and dismissed for the graffiti,” according to the report prepared by Miami-Dade Schools Police.
That suspension was followed four months later by another one, in February, in which Trayvon was caught with an empty plastic bag with traces of marijuana in it, the boy’s family’s attorney has confirmed. A schools police report obtained by The Miami Herald specifies two items: a bag with marijuana residue and a “marijuana pipe.”
The suspension was the third for the teen.
On Monday, the family also acknowledged Trayvon had earlier been suspended for tardiness and truancy.
The reports of the suspensions surfaced as a more complicated portrait of Trayvon began to emerge Monday. Trayvon was shot to death in Sanford on Feb. 26 during a scuffle with neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman. He was suspended from school at the time.
Reacting to the new schools police report, Ben Crump, an attorney for the parents, said they “never heard anything like this about a bag of jewelry….And anyway, it’s completely irrelevant to what happened Feb. 26. 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?”
“We think everybody is trying to demonize him.”
Trayvon, who was 17 when he died, had never been arrested, he said.
His mother, Sybrina Fulton, said her son never had any problems with gangs or the police. In fact, she said, when she transferred him out of Carol City High School to be closer to home, the school wanted him to stay at Carol City because they liked him and he was a good student, she said....
Trayvon was killed while serving out the 10-day suspension for the marijuana baggie in Sanford, where his father’s girlfriend lives. Zimmerman, a community watch volunteer who thought Trayvon looked drugged and suspicious called police and later wound up in a fight with him. The two scuffled and Zimmerman shot Trayvon, killing him. He has not been charged.
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