George Zimmerman, who is on trial for the murder of Trayvon Martin, called police in Florida 46 times in recent years to report break-ins, broken windows and disturbances, records showed. Prosecutors argued in court on Tuesday that the jury should be played several calls in which Mr Zimmerman complained of “suspicious” black people around his gated community in Sanford. Then 28, he used the same term in a call to police on February 26 last year to describe Trayvon, who was walking back from a supermarket to a house he was visiting, before shooting him dead.
Richard Mantel, a state prosecutor, told Judge Debra Nelson the calls would show Mr Zimmerman had a record of “profiling” and had a “building level of frustration” about crime in his area. In one call Mr Zimmerman made to police earlier in February 2012, he reported seeing a black man going through a neighbour’s bins. “I know the resident. He’s caucasian,” he told the dispatcher.
The co-ordinator of Sanford Police Department’s neighbourhood watch programme yesterday told the jury that watch captains such as Mr Zimmerman were told not to “engage” with suspicious people. “They are the eyes and ears of law enforcement,” said Wendy Dorival, the police manager. “They’re not supposed to take matters into their own hands.”