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Michael Brown is not Trayvon Martin

Written By | Aug 11, 2014

OCALA, Fla., August 7, 2014 — The police shooting of eighteen-year-old Michael Brown has invoked memories of Trayvon Martin.

While Martin was shot about forty minutes north of Orlando, and Brown in a less-than-fashionable suburb of St. Louis, both were of similar age, unarmed, and, needless to mention, black.

None of those who shot them share this racial classification, and away the media frenzy went.

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Before we get carried off with Martin comparisons, though, just who was Trayvon?

Martin had quite a checkered history which most people did not learn of until long after the shooting. Some probably wonder how such a thing could take place, especially in our age of information technology.

In order to learn the answer, one must go back to a time before Martin was killed. Documents from a Freedom Information Act request revealed that the teen was engaged in unfortunate activities at his suburban Miami high school.

Miami-Dade Schools Police Department Chief Charles Hurley, who has since stepped down from his post, spoke about Martin in a sworn 2012 affidavit. Martin was caught writing graffiti on school property, and his case was handled in an irregular manner.

“In this case, T.M., or any other youth in similar cases, and evaluate the totality of circumstance and issue either a warning and give it back to the administration to handle,” Hurley told.

“We can in fact, of course issue a civil citation which is an arrest diversion program which was actually created by this police department and authored under my time as a sergeant and a commander here at Miami-Dade Schools Police Department. Or we can in fact, make a full blown arrest because technically there was damage and defacing of school property.

“There was probable cause to make this arrest and we know who the person was that committed this damage. In this interest in taking that approach it does nothing to benefit the child and the officer in this case should be commended for exercising discretion and referring it back to the school administration for administrative purposes.”

The story does not end here.

“(S)ometime in February, shortly before the child was killed he had another contact with our police department in which he was found to be in possession or close proximity of an empty marijuana bag or bag with small amount of marijuana residue and possibly some other type of contraband, both a misdemeanor,” Hurley explained afterward. “Just like the criminal mischief case I spoke about, a misdemeanor.

“The officer once again exercised tremendous constraint and discretion of which has been my chief concern as the chief of this police department and that is changing the philosophy of this police department as it relates to being heavy handed and arresting juveniles.

“Particularly, children of color, minority children. Particularly, minority boys, such as African-American boys. The child once again was handed back to the school administration and subsequently suspended. It is during that time of suspension where this boy was visiting his father in Sanford where he was killed.”

It gets even more interesting.

Sanford Police Department Sergeant Randy Smith, who retired in 2013 after being promoted to lieutenant, helped Detective Chris Serino prepare Martin’s victimology report. MDSPD Detective Steven Hadley gave Smith details about the teen’s past.

“(T)he ‘9 page’ report sent by Hadley to Lieutenant Smith at SPD was the report for ‘criminal mischief’, i.e., the graffiti….However, subsequent to that report, Hadley discovered the ‘found property’ report of the stolen jewelry,” Sundance of The Conservative Tree House, a popular blog which made the FOIA request, told me last year.

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“Now, it gets weird, after Hadley sent the report to Smith, who was compiling the data to assist Detective Serino ― the report mysteriously vanished. Vanished because it was not mentioned in the finished victimology report that Serino completed and attested to.

“However, in May of this year during discovery, the nine-page report showed up in an FDLE document dump to the defense. This was mentioned as just one of the valid reasons for O’Mara and West to file for sanctions against the State for discovery violations.

“Why is this pertinent?

“Because it was only after we published the FOIA outlining Hadley’s sworn affidavit sending it to Smith, and after we posed the question why was it not in the victimology report, that Bernie De La Rionda began mentioning the Conservative Tree House in court proceedings.   The first hearing after we published the deception, de la Rionda mentioned our site three times.

“And, it was only after that hearing that de la Rionda inserted the report in a 150-page document release to the defense. But by that time the defense had picked up on our question about the FOIA discovery. Prior to that, the defense never even knew to inquire, because for all intents and purposes it never existed, because Serino never used it.”

Law enforcement shouldn’t shoulder the blame alone for facts not getting out to the masses. The media did a job of its own; one might even say that journalists willingly allowed themselves to be used as agitprop amplifiers.

“On Tuesday February 28th [2012] after meeting with lead detective Serino, Tracy Martin contacted Benjamin Crump, from the law firm Parks and Crump,” Sundance stated. “In turn Crump hired Sanford attorney Natalie Jackson. Subsequently by Monday March 5th, two days after Trayvon was laid to rest, a specific and intentional strategy to manufacture ‘media evidence’ was apparently created by Benjamin Crump and Natalie Jackson, presented and then sold by the newly hired Publicist Ryan Julison. They began a systematic campaign of optical control.

“First, they created the outline of their victim ‘Trayvon Martin’. The goal in this phase was to portray a personality, and to construct a public image of Trayvon Martin to sell to the media. They needed to create the ‘hook’ for interest. The construct need not be real, indeed the outcome was far from the truth, it just needed to be the most marketable for the purpose of ‘brand imagery’.

“They even went so far as to trademark the brand they were creating.  Control was the key element, as they set about their sales pitches and storylines. Everything stemming after that March 5th date was an outcome of their intentional desire to control the narrative and formulate the construct of Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman.

“Within 3 days of Trayvon Martin’s death his family hired a media consulting firm. Within two weeks of Trayvon Martin’s death his mother, Sybrina Fulton, filed legal documents to trademark his name. Subsequently Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton set out on a cross country tour to collect money.  After the coast to coast tour, they took the scheme international and headed to Europe to continue exploiting the financial opportunity.”

Had the public been informed about Martin’s background, as well as the public relations blitz which his posthumous supporters launched, would there have been the pressure necessary for bringing George Zimmerman to trial?

While hardline race hustlers and miscreant activists of various stripes would certainly attempt to cause trouble just for the sake of it, who would have taken them seriously if the facts about Martin were widely disseminated?

The aftermath of Martin’s death has proven not only tragic for him and Zimmerman, but American society as a whole.

Inquiring minds should not contemplate what people immersed in our pop-culture will fall for, but whether or not there is something which they won’t believe, however outlandish this might be.

There’s a king in Virginia, and he doesn’t live in a castle. Meet H.M. Kigeli V, Rwanda’s long-displaced monarch.

The Marquis Dr. Carl Lindgren, Kigeli’s former secretary general and career academic, explains about this epic story on the latest Cotto & Company. 

Joseph Cotto

Joseph Cotto is a nationally syndicated columnist. He hails from central Florida, writing about political, economic, and social issues of the day. In the past, he wrote for The Washington Times Communities and Blogcritics Magazine, among other publications.