Zimmerman Trial Update: Detective Chris Serino, Hero or Villain of the Zimmerman Trial

redward@realtimesmedia.com | 7/12/2013, 11:47 a.m.

I have long maintained that the final verdict from the Zimmerman trial changes absolutely nothing, and the value of the trial is in what it highlights about our flawed--but somewhat functional legal system. If George Zimmerman is found not guilty, who can really be shocked that a bunch of Southern white women felt it was okay to kill a black boy under mysterious circumstances.


If Zimmerman is found guilty then it took Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, national protests and the president of the United States just to get the Florida legal system to do their due diligence. No matter the ruling, nothing has radically changed. However, the most critical part of this case for the viewer is not the final jury verdict, but the behavior of the local police in this case, which is horribly and shamefully exemplified by the testimony and behavior of lead Detective Chris Serino.


For much of the nation's African American community, skepticism about the legal system and apprehension about institutions is not based on some abstract fear or ignorance. It is based on day-to- day interactions or anecdotal stories about police officers. Police, who bully, harass and assault African Americans with little or no consequence. Police, who show up late when we call for help and ask "Is this your house?" when you answer the door.


As I watched the Zimmerman trial, I was struck not by the occasional flaccid nature of the prosecution, or the smarmy dog-whistling and race-baiting by the defense attorneys. What struck me most was the horrible, petulant and insubordinate behavior of lead Detective Chris Serino, who has done all he can to torpedo the state's case.


Detective Serino a 15 year veteran on the force, interviewed George Zimmerman three days after the murder of Trayvon Martin and seemed less than convinced of the neighborhood watchman's story. He pointed out that it was hard to believe Zimmerman was beaten so viciously by Trayvon Martin, if he was able to go to work the next day and not even visit a hospital. He and another officer pointed out that Zimmerman was obviously following Martin, and that his failure of identify himself as Neighborhood Watch might've scared the kid.

Lastly and perhaps most importantly, he pushed back on Zimmerman's characterization of Martin as a "f***ing punk," chastising Zimmerman and pointing out that he'd shot an unarmed kid with candy and iced tea in his pocket. All of Serino's interview, which was put into evidence last week in the trial, is pretty damning and certainly looks like effective police work. That's when things get sticky.


Despite these obvious inconsistencies and questions mere days after the shooting, Det. Serino felt there wasn't enough evidence to arrest, let alone file charges against Zimmerman. This is where the problems start for most observers of this case. A police officer who shoots an unarmed person will automatically get a two week paid suspension while the department investigates--and they're trained law enforcement. Heck, Aaron Hernandez of the New England Patriots was arrested and the cops only had a broken cell phone, broken security camera and some Molly Maids as evidence--and he was a millionaire football player.