May 24--After going on a 12-hour ride along with a Sanford Police officer, George Zimmerman was not impressed.
In fact, he said they were lazy, according to recordings released from a January 2011 city forum where Zimmerman publicly lambasted his local police department, according to documents provided to the Orlando Sentinel Wednesday.
"What I saw was disgusting," Zimmerman said to mayor-elect Jeff Triplett following a scandal that ousted then-police chief Brian Tooley. "The officer showed me his favorite hiding spots for taking naps."
The recordings are in line with depictions of Zimmerman by friends and family as a man preoccupied with the rule of law and deeply concerned about the safety of his community.
When Sanford Police failed to arrest a white police lieutenant's son after he knocked out a homeless black man, Zimmerman handed out fliers urging members of black Sanford churches to attend a city meeting, according to family members.
In his comments to Triplett at that forum, Zimmerman demanded accountability from the newly-elected mayor to help restore the public's trust in their officers.
"For the law is written in black and white, it should not and cannot be enforced in the gray for those that are in the thin blue line," Zimmerman said, adding the officer he shadowed was "lazy."
About a year after that community forum, Zimmerman would fatally shoot Trayvon Martin inside his gated neighborhood, the Retreat at Twin Lakes, prompting similar outrage against him and cries for justice from community members.
The investigation by Sanford Police was largely condemned by members of city's black community after Zimmerman was allowed to go home following the shooting death. Police said they did not have enough evidence to counter Zimmerman's self-defense claim, setting off a firestorm of international indignation.
He now faces second-degree murder charges in the death of the 17-year-old.
Sanford officials say they have no documentation showing the specific date Zimmerman went on a ride along, or if he ever did. But he filled out an application to ride with officers -- and was approved -- in March 2010, according to documents.
Other documents released Wednesday showed Zimmerman emailed then-chief Bill Lee in 2011, lauding a community volunteer from Sanford Police helped who launch a Neighborhood Watch following a series of burglaries in his neighborhood.
"I have high hopes for, and restored faith in your administration and the Sanford Police Department in its entirety, directly contributed to Mrs. [Wendy] Dorival," Zimmerman wrote.
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Copyright 2012 - The Orlando Sentinel, Fla.