SANFORD -- As thousands of people gathered here to demand an arrest in the Trayvon Martin case, a more complicated portrait began to emerge of a teenager whose problems at school ranged from getting spotted defacing lockers to getting caught with a marijuana baggie and womens jewelry.
The Miami Gardens teen who has become a national symbol of racial injustice was suspended three times, and had a spotty school record that his familys attorneys say is irrelevant to the facts that led up to his being gunned down on Feb. 26.
In October, a school police investigator said he saw Trayvon on the school surveillance camera in an unauthorized area hiding and being suspicious. Then he said he saw Trayvon mark up a door with W.T.F an acronym for what the f---. The officer said he found Trayvon the next day and went through his book bag in search of the graffiti marker.
Instead the officer reported he found womens jewelry and a screwdriver that he described as a burglary tool, according to a Miami-Dade Schools Police report obtained by The Miami Herald. Word of the incident came as the familys lawyer acknowledged that the boy was suspended in February for getting caught with an empty bag with traces of marijuana, which he called irrelevant and an attempt to demonize a victim.
Trayvons backpack contained 12 pieces of jewelry, in addition to a watch and a large flathead screwdriver, according to the report, which described silver wedding bands and earrings with diamonds.
Trayvon was asked if the jewelry belonged to his family or a girlfriend.
Martin replied its not mine. A friend gave it to me, he responded, according to the report. Trayvon declined to name the friend.
Trayvon was not disciplined because of the discovery, but was instead suspended for graffiti, according to the report. School police impounded the jewelry and sent photos of the items to detectives at Miami-Dade police for further investigation.
A lawyer for the dead teens family acknowledged Trayvon had been suspended for graffiti, but said the family knew nothing about the jewelry and the screwdriver.
Its completely irrelevant to what happened Feb. 26, said attorney Benjamin Crump. They never heard this, and dont believe its true. If it were true, why wouldnt they call the parents? Why wasnt he arrested?
Trayvon, who was a junior at Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School, had never been arrested, police and the family have said.
We think everybody is trying to demonize him, Crump said.
No evidence ever surfaced that the jewelry was stolen.
Martin was suspended, warned and dismissed for the graffiti, according to the report prepared by 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. A schools police report obtained by The Miami Herald specifies two items: a bag with marijuana residue and a marijuana pipe.
The punishment was the third for the teen. On Monday, the family also said Trayvon had earlier been suspended for tardiness and truancy.
Trayvon was shot to death Feb. 26 while serving out his suspension in Sanford, where his fathers girlfriend lives. A neighborhood watch volunteer called the police to say he saw someone in a hoodie who looked high on drugs, and was suspicious because he walked too slowly in the rain. The unarmed teenager carried Skittles and iced tea, and was talking to his girlfriend on the phone, records show.