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Gov. Scott urges Floridians to ‘allow our justice system’ to work in Trayvon Martin case

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012 by Dara Kam

Gov. Rick Scott is asking Floridians to “allow our justice system” to work in a statement that appears to be urging calm in the wake of an anticipated announcement of charges in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

Special prosecutor Angela Corey is expected to announce this evening she is filing charges against George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who claimed he shot the unarmed 17-year-old on Feb. 26 in self defense.

More than an hour before Corey’s announcement, expected at 6 p.m., Scott’s office issued the following statement, attributed to the governor:

“We are fortunate in our state that most Floridians and local civic leaders are law-abiding, responsible citizens who all want justice to prevail. No matter what State Attorney Corey determines following her investigation of the Trayvon Martin tragedy, I trust in the goodness of all Florida citizens to allow our justice system to reach an appropriate conclusion in this case.”

Scott spokeswoman Amy Graham would not elaborate on the statement or why it was issued before Corey, appointed by Scott to investigate the high-profile case, made her announcement.

“The statement is self explanatory,” Graham said.

Civil rights activists from around the nation have held marches and rallies in Sanford and throughout the country in the aftermath of the Feb. 26 shooting in a gated community near Orlando.

The shooting has shined a spotlight “Stand Your Ground” laws like Florida’s – the country’s first – allowing individuals to use deadly force when they feel threatened. And it has rippled throughout the nation with civil rights leaders and others demanding a closer look at racial profiling and possible differences in how prosecutors and law enforcement officials pursue charges against whites and blacks.

Scott has announced he will create a task force to look into Florida’s 2005 “Stand Your Ground” law after Corey’s investigation is complete.

Gov. Scott appoints special prosecutor in Trayvon Martin case

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012 by Dara Kam

Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi have appointed a special prosecutor to take over the investigation of the shooting of Trayvon Martin, responding to increased pressure from national civil rights leaders outraged over the killing of the unarmed black 17-year-old by a neighborhood watch volunteer whom local authorities have not charged with any crime.

Scott and Bondi asked State Attorney Angela Corey of Jacksonville to take over for Seminole County State Attorney Norman Wolfinger. The appointment came the same day Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee temporarily stepped down amid outrage over his failure to charge George Zimmerman with any crime in the Feb. 26 shooting. Wolfinger said in a letter to Scotthe was stepping aside “in the interest of public safety” and to “avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest.” The U.S. Justice Department is also investigating the case.

Scott also announced the formation of a task force headed by Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll, who is black, to look into the use of the state’s first-in-the-nation “stand your ground” law, which allows individuals to use deadly force to defend themselves when they feel threatened. Zimmerman said he shot Martin in self-defense, and Lee said he lacked evidence to arrest him.

Several black lawmakers, including Sen. Oscar Braynon, D-Miami Gardens who represents the district where Martin lived with his mother, had asked Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, and House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, to appoint special legislative committees to look into the law. Yesterday, both leaders said they did not believe the committees were yesterday. But today, Scott said they have agreed to suggest appointees to the task force.

Scott’s announcement of the task force comes two days after Scott held an impromptu meeting with about 50 black lawyers and civil rights leaders who marched to his office demanding he create such a panel to look into racial profiling.

Read Scott’s statement regarding the “Citizen Safety and Protection” task force after the jump.
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