Politics

Rick Scott Urges Patience on Trayvon Martin Investigation

By: Jim Turner | Posted: March 30, 2012 5:00 AM
Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton

Trayvon Martin's parents Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton during 'A Million Hoodies March' in New York on March 21, 2012 | Credit: Mary Altaffer - csmonitor.com

As TV reports move on to show surveillance tapes of George Zimmerman in custody at the Sanford police station, and seemingly without a scratch, Gov. Rick Scott continues to urge legislators to have patience with the investigation into the Feb.26 shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

Democratic legislators have called for an acceleration of a task force to examine the situation in Sanford, where Martin was killed, and even for a special session to review the state’s 2005 “Stand Your Ground” law.

“We’re doing the right thing as far as the due process and going through a process to make sure we know the facts, and whatever happens, the right thing will happen. Justice will prevail,” Scott told reporters on Wednesday.

Democrats in both chambers of the Legislature have called for review of the law also known as the Castle Doctrine, which has been listed as the defense used in the Martin shooting.

Sen. Chris Smith, D-Fort Lauderdale, has requested the governor start the Task Force on Citizen Safety and Protection while the investigation is underway; Rep. Dwayne Taylor, D-Daytona Beach, is calling for a special session on “Stand Your Ground.”  Both have said the law needs to be changed to provide guidelines on how law enforcement implements the law, rather than an officer acting as the judge on the scene.

Martin, 17, of Miami, was shot while walking through a gated community in Sanford on Feb. 26.

Sanford police have said they didn’t arrest George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watchman, because he claimed Martin attacked him and he had the right of self-defense -- under the state’s Stand Your Ground law.

Scott said he met with Martin’s parents on March 22 to discuss the change in prosecutors to oversee the grand jury review and to introduce them to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement officials heading the investigation.

Scott has also called for a Task Force on Citizen Safety and Protection that will be headed by Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll and the Rev. R.B. Holmes Jr., pastor of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Tallahassee.

“If we determine ... we’re not treating the citizens of the state properly, we will make the change,” Scott said. “The right thing to do is, first, let’s get through this investigation, let’s find out what happened here, let’s make sure justice prevails. Then we will have this task force.”

House and Senate leadership are to each name two appointees, while Attorney General Pam Bondi is expected to name one member of the task force.

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Among those seeking to be included on the task force are Sens. Chris Smith, D-Fort Lauderdale; Gary Siplin, D-Orlando; Oscar Braynon, D-Miami Gardens; and Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa.

Siplin is planning the fact-finding mission with Braynon, Smith, Sens. Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Fort Myers, Ronda Storms, R-Brandon, and Joe Negron, R-Stuart, to look into the Children and Family Services and Medicaid issues in the community.

The goal of the mission would be to see if legislation is needed in the 2013 session to address the “bastions of racism” Siplin said exist in Sanford.

Reach Jim Turner at jturner@sunshinestatenews.com or at (772) 215-9889.

Comments (4)

Groscoe
12:59PM APR 6TH 2012
A large percentage of the mob calling for Zimmerman's head are HS dropouts.....meaning many are functionally illiterate.....they don't care about the Rule of Law......They want the Rule of Lawlessness to prevail which is Chaos and anarchy
Justice Seeker
8:54AM MAR 30TH 2012
This is commentary about justice and Florida. However, before I proceed I must state that I and all of my close associates hope that when all the facts of the Trayvon Martin tragedy come to light that justice will truly be served. Two families have been wrecked and our thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved. Now on to my point.

In 2011 a Florida Chief Judge by the name of Martha Lott wrote that, in reference to justice, “…There must be impartial judges to hear the evidence and conduct the trials. There must be a fair chance for both sides to be heard. There must be a decision based on facts and law. There must be a way to make sure that the rules are followed…”

Fast-forward, now Governor Rick Scott states, during an interview regarding Trayvon Martin, the following; "...whatever happens, the right thing will happen. Justice will prevail...let’s find out what happened here, let’s make sure justice prevails..." In another Trayvon Martin related interview Governor Scott states “…make sure justice prevails, we have to do that…we’re gonna do a thorough investigation…justice will prevail…we’ve got to make sure there’s justice…” And in yet another interview Governor Scott states "Justice will prevail. That's what we all want. We want to know the facts and we want to know that justice happens."

I truly hope that Judge Lott and Governor Scott believe in those statements because over the recent months I’ve witnessed the unfolding of another injustice--an injustice that is both highly concerning on many levels and frightful--in Florida (Alachua County, Florida, to be exact) that leaves me questioning what some of Florida’s leaders truly believe about justice and if they truly promote the blind and impartial execution of justice that so many of them publicly espouse. The other case--the “Gibson Case”--has resulted in two damning, evidence-laden, and irrefutable reports that are comprised of more than 100 total pages. Those reports are in the possession of multiple agencies, including the Eighth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida (which is under the administration of the aforementioned judge--Chief Judge Martha Lott) and the State Attorneys Office of the Eighth Judicial Circuit of Florida (and its Chief Investigator Spencer Mann).

In the above referenced piece that was written by Judge Lott, Judge Lott quotes historical figure--and highly regarded politician--Millicent Fenwick when she writes "...the one thing people cannot bear is a sense of injustice. Poverty, cold, even hunger is more bearable than injustice." I truly hope that Judge Lott, Governor Scott, State Attorney Cervone, and all of the other Florida “powers that be” realize that Ms. Fenwick’s statement holds great truth.
kafantaris
6:01AM MAR 30TH 2012
If George Zimmerman “had his hand up to his forehead” and seemed worried, is it possible he called his father for advice on what to tell the police?
Could he have called him on that same cell phone he called 911 about Trayvon Martin?
To be sure, Judge Zimmerman knows a thing or two about the facts that make out a self defense case. He certainly has plead a good case in the media -- though he was also careful not to tell us what his son told him and thus keep the prosecutors from impeaching him with conflicting stories.
No matter, they can still call the Judge himself to the grand jury room and asked him where he got his facts. They can also ask him if he talked to the police that night, or if he went down to the station house in person to take care of things.
Judge Zimmerman has been presumed to be a non-player thus far, but may have played a critical role at the initial stages of the investigation -- that important time when the police decide whom to charge, and what to write in their reports to justify their actions.
Pat Galbraith
5:43AM MAR 30TH 2012
It's too late for patience, the Orlando media has taken care of that. They do have this love affair with debacles.

And how about the New Black panthers bounty? That's a felony in Florida. And Spike Lee send and address all over the internet - )ops, wrong address and we have two elderly people in hiding.

We'll be allowed patience when Al Sharpton and Jesse jackson don't get any more press. But as long as those two have the limelight, we'll have more Twana Brawleys, college lacrosse teams and shop owners burned out.

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