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Rick Scott Urges Patience on Trayvon Martin Investigation

March 28, 2012 - 6:00pm

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 states 2005 Stand Your Ground law.

Were 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 didnt arrest George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watchman, because he claimed Martin attacked him and he had the right of self-defense -- under the states Stand Your Ground law.

Scott said he met with Martins 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 ... were not treating the citizens of the state properly, we will make the change, Scott said. The right thing to do is, first, lets get through this investigation, lets find out what happened here, lets 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.

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 or at (772) 215-9889.

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