State Leaders Want Trayvon Martin Investigation Above Emotions and Politics

By: Jim Turner | Posted: March 20, 2012 3:20 PM
Trayvon Martin and Rick Scott

Gov. Rick Scott and Trayvon Martin | Credit: Gage Skidmore - Flickr

Gov. Rick Scott said before any special panel is created to look into race relations or revisit the “Stand Your Ground” law, the investigation into the death of Trayvon Martin should be allowed to proceed unimpeded.

Speaking to reporters in his Capitol office on Tuesday, Scott said the state should wait to take any actions until the results are completed into the investigation he’s called for by Florida Department of Law Enforcement to proceed alongside those of the FBI and U.S. Department of Justice.

“I think the first thing we ought to be doing is let’s find out what happened here,” Scott said.  “Nobody, none of us, believes in any racial profiling. But I think the first step is, let’s find out what happened here. And I think with local, FDLE and FBI, I’m positive we’ll find that out first.”

Martin, 17, was shot about 7:15 p.m. Feb. 26 while walking through a Sanford gated community, returning from a 7-Eleven, where he'd bought Skittles and a can of Arizona iced tea.

Sanford police have said they cannot arrest George Zimmerman, the gunman, because he claims self-defense -- under the state’s Stand Your Ground law -- and evidence backs that up, including witness accounts and what officers saw when they arrived: Zimmerman with a bloody nose.

“We need to let this investigation take its course,” Attorney General Pam Bondi said.

“I’m confident in the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Justice Department that they will do a thorough investigation. And that’s where this investigation currently is. It’s where it should remain, with law enforcement.”

The Florida Civil Rights Association has called for Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam to revoke Zimmerman’s concealed weapons permit.

But a permit can only be suspended in cases involving felony charges.

The suspension would remain in place until the outcome of the case. In case of a conviction, the license can be revoked.

Members of the state’s legislative black caucus have announced plans to introduce legislation to revisit the 2005 Stand Your Ground law that is also known as the Castle Doctrine.

“It is important that we change the Stand Your Ground law," Sen. Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, told the Tampa Times. "This is ridiculous. When we passed the law, we said it portends horrific events -- when people's lives were put into these situations and my worst fears came to fruition. A young life was snuffed out."

Scott said he would be open to a review of the law, depending on the results of the investigation.

“Once we finish this investigation, if there is something that we need to adjust, I am hopeful that the Legislature would be interested in taking that up,” Scott said.

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

Comments (5)

Peter G
4:28PM MAR 21ST 2012
I don't see why an investigation into the death of Trayvon Martin needs to be completed before a review of the "Stand Your Ground" law can start.
Voice of Reason
11:25AM MAR 21ST 2012
Tri Star..They could not arrest him for defending himself as he alleged with no compelling evidence. If they did, that would mean every person who defended themselves under the Stand Your Ground law would have to be arrested, negating our right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty by a jury of our peers. On the other hand, if enough evidence is gathered against him, he should be arrested and brought to trial. I hope this doesn't become a race thing as a white person killing a black person, a black person killing a white person, even a white person killing a white person is wrong if it was based on anything other than self defense. Period. I hope cooler heads will prevail and people will realize that most Floridians are not gun crazed racists, but embrace the diversity in our State.
6:39AM MAR 21ST 2012
Good advice... Find out what really happened and take it from there.
9:59PM MAR 20TH 2012
Nero fiddling while Rome burned. All over national news - I'll be surprised if this doesn't have an unfortunate potential for new tourism boycotts and scaring at least some non-white tourists from the state, especially as the apparent, and perhaps fatal, fumbling of this case by the Sanford police continues to become more apparent. Perhaps the grand jury will also look into that also - past and current actions by the police. It's likely that the Sanford police receive federal funds. If so, and if intentional racism is involved (and there are other past episodes that may suggest that), this could be a Title VI Civil Rights Act violation. Strange how the powers to be were all ignoring this until social media got involved. I guess that's called leadership by the Governor.
Tri Star
3:56PM MAR 20TH 2012
This case was impeded when Sanford police REFUSED to arrest the gunman. That was not their decision to make, the claim of self defense is for a jury to decide. This is a horrible situation of racism at its worst and police at their lowest. The feds and everyone else is going to pound the Sanford police department for allowing a murderer to walk free. Since when are they judge and jury. As for not having any "emotion" involved. Let your unarmed kid get killed by a whacko neighborhood watch guy, that has been told to leave the situation alone by the police and see if you get emotional. THE POLICE SHOULD ALSO GO ON TRIAL FOR STUPIDITY.

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