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Politics

State Leaders Want Trayvon Martin Investigation Above Emotions and Politics

March 19, 2012 - 7:00pm

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 hes 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 lets find out what happened here, Scott said. Nobody, none of us, believes in any racial profiling. But I think the first step is, lets find out what happened here. And I think with local, FDLE and FBI, Im positive well 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 states 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.

Im confident in the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Justice Department that they will do a thorough investigation. And thats where this investigation currently is. Its where it should remain, with law enforcement.

The Florida Civil Rights Association has called for Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam to revoke Zimmermans 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 states 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.

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