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Trayvon Martin
Three weeks after a neighborhood watchman shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, Brevard County State Attorney Norm Wolfinger has announced a grand jury investigation of the case will begin April 10. How about setting up a simultaneous investigation of the Sanford Police Department?
“I share in the desire of the family and the community to accurately collect and evaluate all the facts surrounding the tragic death of Trayvon Martin,” said Wolfinger in a statement released Tuesday morning. “That is why I directed the expeditious review of the investigation which was delivered by the Sanford Police Department one week ago today….I will also be utilizing the investigative resources of the Seminole County Grand Jury which will be called to session on Tuesday, April 10, 2012.’’

Wolfinger, whose office has been reviewing the case since last week, asked for patience from the public and said his office will conduct “a thorough, deliberate, and just review of the facts.”

Could the announcement have anything at all to do with the fact that public outcry in this obscene shooting by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman and the appallingly botched response of the SPD have sparked a federal investigation by the Department of Justice?
More than 435,000 people, many alerted by signed a petition on Change.org, a social action website, calling for the arrest of Martin's shooter, George Zimmerman, who has claimed he acted in self-defense. On Monday, the Justice Department and FBI announced they opened an investigation into the shooting.
Or perhaps it has to do with the comments to ABC of a 16-year-old girl who was having a cell-phone conversation with the unarmed Martin as he was being followed and confronted by Zimmerman:
"He said this man was watching him, so he put his hoodie on. He said he lost the man," Martin's friend said. "I asked Trayvon to run, and he said he was going to walk fast. I told him to run but he said he was not going to run."

Eventually he would run, said the girl, thinking that he'd managed to escape. But suddenly the strange man was back, cornering Martin.

"Trayvon said, 'What are you following me for,' and the man said, 'What are you doing here.' Next thing I hear is somebody pushing, and somebody pushed Trayvon because the head set just fell. I called him again and he didn't answer the phone."

As Vyan writes in his excellent commentary: "It's very clear that Trayvon was no threat."

With all these investigative forces in gear now, it would be encouraging to believe that justice will be done. But, as Vyan so rightly says, "The history of how cases like this have been handled isn't encouraging."

•••

Sign our petition asking U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate the Sanford Police Department's pattern of failing to prosecute violent crimes against African-Americans.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Tue Mar 20, 2012 at 09:12 AM PDT.

Also republished by Barriers and Bridges and Daily Kos.

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