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Special Prosecutor Angela Corey
A conservative, hard-nosed state attorney, Angela Corey, has been appointed special prosecutor to take over the investigation of the Trayvon Martin slaying. Originally the case was in the hands of Brevard/Seminole County State Attorney Norm Wolfinger, who had convened a grand jury for April 10. But the growing national and now international attention given the shooting of the unarmed 17-year-old spurred Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Atty. Gen. Pam Bondi to turn the case over to Corey. It's unclear whether the grand jury will now meet.

Corey has a controversial record of, among other things, trying far more juveniles in adult court than her predecessors in Duval, Clay and Nassau counties. One of those, 12-year-old Cristian Fernández, is the youngest person ever to be slated for trial for homicide in Jacksonville's history.

In addition to the special prosecutor, Scott created a task force headed by Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll that will review the state's 7-year-old "Stand Your Ground" law. That's the one that allows citizens to use lethal force if they feel their life is threatened by others. Critics have said the law allows too many killers to excuse their actions on the grounds of questionable claims of self-defense. Many prosecutors and police chiefs opposed the law when it was being considered by lawmakers. Since it became law, the number of justifiable homicides in Florida has risen to an average of 35 a year, a 283 percent increase from the years before the law entered the books.

State Sen. Gary Siplin, D-Orlando, applauded Scott's actions, calling them "the first step in making sure that Trayvon receives posthumous justice and respect, and that this type of activity is eradicated in not only Central Florida, but statewide."
It will only matter, however, if the follow-up steps are taken.

Although other police forces in central Florida have arrested people who have made these self-defense claims since the 2005 law was passed, the Sanford police used it as an excuse for why they did not arrest vigilante George Zimmerman, the self-appointed neighborhood-watch "captain" who shot Martin after following him because, basically, he didn't like his looks.

During what became a pursuit, Zimmerman phoned police, and in a expletive-laden conversation filled with racially charged remarks, including the slur "fuckin' coons," said Martin seemed to be up to no good. He ignored the police dispatcher who told him not to keep following Martin. You can hear a clear version of the slur Zimmerman muttered here.

A 47-page log of Zimmerman's other calls to Sanford police show considerable attention paid to young black males in the neighborhood.

The governor says that once Corey's investigation is complete, the task force will hold hearings and follow up with legislative and possibly other recommendations designed to prevent another such slaying.

If Scott were really serious about this, he would delve into the factors contributing to racist yahooism of his state, run a full investigation of the Sanford Police Department and look at how the Stand Your Ground law came to pass. But, of course, that would put him at odds with those yahoos and with the National Rifle Association and the American Legislative Council, both of which have pushed to spread this law nationwide.

•••

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 Fri Mar 23, 2012 at 10:21 AM PDT.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, Barriers and Bridges, and Daily Kos.

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