Special Prosecutor Angela Corey
Florida State Attorney Angela Corey announced Monday that the Trayvon Martin shooting case will not go to the grand jury. The jury had been scheduled to convene April 10 by State Attorney Norm Wolfinger. But after a firestorm of criticism of his office and the police in the investigation of the unarmed teenager's killing, Wolfinger was taken off the case March 22 by Gov. Rick Scott, who appointed the hard-nosed Corey as special prosecutor.
Her decision not to go to the grand jury was no surprise. She has said previously she has never gone to a grand jury with a justifiable homicide case. On March 29, she told the Miami Herald: "I always lean towards moving forward without needing the Grand Jury in a case like this. I foresee us being able to make a decision and move it on our own."
Corey would only require the grand jury's imprimatur if she planned to file capital murder charges. Few people thought it was ever a possibility that such charges would be laid against George Zimmerman, the 28-year-old self-appointed crime-stopper who shot Martin after he followed him in a gated community where he lived and Martin had been visiting.
The confrontation that ensued has generated claims and counterclaims, leaked police documents, videos and enhancements of videos, recorded phone calls and enhancements of those calls, the views of experts and witnesses about what was said on those calls and who was screaming on one of them. Only three things can be said with absolute certainty: Trayvon Martin is dead, it was George Zimmerman's bullet that made him that way and the public discourse about the case has not seen the like for a very long time.
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The implication of the brief statement issued by Corey's office is that people should not speculate about the eventual disposition of the investigation based on the decision not to go to the grand jury:
"The decision should not be considered a factor in the final determination of the case," Corey's office said in a statement. Gov. Rick Scott appointed Corey as special prosecutor March 22.
"At this time, the investigation continues and there will be no further comment," the statement says.
Meanwhile, in the city of Sanford, where the shooting occurred Feb. 26, a small group of young protesters organized as "Dream Defenders" has forced the police department to shut its doors temporarily to the public. Shortly after this occurred, two leaders of the group were called into the police offices to speak to Corey. She told them that the investigation is continuing. One of the leaders, Steven Green, carried the message outside to the protesters, supporters and bystanders. The protesters plan to stay until 5 PM ET.
City Manager Norton Bonaparte, Jr. said the demonstration had forced him to shut down police headquarters.
"The city of Sanford hopes the actions of the students will be as peaceful and orderly as the previous rallies and marches have been," Bonaparte, Jr. said in an email to the Orlando Sentinel. "We want to be accommodating to all our visitors proving they act in a manner that is respectful to the people of the city." [...]
The shutdown is the first result of the Dream Defenders' act of non-violent civil disobedience planned today. The Dream Defenders are a coalition of college students from across Florida who have marched and protested against the handling of the case by police.
The coalition wants Zimmerman arrested and Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee Jr. fired. It also is seeking establishment of a racially mixed police review board and a "nationally broadcasted Congressional forum on eliminating racial inequalities in the U.S."