Conflict & Tragedy
Zimmerman charged with second degree murder
JACKSONVILLE- Special Prosecutor Angela Corey announced at a press conference on Wednesday evening that George Zimmerman has been charged with second degree murder for the killing of Trayvon Martin last month.
Zimmerman shot and killed 17 year old Trayvon Martin as he was walking home from a convenience store in his Sanford, Florida gated community.
Florida's Stand Your Ground laws allowed Zimmerman to go free with no charges brought when he claimed he shot Martin in self-defense.
However, since the shooting, there have been public outcries and protests claiming that the incident was racially motivated because Martin was black.
Public pressure has moved the State of Florida to investigate the killing, which has led to today's announcement of Zimmerman's arrest.
Corey said, "there has been an overwhelming amount of publicity in this case that we hope does not keep us from getting a fair and impartial jury."
George Zimmerman turned himself in to authorities this afternoon in Florida and is currently in custody in an undisclosed location in Florida.
Immediately following the announcement of Zimmerman's arrest, the Reverend Al Sharpton said that it was the perseverance of the public that forced Florida police to seek justice. Sharpton said, "At first I did not trust Governor Scott," referring to earlier actions by the state that allowed Zimmerman to remain free.
Sharpton added, "I want to congratulate Governor Scott and the Special Prosecutor for being what they should be."
Sharpton further expressed his hopes for the country to put race aside and simply seek justice in the Trayvon Martin killing.
"Maybe America can come together and agree that only the facts should matter when deciding this case."
NAACP President and CEO Ben Jealous had been working behind the scenes in an effort to have charges filed against Trayvon Martin's killer, 28 year old George Zimmerman.
In a statement on Wednesday night, Jealous said, "Forty-five days after Trayvon Martin's life came to a violent end, the wheels of justice have finally begun to turn. This is an important first step toward bringing justice for Trayvon and his family," according to USA Today.
With Florida's Open Government laws, the trial for George Zimmerman could be televised. Some media reports have indicated that bringing the evidence in this case into the living rooms of the public could reveal a lot about the depth of racism issues in America.
If the defense attorneys for Trayvon Martin are able to prove that his death was racially motivated, or if it turns out that the initial Sanford Police Department report was tainted to favor Zimmerman, it could prove that Florida's Stand Your Ground laws were abused in an attempt to allow a hate crime to go unpunished.