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Florida Governor Rick Scott met with Candy Crowley on Sunday, March 25, 2012 and discussed the Trayvon Martin case. Trayvon Martin is the 17-year-old black teen from Sanford, Florida who was visiting his father and her fiancé when on February 26, 2012; he walked home from a local 7-11 store carrying a bag of Skittles and an iced tea. A volunteer neighborhood watchman, who has a penchant for calling 911 and reporting black males he describes as “suspicious” noticed Martin and contacted 911. During the phone call, he referred to Trayvon Martin as an a@#hole and some listeners to the released 911 tape have heard what sounds like George Zimmerman referring to Martin as a F&#$*@# Coon. After contacting 911 and being told not to follow Trayvon, Zimmerman did not return to his home, but instead claims that Martin turned and followed him, attacked him, then Zimmerman shot him in self-defense. Though the Sanford Police Department found no reason to immediately arrest Zimmerman and sent the case to the State Attorney’s office, there were many who argued that Zimmerman was not practicing self-defense but killed Trayvon Martin as a racist, hate crime. The United States Department of Justice and FBI are in investigating civil rights violations and last week, Florida Governor and Florida’s Attorney General, Pam Bondi, announced that state attorney Angela Corey would investigate the case. During Rick Scott’s interview with Candy Crowley, he spoke of finding justice for both Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman.
Florida Governor Rick Scott stated, “Well, I want — you just feel — your heart goes out to that family. I had the opportunity to meet with the parents Thursday night to let them know that I appointed a new state attorney and introduced them to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents that are working on the case. And you’re just — you know, your heart goes out to them, because you just no family ever imagines this could ever happen to their child.”
Candy Crowley addressed the “Stand Your Ground” law that allows people to use deadly force if they believe their life is in danger, “You must have — with the stand your ground law, which may or may not apply to this case, but certainly you must have had questions about the state law before you appointed this task force.”
Rick Scott replied, “What you want to make sure is you just — you want to make sure everybody feels comfortable with public safety in our state. And so as you know, I put together a task force led by my lieutenant governor who’s African-American and I’m going to have different elected officials appoint individuals, but we’ll look at all of it.
“But the first thing we’re going to do is really do a thorough investigation to see what happened here. We have — no one can imagine this happened to their family. We have to find out exactly what is going to happen. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement state attorney Angela Corey is going to do a great job knowing what happened and make sure justice prevails. We have to do that.”
Candy Crowley directed her next question to the accusations of racism in the case. “Governor, does this look like a race thing to you?”
Governor Rick Scott answered, “Well, you know, there’s nothing I know about that. I know we will find that — I think we will find that out in the investigation. You hope it is never the case, but we will look at all these things and find out what happened. We are going to do — there will be a thorough investigation, justice will prevail. We have got to make sure there are justice for Mr. Martin’s family and also justice for George Zimmerman.”
Candy Crowley then asked Governor Scott why it took nearly a month to get the case moving as well as to replace the state attorney. She asked if he could not have replaced the state attorney sooner.
Rick Scott responded, “Well, first off, I don’t have the authority to appoint a new state attorney unless the existing state attorney withdraws. Everything you do in life, I would love to do things faster, and you get more information and you see about problems faster. So, I would love to do things faster. The right thing happened here. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement will do a thorough investigation. They are known for that. Angela Corey is a very good state attorney who I have known for a long time, she will do a great job.”
George Zimmerman’s attorney, Craig Sonner spoke to My Fox Orlando and CNN in the past week and did not reveal information on his client’s location. There are some concerned with vigilante justice and that George Zimmerman may be the target of violence before he may have a day in court. Candy Crowley addressed vigilantism and asked if the state needed to protect George Zimmerman.
“And finally you mentioned George Zimmerman, the man who admitted to police that he shot, claims it was self-defense. There are various things that tell us that was not the case. There have been death threats against him. Is there some — does the state feel that it needs to protect him while this case moves on or do you know where he is? What do you know about Zimmerman?” she asked.
Governor Rick Scott replied, “Well, you’ve got to make sure there’s due process. You have got to make sure there is due process for somebody that is accused of a crime. Which he has not been accused of yet. He has not been accused. You have got to make sure no one feel uncomfortable that has not been accused of a crime. So if he feels unsafe, then we’ll make sure nothing happens to him.” Scott stated that there has been no formal request to provide George Zimmerman with protection.
When asked if Scott expected charges to be filed he stated, “I’m not sure. We have to wait and see what the facts are.”
Click the video player to the left to hear Al Sharpton interview Trayvon Martin’s father, Tracy Martin, and discuss the Trayvon Martin case.