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Tuesday, Jul 07, 2015

Take time to do a proper probe of Martin's killing Staff
Published:   |   Updated: March 11, 2013 at 06:20 PM

The Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville, on the Trayvon Martin fatal shooting investigation:

In the matter of the killing of Trayvon Martin, State Attorney Angela Corey should ignore calls for a quick arrest and take the time to get it right.

Getting it right may not be as easy as it might have seemed when the shooting of the unarmed 17-year-old first came to the public's attention. Indeed, while an arrest seems likely, it is also plausible that no charges may be filed.

Getting it right also calls for introspection by residents of a state and nation hobbled by race issues, ignorance and fear.

Whatever the outcome, Corey is proceeding in the national spotlight and in pursuit of a case that may be complicated by Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law, which may provide a defense for the triggerman, George Zimmerman.

Gov. Rick Scott appointed Corey to take over the investigation amid outcries after the Sanford Police Department failed to file charges against Zimmerman, a 28-year-old neighborhood watch volunteer who claimed he acted in self-defense. …

The killing of the teenager is a wrenching tragedy, a sad reflection on our society and the source of deep pain for many.

But attitudes and perceptions are also troubling, beginning with the rush to jump to conclusions.

The outcry over the case shows the degree to which African-Americans remain distrustful of the criminal justice system.

Significantly, Zimmerman's conclusion that the teenager was "suspicious" based largely on skin color and clothing is reflective of troubling attitudes and biases that are all too pervasive.

Based on her record as a prosecutor, Corey's selection should instill confidence that an outcome is likely that will be as close to just as possible.

Less likely to come soon enough is resolution for the underlying issues of race, which if not the primary catalyst for the confrontation and killing, certainly played a role in how it has been perceived.

Interest in this case is good so long as we realize that there is much we still don't know — and so long as our ultimate quest is to get it right.