“Justice for Trayvon!” was all that could be heard as about 100 Tallahassee citizens marched through the Capitol to Governor Rick Scott’s office yesterday at 2 p.m.
“Our main objective is to get to the governor and voice our concerns about how biased this investigation is,” said Mutaqee Akbar, an attorney.
The rally was led by a coalition of criminal defense lawyers in Tallahassee who drafted a letter to hand-deliver to Scott asking him to implement a racial profiling and unequitable law enforcement task force.
The purpose of the rally was not to criticize Scott, but to offer suggestions about how to stop these incidents and to figure out why it has taken so long to penalize George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watchman who shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on Feb 26.
The coalition was in support of Scott’s demand that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement work with State Attorney Norm Wolfinger, who has taken the investigation to a Seminole County grand jury. The FBI and U.S. Department of Justice have also joined the case.
Citizens, students and attorneys patiently waited outside of Scott’s office to see if he would address the public. While waiting, Attorney Akbar read aloud the documented task force request, and in the midst of reading, Scott appeared.
With Scott’s full attention, the coalition read the letter that requested that the FDLE conduct an independent investigation as opposed to a supplemental investigation into this murder. They requested the appointment of a special prosecutor to vigorously prosecute this case and a task force to study issues of racial profiling, as well as police and prosecutorial abuses of discretion.
Scott assured he is willing to do what it takes to make sure justice is served by going through a logical process and maybe implementing a task force, if need be, later.
“I want the right thing to happen, but if we put a task force into place right now they would only focus on this case,” Scott said.
Maria Gibbens, a Tallahassee resident, shared her sympathy.
“This story touches me as a mother,” said Gibbens. “No mother wants to fear sending her child to the store for some candy and a drink knowing that they could be shot by a vigilante who feels like he has the power to decide if my child belongs in that neighborhood or not.”
“We must stand in solidarity,” said Ciara Taylor, a fouth-year political science student from Vero Beach, Fla. Taylor, along with other students, will organize another march to the Capitol next Monday.
Scott agreed to meet with the coalition at a later date to fully discuss the logistics of their requests.