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Prosecutor's Decision in Martin Case Not Surprising

Barrington M. Salmon | , WI Staff Writer | 4/11/2012, 1:42 p.m.

Trayvon Martin Supporters Hope Justice Prevails

On the eve of the convening of a grand jury to hear secret testimony concerning the Trayvon Martin case, Special Prosecutor Angela Corey decided to forego that option.

The grand jury was supposed to begin deliberations about the Martin case in Sanford, Fla., on Tuesday, April 10. However, Corey's decision the day before was neither shocking nor unexpected, said Congresswoman Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.).

"I'm not at all surprised," said Wilson during an interview Tuesday. "I knew her history and checked her out in Jacksonville. They said this is a lady who would prosecute a tulip. They told me she is such a bold prosecutor that the jails are brimming with prisoners. She won't release anyone, doesn't care if they are white, black or whatever."

Wilson said that the case has deeply affected her as a mother, a black woman and a legislator.

"He [Trayvon] lived in my Congressional district so I was definitely distraught," she said. "I knew his family. I'm distraught that no charges have been brought to bear. I just did not understand that. When they released the tapes, I was more and more distraught. It just breaks my heart."

Wilson said it's troubling that it took almost a month for Trayvon's death to come to public attention.

"The audacity of letting him [Zimmerman] go, brushing it under the rug. It's unconscionable," she said. "It's good that the parents called [the Rev. Al] Sharpton. I had no idea this had happened. It's all working in concert with the cover-up. His father is a retired judge so all of that is a part of the good ol' boy network."

Wilson said she remains convinced that justice will be served.

"I get a sense that there will be justice, I think she'll file charges and the Justice Department will as well," Wilson explained. "They [DOJ] are quiet about it but they are conducting an in-depth investigation. The case has to rise to the level of a hate crime."

"[Trayvon] wasn't breaking or entering, he had no 40-[ounce of beer] or a pack of cigarettes. His civil rights were abridged. Zimmerman will be in serious trouble."

Former Metropolitan Police Officer Ron Hampton said he was initially disheartened when he heard the Corey announcement.

"[However], there is still the opportunity to charge him with manslaughter. She can still charge him," said Hampton, who served 23 years with MPD. "The Sanford Police Department didn't follow through. They have to arrest him and make him make his case in a court of law and let the jury decide. I heard that Corey is tough too. Most state attorneys would do the opposite of what she did. She took it squarely on her shoulders. She can take this on and let justice be what it's going to be. But [black] people just don't have confidence in the criminal justice system."

Trayvon, a 17-year-old high student visiting his father in Sanford, Fla., was shot and killed by George Zimmerman on the evening of February 26. Zimmerman deemed the young man suspicious, followed him and during a scuffle Trayvon was shot once in the chest. Zimmerman claims to have feared for his life, despite a weight difference of more than 100 pounds. He was not arrested because Sanford police officials determined that he likely acted in self-defense.