According to an unnamed law enforcement source, a Florida special prosecutor will announce plans to prosecute Zimmerman at a press conference Wednesday. But State Attorney Angela Corey has stated previously that she would not bring the case before a grand jury.
Zimmerman, a self-proclaimed neighborhood watch volunteer, shot the unarmed Martin on February 26. He told officers that he was acting in self defense, and walked away from police custody despite increasing evidence that Martin did not attack Zimmerman, and had only been carrying Skittles candy and an iced tea.
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The benefit of the doubt was given to Zimmerman under Florida’s “Stand Your Ground Law,” under which Zimmerman’s claims of self-defense were sufficient proof that he could not be tried for manslaughter.
Growing anger at Zimmerman avoiding prosecution and the connections made between the Martin killing and the violence faced regularly by young black men all over the country, brought out tens of thousands of protesters around the country under the slogan, “I am Trayvon Martin.”
The announcement of Zimmerman’s prosecution comes the day after his lawyers announced they were stepping away from the case, saying they were unable to contact Zimmerman and that he had fled the state.
“You can stop looking in Florida,” a lawyer told reporters. “Look much further away than that.”
The case prompted an investigation by the attorney general.
And, as shocks of anger spread, the police chief of Sanford, Florida, and the Sunshine state’s state attorney, both stepped down from the murder investigation only hours after students in Miami-Dade walked out of their high school to protest the lack of criminal charges a month after Martin was killed and Zimmerman continued to walk free.
Most critically, say advocates, the Martin case has unleashed mass anger at the continued targeting of young black men and the institutional racism of the criminal justice system.
“Under the intense spotlight on the personal defects of the two men involved, important issues such as the social and human costs of a corporate-driven gun culture, the privatization of security forces, the price paid by poor minority youth whose every act is criminalized, and the crimes committed through an all-embracing racism are shrouded in darkness, off stage and invisible,” wrote Henry Giroux.
“To bolster the incredulous claim that we live in a post-racial society, crimes such as these are often isolated from a larger set of socio-economic forces that might provide a broader understanding of both the needless death of a 17-year-old black youth but also its relationship to a much more all-encompassing war on youth that is causing massive suffering and needless deaths among many young people in America,” Giroux also wrote.