NAACP calls for federal involvement in teen shooting investigation
Updated On: Mar 15 2012 06:39:29 AM EDT
Religious leaders from across the nation were in Seminole County on Wednesday to call for federal action in the investigation of the shooting death of a Sanford teen.
Trayvon Martin, 17, was shot and killed last month by a neighborhood watch leader in Sanford while visiting family in Central Florida.
The man, George Zimmerman, has not been arrested as of Wednesday.
A prominent evangelist held a meeting at the Allen Chapel AME Church on Olive Avenue in Sanford. Church leaders and the Martin family attorney attended in hopes of figuring out what the next step is to ensure the investigation proceeds fairly.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People contacted the U.S. Department of Justice because they say they want federal agents to the help investigation into Martin's death. The department hasn't responded.
"An innocent life has been taken, and law enforcement hasn't done anything about it," said Turner Clayton of NAACP.
The Florida Civil Rights Association has also spoken out, asking for a special prosecutor to investigate Martin's case.
Sanford vice city commission Velma Williams asked Police Chief Bill Lee to step aside while the investigation continued.
Pastors also called for a rally to get Zimmerman arrested on March 26 outside Sanford City Hall before the commissioners meeting.
"On March 26, we are coming into Sanford, Fla., and we're coming in to raise the roof, raise our voice, and coming to see an arrest for Trayvon," said televangelist Jamal Bryant. "No justice, no peace, until you give us justice, we are going to keep marching, shouting, praying, moving, until liberty and justice and for all."
The Sanford police passed over the investigation to the State Attorney's office officially on Tuesday. They haven't given a date their investigation will be complete.
Sanford Mayor Jeff Triplett was at the rally, and said he will stand behind Lee.
"We will have a full review, I can can promise you, I'm going to have a full review myself, if I have to pay for it myself," Triplett said. He also said he believes Lee and the Sanford Police Department handled the investigation properly.
Police say on Feb. 26 just after 7 p.m., Zimmerman was on Neighborhood Watch and reported seeing a suspicious man walking down the street. Martin was on his way home after buying a bag of Skittles and a drink at a nearby convenience store.
Some reports have surfaced that a 911 dispatcher told Zimmerman that officers were on the way and not to interfere, but police haven't released the call.
Police said the two got into a scuffle and Zimmerman shot Martin in the chest. Zimmerman was questioned by Sanford police but wasn't arrested.
Police have said Zimmerman told them he acted in self-defense. Police said they had no probable cause to arrest him.
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