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George Zimmerman is now in custody charged with second-degree murder in connection with the February shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
Special prosecutor Angela Corey, a Florida state attorney, made the announcement at a news conference this evening.
Corey said Zimmerman, a neighborhood-watch-commander who claims he fired in self-defense, turned himself in.
“I will confirm that Mr. Zimmerman is indeed in custody,” Corey said.
But she refused to state exactly where Zimmerman was being held, out of concern for the suspect’s safety.
“You cannot know what it’s like to launch this type of investigation and come to this conclusion,” Corey said, adding, “We don’t prosecute by public pressure or petition.”
“We thank all of those people across this country who have sent positive energy and prayers our way. We ask you to continue to pray for Trayvon’s family as well as for our prosecution team,” she said.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott sought calm after the second-degree murder charge was made public.
“This matter is now in the hands of the judicial system and I am confident justice will prevail. As the process continues, it is critical that we be patient and allow the proceedings to move forward in a fair and transparent manner. I thank State Attorney Angela Corey for her diligence in conducting a thorough investigation. We will all continue to look for answers to the Trayvon Martin tragedy.”
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi issued a statement saying she had full confidence in the charges.
“When I worked with Governor Scott to appoint State Attorney Angela Corey to the case involving Trayvon Martin, I did so with the full confidence that a swift and thorough investigation would be conducted,” Bondi said. “Today, State Attorney Corey’s decision to press charges against George Zimmerman for the shooting of Trayvon demonstrates Corey’s commitment to bringing justice to Trayvon’s family and allowing due process for Zimmerman.”
Reacting to the developments, Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU of Florida said: “Now that charges have been brought, we must remember that George Zimmerman has all the rights of every defendant charged with a crime, including a legal presumption of innocence until proven guilty. This is not the end of the story, but the wheels of justice are turning. The ACLU of Florida will continue to monitor this case as it unfolds to ensure that the rights of all parties – from the demonstrators marching in solidarity with Trayvon’s family to George Zimmerman himself – are not violated.”
Earlier today, radio host Rush Limbaugh said President Obama and officials in his administration are intentionally stoking racial chaos in America in connection with the Martin case.
“There’s no question that the White House wants this kind of chaos and unrest in the culture,” Limbaugh said
He explained the situation is “a powder keg waiting to go off,” and that “nobody that I see is doing anything to try to make sure that powder keg doesn’t explode.”
He added: “If in the White House they wanted to cool this down, which they should do, they could do it. All it would take … would be Obama addressing the nation to calm this down, and then speaking about it in genuine American terms, not racial terms. If they wanted to do that, they could. Other presidents have. It’s not happening here.”