Florida State Attorney Angela Corey announced Wednesday evening that George Zimmerman had been detained and charged with second-degree murder for the death of Trayvon Martin. The tragedy, involving the shooting of the unarmed black teenager by the half-white, half-Hispanic community watch guard in Sanford, Fla., has been the center of a media fire storm and has prompted numerous demonstrations and protests. In the initial aftermath of the shooting Zimmerman was released uncharged on the basis of Florida's "Stand Your Ground” law, which stipulates that if a person is faced with a reasonable perceived threat, he or she may be allowed to use lethal force and does not have the duty to retreat. The legislation, which is law or being debated in a number of other states, has since been brought into question. Furthermore, some believe the shooting was racially motivated, sparking a national debate over race relations in the United States today. Sanford local officials withdrew from the investigation, and Florida Gov. Rick Scott appointed special prosecution to step up to the case.
"There's a reason cases are tried in the court of law, not in the court of the public, and not by the media," Corey said, and some of the controversy has stemmed from the media coverage of the tragedy. Zimmerman is expected to plead not guilty to the charge, and Florida's "sunshine law” makes it very likely that the trial, which does not yet have a date, will be televised.
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