ATLANTA (WAOK)-On a day of rallies around the country for justice for Trayvon Martin, two key figures close to the case have decided to step aside to allow tensions to cool down.
Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee and Florida States Attorney Norman Wolfinger have both removed themselves from the case. Hours before thousands of people rallied in a local park calling for the arrest of George Zimmerman and the resignation of the police chief, Lee announced he would leave his job temporarily. Shortly after the Lee announcement, the prosecutor who also had been bitterly criticized for not prosecuting Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin recused himself from the case.
Florida Governor Rick Scott has now appointed Angela B. Corey, the state attorney for the Jacksonville area, to take over the case. Scott also appointed a task force led by Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll (an African American) to conduct hearings on the case and to make recommendations for any changes to state law or procedures.
WAOK’s Lorraine Jacques White of Powertalk, Janice Mathis of Sisters In Law and Derrick Boazman of Too Much Truth attended the rally in Sanford which drew more than 8 thousand protesters.
Reverend Al Sharpton appeared at the rally despite the death of his mother Ada earlier in the day. Sharpton introduced Trayvon’s parents: his mother, Sybrina Fulton, and father, Tracy Martin. Fulton started with a Bible verse:
“I stand before you today not knowing how I’m walking right now because my heart hurts for my son,” Fulton said. “Trayvon is my son. Trayvon is your son. Thanks so much for your support.” Tracy Martin described his son as a “people’s person” who did not deserve to die.
Donations were taken up for the family with Rev. Sharpton offering $2,500 and Judge Greg Mathis donating $10,000.
U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown and Sanford Mayor Jeff Triplett also addressed the crowd.
Meanwhile here in Atlanta a crowd of about a thousand people carrying signs demanding justice for Trayvon Martin chanted “We are Trayvon Martin” and “We’re taking it to the streets” as civil rights leaders told the crowd to call the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division about the case and to sign a petition on change.org demanding prosecution of Zimmerman. Pastor Gerald Durley, head of the Providence Missionary Baptist Church, said Martin’s slaying is not just about racism in America: “It is about right and wrong.”
More events are planned throughout next week calling for the arrest of George Zimmerman and justice of Trayvon Martin.
Check out the gallery from today’s events.