• Trayvon Martin Case: More school troubles; Parents attend racial profiling hearing


    SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - WFTV learned that the Department of Justice is not only looking into the Sanford Police Department's handling of the Trayvon Martin case, but may now be investigating the entire department.

    "I am now in the process of talking with the Department of Justice and instituting a mechanism whereby citizens that have concerns or complaints about the Sanford Police Department can have their concerns heard, and investigated by an independent agency," said City Manager Norton Bonaparte.

    Martin's parents went before a congressional panel and thanked those who turned their 17-year-old son's death into a rallying cry against racial profiling.
    They spoke briefly Tuesday at a Capitol Hill forum that began with a moment of silence for their son, who was shot and killed Feb. 26 in a gated Florida community.
    Martin's father, Tracey Martin, thanked "everyone who is holding the legacy of Trayvon" while his mother, Sybrina Fulton, said, "Trayvon was our son, but Trayvon is your son."

    "A lot of people can relate to our situation and it breaks their heart, just like it breaks mine," said Fulton.
    Some members of Congress have called for a hate crimes investigation. The Justice Department has told Martin's parents that getting hate crime charges will be a challenge.
    The admitted shooter, George Zimmerman, has said he acted in self-defense. He has not been arrested or charged.

    It's been a month and a day since Martin's death, and WFTV obtained more information on his troubles in school.           

    Martin was suspended in October for painting the letters "WTF"  on a door at his Miami high school. The report states that police questioned him and found women's jewelry and a screwdriver, which police described as a "burglary tool" in his book bag.

    However, Martin was not charged with a crime.                          

    According to the report, Martin was also suspended this year for missing too many days of school, and the weekend he was killed, Martin was serving a 10-day suspension, after he was caught with a bag that tested positive for traces of marijuana.

    "They've killed my son, and now they're trying to kill his reputation," Fulton said.

    At a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Bonaparte announced the new development.

    He said since Martin was killed, the city has received numerous complaints from residents about other issues and cases in the department, including as recently as Monday night's city commission meeting.

    The Department of Justice is working on a plan to hear the complaints and investigate them.

    "The citizens of Sanford will continue to have some idea that their concerns would be heard by an independent agency when they have issues with the Sanford Police Department," said Bonaparte.

    According to Zimmerman, Martin attacked him and bashed his head into the sidewalk. Zimmerman told police that Martin tried to grab his gun.

    WFTV talked to State Attorney Anglea Corey and said the lead prosecutor is going to brief her on what he uncovered at the scene of the shooting on Tuesday.

    Florida's political leaders are divided over how quickly they should respond to the shooting death of Martin.
    Gov. Rick Scott called for the creation of a task force to look at the state's "Stand Your Ground" law, which eliminated a person's duty to retreat when threatened with serious bodily harm or death.
    But the governor said that the task force should not commence until an ongoing criminal investigation into Martin's death is finished. That go-slow approach is endorsed by other top Republicans in the Florida Legislature.
    Several black Democratic lawmakers are calling for more immediate action, saying that more incidents could occur if legislators wait too long. Sen. Chris Smith, D-Fort Lauderdale, demanded that the task force start its work in the next week.

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