MIAMI — The Florida State NAACP has called on U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate the circumstances of the shooting death of a Miami-Dade County teenager who was killed by a white volunteer crime watch captain while visiting his father in Sanford.
In a letter dated Tuesday, NAACP state president Adora Obi Nweze asked Holder to send staff to the Florida city to review the killing of Trayvon Martin, 17, “and ensure that an impartial and thorough investigation is performed promptly.”
Nweze also requested a meeting with officials of the department’s Community Relations Services “at which we can present our concerns.”
Also on Tuesday, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Barbara Jordan joined in the call for an investigation of Trayvon’s Feb. 26 death.
Jordan’s office announced that she sent an “urgent” letter to State Attorney Norman R. Wolfinger of the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit, “urging him to conduct a thorough investigation” into the death of the teenager who lived in Jordan’s district.
“I am saddened and distressed by the killing of an unarmed 17-year-old high school student,” Jordan said in her letter. “We too have heard the expressions of outrage and the accusations of those who believe that the killing was unlawful and may have been racially motivated.”
The Sanford police department said it has completed its investigation and has not found cause to arrest the shooter, George Zimmerman. The case was being forwarded to the State Attorney for Brevard and Seminole counties.
Jordan has asked Wolfinger to keep the Martin family apprised of developments.
“I strongly encourage you to reach out to Trayvon’s family, who, we understand, believe that they have not been kept sufficiently informed by officials at the Sanford police department,” Jordan said in her letter.
“In Miami-Dade County, experience has taught us that community members need to be engaged and information shared in a timely manner in order to facilitate a greater level of trust in local law enforcement and the criminal justice system,” she said.
News reports indicate Zimmerman has acknowledged shooting Trayvon, claiming he acted in self-defense.
According to news reports, Trayvon, a junior at Dr. Michael M. Krop High School, 1410 County Line Rd. in north Miami-Dade, was visiting his father in the gated Retreat at Twin Lakes development. He was returning home from a trip to a convenience store when he was apparently confronted by Zimmerman who called police to report the presence of a suspicious person. Zimmerman, who has a concealed weapon permit, was carrying a 9mm pistol.
Sanford police instructed Zimmerman to wait on the arrival of a police officer. Police tapes of the exchange have not been released and Trayvon’s family have filed a lawsuit seeking their release.
Trayvon, who was unarmed, was found shot to death eight houses from his father’s home. He had with him $22, a bag of candy and a can of iced tea.
His family is calling for Zimmerman’s arrest and they held a candlelight vigil Sunday night, with some attendees holding up signs that read “Justice for Trayvon Martin.”
In Sanford, crowds of angry protesters have been demonstrating outside the police department and city hall, calling also for the shooter’s arrest.
The shooting has also attracted the attention of the Rev. Al Sharpton of the National Action Network who was planning a trip to Florida to join the protest.
“This is appalling, to think that this guy admitted to initiating the conversation and that there was no crime other than the killing of this young man,” Sharpton told Huffington Post in a story filed Tuesday.