In the case of the Florida shooting that’s in the news, it’s important to keep an open mind. All the facts haven’t yet come out.
That said, the facts that are known raise disturbing questions about the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin.
The 17-year-old black youth was visiting his father’s fiancee and was walking back from a convenience store, carrying a packet of Skittles and an ice tea.
George Zimmerman, a 28-year-old light-skinned Hispanic man, frequently performed neighborhood watch in his community. He called the police and reported Martin. The police told Zimmerman to remain in his vehicle and not to follow the youth.
Neighbors later reported a gunshot and a struggle.
When police arrived they found Martin face down in the grass, fatally shot in the chest.
Zimmerman was bleeding from the head, with grass stains on his back.
Here’s the problem: Why was Zimmerman not arrested, and how could he plausibly claim self-defense — as the police say — given that he seems to have instigated the encounter with the victim?
Bill Lee Jr., the Sanford, Fla., police chief in the eye of the storm, stepped down Thursday, at least temporarily, saying he hoped his exit would restore some calm.
But calm is no substitute for answers and explanations. The authorities must provide them swiftly and honestly. An ongoing U.S. Justice Department investigation should help with that effort, as could a grand jury probe.
Copyright Kansas City Star. Reprinted with permission.