Ever since his CPAC Keynote Address in 2010, Rep. Allen West (R-FL) has been one of the gold standards of modern American political conservatism. He has also been widely hailed as a political model for conservative African American politicians. And now, following recent revelations surrounding the highly suspicious shooting of Trayvon Martin, Rep. West has joined a growing bipartisan consensus calling for the case to be reopened, possibly even with Federal assistance. West's statement, put out today by Talking Points Memo, resonates with controlled fury (emphasis added):
itself in Sanford, Florida involving the shooting of 17-year-old Treyvon Martin. First of all, if all that has been reported is accurate, the Sanford Police Chief should be relieved of his duties due to what appears to be a mishandling of this shooting in its early stages. The US Navy SEALS identified Osama Bin Laden within hours, while this young man laid on a morgue slab for three days. The shooter, Mr Zimmerman, should have been held in custody and certainly should not be walking free, still having a concealed weapons carry permit. From my reading, it seems this young man was pursued and there was no probable cause to engage him, certainly not pursue and shoot him….against the direction of the 911 responder. Let’s all be appalled at this instance not because of race, but because a young American man has lost his life, seemingly, for no reason. I have signed a letter supporting a DOJ investigation. I am not heading to Sanford to shout and scream, because we need the responsible entities and agencies to handle this situation from this point without media bias or undue political influences. This is an outrage.
Similar sentiments were expressed yesterday in an op ed published yesterday by the author of the law between which George Zimmerman has tried to shield his actions - a defense that is becoming increasingly implausible-sounding. The author, Dennis Baxley, completely disowns Zimmerman's actions:
As the prime sponsor of this legislation in the Florida House, I'd like to clarify that this law does not seem to be applicable to the tragedy that happened in Sanford. There is nothing in the castle doctrine as found in Florida statutes that authenticates or provides for the opportunity to pursue and confront individuals, it simply protects those who would be potential victims by allowing for force to be used in self-defense.[...]
Mr. Zimmerman's unnecessary pursuit and confrontation of Trayvon Martin elevated the prospect of a violent episode and does not seem to be an act of self-defense as defined by the castle doctrine. There is no protection in the "Stand Your Ground" law for anyone who pursues and confronts people.
I have great sympathy for the family of Trayvon Martin and am grateful that things are finally moving in the right direction to further explore what actually happened on that night in Sanford, Florida. Awaiting the convening of the grand jury, I trust that justice will be served and healing will begin for all of those affected.
As of yet, there is no indicator that Zimmerman will be indicted or arrested for his actions, though the Martin family will be filing a wrongful death lawsuit against him. Unfortunately for all concerned, this case is far from resolved, and probably the full, painful story will not be known until the case has been fought in court.