Reporting Tim Kephart
Legislative Session Coverage
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Sanford City Manager Norton Bonaparte announced Friday that two captains will run the city’s police force while Chief Bill Lee temporarily leaves the top job.
Capt. Robert O’Connor, who ran the investigation into the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, 17, and Capt. Darren Scott will lead the department, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Bonaparte said that the city of Sanford was still open for business and asked people to come and see the city for themselves.
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama weighed in on the Trayvon Martin shooting from the Rose Garden calling the situation a “tragedy” in his first public comments on the subject.
“If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon,” President Obama said. “And I think every parent in America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative that we investigate every aspect of this.”
“I think all of us have to do some soul searching to figure out how something like this happened,” Obama said, according to Time.com.
Obama’s likely rival in November, Republican Mitt Romney also addressed the situation agreeing with the President that the situation was a “tragedy.”
“What happened to Trayvon Martin is a tragedy,” Romney said. “There needs to be a thorough investigation that reassures the public that justice is carried out with impartiality and integrity.”
Obama’s comments came just hours after Martin’s parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, appeared on CBS This Morning. Tracy Martin said his son was a hero and that he saved his life by pulling him out of a fire.
“And at his time of need, I wasn’t there to save his life,” he said. “But I pledge my life to continue to push forward until we get justice for my son.”
“Trayvon has a grandfather that is a retired police officer in Miami, so he knows to respect authority,” Fulton said. “He knows about the police, he’s not afraid of the police. However, he’s seen this guy (Zimmerman) as a stranger, so of course he’s going to try to run. He’s going to try to get away. He’s going to try to avoid any situation. And that’s what we really believe, that he was really trying to get away.”
Thursday, the Sanford Police Chief, Bill Lee, announced he was temporarily stepping down while the investigation into Martin’s shooting death continues. His comments also came just hours after a massive rally was held in Sanford.
Trayvon Martin, 17, was gunned down in a Sanford, Florida neighborhood last month. The shooter, George Zimmerman, said he was acting in self-defense, though 911 calls have called his actions into question.
Martin was unarmed at the time of the shooting and was only carrying a bag of Skittles and some iced tea.
When asked by CBS what it was that both Martin and Fulton wanted the most, Fulton answered succinctly, “We want George Zimmerman arrested for this crime.”
Thursday night, Congressman Allen West called the Martin case, “an outrage” in a posting on his personal Facebook page.
“The U.S. Navy SEALS identified Osama Bin Laden within hours, while this young man laid on a morgue slab for three days,” West continued. “The shooter, Mr. Zimmerman, should have been held in custody and certainly should not be walking free, still having a concealed weapons carry permit.”
C0ngresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, also head of the Democratic National Committee, weighed in Friday on the Martin case as well, calling it a “tragedy.”
“I am pleased that the Department of Justice is looking into this incident and that a special prosecutor has been appointed to investigate this case,” Wasserman Schultz said. “I am hopeful that federal, state and local coordination will ensure a complete and thorough investigation. My thoughts and deepest sympathy are with Trayvon Martin’s family and friends during this difficult time.”