CNN's State of the Union with Candy Crowley, 3/25/2012
THIS IS A RUSH FDCH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CROWLEY: George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch captain in Sanford, Florida, told authorities he acted in self-defense when he shot and killed unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin bringing into focus a seven-year-old Florida law that reads in part, a person has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force, if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do to prevent death or great bodily harm.
Since stand your ground was enacted in Florida, the an number of Florida cases found to be justifiable homicide was nearly tripled from an average 12 a year to 33.
This week Florida Governor Rick Scott appointed a special prosecutor to oversee the Martin case and created a task force to review the stand your ground law.
And joining me now for an exclusive interview Governor Rick Scott from Florida.
Thank you, sir, for joining us.
GOV. RICK SCOTT, R-FLA.: Good morning.
Well, I want -- you just feel -- your heart goes out to that family. I had the opportunity to meet with the parents Thursday night to let them know that I appointed a new state attorney and introduced them to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents that are working on the case. And you're just -- you know, your heart goes out to them, because you just no family ever imagines this could ever happen to their child.
CROWLEY: You must have -- with the stand your ground law, which may or may not apply to this case, but certainly you must have had questions about the state law before you appointed this task force.
SCOTT: What you want to make sure is you just -- you want to make sure everybody feels comfortable with public safety in our state. And so as you know, I put together a task force led by my lieutenant governor who's African-American and I'm going to have different elected officials appoint individuals, but we'll look at all of it.
But the first thing we're going to do is really do a thorough investigation to see what happened here. We've -- no one can imagine this happened to their family. We've got to find out exactly what's going to happen. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement state attorney Angela Corey, is going to do a great job knowing what happened and make sure justice prevails. We have to do that.
CROWLEY: Governor, does this look like a race thing to you?
SCOTT: Well, you know, there's nothing I know about that. I know we'll find that -- I think we'll find that out in the investigation. You hope it's never the case, but we'll look at all these things and find out what happened. We're going to do -- there will be a thorough investigation, justice will prevail. We have got to make sure there's justice for Mr. Martin's family and also justice for George Zimmerman.
CROWLEY: Let me ask you, one of the things that -- one of the criticisms has been it took more than a month for anyone to really notice this case, and that includes you, because this week was when you appointed -- or switched attorneys and when you appointed the task force. Why did it take you this long?
SCOTT: Well, first off, I don't have the authority to appoint a new state attorney unless the existing state attorney withdraws.
CROWLEY: You could have pushed them out sooner.
SCOTT: Everything you do in life, I would love to do things faster, and you get more information and you see about problems faster. So, I would love to do things faster. The right thing happened here. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement will do a thorough investigation. They're known for that. Angela Corey is a very good state attorney who I have known for a long time, she will do a great job.
CROWLEY: And finally you mentioned George Zimmerman, the man who admitted to police that he shot, claims it was self-defense. There are various things that tell us that was not the case. There have been death threats against him. Is there some -- does the state feel that it needs to protect him while this case moves on or do you know where he is? What do you know about Zimmerman?
SCOTT: Well, you've got to make sure there's due process. You have got to make sure there's due process for somebody that's accused of a crime. You've got make sure they're safe.
CROWLEY: Which he hasn't been accused of yet.
SCOTT: He has not been accused. You have got to make sure no one feel uncomfortable that's not been accused of a crime. So if he feels unsafe, then we'll make sure nothing happens to him.
CROWLEY: Has there been any request of that sort?
SCOTT: Not at the governor's office.
CROWLEY: Not that you know of.
OK, do you expect charges in this case?
SCOTT: I'm not sure. We have to wait and see what the facts are.