A scene from one of the recent Trayvon Martin protests in Sanford. (Photo: Flickr.)

By Howard Goodman
Florida Center for Investigative Reporting

A few moments after the stroke of 6 p.m., we saw something we haven’t seen in a long time.

We saw the law-enforcement machinery of Florida doing the right thing.

Special Prosecutor Angela Corey strode to a podium in Jacksonville before a national television audience and said she had spoken to Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, the parents of Trayon Martin. And then she talked about “seeking justice for Trayvon.”

For the first time in the six weeks in which the killing of an unarmed 17-year-old went from being a little-noticed shooting to a civil rights outrage that highlighted some of our nation’s divisions, a law enforcement figure was putting the emphasis where it had belonged all the time. With the victim.

Corey announced the filing of charges of second-degree murder against George Zimmerman, the self-appointed community watchman who shot Martin but went free because Sanford police took his word that he had acted in self-defense.

“We did not come to this decision lightly,” Corey said. She added: “Let me emphasize that we do not prosecute by public pressure or by petition. “

“We will continue to seek the truth about this case,” she said.

Appointed by Gov. Rick Scott three weeks ago, Corey cast her job as a pledge to look for the “precious victims” of crime. But she said she must also protect the rights of the accused.

“There’s a reason cases are tried in a court of law — not in court of public opinion and not in the media,” Corey said.

She is absolutely right. It is in the courts where the facts and evidence should be sifted. It’s where this case should have belonged all along.

With Zimmerman’s arrest and his due appearance before a magistrate in Seminole County, justice may finally be served.