COCOA, Florida – Four candidates for Brevard County Sheriff and one candidate for State Attorney for the 18th Judicial Circuit addressed the handling of the Trayvon Martin case by the current State Attorney’s Office and the Sanford Police Department to a largely black audience at the Greater St. Paul Baptist Church in Cocoa, Florida on Sunday.
While all of the candidates predicated their statements that none of them know all of the facts of the Trayvon Martin case, they did address policies, procedures, and how local law enforcement and the State Attorney’s office should have done a better job communicating with the Martin family and the black community.
The four candidates for Brevard Sheriff who appeared on Sunday to talk to the community and answer questions in Cocoa were Adriane Moss-Beasley (D), Ernest Cathy (NPA), Todd Maddox (R), and Gary Harrell (R). The four Sherrif’s candidates present were collegial with one another, but each took a turn chastising Wayne Ivey (R) for skipping the event to attend a fundraiser at a chili cook-off. Harrell drew laughs from the audience after referring to the ‘white-boy network’ by saying, “By the way, I’m pink.”
Just before the start of the event, a press release was given to the media announcing that Phil Archer (R), who currently works in the State Attorney’s Office, would not attend the event. It stated, in part:
“Assistant State Attorney Phil Archer announced today that he is unable to attend the Trayvon Martin Brevard Community Roundtable Event. He is following the instructions of the State Attorney Norm Wolfinger and Special Prosecutor Angela Corey who has requested that no further comments be made about the investigation to protect the integrity of the case.
…My heart goes out to the Martin faminly for their tragic loss. As the father of a 17-year-old son I cannot imagine losing him in such a senseless and violent manner. I know that the Martin family and organizers of this event are seeking answers to many questions surrounding Trayvon’s death. I am restrained from making comments by the special prosecutor and the laws of Florida…”
Like the Sheriff’s candidates present at the event, State Attorney candidate Ryan Vescio (D) also chastised his no-show opponent, often looking down and motioning to an empty chair where Archer was to be seated while Vescio addressed the role of the State Attorney’s office in the handling of the Trayvon Martin case.