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Calls for justice shouldn’t alter or influence it

For weeks, a Florida community — and the entire nation — have been captivated by the tragic shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, all while the cries for an arrest in the case grew exponentially.

On Wednesday, 29-year-old community watch volunteer George Zimmerman was arrested and charged with second-degree murder in the case that started as a disagreement of some sort and became something far worse.

The important thing to remember is that Zimmerman is innocent until proven guilty and the public outrage shouldn’t overpower the facts of the case.

Florida prosecutors certainly feel they have enough evidence to charge him with second-degree murder, but you have to wonder if the national attention influenced the decision to go with a charge that could be very difficult to prove under Florida law. It remains to be seen if prosecutors can prove the shooting wasn’t in self defense.

This is certainly a tragedy and our hearts go out to the grieving families. But we cannot lose sight of the due process afforded to every American under the U.S. Constitution.

Zimmerman hasn’t been found guilty by a jury of his peers yet but he has already essentially been convicted in the court of public opinion.

Right now, no one knows exactly what happened on that Florida street. Only after all the facts come out should we make a judgment.