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Trayvon Martin case: Relief, hope in Sanford, Fla., after Zimmerman charged

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When Corey finished her entire statement, Rollins clapped. “I am very, very happy,” but, “they should have done it since Day 1.”

The charges didn’t make all residents, officials, and business owners as openly happy as Rollins. But a feeling that Sanford had emerged from a period of crisis and back to one of normalcy was a common reaction.

Sanford Mayor Jeff Triplett, at a press conference outside of City Hall Wednesday evening, expressed relief that this bridge had been crossed. And City Manager Norton Bonaparte said the charge proves that the justice system “takes time,” but it works.

The two addressed a phalanx of television and print journalists who asked questions about Zimmerman’s whereabouts (they don’t know), whether the police chief who temporarily stepped down last month, Bill Lee Jr., would be fired (there will be an independent investigation before that decision is made), and what steps the city was taking to lead a healing process among residents (they are being assisted by the US Department of Justice’s community relations staff in figuring out a plan).

Journalists weren’t the only ones at the scene. Locals who had heard a major development in the case was about to happen also showed up.

Dana Bass and her husband, Mike, took out their cellphones and were taking pictures. This was the first time they had attended anything related to the case. Mike said the charges were a big first step and there was a “lull in the atmosphere in Sanford.”

“Now it’s more like, what is going to happen next?” he said.

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