Trayvon Martin's Mother Joins in Call to Repeal "Stand Your Ground" Law
January 17, 2013 | WMFE - The mother of Trayvon Martin joined several Democratic state lawmakers in Tallahassee Wednesday to call for the repeal of the state's so-called "Stand-Your-Ground" law. The move to repeal the law comes nearly a year after neighborhood watch volunteer, George Zimmerman shot and killed the unarmed teenager in Sanford.
Trayvon Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, was flanked by the Democratic lawmakers who’ve filed legislation to throw out Florida’s law that says people can use deadly force if they feel threatened.
“As a parent, I just don’t quite understand how someone can be a make-believe cop, pursue my son who had every right to be in that neighborhood, chase him, get in a confrontation with him, shoot and kill him and not be arrested.” Fulton said.
Nearly a year ago, on February 26th 2012, Fulton’s son Trayvon Martin was fatally shot by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman.
Zimmerman was eventually arrested 44 days after the shooting.
He is charged with second degree murder but is claiming self-defense under the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law.
“Something has to be done.” Fulton said. “We have to put our collective minds together, we have to strategize and we have to make changes to this law”
Governor Rick Scott commissioned a 19 member task force in April to review the law but during the six months of traveling the state the group was heavily criticized for being packed with those who support the law.
Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll, the chair of the task force, responded to critics in May.
“It is a mischaracterization for anyone to presume that this taskforce is not balanced” Carroll said.
In the end, the task force didn’t come up with any major changes to law, it mostly asked for the law enforcement community to conduct a further review.
Democratic Senator Dwight Bullard of Miami is co-sponsoring the bill to repeal the 2005 “Stand Your Ground” law saying the task force failed its job.
“We’ve been waiting for far too long and seeing too many cities to watch this dog and pony show to go around this state to come up with no recommendations.” Bullard said. “So we’re taking a pro-active stance, right now.”
The original sponsor of “Stand Your Ground”, Republican Representative Dennis Baxley of Ocala says the law does what it’s supposed to and that is protect would be victims from violence.
“Look at how many people it’s prevented them being a rape victim, prevented them from beating.” Baxley said. “Or being in a situation where they lost their lives.”
Baxley says he believes the law helped reduce the number of violent crimes in the state since his bill went into effect.
“I understand the grief, but when you look at the public policy question, it’s clear that what’s happened is we’ve seen less violence and we’ve prevented a lot of victims from violence.”
Baxley says he’s not hearing a lot of support for a repeal of his law, but he’s open to discussing and looking at ways to make improvements.