Grieving parents join Florida 'stand your ground' protest

TALLAHASSEE, Florida Mon Mar 10, 2014 7:54pm EDT

The Rev. Al Sharpton (C) links arms with Sybrina Fulton (L, dark glasses), the mother of slain teen-ager Trayvon Martin, and Phyllis Giles, whose son is in prison for what supporters call the self-defense wounding of an attacker, during a march on the Florida Capitol in Tallahassee, Florida March 10, 2014. REUTERS/Bill Cotterell

The Rev. Al Sharpton (C) links arms with Sybrina Fulton (L, dark glasses), the mother of slain teen-ager Trayvon Martin, and Phyllis Giles, whose son is in prison for what supporters call the self-defense wounding of an attacker, during a march on the Florida Capitol in Tallahassee, Florida March 10, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Bill Cotterell

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TALLAHASSEE, Florida (Reuters) - Parents of two black teenagers whose killings sparked heated criticism of Florida's "stand your ground" law marched on the state Capitol on Monday, warning legislators of a political backlash unless they reform the statue.

"Florida is failing us," said Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, whose fatal shooting in 2012 led to the murder trial and subsequent acquittal of former neighborhood watch patrol guard George Zimmerman.

"Stand your ground will not stand," Fulton said. "This law is wrong. Stand your ground is absolutely, positively wrong."

Fulton spoke after Reverend Al Sharpton led a mostly black crowd of protesters on a short march to the steps of the Capitol, where the Republican-dominated legislature began its annual session last week.

A bill to repeal the 2005 self-defense law, which allows Floridians to use deadly force when they think their lives are in danger, was rejected late last year by a House committee. But a bill tightening some applications of the legal defense is still pending in the Senate.

Critics, including many civil rights groups, say the law passed under former Republican Governor Jeb Bush has created a license to kill for gun owners who hate or fear young black men.

Tracy Martin, Trayvon Martin's father, urged the roughly 500 protesters to get registered to vote in this year's elections. He recalled that Florida Governor Rick Scott appointed a task force to hold public hearings on the law, but the panel recommended no changes.

"In eight months, if stand your ground isn't changed, we've got to make a change in that office," he said, gesturing toward Scott's suite behind him.

"There is a groundswell rising up and calling for change," added Lucia McBath, whose son, Jordan Davis, was gunned down by software engineer Michael Dunn during a confrontation over loud music in a highly publicized case that recently went to trial.

Dunn was convicted of three counts of attempted murder for opening fire on the car of black teenagers in which Davis was killed. But the jury deadlocked on the murder charge.

The stand your ground law was not specifically used by defense lawyers in the Zimmerman or Dunn cases, but both men said they acted out of fear for their lives when they fatally shot their 17-year-old victims.

At Monday's protest, AME Church Bishop Adam Richardson solemnly gazed at the parents of Martin and Dunn and said, "These families have come into celebrity without asking for it.

"Florida is a dangerous place for black 17-year-old boys," he added. "Stand your ground must go. We are mobilizing for November. A change has got to come."

(Editing by Kevin Gray and Tom Brown)

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Comments (3)
runfast3 wrote:
If you grieving parents had spent half as much time raising your thug kids than listening to Jesse Jackson and Abernathy they would probably have grown up to be real gang members. You failed in your job.

Mar 10, 2014 8:41pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Evo1 wrote:
This is just BS. SYG has nothing to do with the standard of when lethal force is allowed, which is what people are ignorantly protesting. That’s simple self-defense, not SYG. And the standard for when lethal force may be used is virtually the same in every single state, and always has been. Also, SYG is not new, the majority of states have had it much longer than Florida. Here are some examples of when lethal force is allowed:

Florida: “A person is justified in the use of deadly force if he or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony” (allows SYG wherever you have a right to be, since 2005)

New York: “(a)The actor reasonably believes that such other person is using or about to use deadly physical force; (b) He or she reasonably believes that such other person is committing or attempting to commit a kidnapping, forcible rape, forcible criminal sexual act or robbery; or (c) He or she reasonably believes that such other person is committing or attempting to commit a burglary” (allows SYG in home, has always been SYG)

California: “when there is reasonable ground to apprehend a design to
commit a felony or to do some great bodily injury, and imminent
danger of such design being accomplished” (allows SYG wherever you have a right to be, since 1852)

Illinois: “He is justified in the use of force which is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm only if he reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or another, or the commission of a forcible felony.” (allows SYG wherever you have a right to be, since 1953)

Washington: “[Deadly force my be used] when there is reasonable ground to apprehend a design on the part of the person slain to commit a felony or to do some great personal injury to the slayer or to any such person, and there is imminent danger of such design being accomplished” (allows SYG wherever you have a right to be, has always been SYG)

Missouri: “He or she reasonably believes that such deadly force is necessary to protect himself, or herself or her unborn child, or another against death, serious physical injury, or any forcible felony” (allows SYG in the home, since 2007)

As you can see, Florida’s law is not in any way different than those of any other state when it comes to when you can legally use deadly force, and it is actually one of the most recent to adopt SYG, with most states having either always been SYG or adopting it decades ago. All the fuss right now over Florida is because race-baiters like Sharpton saw the chance to exploit people’s ignorance over these facts in order to get publicity.

Mar 10, 2014 11:15pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Crash866 wrote:
Still milking it eh….

Mar 11, 2014 3:06pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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