Bill Clinton and Massachusetts Gov. Patrick Weigh in on Trayvon Case

The former president says Floirida’s "Stand Your Ground" law needs to be reviewed as Zimmerman’s lawyer says his client will cooperate with any investigation.

Posted: 04/03/2012 03:43 PM EDT
President Bill Clinton, racial profiling, George Zimmerman, National News, Trayvon Martin, Deval Patrick

As the protests continue in the Trayvon Martin case, a governor and a former president weighed in with their views on the killing, while the lawyer for the shooter, George Zimmerman, said his client will cooperate with the authorities no matter what occurs.

Former President Bill Clinton stepped into the national discussion on the Trayvon Martin shooting, saying that a re-evaluation of Florida’s "Stand Your Ground" law is needed.

Clinton said the death of Trayvon, an unarmed 17-year-old who was shot by a neighborhood watch volunteer a month ago, was an “incredible personal tragedy.”

The former president added, "People have always had a right to have a handgun in their home — to protect their homes — then we've seen this breathtaking expansion of concealed weapons laws... I hope this will lead to a reappraisal of the Stand Your Ground laws, that the truth will come out and that the tragedy of this young man's loss will not be in vain."

Meanwhile, Deval Patrick, the governor of Massachusetts, said the Trayvon Martin shooting made clear the impact of racial profiling, and called for his state to push for a bill in the state legislature that would combat the practice by law enforcement authorities.

“Here in Massachusetts, if people want to do something to honor this tragedy and to respond to it, one thing they could do is take up the racial profiling proposal,” Gov. Patrick said. “I think a family that’s been dealing with the kind of tragedy that the Martin family has been dealing with must take some comfort from the expressions of compassion and solidarity that has come from so many, and I support that.”

While Patrick, the nation's only African-American governor, was calling for the passage of legislation, a Florida state senator announced that he has formed a task force to study the impact of the state’s "Stand Your Ground" law.

“Florida is in crisis mode,” said Sen. Chris Smith of Fort Lauderdale.

Trayvon’s death has led lawmakers in the state capitol of Tallahassee to vigorously review the 2005 legislation, which allows the use of deadly force in self-defense.

 

When neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman shot Trayvon on Feb. 26, he claimed he felt threatened by the teenager. However, the lawyer for Trayvon’s family has said Zimmerman was the aggressor against the unarmed teen.


Craig Sonner, Zimmerman’s lawyer, said that his client will cooperate with authorities.
"If he's charged, he will be arrested and he will turn himself in,” Sonner said in an interview with Reuters.

“However it goes, he's not hiding from the authorities. If he is asked, he will turn himself in. There's not going to be a manhunt or anything like that.”


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