On the day that President Obama was announcing new measures aimed at curbing gun violence, Sybrina Fulton met with legislators and held a press conference calling for rescinding the law.
“I have to speak for Trayvon because he is not here to speak for himself,” she said. “We have to do something to change these laws. We cannot have children who are left dead on the streets, unarmed, and the gunman saying he stood his ground and not even get arrested. We cannot have this happen to anyone else’s children,” Fulton said in an interview with BET.com.
Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, like those in several states, allows people to use deadly force when they consider themselves in imminent danger. George Zimmerman, the onetime neighborhood watch volunteer, who shot to death the unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin a year ago, is seeking to invoke the law. He is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Martin.
The Stand Your Ground laws have become the center of national attention — and controversy — since Martin was shot in a gated community near Orlando last February. The Black teenager was carrying candy and a can of iced tea when Zimmerman shot him with a 9-millimeter handgun.
Zimmerman has insisted that he acted in self-defense, saying the teenager had accosted him. His trial is pending.
In response to the shooting, Florida’s governor, Rick Scott, created a 19-member task force to review the law. The task force spent six months traveling the state and taking public testimony before concluding that there was no need to overhaul the Stand Your Ground law.
The governor was criticized by civil rights activists, who claimed the task force was dominated by supporters of the law.
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(Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)