Sharpton leads march over 'stand your ground' law
Published: Monday, March 10, 2014 at 1:45 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, March 10, 2014 at 1:45 p.m.
TALLAHASSEE — The Rev. Al Sharpton led several hundred people on a march to the state Capitol on Monday to protest Florida's "stand your ground" law.
Among the marchers were Trayvon Martin's father and the family of Marissa Alexander, who was sentenced to 20 years for firing a gun near her estranged husband.
"To have laws that tell people that they can shoot first and then ask questions later is a violation of our civil rights. I believe that law is inherently wrong," Sharpton told the crowd just before the march began. "The law in effect says based on your imagination — if you imagine I'm a threat — you have the right to kill me."
Protesters waved signs saying "STANDING OUR GROUND" and wore T-shirts that said "We are not a threat."
Florida law says people who are not involved in illegal activity have the right to stand their ground and meet force with force, including deadly force, if they reasonably believe it's necessary to avoid death or great bodily harm.
Martin was fatally shot by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, who later was acquitted of second-degree murder.
The Republican dominated Legislature has shown no interested in making any substantial changes to the stand your ground law enacted in 2005. Democrats the past two years have filed bills to repeal it or amend the law.
The protesters planned to attend House and Senate criminal justice committees in hopes of telling lawmakers they want them to consider action on the law.
Last summer, members of the group Dream Defenders held a monthlong sit-in at the Capitol to try to get lawmakers to call a special session to address the law, but Gov. Rick Scott and legislative leaders refused to do so.
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