400 miles from sit-in, Gov. Scott meets with mayors, commissioners in Palm Beach Countyby George Bennett | July 23rd, 2013
WEST PALM BEACH — Four hundred miles from sit-in protesters at his office in Tallahassee, Gov. Rick Scott met with some mayors and Palm Beach County commissioners here today and said he’s not planning to return to his office in the capitol this week.
The governor has been to his capitol office only once since opponents of the state’s “Stand Your Ground” self-defense law began a sit-in protest there last week. Scott, who met with some of the protesters Thursday night, said “no” when asked if he’s been trying to avoid the capitol.
“I mean, I cover the state, I travel the state. I’m there (in Tallahassee) more during the session,” Scott said outside the Palm Beach Cafe after a meeting with Mayors Jeri Muoio of West Palm Beach, Bert Premuroso of Palm Beach Gardens and Pam Triolo of Lake Worth and Deputy Mayor Susan Haynie of Boca Raton.
Asked when he expects to be back in his Tallahassee office, Scott said, “Probably next week sometime.”
As for the sit-in protesters, Scott said, “They asked me to call a special session. I let them know I’m not. I support the Stand Your Ground and self-defense laws. I let them know that. What I did yesterday was I asked the secretary of the Department of Juvenile Justice (Wansley Waters) to go over and talk to them and she did. That’s something that came up when I sat down with (protesters) Thursday night. She explained some of the things that she’s accomplished in the last 2-1/2 years to deal with juvenile justice, which is one of the things that they brought up.”
Florida’s 2005 Stand Your Ground law has drawn renewed attention after a Sanford jury acquitted George Zimmerman of second-degree murder in the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin. The law says a person who is attacked in a public place does not have a duty to retreat and can use deadly force “if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.”
Zimmerman’s defense team did not invoke the law during the trial, but it was included in instructions to the jury.
“What people ought to address is that we lost a 17-year-old young man in this state. That’s a tragedy,” Scott said. “I mean, think about his parents. I’ve got daughters, I have a grandson, I have more on the way. I would hate to lose one of them…What we ought to be thinking about is we ought to mourn Travyon Martin’s loss, we ought to bring our state back together and help people get back to work and get a great education.”
In addition to his meeting with the mayors, Scott met earlier in the day with Palm Beach County Mayor Steven Abrams in Boca Raton and later in the morning with County Commissioner Hal Valeche.