U.S. Commission on Civil Rights member: ‘Stand Your Ground’ responsible for Zimmerman acquittalby Dara Kam | July 16th, 2013
U.S. Commission on Civil Rights member Michael Yaki, who initiated the federal panel’s investigation into racial bias and stand your ground laws, blamed George Zimmerman’s acquittal on Florida’s first-in-the-nation law giving allowing people to use deadly force without retreating if they feel their lives are in danger.
Zimmerman’s lawyers argued that the neighborhood watch volunteer shot Trayvon Martin in self-defense after the unarmed black teenager attacked him. Zimmerman was following Martin in a townhome community in Sanford.
Yaki, who once worked for U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, issued the following statement this morning:
While the jury has spoken, the fact remains that an unarmed young man, with his whole future ahead of him, was killed by a gun. It is my personal belief that Florida’s Stand Your Ground, coupled with easy access to guns, was a largely responsible for this tragedy. But notwithstanding my personal feelings, the Trayvon Martin case opened up a nationwide inquiry into the appropriateness and efficacy of Stand Your Ground laws, and the US Commission on Civil Rights will pursue this investigation wherever it leads. To honor Trayvon and his family we will continue this inquiry with resolve and renewed purpose.
The Justice Department is reviewing the case, and the NAACP has gathered nearly 1 million petitions demanding that Zimmerman be charged with a federal hate crime.