The death of Trayvon Martin in February has put Florida in the spotlight for their controversial “stand your ground law”—which allows civilians to inflict deadly force should they feel threatened— and in wake of the shooting, the state is rethinking the policy. Officials announced Thursday (April 19) that a team of 17 people, which includes a retired judge, and members of neighborhood watch programs, have been assembled to hear arguments and testimony from, residents at public hearings to be held across the state.
Martin’s death at the hands of George Zimmerman, who claims that shooting the teen was an act of self-defense, has re-opened a heated debate as to whether or not the law should remain in effect. The 28-year-old was taken into custody following the incident, but released after police found him not to be at fault for the killing.
While the 17-year-old’s death has contributed to the state’s decision to potentially reconsider their initial ruling, according to Gov. Rick Scott, the murder of the unarmed teen will not sway the state’s decision. Scott explained, during a press conference, that he had met with Martin’s parents and offered his condolences for the shooting, but vowed to weigh all options when making a final decision. “We’re not walking into this with any preconceived notions,” he said. However, should it be determined that the law is illogical, Scott promised to make needed adjustments.
Zimmerman, who also worked as a neighborhood watch volunteer, was later slapped with second-degree murder charges, brought on by special prosecutor Angela Corey. After spending only one week in prison, a Judge Kenneth Lester ruled Friday (April 20) that he be released on $150,000 bail.
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