Anyone thought it was just Florida? Florida’s “stand your ground” law has reportedly been invoked 200 times since the state passed the statute in 2005, but it’s most infamously associated with Trayvon Martin’s 2012 slaying as he walked to his father’s house in a gated community on a rainy February evening.
Statement issued by the family of 17-year-old Darrell Niles regarding the court decision on stand your ground immunity hearing for Shannon Scott (courtesy WISTV.com):
“As a family, we have waited patiently, quietly and painfully for the last three years. We even remained silent, painful, yet hopeful during the Zimmerman case. We did not come this far not to receive justice for Darrell. We know that there is nothing we can do to bring Darrell back, but we will now speak on behalf of all innocent bystanders.
We were present in court every day and heard every statement. We are appalled by the judges decision. The 4 teenagers that testified on Shannon Scott’s behalf, gave 4 different stories. After each of their testimonies, it was revealed that each of them changed their stories from three years ago (statements were read aloud in court).
Please, please, please understand that there are so many details being left out. Kudos to Todd Rutherford for being a good lawyer. However, Shannon Scott’s roommate and his girlfriend testified that Shannon came into his room, grabbed his gun without telling them to get down or about any threat and immediately walked outside shooting. They testified that the first shot was close to the house and happened immediately after Shannon went out of his front door. They said the second shot was far off. This matches the statement (read in court) given by the shooter in the car of so called “women thugs”. She said she wanted the person that was shooting at her to know that she also had a gun, so she shot back.
As Rutherford mentioned on WIS news, the young lady did give a statement to police stating that she was going to shoot Shannon’s house up, but Rutherford failed to mention that her sentence ended in “after someone shot at me, but my friends talked me out of it.” She felt the need to defend herself.
Prior to this case, Shannon had no knowledge that the girls planned to shoot at his home. He found out in court and Mr. Rutherford capitalized on it in his closing statement to paint a picture that did not happen. Even the 911 call made by Shannon’s wife, at the time girlfriend, which was played in court said, “there is a white SUV full of girls parked at Allstate”. She stated that Shannon heard her say this. So, how did he end up shooting a red Honda that contained two boys?
The young man riding with Darrell also testified that Shannon shot first. He saw him walk out and start shooting. He also testified of a second shot that was far off. The 911 call gave details on where the girls were (parked at Allstate…a few houses down and two the right of Shannon’s home) and pictures revealed where my Darrell’s car ended (pictures shown in court….like two houses down and to the left of Shannon’s home). That doesn’t make for an off shot. That makes for bad judgement.
Shannon also testified that he saw the vehicle that posed a threat come down the street with it’s headlights off. Pictures shown revealed that Darrell’s headlights were on. Nonetheless, this man was shooting at kids.
Yes, teenagers can pose a threat and we understand wanting to protect your child, but by any means necessary and without judgement?!? There was a sign at his home that said, “Shoot first. Ask questions later.” He did exactly that. Regardless of what his lawyer wants people to believe, Shannon shot first. He created the biggest threat and took an innocent bystanders life. He shot at a car that had the windows up (pictures shown in court). That is not standing your ground.
We understand that the stand your ground law has caused an uproar in our nation at this time, but we do not feel as if it is applicable to this case. We hope and pray that the Supreme Court would allow this case to go to trial. We are confident in the facts. Not the painted picture of Rutherford, who helped write the stand your ground law. Thanks to everyone in support of justice in this case. We thank you. We solicit your prayers. One thing is for sure, facts do not lie!!“
The NRA offically defends stand-your-ground laws as a “right to self defense” and states that stand-your-ground “gives back rights that have been eroded or taken away by the judicial system”. These are misleading statements, intended to support their argument for maintaining SYG laws as is.
Gun rights have not eroded or been taken away by the judicial system, and as they are written, stand-your-ground laws in fact expand gun rights traditionally afforded under the Castle Doctrine.
The right to bear arms is instilled in our Constitution, and can never be completely “taken away”. We are a nation that is simply sick of gun violence and many people agree that some type of gun control is needed to keep guns out of the hands of the wrong people. As President Obama recently said, the fight for gun laws “ought to obsess us.”
Yes, Mr. President we should be obsessed, and we are. The NRA is obsessed, too, with insisting we not have any gun control at all. With opposition to stand-your-ground laws growing, the NRA may have a lot more shooting left to do.
Last week, the Sarasota, Florida City Commission approved the city’s Revised Final 2014 Legislative Priorities and voted to request that “the state Legislature repeal the Stand Your Ground statute and establish a more civil approach to governance than afforded under the current statute.”
This is a brave, emboldened step by Sarasota – perhaps the first city to oppose stand-your-ground laws in the first state to enact stand-your-ground.
According to reports, the National Rifle Association (NRA), which led efforts to enact stand-your-ground laws has already “sunk its teeth” into the debate, urging voters to recall the Sarasota commissioners. The NRA likely will put up a fierce fight to keep stand-your-ground, especially in their prized debut state. Yet, municipalities across the nation are lining up in opposition.
Just this week, the Youngstown, Ohio city council followed the lead of Cincinnati, Dayton, South Euclid and Toledo in voting to oppose the state’s proposed HB 203, which would expand the circumstances in which a person has no duty to retreat from a threatening situation before using force in self-defense, and ease restrictions on permits to carry concealed weapons.
With growing opposition to stand-your-ground laws around the state, the city council of Cincinnati on yesterday unanimously passed a resolution opposing Ohio’s proposed stand-your-ground law.
The Ohio bill (HB203) would expand the circumstances in which a person has no duty to retreat from a threatening situation before using force in self-defense, and also ease restrictions on permits to carry concealed weapons.
A new video uploaded on YouTube today highlights a few more unarmed Florida citizens killed by someone who invoked stand-your-ground law.
The clip profiles Gary Hembree, Jordan Davis, David James, and Sherdavia Jenkins – all killed doing normal things we may take for granted. Like having fun at a Labor Day barbecue, or waiting at a gas station inside a friend’s vehicle, or showing a child how to play basketball – or, just being a child, playing outside.
Check out this 30-second clip on YouTube, and then, please share it!
Since the trial of George Zimmerman, there has been a lot of debate over the legitimacy of “Stand Your Ground” laws. Many claim they are a valid measure for home protection, others cite they open the door for racially-motivated murder. Both are true, but in this guy’s opinion, while the law’s purpose of protecting someone who protects themselves is a valid idea, the manner in which “Stand Your Ground” can — and is — abused is just cause for concern. I mean, look at the facts in Zimmerman’s case.
George Zimmerman spotted Trayvon Martin walking through the neighborhood and found him to be “suspicious”. Zimmerman phoned the police, saying how “these assholes always get away”, then against dispatcher recommendation, got out of his car and pursued Martin, despite police being en route. Zimmerman and Martin got into an altercation, which resulted in a bloody nose and a couple of scratches…
Last year, our son Trayvon Martin was stalked, chased down and killed by George Zimmerman, and Zimmerman faced no punishment whatsoever. That’s in large part because Florida is one of at least 21 states with some form of ‘Stand Your Ground‘ law, which enables people like George Zimmerman to claim self-defense.
We’re calling on 21 governors whose states have some form of ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws to review those laws and amend them so that people who instigate conflicts — people like George Zimmerman — won’t be able to use these laws to get away with murder.
‘Stand Your Ground’ was never meant to give aggressors the opportunity to get away with murder, but that is what happened when our son, Trayvon Benjamin Martin was killed. After Trayvon’s death, law enforcement used the law as an excuse to refuse to arrest George Zimmerman. Even worse, the jury in the case was instructed to think of what Zimmerman did as self-defense, even though Zimmerman ignored instructions from the police and instigated conflict with our son, who was just trying to get home to his father.
We are shocked and heartbroken by the jury’s decision to allow our son’s killer to go free. Despite our despair, we must honor Trayvon’s legacy by doing all that we can to protect other young people from being targeted, pursued, and senselessly murdered.
We are not the only ones calling for ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws to be reviewed. President Obama spoke out on the need for review, and prominent Republicans like Senator John McCain have joined him. This is not a Democrat or Republican issue, it’s not ‘black’ or ‘white’ issue, it’s a wrong and right issue. This is a matter of making sure that no other family will ever have to go through what we have been through. No parents should ever have to know what it feels like to watch your child’s killer walk free.
Here in Florida, we are pushing for an amendment to Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ law. Sign our petition to call on all at least 21 governors to review their laws and consider similar amendments so that they can protect children in their states, just as we wish Florida would have protected Trayvon.
We want to say thank you to all of you who have stood up for our son. Because of all of your efforts, Trayvon’s life is celebrated all over the world. Please continue to stand with us as we fight to ensure that his legacy is to leave behind a safer and more peaceful world for all our sons and daughters.
FloridaStandYourGround.org reports that according to an analysis of FBI data by New York’s Michael Bloomberg, co-chairman of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, “States that passed Stand Your Ground laws experienced a 53.5 percent increase in ‘justifiable homicides’ in the three years following enactment; states without such laws saw a 4.2 percent increase.”
Florida seems to love controversy. Thirteen years ago it was the hanging chads of the 2000 Bush-Gore Presidential election. Now Trayvon Martin’s death has brought Stand Your Ground laws to the limelight and polarized the American public against the misuse of such laws. On October 1, 2005 – a few weeks after Hurricane Katrina – Florida, with the blessings of the National Rifle Association, became the first US State to sign “Stand Your Ground” into its laws. Let’s make it the first state to repeal it.