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Does Standing Your Ground Mean Justice for All?

By Chris Schultz

“Stand your ground means stand your ground. It doesn’t mean chase someone who’s turned their back”, said Jeb Bush, the man who wrote the stand your ground law, which has been under scrutiny since the shooting of African-American teenager, Treyvon Martin.

In Sanford, Florida on February 26th, neighborhood watchman, George Zimmerman, pursued, shot, and killed Treyvon Martin after multiple phone calls to the police. Not only was Zimmerman told to leave Martin alone during these calls, but he was also making racist remarks against black people as well. Police did not charge Zimmerman because they claim he is innocent under the self-defense legislation, Stand Your Ground, Which states that anybody who feels like or has reason to believe that their life or the lives of others are threatened, can use deadly force. The problem is, Martin was unarmed. All he had was a bag of skittles, which he was getting from a 7/11 for his brother.

As many lives as the Stand Your Ground law may have saved, this case shows that it can also be manipulated and abused, one can only wonder what can be done to avoid these kinds of controversies in the future. Stand Your Ground, and similar laws must be reviewed if we want to keep cases like this from happening again.

Sanford Police Department has a history of racial bias. In 2011, James Collison, son of a Sanford lieutenant, was recorded beating up a homeless black man. Collison was not prosecuted and arrested until the video went viral on Youtube, and Chief Brian Tooley was forced to step down. According to New York Times Columnist, Charles M. Blow, the officer in charge of that case was the was also in charge of Martin’s case.

 

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