As the investigation into the murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin heats up, many are questioning whether or not Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law is to blame.
After shooting Martin, George Zimmerman claimed self-defense, and police failed to investigate the case or arrest him, citing the law. Now, the sponsors of the statue are speaking out and they feel that Sanford PD’s application of the law in this case in unwarranted.
According to former state Sen. Durell Peaden and current state Rep. Dennis Baxley, who sponsored the bill in 2005, the law was “designed to protect citizens by giving them the right to ‘meet force with force,” not allow someone to pursue another person, confront them, and kill them.
Peaden made it clear he feels Zimmerman doesn’t qualify for the law, “They got the goods on him. They need to prosecute whoever shot the kid. He has no protection under my law.”
Peaden continues, “The guy lost his defense right then when he said ‘I’m following him,’ he lost his defense.”
Baxter agrees with his colleagues assessment, but isn’t ready to throw out the law all together. He said that changes need to be made to ensure people like Zimmerman cannot claim to qualify for the statute.
“If you want to pass something, pass something that limits their ability to pursue and confront people,” Baxley said.
It’s been nearly a month since Zimmerman murdered Trayvon Martin, and he remains free.
Tuesday the Department of Justice Civil Rights division announced they were opening an investigation and the Florida state attorney announced they would be convening a grand jury on April 10.