The Rev. Al Sharpton, the parents of Jordan Davis and Trayvon Martin, as well as Tom Joyner and members of the Dream Defenders, are once again marching for change to Florida’s “Stand your ground” law, Tallahassee.com reports.
Joined by hundreds of other marchers, the group—including family members of Emmett Till—traveled less than a mile from the Leon County Civic Center to the Florida Capitol, calling on lawmakers to address the law, the news site reports.
“It’s a flawed law,” Sharpton said. “Because you don’t need an actual threat. All you’ve got to do is believe a threat and you can use deadly force.”
Since the “Stand your ground” law was enacted in 2005, the Republican-dominated legislature has shown no interest in making any substantial changes. In the past two years, Democrats have filed bills to repeal or amend the law, which have all been met with resistance, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.
In November the Florida House Criminal Justice Subcommittee shot down a full repeal of the law. Other bills, still potentially in play in the legislature, would tweak “Stand your ground” to include use of force only after a full attempt at retreat had been exhausted.
Trayvon and Jordan were two unarmed black teenagers who lost their lives at the hands of two men who many believe were emboldened by the controversial law.
In February 2012, former neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman killed Trayvon as he walked back to his father’s house from a convenience store. Zimmerman profiled Trayvon and followed the teenager, which ultimately resulted in a confrontation. Zimmerman was eventually acquitted of murder charges.
Later in the year, in November, Michael Dunn drove into a gas station, only to be annoyed by a group of teenagers sitting in an SUV blasting their “rap crap,” as Dunn called it. He asked the teens to turn down their music. What happened next was hotly debated in court, but Dunn contested that he felt threatened and thus fired his weapon into the vehicle. He struck Jordan Davis three times, with the bullets killing him. Just last month a jury was unable to come to a decision as to whether to convict him on first-degree murder charges for Davis’ death. He was, however, convicted for attempted murder of the other teens who were present in the car.
The protesters planned to attend House and Senate criminal-justice committees in hopes of telling lawmakers they want them to consider action on the law.