Trayvon Martin's shooting death may affect South Carolina law
Tue, 26 Feb 2013 12:56:55 GMT —
COLUMBIA, SC / MIAMI, FL (WACH) -- Itâ??s the shooting death that sparked outrage across the nation and brought the phrase "Stand Your Ground" into the headlines.
The 17-year-old Trayvon Martin shot and killed inside The Retreat at Twin Lakes in Sanford, Florida.
Martin's accused killer and former neighborhood watch volunteer at the complex, George Zimmerman, says he had no choice but to protect himself after Martin attacked him.
Itâ??s that deadly force Zimmerman says he used that has South Carolina lawmaker Bakari Sellers on edge.
â??I firmly believe in the right to protect yourself. I firmly believe in the 2nd Amendment, but we have those already in place, common law self-defense, we have that in place with the Castle Doctrine,â?? said Rep. Bakari Sellers (D).
Sellers says there have been a number of cases when a Stand Your Ground defense was used in the Palmetto State.
â??If you're walking down the street and you just have reasonable belief just based on some prejudices or preconceived notions, or the fact that you watched Law and Order last night and youâ??re scared, that should not give you the ability to shoot somebody who is unarmed,â?? said Sellers.
To prevent situations like that, Sellers wants to amend the state's Stand Your Ground Law to better define when it's okay to meet force with force. He wants to remove this section from the law:
(c) a person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in another place where he has a right to be, including, but not limited to, his place of business, has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his ground and meet force with force, including deadly force, if he reasonably believes it is necessary to prevent death or great bodily injury to himself or another person or to prevent the commission of a violent crime as defined in section 16-1-60.
â??You should have the right to defend yourself, but we're not talking about that. In these cases, we're talking about ordinary citizens being murdered based on preconceived notions,â?? said Sellers.
Martin's parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton are now fighting the Stand Your Ground provision in Florida because they say it could allow their son's accused killer to go free.
On the week of Martinâ??s would be 18th birthday, the family held a weekend of events in Miami to remember the teen.
â??[Trayvon] was always smiling, he was playful. Thatâ??s one word that I would use. He loved his family, he loved his friends. He loved to talk on the phone. He loved the mall, traveling, skiing,â?? says Sybrina Fulton, Martin's Mother.
That same weekend hundreds marched and gathered at Miamiâ??s Ives Estate Park all in memory of Martin.
The event was dubbed a "Day of Remembrance Peace March."
Even entertainers like Jamie Foxx were in attendance.
"All we want to do is make people understand this. We have to wrap our arms around our kids. If you look at a since Trayvon, there's been Sandy Hook, there's been Aurora," said entertainer Jamie Foxx.
WACH Fox reached out to Zimmerman's attorney.
A spokesperson says, contrary to popular belief The O'Mara Law Group is using a traditional self defense claim in the case, not Stand Your Ground. They issued a statement saying:
"In this particular case, George did not have an ability to retreat because he was on the ground with Trayvon Martin mounting him, striking blows, therefore the "Stand Your Ground" "benefit" given by the (Florida) statute simply does not apply to the facts of George's case: it is traditional self-defense."
Martin's mother says she knows her son was not the aggressor and that he was protecting himself from Zimmerman. She says will not stop until Trayvon gets justice.
"When people request us to speak, we're going to go out and spread the word because we don't want people to forget about Trayvon," says Sybrina Fulton, Martin's mother.
The trial date for the Trayvon Martin Case is set for June 10.
As for the state of South Carolina and its Stand Your Ground provision, nothing has been changed.
Sellers says heâ??s waiting for other lawmakers to join in his cause. He presented a proposal last year, but no action was taken.