Protests Commence at Capitol Hill

The much controversial trial of George Zimmerman ended on July 12, 2013 when a jury of six acquitted Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman’s defense throughout the trial self-defense, built originally on the Stand Your Ground law.

The verdict created as much controversy as the trial, and the effects were felt throughout Florida and the rest of the country. On July 16, a protest by a politically-driven group called the Dream Defenders began quietly protesting inside the Capitol building. Until now, the overtime security has cost taxpayers $100,000, but there has been no violence. During the day hours, the protestors are free to come and go in the entire building, but at night they must remain in designated areas.

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The Dream Defenders are there in protest until Governor Rick Scott calls a special session of the legislative committee to repeal the Stand Your Ground Law. They have also stated that the committee needs to address two other the laws that they feel were abused during the offense and the trial. The Dream Defenders want the committee to also address racial profiling and zero tolerance in the public schools, and they will remain at the Capitol building until Governor Scott does this.

Florida House Speaker, Will Weatherford, has called the legislative committee to debate the law for improvements, but not to repeal the law. He expressed the need for legislature to review the law on the basis of how it is being applied across the state of Florida. Weatherford also sees that the law could be made clearer, so the average person could understand it better.

Weatherford says that a discussion or debate of the issues in the Stand Your Ground law does not mean they need to discuss repealing it. He would like to see the law made clearer, and he says that he doesn’t predict that it would be repealed by the Florida House, but that no one should be afraid of honest discussion. Weatherford says that he wants the committee to take an honest look at the law to see if it can be made clearer, and ensure that it is being used fairly.