by Jamilah King, ColorLines
In the year since George Zimmerman followed, fought and killed unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, Florida’s Stand Your Ground law has been under national scrutiny. One of more than a dozen similar statues around the country, Florida’s law allows a civilian to use fatal force outside of his or her home if “he or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another.” Stand Your Ground also authorizes people to use deadly force if they “reasonably believe” that a violent felony is about to happen.
Critics, including Martin’s parents, have called Stand Your Ground laws (contained in Section 776 of Florida Statutes) an invitation for vigilante violence and civilian racial profiling. Despite widespread outrage over Martin’s slaying, a 19-member task force assembled by Florida Governor Rick Scott (R) has found no grounds to overturn the law.
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