Stu­dents seek ar­rest of man who shot teen

Neigh­bor­hood watch cap­tain claims self-de­fense

The Washington Times Daily - - Nation - BYMIKE SCH­NEI­DER

OR­LANDO, FLA. | Col­lege stu­dents around Florida ral­lied Mon­day to de­mand the ar­rest of a white neigh­bor­hood watch cap­tain who shot an un­armed black teen last month, though au­thor­i­ties may be ham­strung by a state law that al­lows peo­ple to de­fend them­selves with deadly force.

Stu­dents held ral­lies on the cam­pus of Florida A&M Univer­sity in Tallahassee and out­side the Semi­nole County Crim­i­nal Jus­tice Cen­ter, where prose­cu­tors are re­view­ing the case to de­ter­mine whether charges should be filed. The stu­dents de­manded the ar­rest of 28year-old Ge­orge Zim­mer­man, who au­thor­i­ties say shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin last month dur­ing a con­fronta­tion in a gated com­mu­nity in San­ford.

Mr. Zim­mer­man spot­ted Martin as he was pa­trolling his neigh­bor­hood on a rainy evening last month and called 911 to re­port a sus­pi­cious per­son. Against the ad­vice of the 911 dis­patcher, Mr. Zim­mer­man then fol­lowed Martin, who was walk­ing home from a con­ve­nience store with a bag of Skit­tles in his pocket.

Mr. Zim­mer­man’s fa­ther has said his son is His­panic and is not racist. Mr. Zim­mer­man has claimed self-de­fense.

“I don’t think a man who ex­ited his ve­hi­cle af­ter the 911 dis­patcher told him to stay in­side the car can claim self-de­fense,” Carl Mcphail, a 28-year-old Barry Univer­sity law school stu­dent, said at the San­ford rally.

The 70 pro­test­ers at the San­ford rally chanted “What if it was your son?” and held posters say­ing, “This is not a race is­sue.” Many car­ried Skit­tles.

Martin’s par­ents and other ad­vo­cates have said the shooter would have been ar­rested had he been black.

“You would think that San­ford is still in the 1800s claim­ing that this man can call self-de­fense for shoot­ing an un­armed boy,” said res­tau­rant owner Linda Till­man, who also was at the San­ford rally.

The case has gar­nered na­tional at­ten­tion, and Al Sharp­ton and ra­dio host Michael Bais­den planned to lead an­other rally Thurs­day in San­ford.

U.S. Rep. Cor­rine Brown, Florida Demo­crat, has asked the Depart­ment of Jus­tice to re­view the case, and White House spokesman Jay Car­ney said Mon­day dur­ing a brief­ing that of­fi­cials there were aware of what hap­pened.

“Our thoughts and pray­ers go out to Trayvon Martin’s fam­ily,” Mr. Car­ney said. “But ob­vi­ously we’re not go­ing to wade into a lo­cal law en­force­ment mat­ter.”

But prose­cu­tors may not be able to charge Mr. Zim­mer­man be­cause of changes to state law in 2005. Un­der the old law, peo­ple could use deadly force in self-de­fense only if they had tried to run away or oth­er­wise avoid the dan­ger.

The changes re­moved the duty to re­treat and gave Florid­i­ans the right “to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, in­clud­ing deadly force,” if they felt threat­ened. The changes also meant peo­ple could not be pros­e­cuted in such in­stances.


The Rev. Glenn Dames, se­nior pas­tor at St. James AME Church, leads peo­ple in a prayer at the Ti­tusville Court­house in Ti­tusville, Fla., on Sun­day. A rally was held de­mand­ing jus­tice for Trayvon Martin, a black Florida teenager fa­tally shot by a white neigh­bor­hood watch vol­un­teer. No charges have been filed in the Fe­bru­ary death.

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