Florida

Al Sharpton Protest March Politicizes Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law

Policy

MSNBC’s leftist commentator Al Sharpton is assuming the lead role in national liberal opposition to Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, announcing he will lead a protest march in Tallahassee Monday.

Sharpton will be joined by the parents of Trayvon Martin. National liberal activists latched onto Martin’s 2012 shooting death as a springboard for Stand Your Ground protests in Florida. George Zimmerman did not raise a Stand Your Ground defense when a jury acquitted him of murder and assault charges regarding a physical altercation with Martin.

Family members of Emmett Till will also play a prominent role in Monday’s protest even though Till was killed in 1955 — 50 years before Florida enacted its Stand Your Ground law.

Florida’s Stand Your Ground law recognizes the right of self-defense without having to first attempt to flee from an assailant. Most states have a version of Stand Your Ground, but national liberal activists focused special attention on Florida’s Stand Your Ground law after Trayvon Martin’s shooting death.

While Sharpton and other out-of-state liberal activists paint Florida’s Stand Your Ground statute as an unpopular law, public opinion polls show the opposite. Nonpartisan polling firm Viewpoint Florida reported only 13 percent of Floridians favor repealing the law. Also, as Media Trackers Florida reported, a majority of Democrats in the state legislature voted to enact the law, joining near unanimous support among Republican legislators.

Florida Sen. Chris Smith (D-Fort Lauderdale) has invited Trayvon Martin’s parents to testify about the state’s Stand Your Ground law Monday before the Senate Criminal Justice Committee.

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