More than a dozen experts testified before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in Orlando that “stand your ground” statutes benefit whites more than nonwhites, are unnecessary, and cause minority men to live in fear.
Such laws state “individuals have no duty to retreat from a place where they have a right to be and may use any level of force, including lethal, if they reasonably believe they face an imminent and immediate threat of serious bodily harm or death.”
The commission decided to examine these laws after the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager, by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in 2012. Zimmerman was acquitted of all charges.
“Attorney Benjamin Crump, who represented Martin’s family and the family of Michael Brown, the unarmed black 18-year-old who was shot by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo., said there is no need for ‘stand your ground’ laws. He said they are unconstitutionally vague since not one person is going to agree on what constitutes ‘reasonable fear,’” writes Mike Schneider.