On the eve of another meeting of the state task force reviewing “stand your ground,” the parents of Trayvon Martin have launched a new website and political committee aimed at changing the controversial law, reports the Orlando Sentinel.
A new committee of continuous existence, or CCE, called “Change for Trayvon” and a corresponding website will collect funds to “be distributed to candidates, elected officials and efforts which support the mission of… revising Stand Your Ground laws across the nation to ensure there is judicial or prosecutorial oversight,” the site says.
The new website also includes a video with Trayvon’s parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, and PayPal links for donations.
“Something has to change, which is why we created the change for Trayvon Martin movement, to shine the light on stand your ground laws across the nation,” Fulton says in the video.
Tracy Martin adds that “these laws allow individuals to shoot first and ask questions later,” echoing critics who call the law “shoot first,” rather than the “stand your ground.”
According to the website, ChangeForTrayvon.com, no “member of the Martin Family or their attorneys will benefit personally from the funds raised,” and 90 percent of what’s donated “will go directly to support the mission of Change For Trayvon.”
Benjamin Crump, an attorney for Trayvon’s family, told the Sentinel the CCE was formed “specifically to try to get this law revised.”
“Any time anybody shoots anybody now, they claim ‘stand your ground,’” Crump said. “I don’t think that’s what any legislator intended for any of these laws to be used for when they passed this law.”
Trayvon’s shooting drew international outcry after police initially did not arrest his shooter, George Zimmerman. Zimmerman says he fired in self-defense, after the teenager from Miami Gardens attacked him Feb. 26 in Sanford. Prosecutors and Trayvon’s family say that Zimmerman profiled, pursued and shot the teen.
The “stand your ground” law grants immunity if a defendant can show the use of deadly force was in response to a reasonable fear of serious injury or death. The law is controversial for several reasons, including the immunity language and the lack of a requirement to retreat if possible before responding with force.
Critics contend it encourages violence, and leaves police agencies reluctant to make arrests in cases where there is a self-defense claim. Supporters say the law empowers law-abiding citizens to better protect themselves.
The CCE announcement comes the day before the Task Force on Citizen Safety and Protection, which is reviewing the law in the wake of the controversial shooting, will meet for the sixth time Tuesday in Jacksonville.