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Florida’s legislative committee took a major step toward clarifying the state’s heavily debated “Stand Your Ground self-defense law approving some restrictions on its use and further clarifying that the statute does not permit ‘vigilantism’ by neighborhood watch activists.

The Florida Current is reporting four major changes:

— It requires city and county police agencies to issue operating guidelines for neighborhood crime watch organizations, specifically forbidding participants to confront or attempt to detain someone they consider suspicious.

— It requires police to thoroughly investigate claims of self-defense and denies immunity from prosecution for anyone found to be the aggressor in an incident.

— It puts the burden of proof on prosecutors to show that a person claiming immunity was not entitled to it. A 2010 court ruling required defendants to prove in pre-trial hearings that they qualified for Stand Your Ground protection.

— It allows civil liability for lawsuits by third parties wounded by a person in a self-defense situation.

So what’s next? The proposed changes go to the Senate Community Affairs Committee and then to the Rules Committee for scheduling of floor debate.

You tell us — do the changes to the Stand Your Ground law make you feel any better about the protection of black men in Florida?

 

Rally in Tallahassee Against ‘Stand Your Ground’
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