WASHINGTON – A Florida congresswoman on Tuesday introduced a resolution honoring Trayvon Martin, the Florida teen whose slaying a year ago this month stirred national controversy.
Rep. Frederica Wilson, a South Florida Democrat, introduced a resolution “honoring the life of Trayvon Martin, urging the repeal of Stand Your Ground laws, and calling on the United States government to address the crisis of racial profiling,” according to a statement from her office.
“Today, Trayvon Martin would have celebrated his 18th birthday,” the statement read. “We all know the tragic circumstances surrounding his murder: Trayvon was racially profiled, chased, made to fight for his life, and ultimately murdered. Yet we as a nation have yet to take substantive action to stop such a heartbreaking incident from happening again. Enough is enough: We as a nation have buried too many young black boys. Let’s set Congress on course to address the underlying causes behind the crisis that Trayvon’s death symbolizes. Let’s take action to stop racial profiling and give our people a chance to succeed.”
George Zimmerman, the former neighborhood watch volunteer charged with second degree murder in the case, has pleaded not guilty, and is claiming self-defense. The defense disputes the idea that Zimmerman profiled Martin, who Zimmerman shot to death on the night of February 26, 2012, after a confrontation inside the gated community where Zimmerman lived, and which Martin was visiting with his father. Zimmerman claims Martin attacked him.
Some state lawmakers in Florida are seeking to amend the Stand Your Ground provision in Florida’s self-defense statute, arguing that it has been applied too broadly by defendants in fatal shooting cases. Supporters of the law say it protects people who use deadly force to protect themselves from imminent danger.
Reached for comment by theGrio, Zimmerman’s attorney, Mark O’Mara said “a resolution honoring Trayvon Martin is fine, and repealing all Stand Your Ground laws, I think that’s more up to the individual states.”
“I think that the self-defense statute that we have in Florida and that many states have is a good idea,” O’Mara said, adding that if Rep. Wilson “has a concern over Stand Your Ground and wants to focus it better, I’d be happy to talk to her about it, but an all-out repeal is just a common reaction to a singular event that I don’t think is well founded in logic.”
Members of the Congressional Black Caucus attempted to introduce a similar resolution last April, with some members breaking House rules by wearing hoodie sweatshirts on the floor of Congress when discussing the bill.
Follow Joy Reid on Twitter at @thereidreport.