Mark O’Mara responds to new ‘Stand Your Ground’ PSA
Mark O’Mara has responded via his blog to a new PSA from the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence that calls on lawmakers to oppose Stand Your Ground Laws by using a dramatization of the night Trayvon Martin was fatally shot.
George Zimmerman hired O’Mara as his defense lawyer after he was charged with the second degree murder of Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman pleaded not guilty, arguing self defense, and was found not guilty.
The PSA uses 911 recordings from the night of Martin’s death, including one from a nearby witness and one from Zimmerman himself.
At the conclusion of the video you see Martin on the ground in a hooded sweatshirt, as well as other bodies on the ground with names of states who have Stand Your Ground laws floating above them.
I’ve watched the “Stand Up to ‘Stand Your Ground’” PSA several times now. The PSA features a dramatic reenactment of the encounter between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin. While the PSA uses actual audio from George’s non-emergency call and witness 911 calls, the visual details of the reenactment are wildly inaccurate and they are unsupported by the actual evidence. By airing an interpretation of events that are easily dismissed as factual fantasy, the proponents for changes in the self-defense statutes in various states are actually damaging their arguments. I have stated that Florida Statute 776 can use some polishing to address a person’s ability to retreat from a situation before using deadly force. But attempting an unsupported attack on the entire statute based solely on emotion will only cause doors to close and ears to go deaf.
The George Zimmerman case was not a ‘stand your ground’ case; it was clearly traditional self-defense, and therefore any campaign for the repeal of ‘stand your ground’ laws predicated on the facts of the Zimmerman case is a non-starter, and any campaign that relies on misrepresentations and misinformation is doomed to fail. Those who wish to effect a valid, rational modification of these principles of self-defense must do so with logic and fact on their side. If we are going to have a conversation about ‘stand your ground’ that will have results, we must have an honest conversation.
Zimmerman’s brother, Robert Zimmerman Jr. responded via Twitter yesterday, addressing the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and posting photos of his brother from the night Martin died: “This pic was also part of the trial & so was the inability to retreat while mounted & pummeled.”
Trayvon Martin’s parents are expected to make a statement today in regards to the new “Stand Up to ‘Stand Your Ground'” PSA.
Follow Carrie Healey on Twitter @CarrieHeals.