Neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman made headlines after being involved in an altercation that left 17-year-old Trayvon Martin dead. The incident brought many issues to the forefront of our nation’s collective conscience, race relations, racial profiling and self defense – specifically Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law.
Since the incident, Zimmerman has been arrested and charged with second-degree murder, he is currently out on bond while awaiting trial.
Speaking publically for the first time about the incident, Zimmerman gave an exclusive interview to Fox News commentator Sean Hannity. During the interview Zimmerman talked about his views on the media coverage, his ethnicity and the events that led to Martin’s death. Zimmerman told Hannity that Martin punched him in the face repeatedly, breaking his nose; while being punched, Zimmerman claims to have yelled for help.
One of the most surprising moments of the interview came when Zimmerman stated he was unaware of and didn’t know anything about Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law at the time of the incident.
Stand Your Ground Law
According to Florida law, a person can stand his or her ground, without any duty to retreat, when attacked by another person. The person being attacked is also allowed to “meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.”
Essentially, this law allows Floridians to protect themselves and others when they feel their lives are in danger. For this law to apply, a person does not need to be aware of it; it will apply regardless of one’s knowledge of it. So, in Zimmerman’s case, if the jury believes his version of the events of that fateful night, Stand Your Ground could apply even though he had no knowledge of the law.
Source: Orlando Sentinel, “George Zimmerman: I didn’t know stand your ground law,” Hal Boedeker, July 18, 2012
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