Democratic members of the Congressional Black Caucus have introduced legislation to honor Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Florida teenage who was fatally shot in February by a neighborhood watch volunteer, and to urge the repeal of a controversial Florida gun law blamed in his death.
The non-binding resolution, dated March 30, also calls for “involved parties to pursue full investigations into all homicides, regardless of defenses asserted by the offender.”
“His death is a tragedy that should not have happened, and it speaks to the reality that racial profiling still exists in America,” said Rep. Frederica Wilson of Florida, who is listed as one of four principal sponsors of the resolution.
Trayvon, 17, who was black, was shot and killed Feb. 26 while walking through a gated community in Sanford, Fla. His accused killer, George Zimmerman, who has a Hispanic mother and a white father, told police he acted in self-defense and hasn’t been arrested or charged.
Black Caucus members blamed Florida’s “Stand Your Ground Law,” which gives people wide latitude to use deadly force rather than retreat during a fight.
“Florida’s misguided ‘Stand Your Ground’ law does not make our streets safer, rather it turns our streets into a showdown at the OK Corral. But this is not the Wild West,” Rep. Alcee L. Hastings of Florida, another sponsor of the bill. “George Zimmerman must be prosecuted for his admitted shooting of Trayvon Martin and the ‘Stand Your Ground’ law must be repealed.”
Trayvon was coming from a convenience store where he bought Skittles and iced tea and was talking to his girlfriend on the phone moments before the shooting, records show.
A neighborhood watch volunteer called the police to say he saw someone in a hooded sweatshirt who looked high on drugs and was suspicious because he walked too slowly in a gated community.
Mr. Zimmerman told police that Trayvon jumped him, punched him in the face and slammed his head on the ground.
Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Emanuel Cleaver II of Missouri and Rep. Corrine Brown of Florida also sponsored the bill. It’s uncertain whether the resolution will make it to the floor for a vote in the Republican-led chamber.
To read the resolution click on the following link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-112hres612ih/pdf/BILLS-112hres612ih.pdf.